Advice - Travel to Belize - first time

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IADerr

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Planning a trip to Belize in May of 2022. Never been there before, and have no personal contacts.
Am looking for any useful info... Best place to stay for diving (and island sight-seeing), reliable dive shop that can provide gear and good dive master to stay with the group, places to eat?
We are only open water certified. I have about 20 dives (mostly in Cozumel), nephew has only about 6 dives so really can't do "deep" dives. So is there good reef diving with lots of "animal life"?
As I said - newbe's. (spouses coming and they don't dive)

Thanks,
 

_Ralph

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‘Island site-seeing’

What do you mean by that?


Decent diving on the northern Cayes (Caulker and San Pedro), very close to the reef

Great diving south out of Placencia (land based).. further from the reefs, but very easy to spin off on land adventures

SPLASH in Placencia does a great job of showing many of the central areas for Belize diving, each is fairly varied.

Most of diving in Belize is slightly deeper, as the reef wall starts around the 60ft (average) mark.


_R
 

scrane

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Have you read through the posts in the Forum you just posted in?
 

drrich2

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Am looking for any useful info... Best place to stay for diving (and island sight-seeing),
I don't know how much you've read up on Belize or studied a map with it yet, so take this as an effort to be helpful, given that it may be new to you.

Belize is a Central American country, not an island. It's said the better diving requires you get away from the mainland. A popular area that's not technically an island but could be seen as functioning like one a bit is Ambergris Caye. It's my understanding it's touristy, which can be a good thing. People interested in a much smaller, less touristy island sometimes head to Caye Caulker. Getting out farther seeking good diving, there's Turneffe Atoll. Then on to the reportedly best diving Lighthouse Reef/atoll area; I've done a land tour on Half Moon Caye there. Some people who want to do more on the mainland without splitting the vacation between bases may go to Placencia and a reputable dive op. there is called Splash Divers (IIRC?).

I dove Belize via liveaboard, so my comments on the other places are second hand based on reading posts by other forum members. I take it you guys are land-based.

Do you know what part of Belize you're staying in?
We are only open water certified. I have about 20 dives (mostly in Cozumel), nephew has only about 6 dives so really can't do "deep" dives.
How old is the nephew? Are you assuming they won't let you dive 'deep,' or are you unwilling to do so? What are you calling 'deep?'

Be mindful that when you get away from the litigious United State's waters, the degree of paternalistic control may diminish...with a commensurate requirement to take responsibility for yourself.
 

Lazers

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Planning a trip to Belize in May of 2022. Never been there before, and have no personal contacts.
Am looking for any useful info... Best place to stay for diving (and island sight-seeing), reliable dive shop that can provide gear and good dive master to stay with the group, places to eat?
We are only open water certified. I have about 20 dives (mostly in Cozumel), nephew has only about 6 dives so really can't do "deep" dives. So is there good reef diving with lots of "animal life"?
As I said - newbe's. (spouses coming and they don't dive)

Thanks,
You will be totally fine. I disagree with the above poster. Belize is a nanny state. Everything is highly regulated. The dive shops are basically all identical due to the number and competition. There is no free for all with reckless DMs. Those people would be fired immediately as the operators are obsessed with their online reviews. If you are just looking to just see some fish and sharks (which they sadly chum for) you will be happy. If you want to explore and do more advanced stuff you will be disappointed unless you can somehow find an operator to cater to this, which I failed at.

I’ve just spent a week here on San Pedro and am leaving today. Overall I did not like this trip. The diving was extremely repetitive. Go underwater, max depth 50-60 ft and look at fish type stuff. My requests to do deeper dives and more challenging dives exploring the canyons and walls instead were ignored.

The dive shops all obviously cater to people like you. Wasted a lot of time with students and beginners who would take forever to get down then the DM kept us on a tight leash. A few had an obvious chip on their shoulder against tourists and seemed to get a kick out of treating advanced divers like beginners and criticizing anything about their diving they could. Extremely frustrating. Usually when I solo dive I’m a breath of fresh air for the DMs as they pair me with one and we can do something more interesting than the mundane kick around until somebody hits 1000 psi. Shops pack boats as full as they can and keep the dives as close to their shop as possible. I regularly came back with 1500 psi and I’m large.

The town of San Pedro is an interesting mix of tourist town combined with developing third world country. People tried to sell me cocaine non stop. A lot of people living in shacks then a block away is a fantastic restaurant. I would not come back here. This is without the literally insane covid restrictions. I won’t even comment on those. So many other better options in the Caribbean area.

Also the blue hole was very overrated. It’s a standard wall dive. 2.5 hour rough boat ride out there. You will have lots of new divers in the group who have not been deep. They take you down to 130 ft. Then come right back up for a 12 minute safety stop/deco. Obviously also on a tight leash for this. Trip was way over priced for what you get (which I suppose is why they operate it). On the other dives they sold me nitrox under false pretenses. The dives were only a max depth of 50-60 ft per DM restrictions and we came back up as a group again. So nitrox was totally useless. I read somewhere that you must get Nitrox for Belize. Where? Why? Where are these 90 ft dives people are doing where they are maxing their bottom time and coming back up as pairs? I didn’t see that happening anywhere.
 

drrich2

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I disagree with the above poster. Belize is a nanny state. Everything is highly regulated. The dive shops are basically all identical due to the number and competition. There is no free for all with reckless DMs. Those people would be fired immediately as the operators are obsessed with their online reviews.
In fairness, I said nothing about a free for all or reckless DMs. There are shades of gray between nanny state practices and anarchy. Some years back I read of divers being taken on Blue Hole deep dives that some people in the discussion considered ill-advised; I don't know what's being practiced right now.

The best bet would be for IADerr to e-mail whatever dive operator he's interested in, explain the diver's cert. level, dive counts and nephew's age (if a minor), and ask what restrictions they face and what the typical dive profiles are like.
 

SetheryJ

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We stayed at turneffe island resort. Turnefferesort.com. The resort is amazing and the dive op is first class. They are a bit pricey depending who you compare to. But it’s a private island!

Seth
 

CT-Rich

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I stayed at Dive Haven Resort on Turneff. Three dives a day, a shore interval between each dive. The resort is still being built, so it is a little rough around the edges. The food was was nothing great and with Covid restrictions, there were only around 50 guests in the hotel (two groups filling three boats). The guides we had were great and the dives were not particularly challenging, but the reef was absolutely buzzing with life.

There were a few add on charges, $80 for a night dive, the blue hole was an additional ~$200. I passed on the Blue Hole trip and heard the hole itself was over rated, but the two other dives on the trip were epic. I paid the extra $120 for nitrox and they gave me AL100s (I’m a big guy and tend to burn through air). Booze on the island is not cheap (they had $180 all you can drink option). There was no shore diving, so you are limited to what they have planned from the boats. Even, so the cost was very reasonable.

Our bus driver from the airport to the boat was stopped and fined $500 (Belize) for not wearing a mask while driving. Everyone was Covid tested before and at the dive of the trip, so no one wore masks at the resort after the first day (everything was open air anyway). All dollars were American, except the fine.

Most of the dives were in the 50’-75’ range all of the were 50-60 minutes. They did one 90’ dive the day before the blue hole. Most of the dives were drop off/pick up. I kept an eye on where the guides were, which wasn’t hard with more than 100’ visibility. After the first day, no one ever asked about my computer or air remaining. We had mostly experienced divers and a shop instructor on each boat, so we (I?) were given minimal supervision as long as we kept in sight of the guides.
 

Dan

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