Since I arrived in the Dominican Republic a couple of months ago, I have heard from everyone I meet traveling the island that I need to go scuba diving in Puerto Plata, along the northern shores, one of the best dive sites in the Dominican Republic.
So, as I have made it a habit to listen to the locals when I travel (they tend to know best), I did!
Scuba Diving Puerto Plata & Sosua YouYube
Scuba Diving In Puerto Plata
I found the diving company SeaPro Divers online, which has multiple good reviews from other diving travelers, which is always a good thing when you come somewhere new and have to rent all the gear and trust the guides!
The pick-up from my Hotel Blue Jacktar in the gated area called Playa Dorada is almost on schedule, and I finish my breakfast and have an extra coffee before SeaPro Divers pick me up!
The launching site for today’s dive, which will be two immersions in the same general area, is from Playa Susoa along the Sosua Bay by Susoa town, around half an hour’s drive from Puerto Plata.
There are a variety of dive sites in the area outside the north coast, and many dive companies decide where to go shortly before the dive based on weather conditions and factors that will affect the dive.
We are a mixed group of divers and snorkelers today, all seated in the open truck-bus from SeaPro Divers, bringing us over to the neighboring town of Susoa!
Scuba Diving Launch From Playa Susoa
As we arrive just above Susoa Beach, there is a short walk down to the beach, where the little dive shop and all the equipment are ready.
The staff helps find the right size wetsuit and equipment (let me tell you, it is incredibly important that my tiny princess feet have the right-size fins to avoid 45 minutes of cramps!) we are off to the beach.
I may have been spoiled before as I am used to slightly bigger boats to exit from, but exiting from the little lancha was no problem at all and rather quite intimate and cozy!
Just leave the kit that can’t handle saltwater in the safe box on shore.
Prep First Immersion Scuba Diving In Puerto Plata
The first dive site of the day is only a short less-than ten minutes trip from the beach, and the sea is calm and inviting.
We are just two scuba divers, having the luxury of one guide and one photographer all to ourselves, so this is really a high-end resource dive!
Jose, the photographer, is with us, bringing bread to the fish to make sure we are surrounded by the tropical fish (and slightly attacked) at all times.
Puerto Plata Scuba Diving First Immersion
The first dive starts with descending onto a shallow sandbank with some scattered vegetation before we swim over towards a nearby wall that we explore for the majority of the dive.
The general impression of this first dive is a bit disappointing, perhaps because I had very high expectations for this nature dive!
There was some coral reef growth, but patchy, and many spots were also greyish patches of wasteland where the coral seemed to have died.
We did see a puffer fish and a lobster hiding out, and there were quite a lot of tropical fish swarming, especially on the shallower parts at the beginning and the end of the dive.
The view today was ok; despite the calm waters on the surface, there were some gentle wavy currents below that probably stirred up a bit of particle, but nothing severe.
I did enjoy the dive, it was a nice Caribbean dive in calm waters, but the vegetation was not as spectacular as I might have hoped.
Maximum depth 22 meters, dive approximately 45 minutes.
Second Immersion Playa Susoa
After dropping off the snorkelers who had had enough for one day, we went back out for the second immersion. The kit was quickly prepared for round two.
This was a shallower dive, and the second dive site also had more life in terms of corals, plants, and fish!
I normally will find something to enjoy in any dive, and the meditative zen of swimming around corals and tropical fish in golden rays from the sun never gets old for me.
Despite both me and my dive buddy trying hard to manifest the turtle that apparently live in the area to come to meet us, we obviously did not want it bad enough as he never showed up.
But there are possibilities to see turtles here, for future visiting divers to know about!
I really enjoyed the second dive, it was gentle seas, and there was more vegetation here, both corals and general vegetation.
Maximum depth 15 meters, dive time approximately 45 minutes.
Dive Sites Puerto Plata
Compared to the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean tends to be more challenging, and its dive sites are generally deeper.
For experienced divers, there are plenty of exciting opportunities like walls, reefs, and wrecks that lie beyond Puerto Plata’s bay area where there are more rough seas and stronger currents.
Sosúa bay provides a distinctive atmosphere that makes Atlantic diving available to divers who are not experienced.
The currents in the bay are relatively low, and “rookie” Open Water divers can explore these coral reefs in calm and shallow waters.
When it comes to wall diving, a famous dive site called Airport Wall is situated outside northwestern Sosua.
Other popular dive sites in the area include Three Rocks, Zingara Wreck, Canyon, Five Rocks, and Mini Wall – all of which divers report enjoying!
SeaPro Divers Puerto Plata
SeaPro Divers were super fast to get back to me when I suddenly decided on a Wednesday afternoon that I would like to go scuba diving the next day.
I was picked up at my hotel in the morning, and everything was well organized from start to finish.
The transport went smoothly, prepping the equipment was quick and everything was organized into the boat efficiently (which is something I appreciate).
The dive guide spoke both Spanish and English, so communication will not be an issue for most people.
For the day with pickup and drop-off, rental of all equipment, and two immersions, I paid $100. The photos and video were an extra $35, respectively, sent over on WhatsApp.
There is also a second dive company in Puerto Plata that has generally good reviews, called Dressel Diving. I do not have any personal experience with them.
Things To Do Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata is a beautiful, well-maintained town on the northern shores of the Dominican Republic.
It has a nice Malecon boardwalk area, a charming city center, and a city park where there are carnivals every Sunday for the whole month of February!
There are several museums to visit, like chocolate and rum museums and the small but fierce city fortress that has been guarding the sea entrance for centuries.
Puerto Plata is also a great starting point for lots of excursions along the northern shores to other towns like Sosua or Cabarete or even to the famous whale-watching tours in the waters outside of Samana.
Where To Stay Puerto Plata
Staying in Puerto Plata, there are two “categorically” different ways to live, in a hotel in the city within walking distance to everything or in “resort-land” which is outside the city in gated communities.
I did both, and within the Playa Dorada area, I stayed at the Blue JackTar, which was really good in all ways except that you need a taxi to get over to the city.
To give you a mini-review, at the Blue JackTar, the rooms are nice and spacious, although not “brand new”, with a ground terrace and a view of a large garden and towards the sea.
And the beach and sun beds here really are stunning!
The water pressure is great and the water is really hot (not a given in the Dominican Republic), and there is complimentary coffee, tea, and water refilled every day.
There is also a small but well-equipped gym, breakfast included, and a restaurant on-site with really good food!
Wrap-Up Scuba Diving In Puerto Plata
I only had one day of diving here, and both immersions were in the calm waters of the bay outside Susoa Beach, north of the Dominican Republic.
Although the nature experience was not spectacular, I really enjoyed both dives, as there were things to see, and scuba diving in the Caribbean can hardly ever be horrible anyway.
And I really like the city of Puerto Plata, it has a nice city center, and everything is super clean and well-kept, which is not the case for all cities in the Dominican Republic!
If you enjoy chill immersions in kind waters and lots of colorful fish (and Caribbean temp water) I think you will enjoy diving in Puerto Plata and Sosua!
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