Dive Cabarete Dive Sites
Sosúa Dive Sites
Diving with us on the northern coast of the island of the Dominican Republic you will enjoy water temperatures that range from 25°C in the winter to 29°C in the summer (77°F to 84°F). Visibility reaches 10m to 35m (20-115 feet). Our dive sites range from beginner to advanced and include reef, wall, deep and wreck dives.
The furthest of our dive sites this is an exciting mix of wall, overhangs and tunnels. This is an excellent dive for all levels of experience and certifications. The underwater scenery is dramatic and the marine life varied. For those of an adventurous nature, you can swim into the tunnels!
This site lies between Tres Palmas and Airport Wall and is most suitable for Advanced divers or above. You start the dive by swimming along a narrow underwater canyon that takes you from 12 meters down to about 20 meters. You then follow this part of the Airport Wall until is reaches a distinct point. Swimming away from the wall for about 15 meters brings you to a large boulder which has a short tunnel running through it. As you swim into the tunnel the fish (mostly Tomtate and Doctorfish) will move gently away to let you through, here you will reach your maximum depth of about 25 meters. You then return to the wall to continue your exploration. You may spot a large Mutton snapper following you on this dive, also look for the Margate, Bar Jack, Porkfish and Queen Angelfish that make this part of the wall their home.
Probably the most well known of our sites on the Northern Coast, the Airport Wall is a site to suit all levels of certification. You start your dive at the buoy line about 150 meters off the cliffs in front of the airport, dropping down the line the underwater plain comes slowly into focus. Then it’s a short swim to the wall which starts at 10 meters and drops steeply down to about 25 meters. There are numerous nooks and crannies for crustaceans and small fish to hide in, large overhangs for bigger fish to shelter under; and keep an eye out in the blue for even larger life. If you like underwater scenery, this is a must dive.
This dive site lies a little closer to Sosua than Airport Wall. We recommend that you bring a torch so that you can see under the large overhangs that make this dive an enjoyable adventure. This site can be dived by all certification levels as the top of the wall starts at between 6 and 10 meters.
Between Sosua bay and Airport Wall are five coral heads that rise from the sea bed at 6 meters to 22 meters. The rocks stand like the fingers of a spread hand and are different distances apart so we recommend this for divers who are Open Water or higher certification. The rocks have many fissures and are covered in soft corals and sponges so they make an ideal habitat for a diverse range of life. As you swim around you can look at the many fish that surround the outside of the rocks but also have a good look in the holes for lobsters and morays; you may even find a crab or two in the barrel and pipe sponges so don’t forget to have a peek in some of them.
We start the dive in a sheltered inlet and descend to a seascape of large boulders and the dramatic wall under the cliffs. This site goes down to about 18 meters so it is suitable for all certification levels. Very different than most of the other sites that we dive, the limestone cliffs have been eroded to give the usual crevices to explore but we also have large overhangs and a number of swim throughs to practice your buoyancy control on. Because of the rocky nature of the site, we look for octopus, lobster and crab (large and small) and morays. Perhaps because this site is not dived as often as others, we see some of the largest of the invasive lionfish here (we don’t object to anyone wanting to spearfish these).
This reefs lies to the North West of the Canyon in about 24 meters of water. It boasts well developed hard and soft coral, particularly some very large and dramatic sea plumes, and it is still possible to see bits of the wreck of a small boat. Due to its depth this is for Advanced divers or above.
Descending over sand you swim towards the break in the reef wall which gives this dive site its name. Keeping close to the bottom a careful diver can swim between the rock walls and soft corals which form the canyon. You can also swim slightly shallower to avoid touching the marine life. The canyon leads you down to about 20m and the reef walls spread out to both sides. Macro lovers will enjoy the crabs (including arrow, spider and hermit), flamingo tongue snails, nudibranch and, if you are very lucky, seahorses and pipefish. Those that don’t want to peer into every nook and cranny will love the many fish that make the wall their home along with the abundant soft coral. The end of the dive is spent at a large outcrop of rock which boasts a profusion of fish and coral life; a perfect place to complete a safety stop (just be careful of the Damsel fish).
The bay is a great place to have a relaxed shore dive. We swim slowly out to the middle of the bay (keeping a lookout for the needlefish as we snorkel) and descend in about 4 metres/13 feet of water. At first, we swim over a mix of sand and sea grass but this quickly gives way to rock and coral; in places you have to be careful of your buoyancy because of the number of sea urchins. The highlight of the dive is when we swim into a sandy channel which narrows to an impressive swim through coral walls. There is so much to see even in these shallow waters including: Great Barracuda, Glassy Sweeper, Spanish Hogfish, Squid ….. the list goes on. All while not having been deeper than 7 meters/23 feet. It is not unusual for this dive to be more than an hour long.
