Dominican Republic

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Long popular among divers and visitors from Europe, Dominican Republic is experiencing more North Americans as well. DR offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but is also home to the highest mountain range (10,382 feet above sea level) in the entire Caribbean - Pico Duarte. There is plenty here to see and do, and keep you busy.

The Dominican Republic is a great place to begin diving, and it is also a haven for serious divers. The country's undersea world has excellent reef diving, good visibility, warm waters, wrecks, caverns and marine life offering a wealth of diving experiences around the island.

Bordered by reefs on three coasts (only has 3, Haiti is situated to the west), the Dominican Republic is part of the second largest island in the Caribbean. Among the most popular dive sites are more than 400 wrecks situated in the surrounding waters.

DR is also known for whalewatching, with humpbacks and pilot whales exciting visitors annually.

Climate Summer 88 - 95F 31 - 35C Winter 75 - 85F 24 - 29C
Water Temp Average Summer 84F 29C Winter 77F 25C Visibility 60 - 100 ft 18 -30 m

Dominican Republic Diving and Accommodations

Casa Daniel Swiss Diving School
calle Juan Brito # 1
Bayahibe, La Romana
Dominican Republic
Tel. + 809 833 0050
Fax. + 809 833 0050

The Dive Center Casa Daniel and its PADI dive shop is located directly at the waterfront in the center of Bayahibe. Our 3 simple guestrooms offer accommodation in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

» Number of Dive Boats: Motorcatamaran, 2 Speedboats
» Maximum Number of Divers per Boat: Catamaran - 20 Speedboats - 2 ea.
» Gear Provided: Wetsuit, BCD, Regulator, Weigth, Tank, ABC, UW-Camera
» Rental Gear Available: Yes
» Nitrox Available: Yes
» Type of Diving Available: Reef, 3 wrecks , Catalina Wall , Nightdive, Sharkpoint, Cave (Freshwater)
» Total Dive Sites: 20
» Minimum Time to Dive Sites: 5 Mins.
» Maximum Time to Dive Sites: 45 Mins.
» Certification Agencies: PADI
» Courses Offered: OWD, AOWD, EFR, Rescure, Divemaster

Diving Dominican Republic
Sharky's Shop
Playa Bayahibe
Dominican Republic
Tel. 829-341-9185

Family operated PADI certified dive boat operation located on the south coast, specializing in private small group scuba diving, scuba lessons, snorkeling and boat trips.

» Number of Dive Boats: 1
» Maximum Number of Divers per Boat: 5
» Gear Provided: Tanks, air, weights
» Rental Gear Available: BCD's, regulators, fins, wet suits
» Nitrox Available: Yes
» Type of Diving Available: Wrecks, caves, reefs, walls, we have it all
» Total Dive Sites: 26
» Minimum Time to Dive Sites: 5 minutes
» Maximum Time to Dive Sites: 75 minutes
» Certification Agencies: PADI
» Courses Offered: All, up to divemaster

Mariana Caribbean Sports
Plaza Tobacco # 5, Carreterra Arena
Gorda, La Altagracia, 23000 Bavaro
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

We, are a PADI Five star Center ( Padi Nr. 20275 ) situated in in the Dominican Republic. Since 1999, we are providing a wide range of scuba diving and water sport services. Every day our scuba diving program is scheduled to match with your holiday program. With us you will enjoy your vacation in a warm and friendly atmosphere. To get the best choice, book your scuba diving arrangements with us in advance.

Our boats leave the base of your Hotel daily at 9.45 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. for ONE – or TWO tank dive excursions to the East Coast at the long stretched barrier reef. Diving in Punta Cana is easy and trouble free. During the week, we also dive at the South Coast at Catalina Island and at the bay of Bayahibe. You can choose from easy to advanced level and select the kind of dives which fits you best.

