Affordable dive shops on Caye Caulker?

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Hi all- this will be my boyfriend and I's first proper SCUBA trip! We were certified in Jamaica in December, and have a grand total of 8 dives thus far. We'll be staying on Cay Caulker and have about 3 full days set aside for SCUBA- I will admit the other half of the vacation will be caving in the interior, don't kill me.

That said, we're looking to get an idea of dive costs/budget while we are there. We will likely be renting all equipment except for shorties and mask/snorkel. I like the look of Belize Diving Services, but they are QUITE expensive. Any recommendations for reputable dive shops on CC that you recommend- especially for beginner divers- that may be a bit more affordable? We'd ideally like to spend less than $500 on diving over those three days, if possible.

Also would appreciate dive spot recommendations. Currently leaning towards Turneffe (I know this one is pricey, but I think it will be worth it), Half Moon Caye and Hol Chan Marine reserve (we'll snorkeling one day at Ray/Shark Alley), but I am happy to hear your opinions on others, if you think there is a can't miss I haven't listed.
 

Wookie

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Belize Diving Services is worth every penny. If you want a professional crew with superior boats, BDS is who you want to go with.

If you want to go on the cheap, why not more days of caving?
 

ReefHound

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On Caye Caulker we use Black Durgon Dives, a small outfit operated by a local couple that gives personal attention. Skip Blue Hole but do the atoll dives. They are the best. Dive rates in Belize are a bit more than you might find in Cozumel or the Keys. I'm not sure what they are now but pre-covid they were about 100-120 for 2 tank trip and about 180-200 for the atoll trips.
 

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BDS is/was top notch, great staff all around!

Unfortunately it was sold off during Covid, so I can't say what state it is in currently (I heard it moved to San Pedro/Ambergis), and the new website seems to reflect that... being that it is nothing like it was before Chip sold it off.


_R
 
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On Caye Caulker we use Black Durgon Dives, a small outfit operated by a local couple that gives personal attention. Skip Blue Hole but do the atoll dives. They are the best. Dive rates in Belize are a bit more than you might find in Cozumel or the Keys. I'm not sure what they are now but pre-covid they were about 100-120 for 2 tank trip and about 180-200 for the atoll trips.
Thank you so much for this advice! And likewise, thank you _Ralph- I had no idea they'd moved off island!
 

Wookie

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Thank you so much for this advice! And likewise, thank you _Ralph- I had no idea they'd moved off island!
Me either. Now I’m sad.
 

_Ralph

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Thank you so much for this advice! And likewise, thank you _Ralph- I had no idea they'd moved off island!

Judging by some of the Facebook page photos, they did keep quite a few staff, DM’s and boat captains.

It unfortunately isn’t the technical centre that Chip and TJ ran.

_R
 

kscates

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riend and I's first proper SCUBA trip! We were certified in Jamaica in December, and have a grand total of 8 dives thus far. We'll be staying on Cay Caulker and have about 3 full days set aside for SCUBA- I will admit the other half of the vacation will be caving in the interior, don't kill me.

Hi all- this will be my boyfriend and I's first proper SCUBA trip! We were certified in Jamaica in December, and have a grand total of 8 dives thus far. We'll be staying on Cay Caulker and have about 3 full days set aside for SCUBA- I will admit the other half of the vacation will be caving in the interior, don't kill me.

That said, we're looking to get an idea of dive costs/budget while we are there. We will likely be renting all equipment except for shorties and mask/snorkel. I like the look of Belize Diving Services, but they are QUITE expensive. Any recommendations for reputable dive shops on CC that you recommend- especially for beginner divers- that may be a bit more affordable? We'd ideally like to spend less than $500 on diving over those three days, if possible.

Also would appreciate dive spot recommendations. Currently leaning towards Turneffe (I know this one is pricey, but I think it will be worth it), Half Moon Caye and Hol Chan Marine reserve (we'll snorkeling one day at Ray/Shark Alley), but I am happy to hear your opinions on others, if you think there is a can't miss I haven't listed.
BDS was closed when I visited Caye Caulker (it was hurricane season/their month off) so we went with Frenchie's and they were great. Small outfit with small groups, friendly funny guide, they provided good lunches too. No complaints. This was back in 2016.
 

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Dup
 

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While diving at Half Moon is nice and I think much better than around Ambergris/CC, it seems rare to find a boat running out there that does not also do the Blue Hole. Since you are trying to keep down expenses, you might skip that excursion this time. There is lots of debate about it but many folks think BH is overated, and not a great idea for newer divers (which I assume you are.) Also as a new diver, you will probably enjoy CC diving just fine.
 
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