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Diving in Puerto Vallarta (PV)

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Chicago Ben, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. Chicago Ben

    Chicago Ben Guest

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location:
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    I was searching for recommendations for diving in PV before I went so I figured I should post my experiences from down there for others. I was there from Jan 18th until Jan 26th, 2007.

    I did my 4 Open Water Certification dives while in PV through Twin Dolphins (Delfines Gemelos) dive shop - http://www.twindolphinspv.com/ - and highly recommend them. Our dive instructor Felipe was great! Really funny and relaxed. I set up our trip through Giovani.

    First I'm going to give my general thoughts about diving in PV, and then more specifics about Twin Dolphins. Again, my experience is only with the certification dives. I think most places have comparable prices for regular dives. It's more if you want to be on a big party boat, or a little private dive boat.

    Tips:
    1. Don't expect too much. I love Mexico, and have actually lived there so I don't feel too guilty saying this, but you will be promised whatever you want, but you may not get exactly that. My sister and I were told we would be on a private boat (meaning just us and the dive instructor). The first day there were about 12 people (some for certification, some not), but the second day it was just us. Not a big deal, but just take things as they are. After all, you're most likely on vacation there right?
    2. Research locations before you go. Not only where the shops are, but also where you leave from. Some places have many little outfits to sign you up, but then you have to travel far the day of your trip to get to the marina.
    3. Ask if the price includes the $25 fee for your PADI cert card (assuming you're doing PADI). Some include it in the price, some don't.
    4. Find out about the locations they will take you to. Some places only go to certain spots for the certification, some will go to various places. Do you really want to dive in the same spot 4 times in a row?
    5. Find somewhere that is offering a deal and ask others if they will match it. Some dive shops were offering 10% off if we paid in cash. Twin Dolphins wasn't, but I got them to agree to it.
    6. Be careful with signing up online before your trip. This one is more of a personal preference, but you never know what the weather is going to be like and there are generally no refunds. Lots of web sites offer discounts for signing up ahead of time via the internet, but as my point above shows, you can get money off other ways.

    General Notes:
    -If you are on a tight budget, Ocean Quest is the cheapest I found ($160 for dives plus $25 for certification card), but you have to get to Mismaloya Marina on your own. It's not hard, but it's far and it takes a while if you take the bus. I think you even have to transfer one time. If you have the money for a cab to get there, then you're not on that tight of a budget. If you're staying towards that end of town though, it could be a great option.

    -Before I left there were rumors that Chico's dive shop closed. That is not true. One store front for them closed, but the operation is still open. They actually had a little stand at the hotel I stayed at.

    -It was cloudy both days we went, and raining the second day, so we actually went to Los Arcos both days. We were supposed to go to Marietas Island the second day, but the water was too rough. We dove 4 different locations at Los Arcos and saw some pretty cool stuff.

    I recommend Twin Dolphins, but also heard great things about Pacific Scuba.

    I also did some deep sea fishing and have a captain's card if anyone wants that info. Great captain and crew. We went out for only 4 hours, and caught 4 Jack Cravel, and 1 Sierra (small). We had a great time. Don't have the info with me right now, but happy to pass it on if requested.

    This thing is getting long so I guess I'll stop now. If you have other questions, let me know.
     
  2. cbborromeo

    cbborromeo Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New York City
    120
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    I'm headed down there at the end of March, so I appreciate the report. Thanks!
     
  3. AmyJ

    AmyJ Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Dayton Ohio
    637
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    Can you share more about los arcos... dove there once... heading to PV this weekend and trying to decide on dive sites. What fun things did you see... how was water temp and visibility?
     
  4. JohnE

    JohnE Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Newport, Oregon
    50
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    Last month I dove at Los Arcos at twilight and night. Went with PV Adventures.

    We wore 5mm wetsuits, no hoods/gloves. They provided lights if you didn't bring one. Pretty much a follow-the-lead tour. A couple of experienced guys didn't like being tied to the group and wanted to take pics and do their own thing. Water temp was fine, around 72F. Deepest on that was around 30. Vis in the bay dives was 20-ish. Outside the bay it went up considerably.

