The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Hispaniola is perhaps most famous for marking the first European colony in the New World, discovered by Christopher Columbus on his voyages in 1492 and 1493. He founded the settlement of La Navidad on the north coast (today part of Haiti). It is the tenth most populous island in the world. As Spain conquered new regions on the mainland of the Americas, its interest in Hispaniola waned, and the colony’s population grew slowly. By the early 17th century, the island and its smaller neighbors (notably Tortuga) became regular stopping points for Caribbean pirates.
Today, the Dominican Republic is a destination favored by European and Canadian tourists. Resort towns such as Puerto Plata, Boca Chica and the peninsula of La Romana offer great beaches and virgin reefs to explore. Scuba diving is especially good along the South East Coast and around Catalina Island.
On December 13, 2007, the wreck of a 17th century merchant vessel was discovered in a depth of only 3 meters (10 feet) just offshore. Catalina Island has been nominated as one of the top 10 diving destinations in the Caribbean.
The Dominican Republic has some amazing cave diving sites as well, most notable around Boca Chica. More caves are accessible through freshwater lakes located towards the center of Hispaniola; some of them are still waiting to be explored. We have also heard rumors about several sunken Spanish ships of the coasts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. We are planning to put a team together and explore the rumors further. Please contact us if you are interested in some exiting cave and open water diving.