Swimming With Starfish: Scuba Diving in Dominican Republic


DRHDR1Now that the weather is growing cooler and cooler in South Korea

…all I can do is look back at this beautiful summer spent under the Caribbean sun. I finally became a certified open water diver with World of Scuba in Boca Raton, Florida this past May, and fell in love with scuba diving and the underwater world. Everything from bubbles floating to the surface, to the feeling of an oxygen tank strapped to my back makes me excited and eager; it’s an adrenalin rush like no other to do something very un-human, like breathing underwater.

My first dive after my scuba diving certification was very memorable, not necessarily because of what we saw under water, but because it was my first time diving alongside my father. This past June we spent about a month hanging out and working in Dominican Republic, getting to know more about the place my mother and brother were born. We left Santo Domingo at dawn on a Saturday morning to drive to Bayahibe, where we would meet the Casa Daniel team and depart for our adventure at 9:15.

DiveBoatCasa Daniel’s Crew

We jumped on their motor catamaran, which was much bigger and more comfortable than I expected. Both of our dive masters and the crew were extremely friendly, helpful, and full of information. Being a recently certified diver, they took it easy with me and even helped me patiently in the descend, as I often have trouble with my ears not equalizing properly.

We went on two dives, the first was at Dos Cocos and the second was at Las Pamilias. All of their dive sites are located around el Parque Nacional del Este, which means they have a plethora of beautiful sea life to explore.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 2.45.57 PMDive, Dive, Dive!

The marine life itself was not as appealing as it has been on other dives for me, but I think that was just bad luck. The day was beautiful in the afternoon, but it turned out to be pretty mucky and foggy underwater. There were a few people who swam further than 40 ft, including a professional travel photographer from Germany who boasted about the lion fish and eel he saw down below. Unfortunately, all I really saw were fish, and I wasn’t able to get spectacular pictures. Next time!

ScubaDiveAfter scuba diving

They drove us out to Isla Saona – one of my favorite places in the entire world. You can’t even imagine my excitement!

This island is beyond majestic with its white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Guys, I swear these pictures are barely edited – the water really is that blue. Growing up in the Caribbean means I was exposed to a lot of beaches, but I’ve never seen anything like this place. Way out in the Caribbean Sea, Saona Island calls my name every time we’re in Dominican Republic.

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They Even Served Us Lunch

We had lunch as a group, and enjoyed refreshments. Presidente, the most popular beer brewed in Dominican Republics, is crisp and light in flavor, but one you won’t forget. There’s a saying on the island, “La quiero viestada de blanco” (I want her dressed in white). This means you want your beer so cold it’s developed a nice, frosty coat around it; perhaps there are even some frozen bits as you take your first sip. This, my friends, is how true Dominicans combat the heat in the dead of summer!

As we headed back to shore, we had one more stop to make: La Piscina Natural (the Natural Pool). If you’re ever on this part of the island, you’ll want to stop here. In contrast to the very secluded Isla Saona, La Piscina Natural was full of boats with tourists and locals alike. They call it the natural pool because its shallow, diamond-like waters remind you of a swimming pool. We were able to hold starfish (under water, otherwise you risk causing them to dehydrate over time). The Casa Daniel team came prepared with rum and mixers to make Cuba Libres (with Coke) and Santo Libres (with Sprite) – Reason number 1 million why I love Dominican Republic.

StarfishCollage

Now For the Logistics

Price ->

  • With Equipment: $54
  • Without Equipment: $47

Getting There ->

  • If you’re staying in the area, they offer free transpiration from these hotels:
    • Viva Beach, Viva Palace, Iberostar, Coral Canoa, Catalonia Gran Dominicus, Dreams La Romana, Bayahibe Hotel, Cadaques.
  • If you’re coming from Santo Doming:
    • Go from Santo Domingo to La Romana
    • Then take the Coral Highway from La Romana to Bayahibe,
    • It is about a 1 1/2 hr drive from Santo Domingo

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UnderwaterSelfie

Tank

DCIM100GOPRO

We had a blast, even if the water was muddy because of the complete experience Casa Daniel offered us. We visit Dominican Republic very often, and I can assure you, we’ll be back to dive with this crew because they were so awesome. Check out their promo video below, and don’t forget to visit their website and book your next dive.

 

 

* Disclaimer: This is in no way shape or form a sponsored post, and all opinions are fully and completely my own. 

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