Thursday, May 7, 2015

Scuba in Paradise: Passion Paradise Adventures

Having been home from the Dominican for almost two weeks now, started my new class (accounting, yuck!) and my new job, the thrill of vacation has definitely worn off. Fortunately, one of the highlights of this trip is that Nick and I were able to do so many awesome things- check them all out at my highlight post - and get so many amazing pictures! Because it's been raining off and on for the last several days here, I figured it was time to get out of the rain and in the water. Or, at least for the case of this post, take a look back at our scuba trip with Passion Paradise Adventures!

Our morning started off at a good time, with an 8:15 A.M. pick-up. We were retrieved directly from our hotel, and then had about an hour ride to the marina. One of the benefits of booking a trip with Passion Paradise Adventures is that they are on the south side of the island (versus the eastern portion). This is a huge benefit, because it means that the water is much calmer, which is better all around for boating, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba. Based off that alone, Passion Paradise Adventures is one of the best snorkel/scuba tours available in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic.

Passion Paradise Adventures review
With 2 of the amazing staff, Eileen and Chantel
Right upon arriving at the marina, Nick and I were greeted by the entire Passion Paradise Adventures Staff. Two of whom we spent the most time with were Eileen and Chantel. Passion Paradise Adventures is a family-run company, but let me tell you, each of the staff members appears to be treated like family. Eileen is the CEO, while Chantel is the Financial Director, and they are both excellent faces of the company as well. It was so terrific to hear their stories of traveling the world, and how they ultimately decided on the Dominican Republic as the place they would call home and begin this business.

One of the things that shone through the most to me during our experience was how aptly named the company is. Each of the staff members is truly, 110% passionate about not only scuba diving, but giving guests the best possible experience while in the Dominican and helping out in the community. For this, I am completely in awe of the staff and do not have enough terrific things to say! We had the opportunity to interact with each of the staff members, from Eileen and Chantel to the dive masters, managers, chefs, boat captains, and bartenders. Each of them are terrific!

So, so far there are a couple of great things going for Passion Paradise Adventures- the perfect location, and the amazing staff. I'll take a quick look at their beach bar and space on Isla Catalina before moving on to the good stuff- scuba pictures!

Passion Paradise Adventures Hooter Beach Bar on Isla Catalina
After the action of snorkeling and scuba diving, the group headed onto the white sand beaches of Isla Catalina. Passion Paradise Adventures has a great set up, with their aptly-named Hooter Beach Bar and festive building. After a long day, it was great to be greeted by the staff with complimentary beverages and a delicious lunch. The lunch had tons of options for everyone- vegetarian dishes were included, and the staff made every effort to accommodate vegetarians and food allergies. Several hours of relaxation in the sun (or shade) and mingling with the other guests was the perfect way to top of the day before heading back towards the main shore!

best scuba in punta cana
strolling the beach of Isla Catalina, in front of Passion Paradise Adventure's bar
And now, let's get on to the best part... the scuba! After some brief safety instructions, the scuba divers on the boat hopped into the water. Nick and I went off with one of the instructors on a private little dive as Nick hadn't scuba-d (yes, that is now a word) before. After taking some time to get adjusted to the feel of being underneath the water, we started our descent and quickly started to be able to take in the underwater sights and sensations.

Best Scuba in Dominican Republic
Nick and I scuba diving!
The entire experience was absolutely amazing. With Passion Paradise Adventures, Nick and I went on one 25-30 minute dive. During this time, the rest of the scuba divers went on a dive while snorkelers had some time as well. We spent around an hour in this location- called "The Wall". The Wall is a steep drop near Isla Catalina, starting at 5 meters and dropping to 40+ meters. After time at The Wall, the tour moves on to a location called The Aquarium. The Aquarium is great for both scuba diving and snorkeling, and while a more shallow spot offers tons of wildlife and coral reef to take in and view. We loved that with Passion Paradise Adventures you had the option to do this second dive/snorkel, or head in to Isla Catalina for some relaxing on the beach.

fish swarming us everywhere on The Wall!
Throughout our dive, there were definitely opportunities to mingle with the wildlife. Here are just a few of those pictures- I swear, it is us with the fishies, you just can't see us the best due to the swarm!

Nick with the fish
myself hanging out with the critters!
It was actually quite cool throughout the dive how great the photo opportunities were. Believe it or not, I'm only sharing the tiniest fraction of pictures that Eileen (the amazing photographer!) was able to capture for us. On several different occasions, Eileen would swim around to the various scuba divers for a few good photo opportunities. In her hand, she carried a water bottle full of bread crumbs, and would proceed to squirt the crumbs into your hand to release for the fish. They absolutely went crazy, and you can definitely tell in the above pictures! Now, here is just a quick look at all of the wildlife we were able to see and a few shots of the coral reef...

best scuba in Dominican Republic
the coral reef
I see you, Mr. Crab! 
Fish in their natural habitat- coral reef
Sting ray along the ocean floor
 One of the things that definitely amazed me is how well the wildlife really blended in and camouflaged themselves to their environment. You can definitely spot this guy above, but I was lucky that our guide was trained and helped Nick and I to spot the majority of the wildlife that we saw!

baby sting ray!
my favorite- the blowfish!
Of course, while some of the wildlife blended in, other creatures definitely stood out at times. You can see my favorite guy, the blowfish, above. Clearly, when he is out floating about he stands out- but put him against the coral reef and you might not spot him!

For anyone considering a trip to the Dominican Republic, I would definitely recommend checking out Passion Paradise Adventures for either snorkeling or scuba diving. They provide such a terrific experience for the guests, and as I mentioned before the staff's passion is very evident in everything they do. The entire day was such a blast, and I can't recommend Passion Paradise enough! For anyone looking into the best scuba diving or snorkeling in Punta Cana, you have just found it! A huge thank you goes out to the entire staff at Passion Paradise Adventures. Nick and I can't wait for our return!

**Disclosure: I received a complimentary tour in order to facilitate this review. As always, this did not affect my review in any way and all opinions are my own.**


  1. You got a free dive for the review? Amazing! I'm so jealous. Please share how, would love to try this on our upcoming summer trip.

    Also, what camera did you use? Great photos!

    1. Thanks Mar! Dropping you an e-mail now with some info. The above-water pictures are from my (brand new!) Nikon D3200. Below water pictures were from the company's photographer, Eileen, who used a Go Pro (I believe). Where is your trip to?!

  2. First rule of diving: do not fucking touch anything underwater! Do not sit on the bottom as you will destroy the coral and by any means, do not touch the fishes or any other form of underwater life!
    It is just an advise, take it or not!

  3. Amazingly accommodating post. This is my first time i visit here. I found such an extensive number of captivating stuff in your blog especially its trade. Genuinely its unprecedented article. Keep it up. Nurkowanie Marsa Alam


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