East & West Wall
Just at the edge of Sosua bay are the twin dive sites of East & West walls. Which one you dive depends on which way you turn from the bottom of the buoy line or if you are good on air we can dive both. The walls form the edge of the bay and rise from the sea bed from as deep as 30 meters to 6 meters so it is suitable for all levels of certifications. To the West, the wall looks like a massive frozen wave ready to break over you as you swim below it. To the East the slope of the wall is not quite as steep and it is a more comfortable introduction for those who may not have done a wall dive before. Look for large mutton snapper and mackerel swimming around and the usual suspects in the crevices.
Waterfront to Mini Wall
Starting at the buoy line next to the beach overlooked by Waterfront Restaurant, the dive starts at 3 meters depth. We begin by searching the line for seahorses but we also look for frog fish and magnificent sea urchins on the sand nearby. We then set off down the sand dune and towards the reef, watching the Rosy Razor fish darting into the sand as we swim towards Mini Wall.
Just outside the bay, Mini Wall starts at 14m and it is possible to go down to 32m. The top of the wall has a mix of sand and coral where you can find trumpetfish, lots of blue chromis and it is also home to a large school of young barracuda. Going deeper down the gently sloping wall there are overhangs for you to explore.
This deep site lies just outside the bay and is for advanced divers or above. The buoy line leads you down to a coral ridge at about 24 meters deep. Towards the shore (east) the slope of the reef takes you down to a sandy bottom at 31 meters; to seaward (west) the slope continues down beyond 40 meters; to the north you can follow the ridge until it ends in a sharp point and more sand in about 35 meters of water. Look for lobster and moray in the many crevices and holes in the ridge; garden eels, stingrays and flounders on the sand; and eagle rays out in the blue. This site is also popular with the invading lionfish.
An interesting mix of underwater sand dunes and soft coral on a small wall this is an ideal training site. However, this doesn’t mean that it is boring as there is a good chance to see octopus, crab and even seahorse on this site. It is possible to swim over the sand to Larimar II and back during a dive.
The deeper of the 2 sites off the Larimar Hotel this is a wall that starts at 16m and goes down to 32m. In the morning, the sunlight shining through the clear waters make an exhilarating start to the dive. This an ideal place for deep training and the more advanced diver. Expect to see moray eels, surgeon fish, trumpetfish, maybe even a nurse shark. Unfortunately, this site is also popular with the invading Pacific Lionfish; lovely to look at but dangerous to our reefs.
Just outside the bay is the popular site of Three rocks. As the name suggests the dive consists of 3 large rocks surrounded by wonderful yellow sand. The top of the first rock is in about 3m of water, which makes it ideal for snorkelers and beginners; the other rocks go down to about 9m. As you descend to the first rock the sergeant major fish and yellow tailed snappers will come to check you out. Swimming around the rocks you will see many other fish and invertebrates. Look in and under the rocks for moray eels, banded shrimp, lobster, and nudibranch but don’t forget to look in the sand for garden eels, peacock flounder and yellow stingray. With the excellent visibility it is easy to move from rock to rock. On most dives you will follow the reef balls down to 18m and maybe cross to the nearby Coral Gardens.
Imagine a garden of trees and bushes waving in the breeze and then place it at a depth of 18m and you have the coral garden dive site. The soft and hard corals are amazingly healthy with lovely colors and beautiful formations. You will find large sea fans, whip corals, sea plumes and the lovely star burst coral. The reef is home to a variety of fish who swim amongst the corals including the French and Queen angelfish; don’t forget to watch the sand for the sharp tailed and garden eels.
To the West of Coral Gardens/3 Rocks, this reef covers a great deal of sea floor. Down to about 22 meters it is like its neighbor Coral Gardens with stone outcroppings that are covered in soft corals and sponges; deeper, it becomes a wall down to more than 30 meters. At all levels the sea fans are particularly impressive and you can often spot Sargassom triggerfish, with their silver markings over their boggling eyes, swimming in and out of them. We have also seen turtles and dolphins here. Due to the depth this reef is for advanced divers or above.
The Zingara was intentionally sunk to provide a diving attraction. A medium sized coastal freighter, it has been cleared of obstructions to allow the safe passage of divers through its holds, engine room and cabins. Due to its depth (max 38m) the wreck is suitable for the more advanced divers or those training to become so. In our gin clear water, the wreck will be gradually revealed as you descend the buoy line. Amongst others the Zingara is home to stone fish, big schools of snapper, a large moray eel and a barracuda or two. The adjacent reef wall is covered in sea fans, barrel sponges and other soft corals and it is an ideal place to extend the dive before a mandatory safety stop.
El Dudu Caverns
An hour and a half drive from Cabarete lies El DuDu (also known as the Blue Lagoon). This cenote (sink hole) features clear blue freshwater that gives excellent visibility and a chance to try something different. The bottom is strewn with dead trees whose branches emerge eerily from the silt, but these provide hiding places for the small fish, eels and fresh water shrimp that make their homes here. There are well marked tunnels to explore: one leading to an air pocket in which you can surface, and others that lead to a smaller pool of water half open to the sky. This is a half day trip which provides the chance for all levels of diver to experience the dark world of cavern diving. Lunch and park entrance fee are included.