While the Dominican Republic is primarily known for its rich history, it’s also home to natural beauty and gorgeous beaches. Its shining star is Catalina Island. Discovered and named by Christopher Columbus in 1494, this island is renowned for its underwater ecosystem and is currently a National Park. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to visit Catalina Island, Dominican Republic, from getting there and finding lodging to making the most of your vacation.
1. Main Attractions on Catalina Island, Dominican Republic
1.1 Snorkel the Quedagh Merchant Shipwreck
Is there anything more adventurous than exploring an ancient shipwreck? The Quedagh Merchant was an Indian trading ship captured by the Pirate William Kidd in 1698. Its whereabouts were unknown until 2007 when it was discovered off the coast of Catalina Island by researchers from Indiana University. Experience the same thrill of discovery by taking a scuba tour of this shipwreck with Passion Paradise Adventures.
1.2 Visit Exotic Underwater Landmarks
It’s no surprise that a pristine National Park like Catalina Island is home to exceptional natural beauty. Two destinations worth snorkeling are the Wall off the eastern shore and the Aquarium off the western shore. The Wall is a reef extending out into the Atlantic Ocean, while the Aquarium is named for its incredible abundance of gorgeous Caribbean marine life. Both can be explored with SeaPro Divers or Passion Paradise Adventures.
1.3 Take a Cruise and See the Chavón River
If you’re a movie buff you won’t want to miss this opportunity to cruise the Chavón River before visiting Catalina Island. The Chavón River is the site of Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic river scene in the film “Apocalypse Now.” Other sets from the film can be seen in the town of Altos de Chavón.
2. Other Things to Do on Catalina Island, Dominican Republic
2.1 Relax on White Sand Beaches
No matter what tour you take you’ll definitely want to spend time indulgently lounging on Catalina Island’s white sand beaches. As people there did not develop the vast majority of the island, these beaches are some of the cleanest in the Caribbean. If you choose Passion Paradise Adventures, you’ll find yourself enjoying a private beach on the western shore of the island, basking in the sun and swimming in crystal-clear blue waters.
2.2 Party Hard on a Caribbean Booze Cruise
While exploring nature and resting by the seaside are wonderful pastimes, some travelers are looking for a more energetic experience. If this describes you, then SeaPro Divers’ party boat cruise is just the ticket. Departing from Punta Cana, this sunset excursion features music, an open bar, and snorkeling. You’ll be dancing the night away while immersed in an unforgettable tropical seascape.
2.3 Take Sailing Lessons
Have you ever wanted to learn to sail the high seas? At the nearby Marina Casa de Campo, you can do just that in a breathtaking Caribbean setting. Choose between a 24-foot sailboat or a smaller dinghy and get out on the open ocean to literally learn the ropes. Lessons and boat rentals are available for full days, half days, or by the hour.
3. Excellent Places to Stay on Catalina Island, Dominican Republic
3.1 Zoetry Agua Punta Cana
Due to its National Park designation, you can’t stay directly on Catalina Island, but the stylish accommodations of Zoetry Agua Punta Cana are the next best thing. Starting at $507 per night, this high-end resort offers spacious beachside suites, a full spa, and all-inclusive meals and alcoholic beverages through its Endless Privileges program. This option is best for couples on a romantic getaway in the beautiful Dominican Republic.
3.2 Casa de Campo Resort and Villas
For family-friendly lodging, Casa de Campo Resort and Villas is ideal. The rooms have spectacular views, but it’s really the sports facilities that make this hotel special. You’ll be able to go golfing, play tennis, ride horses, and fish in the Caribbean. Once the kids are asleep, this resort also houses the Genesis Nightclub for a little after-dark fun. With rooms starting at $304 per night, you can get a reasonable price without skimping on amenities.
3.3 Hostal Silvestre
If you’re looking to save as much money as possible for adventures and excursions, the Hostal Silvestre is here to save the day. For $94 per night and up, this budget lodging offers comfortable private rooms in the city of La Romana. Since it’s just ten minutes away from the city center, you’ll find plenty to do once you finish touring Catalina Island.
4. How to Travel to Catalina Island, Dominican Republic
The airport closest to Catalina Island is La Romana International Airport (LRM). Air Canada offers flights to this destination from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Jet Blue offers flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). From La Romana International Airport, you will be able to take a shuttle or taxi to your accommodations.
How you get to Catalina Island depends on which tour you’ve selected. As the island is uninhabited, a tour is the only way to visit. SeaPro Divers departs from Punta Cana, while Passion Paradise Adventures departs from La Romana. Catalina Island is also a popular stop for Carnival cruises.
Catalina Island is the ocean adventure of a lifetime. Maybe you’re a family looking to bond while exploring coral reefs. Or maybe you’re a couple seeking a fresh spark in an exotic locale, it’s an excellent choice. You’ll find there amazing things, from pirate shipwrecks to cultural touchstones in American cinema. Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic and the shorelines of the mainland are the perfect aquatic outing. Whether you stay at the deluxe lodgings of Zoetry Agua Punta Cana, on the amenity-packed grounds of Caso de Campo Resort and Villas, or in the heart of La Romana at Hostal Silvestre, this will be a trip you’ll remember forever.
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