My diving experience in Punta Cana was interesting to say the least! We missed our opportunity to go diving in Key West earlier this year so I was excited to get back in the water in the Dominican Republic. Scuba Diving in Punta Cana was an experience — some of it was good, some of it was bad, and some of it just plain annoying.
In this post, I’ll tell you about my experience with Dressel Divers Punta Cana and give you some other ideas for Punta Cana scuba diving. Plus, I’ll share tips on the best times to go and recommended dive sites.
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Punta Cana Scuba Diving Basics
What are the Best Dive Sites in Punta Cana?
There are plenty of great spots to dive in Punta Cana with depths ranging from 26-80 feet. Nurse sharks, turtles, rays, and lots of tropical fish are common in the waters around Punta Cana. If you want to find lobsters, moray eels, and octopus, check out a night dive. Humpback whales can be spotted near Samana from December through May.
Here are some more highlights:
- La Cueva to spot nurse sharks and stingrays
- El Deseo for night diving
- Catalina Island and Saona Island for day trips
- Astron and Monica for wreck diving
When is the Best Time to Go Scuba Diving in Punta Cana?
The seas around Punta Cana are the calmest and clearest from March through July.
The Dominican Republic is hot year-round, and the rainy season is from June – November. During this time, you can expect short, but possibly daily, rain showers. This time of year also marks hurricane season, so you may want to consider getting travel insurance.
December through May could have rougher seas, but it’s still the high season for tourism, so expect bigger crowds during this time.
What’s the Water Temperature In Punta Cana?
From June through November, the water temperature ranges from 79°F – 83°F. From December through May, the water temperature ranges from 75°F – 79°F
Scuba Diving in Punta Cana With Dressel Divers
Dressel Divers Punta Cana Locations
My dives were with Dressel Divers, a dive shop with 2 locations in Punta Cana:
- Beachside next to the Iberostar Resorts (Iberostar Bavaro Suites, Iberostar Punta Cana, Iberostar Dominicana, and Iberostar Grand Bavaro)
- Poolside at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana
Both locations are on Dominican Republic’s Northeast side on Bavaro Beach. Each location is only about 30 minutes away from Punta Cana International Airport.
The Iberostar beachfront location is within walking distance to many hotels too.
Hotels within a 5-10 Minute Walk of Dressel Divers Punta Cana (Iberostar location)
- Rui Bambu
- Rio Melao
- Rui Naiboa
- Riu Palace Macao
- Riu Taino
- Sensimar Punta Cana Villas & Suites
Hotels within a 15-25 Minute Walk of Dressel Divers Punta Cana (Iberostar location)
- Bahia Principe Ambar
- Bahia Principe Bavaro
- Bahia Principe Esmerelda
- Bahia Principe Punta Cana
- H10 Ocean Blue Golf & Beach Resort
- H10 Ocean Sand Golf & Beach Resort
- Paradisus Punta Cana
- Princess Punta Cana All Suites Resort
- Punta Cana Princess
- VIK hotel Arena Blanca
Review of Dressel Divers Punta Cana
We booked and paid ahead of time but still had to fill out paperwork once we arrived. Everyone was very friendly and bi-lingual. I heard numerous languages happening and thankfully they all spoke English (still haven’t mastered Spanish yet!)
We booked 2 dives on 2 separate days. Each dive was a one-tank dive with a 5-minute boat ride out to the site.
The dive guides were great. We especially loved our first guide (I was in vacation mode so I have totally forgotten names!). She was from South Africa and Scotland I believe, and she was just great — friendly, helpful, and chill (exactly what you want in a dive guide).
The dive on the first day was a reef dive. There weren’t a ton of fish but the coral formations were beautiful. We had a great dive and had fun playing around with our new underwater camera!
Punta Cana Scuba Diving Mishaps
The second day of diving sucked. It was one of those dives where you are just counting down the minutes till you get to go get back on the boat. It’s too bad because this was my first wreck dive and I was really looking forward to it.
I had lots of newbie technical difficulties, which made the dive totally un-enjoyable. But, I guess that happens sometimes (or maybe it’s just me?)
My first problem was equalizing my ears. For some reason, it just wasn’t happening the way it usually does. As anyone who has ever done a dive, this is a huge deal. I was able to get them equalized well enough to do the dive but they were never quite right.
Then, almost immediately, my mask fogged up – CRAAAAAP!
I could see out of a few small little spots, but I couldn’t really enjoy anything I was seeing. THIS TOTALLY SUCKS. On top of all of that, I still haven’t mastered buoyancy yet. I always feel like I am either fighting to stay up to stay down.
So, this was all diver error — nothing against the dive shop.
Don’t forget about sun protection when you’re diving. Wear a rashguard and/or choose a reef-safe sunscreen.
What I Didn’t Like About Dressel Divers Punta Cana
As I mentioned, I was in vacation mode on this trip so I don’t remember names. There was a photographer that came on each dive to document it (and, of course, to sell you photos and videos). Fine, I get they are running a business.
Our second dive consisted of the instructor, a new instructor along to observe, a photographer, my husband and me, and one other diver. We brought our own camera and so did the other diver. This should have been a clue to the dive shop photographer to just ease off and enjoy the damn dive.
But, no. This guy was the most obnoxious human with a camera that I have come across in a long time. Every time I turned around he was in my face. EVERY. DAMN. TIME. He came up under me, he hovered over me and he showed up next to me. Unfortunately, there is not a scuba diver sign for “Get the fuck out of my face”. Sigh
It didn’t help that this all happened on my bad dive, but I confirmed I wasn’t overreacting when my husband and I compared notes and he came up with the same conclusion about this guy.
Dressel Divers, if you happen to read this…tell your photographers to back off a little — especially when someone has their own camera!
Other Punta Cana Scuba Diving Options
Dressel Divers isn’t the only game in (Punta Cana diving) town! Here are some other options for scuba and snorkeling in Punta Cana.
ScubaDoo is a fun way to experience being underwater without being a certified diver. On this tour, you’ll enjoy a glass-bottom boat ride and you’ll get to experience the ScubaDoo diving experience with no training necessary. This tour is good for 8 years and up.
Learn More: ScubaDoo Adventure in Punta Cana
Enjoy 2 great dive spots on this full-day trip to Catalina Island from Punta Cana. A professional guide, scuba equipment, a lunch buffet, and round-trip transportation from your hotel are included.
Learn More: Catalina Island Scuba Diving from Punta Cana
Did you know you can your Padi Open Water Scuba Diving Certification during your vacation! One academic session, 1 pool session, and 4 open water dives are included.
Learn More: Padi Open Water Course Punta Cana/Bavaro
Keep on Diving
So, while my experience scuba diving in Punta Cana didn’t go exactly as planned, I will dive again. I really enjoy the experience of “floating” underwater. I love the peace that’s down there…I just need to get more comfortable with the technical aspects, but that will come with more training and more diving.
I would also not hesitate to dive with Dressel Divers again, despite the cameraman from underwater hell.
What are some of your favorite spots to dive in?
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