Summary: I took my 15 year old daughter to SCUBA dive in Sosua, and she received her PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water certifications. I became dive certified through Northern Coast Dive Center in 2007, so this is my second visit to Sosua, and this Dive Center. My first visit was better, in 2007, with a bit more cohesion withing the ranks of the guides and owners. The overall experience was adequate. I felt that the tanks, air, regulators, and vital equipment were safe. I recommend this shop for beginning divers who want to get PADI certified.
Business: The Northern Coast Dive Center center is American owned, and well organized and well administered, if a bit expensive. There are other alternatives in town as well, so check them as well (one is Merlin Dive Center run by a Dutch team). There are a couple of long time veteran instructors who are great. Expect new instructors due to high turnover in this profession. They provide a full service dive experience, including equipment, instruction, guided dives, tank and equipment rental, boats and excursions. Their local guides/dive-masters and captains are very good.
Equipment: The equipment is adequate, some of which is old and should be replaced. Check your mouth-pieces BEFORE entering the water. The wet suits are old and frayed, but are adequate. Bring your own equipment if you have it. Buy or bring a mask and snorkel at the very least.
Diving and Reefs: The diving is good, with warm water and good clarity. Some of the shallower reefs are damaged because of over biding, but are still pretty, and a great first time diver experience.
Locals: The locals are relaxed, and friendly. Welcome them with a smile, and you will receive the same in return.
Food: The food is fresh and really good. Eat at the smaller places, and where the locals eat if you can. Expect price gouging here as well. If you shop and the grocery store, you will eat well, and inexpensively.
Sosua and area: Sosua is a pleasant town, and somewhat touristy. Locals price gouge so beware of that. There are some beggars, and scammers, so beware of that too-don't accept "free" gifts. The town is known as a sex vacation destination, but this is limited to the nightlife, so if you are off the streets by nightfall, you won't see much of this. We stayed in a Condo in Cabarete, and rode the "Gua gua" buses to and from Sosua each day.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.