Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the island of Dominica is undoubtedly one of the best diving destinations in the Caribbean. Bordered on 148km by the Atlantic Ocean and the Antilles Sea, this island made up of a chain of high pitons has a recent volcanic activity as attested by some famous dive sites. The economy of Dominica is mainly focused on agriculture and green tourism. In this context, the authorities wanted to develop an ecotourism program to make Dominica a “biological island”. The vast majority of the territory has become a protected reserve both on land and at sea. On the surface, expect to discover a lush nature, waterfalls, over 365 rivers, natural spas and abundant wildlife Accessible via numerous hiking trails covering the entire territory. This richness of the natural heritage rivals the beauty of the seabed. The divers will fall in love with the dive sites: majestic pinnacles, dizzying falls, geyser of volcanic bubbles, shipwrecks, coral gardens, caves, arches and labyrinths, etc. But the show does not end there because you may be lucky to be accompanied during your submarine escapades by large cetaceans. Dominica has many diving clubs that have been on the island for years. They will be happy to make you discover safely the best diving spots of the island.
Scuba diving trip, where to dive in Dominica?
Diving in Dominica is concentrated around 3 distinct areas all located on the west coast of the island:
The Soufriere and Scott’s Head sanctuary in the south-west
The natural marine sanctuary located south of Roseau houses diving spots with fascinating underwater architecture. There are caves, arches, pinnacles, vertiginous falls, canyons dug by the lava, coral gardens, sponges and other resplendent gorgonians. Some dive sites are unique in the world and extremely popular as “Champagne”, a submarine plateau from which thousands of bubbles are continually escaping, or the 450 meter drop off. Do not hesitate to explore the diving spots: Pointe Guignard, Abym, Dangleben’s Pinnacles, Soufriere Pinnacles, Scotts Head Drop-Off or Scotts Head Pinnacle.
St. Joseph/Salisbury/Coulibistriein the west
The diving spots of this zone have the advantage of being less frequented than those of Soufriere in the South and are also super interesting. Volcanic eruptions sculpted the underwater seas now covered with corals, gorgons and sponges that have become the holiday resort of many species: turtles, rays, barracudas, moray eels, tuna, or seahorses and frog fish. The perfect friends for underwater photographers. If you have the time do not miss the dive sites of Rodney’s Rock, Batali Reef, Lauro Reef, Canefield Wreck, Barry’s Dream, Coral Garden, Nose Reef, Easy Street Reef.
Portsmouth in the North West
The Portsmouth area has kept a more wild and authentic character than its two sisters. There are no less than 18 diving spots in this area, the most famous being Toucari Caves, Volcano or Five Finger Rock.
Best period to go there?
Diving can be practiced all year round in Dominica, however it is recommended to privilege the dry season from November to May. The tropical climate ensures high air temperatures oscillating between 24 and 32°. The wet season runs from June to September. Beware of cyclonic periods between June and September.
Underwater visibility in Dominica is really good all year long, you can hope to dive in a water with 15 to 30 meters visibility.
Underwater current are relatively calm on the western side of Dominica.
Difficulty: Dominica is an ideal place for a successful dive trip. You can spend your dive in one of the many protected sites. Experienced divers can discover magnificent drop-offs, underwater caves and even wrecks.But no worries many places are super easy for beginners.
What to see while diving in Dominica?
Underwater fauna and flora
Diving in Dominica is the guarantee of meeting the vast majority of marine species in the Caribbean. If you are a lover of underwater photography, expect to no longer know where to head. In the Soufriere marine sanctuary, you will fall in love in front of the superb specimens of black coral, colored gorgons and gigantic sponges. Dense marine life includes some specimens of rays, seahorses, moray eels, toadfishes, but also, of course, the usual submarine fauna of Caribbean waters: parrots, snappers, angelfish, damselfly, lizards, fish chests, Sharks, swordfish, butterfly fish, grouper, trumpet fish, lizard fish, shrimps, lobsters, crabs, sea urchins, etc. The lucky ones may even have the chance to observe the discreet frogfish.
Observation of whales, sperm whales and dolphins
Dominica is the best destination in the Caribbean for whale watching, sperm whales and dolphins. There are more than 22 species of cetaceans and no less than a dozen different species of dolphins. Meetings can be held all year round and you will have nearly 90% chance of seeing them. The observation is usually done from the boat but it is also possible to approach them in snorkeling. Dominica has been part of the CaribWhale association for a few years, protecting cetaceans from the Caribbean, while educating visitors about respecting the environment.
- – WHALES: Six species are regularly observed in Dominica, including humpback whales between November and March, but also of the Mink Whales and the Bryde’s whales.
- – SPERMWHALE: Dominica is considered one of the best observing spots in the world for sperm whales. The reason is quite evident since families of sperm whales have taken up residence in these waters with abyssal depths and rich in prey. From November to March, do not miss the exciting spectacle of the females giving birth to their babies.
- – DOLPHINS: They are regularly seen following the boats. The most commonly observed are the common dolphin, the spotted pantropical dolphin, the long beaked dolphin and the dolphin tursiops.
You will understand, diving in Dominica is a fabulous experience that should not be missed.