Dive into the marine life of the Dominican Republic

By | 2 June, 2021 | 0 comments

The underwater world of the Dominican Republic is brimming with life, colour and a positive energy that will make anyone want to dive into its waters and live an unforgettable experience. There is something enviable about the Dominican Republic, and that is that the same colour, joy and positive energy that can be felt on dry land are also underwater!

However, the seabed is a very delicate ecosystem, and we should all be aware that it is up to ever one of us to take care of it. While it is true that its resilience is outstanding, that is no excuse for testing its limits. We must always be careful not to harm the sea’s ecosystems, know what to expect and how we can help take care of it.

And now let’s take a deep dive into the Marine Life of the Dominican Republic so you can discover its biodiversity:

What is the marine life of the Dominican Republic?


There is no question: corals steal the show. Delicate living creatures that act as home, food and protection for our beaches. There are myriad varieties of coral, with different shapes and colour. We must not forget that though they look like stone, they are in fact living creatures we must protect and treat with care. It is also important to remember that the island’s coral is protected. We ask scuba diving tourists to not break them or take them home as souvenirs. It is better to take a picture and have that photo be a memory of your holiday.

→ Pioneers in protecting our seabed, the Punta Cana Foundation has a fascinating coral protection and restoration programme. If you would like to learn more, come visit our SeaPro water sports centre and ask about it, as they cooperate with the foundation.


Starfish are another famous marine lifeform of the Dominican Republic. This wonderful echinoderm is a close relative of sea urchins. It is easy to find on excursions to Saona Island and Bayahibe. We strongly urge tourists who go see them to treat them with care and respect. They are a very delicate species whose survival we are endangering due to the stress and harm we subject them to. Every time a tourist takes them out of the water to take a photo, they become weaker, and can quickly suffocate, leading to a cruel death. 

Remember, they cannot be taken out of the water for photos. Their role in keeping the seabed clean is essential to the natural balance of the underwater tropical ecosystem. The best thing you can do is bring a waterproof camera and snap shots of them in their natural habitat, where they live, in the water, without having to touch or disturb them.

We invite you to discover our resorts in Punta Cana to enjoy this marine experience. Make sure you don’t miss it!


These fun, colourful fish are thus called because of their unusual mouths that looks like a parrot’s beak. And also because of their multicoloured scales, which bring to mind a parrot’s plumage. These fish can grow to be quite large. They are rather odd-looking, and their main role is to clean the coral of algae. They carefully nibble away at the coral to eat up the parasites and algae that cling to them, leaving the coral clean and healthy. 

It is in no small part thanks to parrotfish that we can enjoy the beautiful beaches of Bávaro. The reason is that, through defecation, they eliminate the remains of what they have eaten. Sometimes, by eating algae they also swallow tiny amounts of coral. Funnily enough, it is these tiny pieces of coral that, one grain at a time, end up becoming the sand on the beach. That’s right: part of the wonderful sand you tread on Bávaro is parrotfish poo after cleaning up the coral.

As you see, all things in the marine world are interconnected. Harming one species can destabilise the entire ecosystem! We urge tourists to help by not ordering parrotfish to eat. Let’s do our best to protect the parrotfish (or cotorra, as it is commonly known in the Dominican Republic) as its population is in decline. We can help its population recover and consequently also protect our beaches.


These funny animals come to the beach to lay their eggs. They then go back into the water to continue their peaceful lives. Coming face to face with one of them is a wonderful experience! There are many different species. Some of them, like the hawksbill sea turtle, are extremely protected in this country. Turtles can be found in all sorts of water depths. They are usually near the surface as they have to go up to breathe. 

Turtle nests on the beach must be duly identified and protected to not damage them by accident. That is why, if during one of your strolls you spot an unmarked turtle nest, you should warn a member of the hotel staff or some local authority so that the necessary measures can be taken to protect it.

Do not buy products made with turtle shells (you might even get a warning from the police).


This fish is… well, another kettle of fish, because it is best appreciated from a distance. In the Dominican Republic it is variously known as lionfish, scorpion fish and tiger fish. It is an invasive species that reached the Caribbean waters in recent years and has quickly expanded. Visually, it is stunning. You will instantly identify it thanks to its stripes, akin to those of a tiger. It has lovely fan-like fins it will not hesitate to open when threatened, as they are covered in rays. It is mostly active in the evening, and it likes to hide among the rocks or coral reefs far from the beach. You will not see it swimming near the shore. The danger lies in its venomous fin rays; if you happen to touch them you should go see a doctor.

Tropical fish

We can come across many types of tropical fish while underwater. There are more than 800 species and most of them are completely harmless. As always, please take care not to harm them or their environment. Be careful with your flippers while swimming and mind you don’t touch anything (for your own safety too; some seaweed can bring on hives). We must always follow the instructions of the experts travelling with us and never leave rubbish behind. Here is a list of some of the tropical fish that can typically be seen in the Dominican Republic:

  • Squirrelfish: It has large eyes and a mottled body. Its forked tail fin is highly characteristic.
  • Butterflyfish: These round fish with a longish mouth are known for their silver-white hue and black stripes.
  • Spotted trunkfish: An adorable fish with large lips, a triangular body and tiny lateral fins. Its mottled scales are especially noteworthy.
  • Caribbean sharpnose puffer: This type of fish blows up when it feels threatened. We should not try to provoke this reaction as it is a stressful experience for them. They have lively colours and a disproportionately large head.
  • Ribboned sweetlips: Easy to spot, these silver fish are streaked with yellow stripes.
  • Blue tang: They are usually blue and have different-coloured striped along their bodies. These colours may change as they grow up.
  • Longhorn cowfish: Also triangular, these fish have pouty lips and funny little horns on top of their bulging eyes.
  • Atlantic trumpetfish: They have long cylindrical bodies and silver hues. They love swimming in shoals under the sea. We often do not see them because, when scuba diving, we tend to look at what is beneath us. Raise your eyes a bit and you will spot them.
  • Damselfish: They can be many different colours, though usually deep blue or black and white. They are quite common and well-known, somewhat territorial, especially if you get too close to where they have laid their eggs.
  • Queen angelfish: A beautiful flat and circular fish with gorgeous dorsal and anal fins. Their fluorescent blues, greens and yellows are very eye-catching. They also have a circular mark on their forehead that looks like a crown.

Here you can learn more about the fascinating world of Whales in the Dominican Republic!

Have you enjoyed learning about the marine life of the Dominican Republic? If all this has made you excited to explore the underwater world of the Dominican Republic, we recommend you visit our water sports centre. There are many different options available, from snorkelling to scuba diving, so you can become personally acquainted with all these creatures! What do you say?


Categories: Punta Cana


  1. Hilton says:

    I don’t think you will find those site off the beaches in front of the Princess properties. Unless you go WAY out! But, I could be wrong. Now paying for an excursion to a reef is another story. Love the Bavaro Princess.

    • Princess Hotels says:

      There are some fabulous reefs nearby to do some snorkelling. We are so happy to hear you love our property, hope to see you again!

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