Northern Coast Aquasports, S.A.
Pedro Clisante #8
Sosua, Puerto Plata
Dominican Republic
Tel. 809-571-1028
Fax. 809-571-3883

PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center, Gold Palm Resort and National Geographic Dive Center for Scuba Diving & Snorkeling…specialists of the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. The oldest and most well established dive shop on the North Coast with one of the largest retail stores. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cabarete, Rio San Juan, Gri Gri Lagoon, Abreu, DuDu Lagoon and Cabrera.

All our activities are guided by PADI professionals, and we teach diving courses from beginner to instructor level. Our staff can speak English, Spanish and Italian, and we pride ourselves on delivering 5 star service that keeps our customers coming back to Northern Coast again and again.

Calle Principal #28
Bayahibe, Dominican Republic
Tel. 809-833-0003
Fax. 809-833-0005

We are a PADI dive shop on the shore of Parque Nacional del Este. We offer daily dive trips, training, night dives and even cave diving. We have 4 custom built dive boats and offer comfortable, safe diving.

» Number of Dive Boats: 4 - Orca I: 28 ft, Orca II: 22 ft, Cherub (Motor Catamaran): 35 ft, Seraph (Motor Catamaran) : 39.8 ft
» Maximum Number of Divers per Boat: Orca I - 10, Orca II - 6, Cherub - 20, Seraph - 20
» Gear Provided: Mask & snorkel, fins, life jackets
» Rental Gear Available: BCD, wetsuit, regulator, mask & snorkel, fins
» Nitrox Available: Yes
» Type of Diving Available: Reef dive, wreck dive, wall dive, night dive
» Total Dive Sites: 20
» Minimum Time to Dive Sites: 5
» Maximum Time to Dive Sites: 30
» Certification Agencies: PADI
» Courses Offered: Discover Diving through Divemaster, EAN-Nitrox Specialty, wreck, deep and night specialties

Getting There

The Dominican Republic has seven international airports. The most used airports are:

Las Américas International Jose Francisco Peña Gomez Airport, 20 minutes east of Santo Domingo
Puerto Plata International Gregorio Luperón Airport, 15 minutes from Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata and Sosúa
Punta Cana's International Airport (have a look at the photo)
María Montez International in Barahona
La Romana International
Santiago International Airport
Herrera Airport in Santo Domingo
El Portillo Airport in Samaná
The Arroyo Barril International Airport in Samaná.

Flying Times: from New York (3-1/4 hrs), from Miami (1-3/4 hrs), from San Juan (35 mins), from Toronto (5 hrs), from Santiago de Chile (8 hrs), from most European cities (8-10 hrs).

American Airlines
United Airlines
COPA Airlines
IBERIA Airlines
MartinAir Holland
Lan Airlines
Sun Country
Air Canada
Air France

Domestic flights

There are local companies that fly scheduled flights to and from Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana and Samaná. Air Century offers two flights per day to Punta Cana and from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo to the La Isabela International Airport (AILI).

Entry Requirements

All nationalities are required to enter Dominican Republic with a VALID PASSPORT (minimum 6 months validity).

To travel to the Dominican Republic, many people will need a Visa. Others, however, may be from countries who have signed agreements with the Dominican Republic so that they only need a Tourist Card. This, of course, only applies to visitors who are tourists. More details on entry requirements.

Getting Around

There is more than one type of taxi in the Dominican Republic. When you step off a plane or out of your hotel, you will almost certainly find a "tourist" taxi. A few years ago the government funded new taxis. They are now Hundai minivans or cars. All are sand colored. They replace the 70's vintage American gas guzzlers that used to transport tourists. Tourist taxis fiercely protect their territory against other forms of transport. Not surprising since their prices are double those of the vintage Japanese cars that the city taxis use. In the large cities you will find "carro conchos" who cruise the main streets like buses, constantly stopping to take on or disgorge passengers.
They only charge a few pesos and are practical for short rides along the same street. Don't look for a taxi meter in the Dominican Republic. Tourist taxis usually have posted rates at the entrance to resorts.

