Scuba Dive Excursion at Isla Catalina, Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic offers a wide variety of adventure sports, including Scuba Diving, hiking, and swimming (all of my favorite activities). On our recent trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic we planned for all of these activities with scuba diving at the top of my to do list!

Isla Catalina Scuba Experience DR JenThereDoneThat

From Punta Cana there are a few dive sites north & south of the island. The south side is known for calmer water and better visibility,so I looked south for a good dive and snorkel spot. I am a huge fan of wall dives, and the wall at Isla Catalina sounded perfect with scuba, snorkel, beach day complete with souvenir shopping and hot BBQ lunch.

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Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Our first experience with Puerto Rico was Old San Juan, and I was hooked!  When planning our next visit, we knew we needed more time, and we wanted to explore several areas of the island.  We started in beautiful Isla Verde, just outside of San Juan, then rented a car and headed out to Fajardo for a few days.  Six months later, I find myself back in Fajardo.2016_Fajardo Sign

Fajardo is an hour East of San Juan, at the meeting point for the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea on the Northeast tip of the island.  Fajardo boasts one of the world’s rare bioluminescent bays, a must-see at night during the new moon, when it is darkest. The ferry terminal in Fajardo offers passage to the nearby islands of Vieques and Culebra and is a popular option for transportation to the nearby islands.

Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Fajardo, Puerto Rico View of the town center, bioluminescent bay, and the spot where Atlantic means the Caribbean Sea

We stayed at the luxurious El Conquistador resort, and after several over-priced resort meals, we ventured out into the nearby restaurants for a local experience.  Our first excursion was lunch at one of the small casual dining restaurants with a large patio.  On the weekend, the locals have a big party with food trucks, music, and fun.

It is a foodie paradise!  There are food stands and small dining options at every turn.  A short, brisk walk up a street leads to Las Vistas Cafe for brunch, one of the best outdoor cafes in Fajardo.La Vistas

Marina Lanais is located in the harbor at the base of El Conquistador.  A short funicular ride down the mountain from the resort, or a quick drive around the resort to a large public parking lot, the marina is home to Casa del Mar PADI dive center & luxury charters.

Marina Lanais from Casa del Mar dive boat
Marina Lanais from Casa del Mar dive boat

Fajardo is home to some beautiful water perfect for snorkeling, scuba, and fishing. Don’t miss this fantastic little beach town with delicious food, water sports, and friendly people!

Cancun Mexico

Mexico has a bad reputation for crime and violence, it is all over the news.  Yet, there are some beautiful and safe parts of Mexico, like Cancun.  It is on the eastern tip of Mexico, sitting on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.  It is well protected from most of the hurricanes and enjoys gorgeous weather year round.  There is no need to drive across the border, Cancun is easily accessible from most major airports.

Hyatt Zilara Resort
Hyatt Zilara Resort beach

Cancun boasts beautiful beaches, the northern section of the Great Maya Reef, Mayan ruins and museums, art, spa activities, shopping, nightlife, and friendly locals.  Far less expensive than the Mediterranean cities, Cancun is a great value for the vacation budget.

The Hotel Zone offers spectacular views from the variety of resorts represented by the major brands.

Many are all-inclusive food & drink resorts and a few are no children under 16 allowed, like Hyatt’s Zilara Resort.

AquaworldAquaworld resides within the hotel zone offering boat tour & fishing excursions, SCUBA certification & dives.  The Hard Rock, JW Marriot, and Paradise resorts are close walking distance to Aquaworld.  Other hotels are a short bus or taxi ride down the street.  Like most of the locals in Cancun, the instructors and crew speak multiple languages including English.  I spent half my vacation getting SCUBA certified and a couple more dives, because the reef is stunning. Continue reading “Cancun Mexico”