The Ultimate Guide to Catalina Island in Dominican Republic
Catalina Island in Dominican Republic is the perfect off the beaten path beach destination for travelers that like to escape the hustle and bustle of crowded popular tourist spots. From it’s stunning secluded beaches, tropical landscapes and colorful coral reefs, here is an absolute guide to Catalina Island, Dominican Republic.
About Catalina Island
Discovered by Christopher Columbus during one of his later voyages to Hispaniola in the 15th century, the island was and named after Saint Catalina. The uninhabited island is recognized as a National Monument of the Dominican Republic for its diverse marine ecosystems and bird sanctuary. As such, only a limited number of visitors are allowed per day, making it a perfect destination to unwind and relax.
If you are traveling on a cruise ship to La Romana, Dominican Republic chances are you’ll be making a stop at one of the private beaches on the island. For those staying in the popular tourist destination Punta Cana will need to organize a day trip to Catalina Island. One of the easiest way to organize a day trip to Catalina is through a reputable Dive Center in Punta Cana. At SeaPro Divers, we offer three Catalina Island Excursions that offer different under water adventures.
Things to Do at Catalina Island
Although small in size, Catalina Island packs a surprising list of exciting activities above and beneath the water. Here are some ideas of things to do on the island to inspire your next adventure.
Sunbathing on Catalina Beach
For the serious beach enthusiast, we recommend Playa Grande (or Catalina Big Beach). Located on the eastern end of the island Catalina Big Beach is the most secluded and exclusive beach on the island and ranked among the top beaches in the Dominican Republic. It is definitely worth a visit!
Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and SNUBA
Experienced divers will find that scuba diving in Catalina Island Dominican Republic the perfect escape (at least for an hour or so). As a national park, Catalina Island boasts a unique coral fauna of vibrant reefs and walls surrounding the island. On the east side lies “The Wall,” a majestic coral wall that extends from the island to the Caribbean Sea. Wall diving enthusiasts will definitely enjoy the thrill of descending vertically on the wall drop-off to the depths. Here divers will be able to explore tiny nooks and crevices while observing the fascinating creatures that call these nooks home.
On the west side of Catalina island lies the “The Aquarium” one of the more popular dive sites in Dominican Republic. Scuba Diving at Catalina Islands Aquarium, can feel like swimming in a real life aquarium with the abundance of tropical fish at arm’s distance. Often times, curious stingrays will rise from their sand bed or an elegant eagle ray will swim by delighting divers with it’s graceful movements. School of striped grunts, butterfly fish and parrotfish provide the reefs with with a stunning display of colors. If we are lucky that day, we can spot elusive seahorses on our dive at the aquarium.
Snorkeling and SNUBA
For visitors who do not have a scuba certification, not to worry, there is plenty to do underwater at Catalina Island without the need of a scuba dive license. Snorkeling enthusiasts will marvel at the colorful array of tropical fish that abound at the Wall. At only 15 feet of depth at the top, the Wall provides snorkelers with excellent visibility and plenty of vibrant fish species to see up close. For visitors who would like to go beyond snorkeling and try something new, the Catalina Island SNUBA Excursion will allow visitors to go underwater up to 10 feet and explore the reefs up close guided by a certified instructor. The best part of SNUBA is that it does not require any prior certification or training like scuba diving.
Bird Watching and Hiking
A Natural Monument of the Dominican Republic, Catalina is a bird sanctuary to various species of native to the Caribbean. On the Eastern end of the Island (near playa grande) you’ll find a hiking trail to explore the natural landscape while bird watching. It is a short easy hike that is great for all levels. At the end of the hike you’ll reach a cliff overlook with incredible panoramic views of the Island.
Pirates and Shipwrecks
For the pirate enthusiasts, a short distance from the island lies the 1700 century Shipwreck Quedagh Merchant from the infamous Captain William Kidd. No ordinary ship, the Quedagh carried a wealth of treasures. Kidd seized the ship and set sail for the Caribbean, eventually being captured and returned to England where he was convicted and hanged for piracy. The whereabouts of the Quedagh Merchant have been a mystery for centuries until 2007. Today the last ship of the scandalous Captain William Kidd has been named a “Living Museum of the Sea” by Indiana University, and the Dominican Republic government.
If you are planning a trip to the Dominican Republic and are in search of the perfect off the beaten path destination, make sure to add the beautiful Catalina Island to your bucket list.