Parque Nacional Submarino La Caleta

Punta Cana & the Southeast

This underwater park is the resting place of several shipwrecks, incuding the Hickory, a salvage ship that was scuttled in 1984, the year the park was founded. It's now visited as a popular dive site, depending on which dive operator you choose. If you’re interested in diving here, contact one of the dive shops in Boca Chica or any of the resorts in Juan Dolio.

In the past this was a park in name only; little was done to protect the 12-sq-km underwater area in front of the Aeropuerto Internacional Las Américas. As a result of lax controls and the damage from Hurricane Jean in 2004, the number of coral and fish species here is very low. Some will tell you they refuse to go there as the site has been over-dived and is destroyed, while others say it’s still full of marine life and there's an ongoing attempt at involving the community, especially local fishermen, in conservation efforts.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Punta Cana & the Southeast attractions

1. Playa Boca Chica

4.69 MILES

The thing about the beach at Boca Chica is that it’s in Boca Chica. This means that despite the powdery white sand and tranquil waters, it’s unlikely to…

2. Los Tres Ojos

10.6 MILES

Consisting of three humid caverns with dark blue lagoons connected by stalactite-filled passages, this site is lovely if you show up early to beat the…

3. Faro a Colón

12.16 MILES

Resembling a cross between a Soviet-era apartment block and a Las Vegas–style ancient Mayan ruin, this massive monument is worth visiting for its…

4. Fortaleza Ozama

13.03 MILES

This is the New World's oldest colonial military edifice. The site, at the meeting of the Río Ozama and Caribbean, was selected by Fray Nicolás de Ovando…

5. Las Damas

13.04 MILES

Running north–south in front of Fortaleza Ozama is the first paved street in the Americas. Laid in 1502, the street acquired its name from the wife of…

6. Hostal Nicolás de Ovando

13.05 MILES

A handsome building with a Gothic facade built in 1509, this was originally the residence of Governor Nicolás de Ovando, who is famous for ordering Santo…

7. Puerta de San Diego

13.06 MILES

For a time, this imposing gate, built in 1571 downhill from the Alcázar de Colón, was the main entrance into the city. Beside it you can still see some of…

8. Iglesia de Santa Clara

13.07 MILES

Home to the first nunnery in the New World, built in 1552. Years after being sacked by Drake and his men (who apparently hated all things Catholic), it…