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Posted On 10/29/2018 17:37:27
Trip Date 09/07/2018
Destinations | Dominican Republic | Isla Catalina | Catalina Island | Punta Cana | Day Trip from Punta Cana | Snorkeling and Diving in the Dominican Republic | Review of Scuba Caribe Excursion
While staying at the Riu Palace Macao, we chose to spend one of our seven days away from the resort where we
would have the opportunity to do some of the best snorkeling that the Dominican Republic has to offer. With all
transportation, equipment, lunch and drinks included during our excursion, all four of us were pleased with our decision.
If you are considering a trip to the Dominican Republic, take a look at this post for information on an optional
excursion where you can enjoy a boat ride, snorkeling or diving, lunch and some beach time. The boarding point for the
boat ride to Isla Catalina is just over an hour away from Punta Cana making it a full day excursion. The
nice thing, however, is that everything is included in your negotiated price - other than optional gratuities.
Overview of Isla Catalina Snorkeling Excursion
A morning meeting place and time is assigned to all who purchase the Isla Catalina Snorkeling Excursion provided by Scuba Caribe. Once aboard, passengers are transported via coach to La Romana, the departure point for the boat ride to Isla Catalina. After distribution of life vests and fins (and equipment for the divers) plus a required safety presentation, it's time to board the boat for a ride to "The Wall" for your first opportunity to snorkel or dive.
Once everyone is back on board, the boat continues to Catalina Island. While divers stay on the boat for transportation
to "Aquarium", their second dive spot, all snorkelers disembark. With about 3 1/2 hours in total on the island,
snorkelers have a second opportunity to snorkel along with enjoying lunch (served after divers return to the island) and all that Isla Catalina has to offer.
Just as you are transported to the island, the return back to Punta Cana is by boat and by bus. During the brief stop in
La Romana, passengers return their remaining equipment before boarding the bus for the final segment of their journey.
From our morning meeting time to our resort drop off at the end of the day, the total duration of our excursion was 9 1/2
Transportation to Isla Catalina
As we were staying at the Riu Palace Macao, our departure point was in front of the row of shops right near the
hotel at a meeting time of 7:40 AM. All passengers at that first pick-up point had boarded the coach and we were off by
7:50 AM. After about 30 minutes of picking up additional passengers at various stops in the Riu Resorts complex, we
began our trip to La Romana. With the combination of well paved roads and a quite comfortable full-size coach, the 1
hour and 10 minute journey was very pleasant.
Round trip transportation from La Romana to the snorkeling and dive spots as well as Isla Catalina is via a Scuba Caribe
boat. Other than a few spaces in front of the boat, passengers have the choice of sitting inside or on top of the boat. On
our way out, the four of us sat on the front of our boat, "Gandalf", and were treated to what we learned was an
uncommon performance by some dolphins!
Dolphin Sighting from Gandalf
Goggles and snorkels are distributed and collected onboard just before and after the first snorkel. Although the boat ride
out to the island was longer due to the stop made at "The Wall" for the first snorkel / dive, the return journey from
Catalina Island to La Romana takes about 25 minutes.
Scuba Caribe's Gandalf
Snorkeling at "The Wall"
Described as "an impressive drop-off that stretches to the Caribbean Sea" in marketing information, you'll drop anchor at
"The Wall" for your first snorkel / dive stop of the day. Divers are first to exit the boat, but are quickly followed by the
most anxious of the snorkelers. There is a variety of fish in the area, and Scott was even able to catch a shot of a
jellyfish. Shortly before it was time for us to return to the boat, we encountered a fairly large school of blue fish which
we followed until it was time to move on.
Translucent Jellyfish at "The Wall"
Snorkeling at "the Wall"
The only complaint that I heard from anyone following their time off the boat was about the requirement that, for safety
purposes, snorkelers must wear life vests while in the water.
While the divers are off on their second dive, the rest of the group has about 3 1/2 hours to enjoy Catalina Island. After
a quick introduction to the island, you'll have your choice of exploring some of the island on foot or relaxing on a lounge
chair near the blue waters of the Caribbean. For those who wish to to sneak in a second snorkel, there is definitely more
underwater life to see. There's also the option to wade or swim in the water and, of course, do a little shopping!
