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The Best Snorkeling In The Dominican Republic

Posted by Emily Cummings on 5/7/17 10:59 AM

Volunteering in the DR with ILP

Hey, hey volunteers living in the Caribbean — spend a day under the waves and find some new fishy friends at these rad snorkeling spots. 

Not an ILP volunteer yet?
Come fill out an application to start living in the DR.

We love lazy days lounging on the sand, sipping drinks out of pineapples but sometimes you want to spend some time under those waves with a snorkel mask, right? Good thing you have some vacation time to head down and check out these snorkel spots for yourself.

  • Sosua Beach 
  • Bayahibe
  • A Few Islands 
  • Samana Bay 
  • A Few Guidelines

Sosua Beach 

This gorgeous beach has a reef that’s great for snorkeling, just 100 meters out from the sand, so if you want to do your own thing, hang out here. There will be places you can rent gear and beach chairs for the whole afternoon…make sure you hunt for some sea glass here! 

You can also make a whole day of it, and hire a tour guide (or go with a tour group) who’ll head over to close-by Paradise Island for really stellar snorkeling….you may even spot a sea turtle. 

Right next door to Sosua is Playa Alicia, sitting in the same cove, and is just as gorgeous! If you can grab tours around this area, I'd say go for it.

ILP Dominican Republic

Bayahibe + La Romana

A beyond favorite place to vacation. These two nearby regions are full of gorgeous beaches: the city of La Romana (and surrounding beaches) and the region known as Bayahibe which stretches from La Romana and includes the East National Park. There are also two islands, Catalina and Saona, just right off the coast of this part of the mainland which are very popular day trips for snorkeling (more on those below). 

Another perk? There's really great off-shore snorkeling. There’s a big resort in La Romana (called Dreams La Romana) where you can just dive in, and see some fish by the pier, all without needing to take a boat out.

Get more about Bayahibe and La Romana here. 


A Few Nearby Islands

Paradise Island

Paradise Islands may be the best place to snorkel on the entire island, if you're talking to a few ILP alumni. Paradise island is essentially a shallow sandbar set up with a handful of huts, but surrounded by the most pristine water and encircled with a colorful reef. It's picture perfect snorkeling, that's for sure. Get your Paradise Island Guide here (it's just 2 hours away from Puerto Plata). 

ILP Adventure -DR

La Romana's Islands 

So good thing to know: There are a few islands right off the La Romana coast that have some fabulous islands that are made for snorkeling. Take the Catalina Island for example: the snorkeling around Catalina Island is excellent. We have more details on Catalina Island riiiiiight there.

Saona island also has some ah-mazing beaches and snorkel spots ... along with plenty of Starfish you can hang out with without snorkel gear. Lots of tour groups will do Catalina Island and Saona Island if you want to see both in the same day. 

Volunteering in the DR with ILP

Samana Bay 

You can go “off beach” snorkeling from Grand Bahia Principle Cayacoa —  there’s reef where you can see crabs, needle fish and coral. But don’t stop there....there’s are a few snorkel spots along Samana Bay, and tours love to take you out for the day to explore sunken ferries and hidden gems like Cayo Levantado Island, Playa Madame or Playa Rincón if you want to go that route. 

Get more things to do in Samana, here: It's a #1 vacation spot for our ILP DR volunteers! 

paradise island @bren.layton.jpg

A Few Guidelines About Snorkeling In The DR 

But before you go running off with your flippers, here’s a few things to know:

Head To The Caribbean Side 

Generally, the best snorkeling is going to be on the Caribbean Sea side of things, rather than the Atlantic Ocean side (like Punta Cana). You can snorkel in Punta Cana, but there are places that are soooooo much better.

Think About A Tour 

Also, all of these places have tour groups that will take you there, provide the gear, and usually include lunch. And you can find tours from $30-80 (or more). But if you want to snorkel on your own, some of these beaches do have “off the beach” snorkeling— you’ll just need to rent or pack your own gear (usually a tour isn’t that much more expensive, plus you are going with people who know what’s up).

teach English in the DR with ILP

Are you ready to grab you swimsuit and snorkel mask?

This country is full of waterfalls, lush jungles, ancient ruins, history and some of the cutest kids around. Our ILP volunteers get the chance to live near one of the DR's most popular cities, and teach English to kids who really need it, then have vacation time and weekends to snorkel in all of these spots. 

Discover the D.R.


Topics: Caribbean

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