    At Los Arcos tons of puffer fish, including a couple that seemed to have a head a foot or larger across. Never saw those in the daytime. Lobster, an electric skate, snakes, many eels.

    We came back to Los Arcos during two non-diving days to snorkel from shore. You can drive to a small pulloff just 10 minutes south of town. A small fishing shack was on the water, nobody in it right then. A friendly old fisherman was hand fishing for needlefish. Saw a lot of needlefish and trumpetfish hunting. Snorkeled through the nearest arch a couple times, saw an eagle ray in the shadows inside the arch. Occassionally a big tour boat comes in and dumps off a bunch of people in orange PFDs. They are farther out and never interrupted our own private large area. Getting past the shallow rocks is the fun part. I highly recommend doing this for a down day.

    Also dove at Marrietas Island (and through the tunnels) and out to a newer site (for PVA) Corbetena Island. It is a little one about 45 minutes of panga ride after 45 minutes of the nice dive boat. That is a deeper dive (93' for me). Had a manta make a number of passes by us. They do each dive on certain days, have to plan ahead.

    I'm a pretty new diver so I suppose the follow-the-leader group trips are more tolerable than if I was more advanced. We originally wanted to go with Pacific Scuba down there but they were closed when we were on our trip-booking mission. Overall I was pretty happy with PVA, but what do I know.
     
  5. Ed L.

    Ed L. Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Somewhere under Tahoe!
    253
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    4. Find out about the locations they will take you to. Some places only go to certain spots for the certification, some will go to various places. Do you really want to dive in the same spot 4 times in a row?

    Yes because I want to find out what I missed the other 4 time because I was still looking at all the big fish and pretty colors. Now I want to see the small stuff that is there!

    Keydiver

    Thanks to Doc Adelman for showing me the small stuff and to check in the little nooks and crannies!
     
  6. sbrooks

    sbrooks Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
    166
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    I did my very first adventure dive through PV Adventures (I got my OW cert @ home) ... I am going back a week Thursday to Peutro Vallarta and I'm looking at booking with Twin Dolphins. I'll let you know when I'm back.
    S.
     
  7. micks

    micks Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Detroit, MI
    35
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    Thanks! Anyone else going in the future before May, update here please! I'm going to PV for my sister's wedding for a few days. I want to know which diving spots are highly recommended. I think I would only have one free day for diving and would love to make the best out of it.
     
  8. travel2sunshine

    travel2sunshine Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Pearland, Texas (Houston area)
    20
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    I will be in PV (schedule April 28 - May 5) might had a few days on either side to get the best airfare so who knows. Had not thought much about diving during that week as I just got back from Mayan Riveria doing lots of diving. Might be open to finding a dive buddy and going for a day.

    I have dove PV for the past 8 years. I have my favorite shop down in Boca with Karla. Easy bus ride and she offers a great service with great equiptment. Also, I find the boat ride from down south is shorter to most of the dive sites I like. She has a good dive sites map on her web site:

    http://www.bocadivers.com/BocaDivers/divesites.htm
     
  9. cbborromeo

    cbborromeo Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New York City
    120
    0
    0
    Hi! Just got back from a trip to PV where I was able to dive 2 days with Pacific Scuba. They are an excellent operation if you are not into big groups. The DM (Paul) was excellent, informative, safe and pretty damned funny.

    As Chicago_Ben stated in the first post, don't expect too much from diving in PV! I had originally scheduled to dive Islas Marietas and El Morro. However, due to lack of experienced divers, we went instead to Los Arcos and Marietas. Visibility right now is not good (5-30 ft) and it's one of the busiest times of year which meant seeing many operators at the same sites. That said, I had a great time in PV, saw some pretty cool things above and below the surface (Mantas, Fin whales, spinner dolphins, nudibranches of all sorts, eels galore, puffer fish, octopus, sting rays, etc.). I would surely recommend Pacific Scuba to anyone interested in diving Puerto Vallarta.

    On a side note: Leslie (highly praised former DM of Pacific Scuba) has started her own dive operation which is worth consideration: www.puertovallartadivers.com
     
  10. JohnE

    JohnE Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Newport, Oregon
    50
    3
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    Ah, thanks for that post. It took me back for a quick moment. I love going down to Mexico and now that I dive it's double!
     

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