Relaxing on Isla Catalina
Find a spot out in the sun or under the shade of some trees to relax during your time on the island. One of the beach
boys will help you bring lounge chairs to your chosen location so that you can enjoy your afternoon listening to the
murmur or watching those around you. Caution! The sand is not just hot - it can be extremely burn your skin hot, so if
you decide to leave your lounger, it's best to wear some sort of footwear when walking on the island.
Arriving at Isla Catalina
Isla Catalina Beach Resort
Should you need a restroom break, there is a nice facility on the island that is down a short path from the dock area and
up some stairs. My restroom experience was quite over the top! Upon entry, I was greeted by a woman who led me to a
stall, removed the toilet paper and then handed it back to me over the stall door. After I exited the stall, she turned on
the sink water, pushed up my sleeves, put soap in my hand and after I was finished washing, she handed me some
towels to dry my hands. Of course, she next pointed to her tip jar and urged me to return with a tip!
Snorkeling at Isla Catalina
For those who choose to, there is an option to snorkel off the shore of Catalina Island. At a designated time and place,
one of the Scuba Caribe representatives will bring snorkels and goggles to the eager snorkelers. Getting to the site
requires swimming a short distance out to sea but, in our opinion, it was well worth the effort. While we enjoyed the
colorful fish swimming about on their own or in small groups, we spent most of our time following an even more
impressive school of fish than we encountered on our first snorkel.
Snorkeling on the Shores of Catalina Island
Swimming at Isla Catalina
Both before and after lunch, guests at the island have time to get into the crystal clear Caribbean water. Whether its
swimming, wading or sitting in the sand with your feet in the water, you're sure to enjoy it. Those who decide not to
snorkel will have one last opportunity to see some fish - albeit little baby ones swimming in the water near the shore!
Enjoying the Caribbean Waters at Isla Catalina
Lunch on Isla Catalina
A Dominican style barbecue lunch is prepared while guests are enjoying some island time and is served upon the
divers return. Our buffet style meal opened at about 1:00 PM and included a selection of foods including cold salads,
rice, beans, chicken, pork and fish. Unlimited beverages are also included while on the island and include a limited
selection of beer, rum punch, non-diet soft drinks and water.
Dominican Style Barbecue Lunch
Shopping on Isla Catalina
Shortly after getting settled, someone will come by to present a necklace to you as well as let you know the number of
the gift shop at which you should shop while on the island. Yes, that's right - there are a number of shops all purportedly
selling the same items, however everyone is assigned to a certain shop! (The shop that Scott and I were assigned was
even different than that assigned to our traveling companions who sat next to us during our time on the island.) Jewelry including bracelets, earrings and necklaces along with wood and ceramic items and clothing for both kids and adults are all available for purchase.
Reservations for Scuba Caribe's Isla Catalina Snorkeling Excursion
While reservations for Isla Catalina Snorkeling Excursions can be made online before even leaving on your trip to the
Dominican Republic, we waited until we were settled in at our resort to plan our excursion. After doing some online
research, speaking to both an agent at the Riu Palace Macao and a beachside vendor, we had an idea of the price range
to expect for the excursion. Our last stop was at the Scuba Caribe kiosk on the resort property where we reserved our
excursion at the best rate. We were able to negotiate a price that started at $115.00 quoted by our assigned sales agent
down to $85.00 and then a final promised price of $80.00 which we were pleased with. (After the currency exchange,
our actual charge to our credit card ended up being just under $76.00 per person.)
Dominican Republic's All Inclusive Resorts
If you haven't yet reserved a place to stay or want more information on what's included in a stay at an all-inclusive
resort, check out our post 7 Nights at Riu Palace Macao including 13 Free Things to Do during your Stay. In addition to reading about all that the resort has to offer, you'll find helpful information including what is (and isn't) included in a stay at the resort, suggestions for reserving your stay and even photos that will help you know what to expect while at the resort.
Day Trips on the Dominican Republic
What has been your favorite shore excursion or day trip on your previous visits to the Dominican Republic, and what did
you most like about it?
Created On 10/28/2018 13:20:30
Updated On 10/28/2018 23:37:27
Scheduled On 10/28/2018 23:37:27
Posted On 10/29/2018 17:37:27
Last Editor Stacy
Location Isla Catalina, Dominican Republic