The D.R. (Dominican Republic) has got to be one of the Caribbean's best kept secrets, as far as American divers are concerned. While popular with Europeans, this tropical playground is virtually unknown to travelers in the United States.
I had always wondered what the D.R. would be like for diving. Over the past 20 years I have cruised around most of the Caribbean, diving in all the hot spots, but I never met a diver that had actually been to the D.R. and sampled its undersea attractions.
So, when I received the call from Skin Diver, inviting me to participate in an island-wide odyssey of the Dominican Republic, I said, "Yes!" Here at last was an opportunity to part the veil of mystery surrounding one of the Caribbean's second largest islands.
I am part of a team of four divers that will be traveling the countryside, sampling the hospitality of five different resorts located on the south, east and north coasts. We will experience and rate the islands' best diving attractions, including wrecks, reefs, walls and coral caverns. It will be a fresh look at a whole new Caribbean destination and a chance to interface with a culture that has been around for more than 500 years.
Over the next week we will be checking in with Skin Diver Online each day, sharing with you what's hot and happening in the D.R. through digital images and daily reports. You will be able to find additional information on the Dominican Republic in the September, October and November issues of Skin Diver magazine.
Since I knew very little about the D.R., I did some research. First and foremost, the D.R. is big--really, really big. The country occupies two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, with Haiti occupying the remaining one-third. In fact, it is so big that visitors often fly between resort areas to save driving time. We will be doing both--a little flying and a lot of driving. It is the best way to see any country.
The D.R. is extremely old. It is the birthplace of the Americas and home to the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere--Santo Domingo. Christopher Columbus loved it and requested that he be buried there. He is, and you can visit his tomb if you like.
The D.R. has lots of top-notch, modern beach resorts, and many of them offer excellent diving services with certified scuba instructors and experienced dive guides.
So, off we go... to discover how this paradise could have gone unnoticed for such a long time.