Motorcycle taxis - Known as "moto conchos" they abound except for downtown Santo Domingo. They charge double at night which means 20 or more pesos instead of 10 for a fairly short ride. They are not practical for long trips and are involved in lots of accidents.

In contrast to car rentals and taxis, buses are cheap, safer, and fun. You will come in contact with real Dominicans. Metro Tours, Terra Bus and Caribe tours are for long trips, for example Santo Domingo to Puerto Plata. Clean modern and comfortable they are a bargain. They work by reservation except on Holidays.
Other intercity buses offer express and air conditioned services. If the bus is not express it will make lots of stops. Fine if you have all the time in the world.
Local buses (guaguas) will take you to the next town for a dollar or so. The only problem with buses is that they stop operating at about 9 PM, so you can't use them at night.

Car Rentals
Major car rental companies have airport and city locations, such as Honda, National, Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Nelly Rent-a-Car, Dollar and many others. A valid driver's license and major credit cards are required to rent a car for up to 90 days. Driving is on the right hand side and the speed limit is 60 kph in the cities and 80 kph or 100 kph on the highways, unless otherwise indicated.

There are only two problems with this, cost and safety. You will find that the cost of car rentals is higher than you are used to in your home country. Safety is not a problem if you learn and apply the Dominican rules of the road. Simply stated; there are none! It is a big free for all. Most traffic police are on foot and almost nobody stops on their signal. With no radio and no pursuit car, it is a mismatch. In other words traffic law enforcement is close to zero. If renting a car can be hazardous, renting a motorcycle is doubly so, but it is cheaper. Be very careful.

Helpful Information

The official language is Spanish.

Money, Cards and Banks
The Dominican currency is the Dominican peso. It comes in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 25 peso coins and in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 notes. Dollars and euros can be exchanged in banks and authorized exchange offices across the country.

Mail service
You can choose between two services. The official postal service will send your postcard to your friends within 10 days. The private postal services send your mails via Miami within 7 days (25 pesos per postcard). The private postal service is more performant. Some people using the official postal service receive their mails within... 2 months ! The best way is to give your mails to your local correspondant. He will send them in good conditions.

It is perfectly safe to walk around tourist areas and towns during the day. Criminality rate is lower than in europeean cities. Most resorts have security personnel, and the beaches are also patrolled periodically. When going into town, or out of the resort area at night, use common sense, just as you would anywhere else. Don't wear expensive jewellery or flash large sums of money around !

Topless sunbathing
Topless sunbathing is quite common. It's not a Dominican custom, just the fact that many of the tourists are European, and topless sunbathing is natural for them. Many hotels do not allow topless sunbathing around the pool areas. The best way is to choose a sunbathing place at the end of the beach area in order to not disturb families and people who don't want to see topless bodies...

The D.R. uses 110 volts, the same as in North America (including outlets) so North Americans can use their appiances as usual. Transformers are necessary for European appliances. One of the main problems in the country are the recurrent power shortages which often occur for several hours at all hours of the day or night, so it may be a good idea to bring along a small flashlight for sudden power cut-offs. Most hotels have generators to make up for this deficiency, but some of the smaller ones may not and you never know when it may cut off.

DR has a tropical climate with an average temperature of 82 in summer, 78 in winter. Remember to use plenty of sunscreen. If however you plan to make a trip into the mountains, bring warm clothes as there can be frost in the upper altitudes.

Restaurant bills already include a ten percent tip. It is customary to give an additional ten percent for good service. Most people do not tip taxis, however you may if you wish.

Business Hours
Most businesses open their doors at 8:00 or 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM on business days and until 1:00 PM on Saturdays. Large shopping centers in the cities usually close at 9:00 PM and open on Sundays from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM. In smaller towns and many tourist destinations, shops close at 6:00 PM Restaurants usually remain open and serve food until midnight, Sunday to Thursday, and until 2:00 AM on Friday, Saturday and holidays. However, there are some within tourism establishments that remain open 24 hours a day.




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