advertisement

For divers, the chief attraction in the area is La Caleta National Marine Park, lying 23km (14 miles) to the east of Santo Domingo and close to the airport, and 12km (7 1/2 miles) west of Boca Chica. At only 41 sq. km (16 sq. miles), this is the smallest of the country's national parks, but the most frequented because of its closeness to both Santo Domingo and Boca Chica.

The park was created in 1984, the same year that the salvage ship Hickory was scuttled to create an added attraction for divers. The ship is 38m (125 ft.) long, and in its heyday was used for the recovery of Spanish galleons sunk off the coast of Bahía de Samaná in the east. Many sea creatures make the Hickory their home, and its shallow waters allow divers to spend much time there studying the marine life.

For the snorkeler or diver, the best outfitter is Treasure Divers at the Don Juan Beach Resort, Calle Abraham Núñez 4 (tel. 809/687-9157), a beachside outlet offering an array of aquatic sports. They offer day sails to offshore Catalina Island for a day of snorkeling, costing RD$2,450 per person and leaving at 7am. The trip includes lunch and beverages, returning to shore at 6:30pm. Paddleboats can also be rented here, costing RD$350 per person for both guests and nonguests of the hotel. The center also features 3-day diving packages for RD$3,500 per person, RD$3,990 including gear. Day 1, for example, includes a morning and an afternoon dive, followed by a night dive. Some of these dives take place in La Caleta National Marine Park, where you can view the sunken vessel, Hickory.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.