Come and visit one of great jewels of the Caribbean. Catalina Island, just off the south-eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, is the stuff of dreams. With its bright white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise water and lush tropical plants, it’s about as close to paradise as you can get.
What to see and do at Catalina Island
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Catalina Island is an amazing place for snorkelling and scuba diving. This is not just because the water is so clear; it’s also thanks to the colourful aquatic life that thrives here. If you can buy or rent a waterproof camera beforehand, do so, because you’ll want to capture the incredible underwater scenery and glittering shoals of fish. Share those pictures with your friends and family afterwards and you’ll have wonderful memories to look back on for years to come.
Go on a guided tour
Book a guided snorkelling tour where a professional instructor will take you to all the best diving spots off the shore of Catalina Island. Try an All Inclusive package with a delicious lunch so you can recharge your batteries for the afternoon adventures. Don’t forget to bring your sun cream, and apply it regularly during the day, especially in the late morning and early afternoon.
Other places to visit nearby
Visit the nearby city of La Romana, where you can explore the enchanting Altos de Chavón, a replica of a Mediterranean village. This attraction holds huge concerts in its 5,000-capacity amphitheatre, and is home to an archaeological museum where you can see some fascinating pre-Colombian artefacts and other historic items that’ll take you through the history of the Dominican Republic. Also close by is the Cave of Wonders, where you can look at some incredible ancient paintings from the Taino Indians, who lived here long before European colonialists arrived.
The best time to visit Catalina Island
Catalina Island, like the rest of the Dominican Republic’s coast, is usually sunny and dry for most of the year, and enjoys more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year on average. However, the rain clouds can gather at any time, often in the form of short, sharp showers. The wettest time is normally from around May to November, with the rainiest season being the autumn, when rain falls an average of 10 days a month. In contrast, January to April are much drier, with rain falling on an average of only 4 or 5 days in each of these months, so this is generally the best time to visit this part of the Dominican Republic for a beach holiday. The sea is warm enough for paddling and swimming all year round.
Getting to Catalina Island
It’s just a short boat journey from the mainland to Catalina Island, with boats available for hire from Bayahibe. Tours typically run five days a week and include a fantastic Dominican barbecue and round-trip hotel transfer. From time to time, cruise ships also stop off at Catalina Island, and you can book an excursion directly from Punta Cana once a week.