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Dominica is known as the nature isle of the Caribbean, so it’s no surprise that the topography of the underwater world mirrors the diverse landscapes above. The high mountain peaks above the water create dramatic drop offs, steep walls, canyons and pinnacles below that you can explore while scuba diving in Dominica.
It’s been almost a year (thanks COVID) since I was last diving in warm water at Cano Island in Costa Rica, so I was beyond excited to get back in. I’ve spent a lot of my time traveling in Dominica exploring the underwater world, so this guide has everything you need to know about diving in Dominica!
Dive Conditions in Dominica
Dominica is one of the best places to go diving in the Caribbean with excellent diving conditions. It’s a warm island, so you can expect water temperatures between 26 and 28oC (78-82°F). Visibility is also great here – you can expect to see anywhere between 60 and 100 ft (18-30m).
The water in Dominica is extremely calm on the Caribbean side, so there’s very little current which adds to the great diving conditions. There are plenty of beginner level dive sites as well as more advanced ones, so Dominica is a great place to go diving no matter what level you are!
Dive Operators in Dominica
There are several dive operators across the island, but one of the largest and best is Dive Dominica.
As soon as I got to Dive Dominica office I felt welcomed by the friendly staff. They were quick to organize the forms and get me suited up in my diving gear. You are welcome to bring your own gear with you, but if you need to rent Dive Dominica has a fully-stocked dive shop with excellent quality equipment.
We got on the boat which is docked at Roseau, and set off for the 20-minute boat ride to Soufriere Marine Park. I felt very safe on the boat as the captain gave a briefing and made it clear our safety is their top priority. The scenery on the way over of the Dominica coastline was spectacular!
It was just me and one other diver on the boat, along with the instructor and a dive master. The entire crew were extremely knowledgeable and ensured that we were both comfortable throughout the dives.
One thing I loved about diving with Dive Dominica is that the instructor actually brought a board underwater that he could write on, and wrote out the names of the animals we came across during the dive. I’ve never seen this while diving before, but it was so much easier to understand rather then trying to figure out underwater sign language!
Between the professional service and friendly staff, I would go diving with Dive Dominica again in a heartbeat. On top of diving, they also offer whale watching tours and snorkelling tours – so be sure to check them out for all your water adventures in Dominica. You can even do your PADI certification with them if you’re learning to dive!
To book with Dive Dominica you can e-mail, call, or visit their shop just 5 minutes from downtown Roseau. Here’s the contact information:
- Location: Castle Comfort,Victoria Street, Roseau
- Find on Google Maps
- Telephone: (305) 514 9704 or (767) 448 2188 or mobile: (767) 235 2188
- Email: [email protected]
Best time to go diving in Dominica
You can dive in Dominica year-round, but the best time to go is between December and May during the dry season. This coincides with the high-season in Dominica, although you’ll find far fewer tourists then other Caribbean islands.
Because Dominica is geographically located in a hurricane region, it is vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms during hurricane season. While traveling in Dominica, you’ll undoubtedly hear about Hurricane Maria which reaked havoc on the island in 2017, destroying 90% of the buildings on the islands.
Marine life in Dominica
I didn’t find Dominica particularly impressive for larger marine animals while I was diving (maybe I’m just spoiled by the sea turtles in Barbados), but it’s excellent for macro marine life. Seahorses, frogfish, gurnards, and sea snakes, are just a few of the things to keep a look out for while diving Dominica! We also saw a lobster and crab.
You’ll also see lion fish here, which are considered an invasive species. Hunting and eating lion fish is a normal part of life in Dominica so definitely try to eat some when you’re here – it’s pretty tasty and you’re helping safe the reefs!
Dominica is known as the whale watching Capital of the Caribbean, with 22 species of whales in the surrounding waters including a population of sperm whales that live there year-round. It’s also home to spotted and spinner dolphins!
Best Dive sites in Dominica
All of the diving on Dominica takes place within one of three Marine Reserves: The Cabrits National Park Marine Section in the north, the Salisbury Marine Reserve in Dominica’s central west, and the Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve. There are approximately 20 dive sites to explore including caves, swim-throughs, volcanic vents, and coral gardens.
Diving at Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve
Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve is one of the oldest reserves on the island, located in the south west of the island. It offers some of the best dive sites in Dominica, with caves, pinnacles and lava flows, as well as incredible coral gardens, gorgonians and colorful sponges. This is where I went diving with Dive Dominica!
Champagne reef is one of the most unique dive sights I’ve ever been too, and one of the most famous in Dominica! It’s named for the bubbling waters rising from volcanic thermal springs on the ocean floor.
It’s so much fun to swim through, it really feels like you’re in a champagne glass! You can also feel the rising water temperature and even touch the thermal vents. I always get cold diving, so I really appreciated the warmth provided at this dive site.
Champagne reef is also accessible from the shore at Champagne beach, so you can go snorkeling here as well.
This dive site takes you to a steep underwater cliff diving 500 meters deep that’s covered with corals, gorgonians, anemones and sponges. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the dramatic wall drop off, it looked endless and was so mesmerizing to dive along.
Witches Point/La Sorcière
Witches Point is another dramatic wall dive near L’Abym, full of colorful colors. We saw massive schools of fish while diving here!
Dangleben’s Pinnacle is a series of 5 pinnacles with various shapes and depths. This is one of Dominica’s deeper dive sites, with a minimum depth of 18m to max of 30m.
It forms a fascinating underwater landscape with abundant marine life as well as the mighty gargantuan barrel sponges. The coral formations are very impressive here!
Ps. While you’re near Scott’s Head, be sure to take a short hike up to the top of this viewpoint where you can get an amazing view of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean meeting!
Diving the north of Dominica: Cabrits National Marine Park
Cabrits National Marine Park, in the north of Dominica, is another great place to go diving in Dominica. The reefs there are incredibly healthy, as evidenced by the abundance of incredible and colourful sponges.
What’s nice about the dive sites in Cabrits National Marnie Park is that they are just a 5-minutee boat ride away from shore!
Free Diving in Dominica
I didn’t know this before coming, but Dominica is actually one of the best places in the world to go free diving. It was a combination of ideal conditions: warm and calm water, and depth close to shore so you don’t need to hire a boat. They have a platform in Soufriere which you can swim out too from the shore.
I had low expectations for myself given that I’d never free-dived in my life, but was surprised at how much I loved it. I actually got down to 10m. It was a really cool experience and something I’d love to try again.
Diving in Dominica has been incredible! I’m so happy to be back in the warm waters of the Caribbean. If you’re visiting this nature paradise, be sure to spend some time exploring underwater.
Looking for more bucket list dives?
My dives at Champagne Reef and Witches Point were kindly sponsored by Dive Dominica. As always, all opinions are my own.
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