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Economical, short scuba trips to S. Florida or Caribbean

Discussion in 'General Travel and Vacation Discussions' started by FPDocMatt, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. moneysavr

    moneysavr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    I like Florida, Boynton Beach would be a great choice, tons of reef to wrecks, not too many choices to stay at but the Holiday Inn Exp has not been bad,Palm Beach airport not to bad /in out, and for your long weekends perfect, boat trip out is as long as you need to don /put on your your wet suit, the marina sports a pac of dive boats! here is a few links to get you thinking,,
    Boynton Beach diving - GoodDive.com
    a great web blog old but good,
    Boynton Beach Dive Sites
    We dive with Kevin, UE great small boat and fast!
    The boats are next to good eating & drinking places, and parking and unloading gear next to dive boat is a breeze,parking FREE!!!! shops and some stores,beach a good one is a block away,,
    Give it a try!

    dives are 40' to 100'
    way lots of reef to wrecks,

    if you get blown out other things to do and see,,
    not to knock foreign travel but just too much money to fly far now!! and the hassle of customs SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!
    My 2 cents only,
  2. chauncy19

    chauncy19 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cape Cod MA USA
    never been to Vieques or Culebra but both seems like they would be great. both are islands off of coast of PR. But I am thinking logistics are tough for your timeframe. I looked into it awhile ago and plane service to these islands were from a different airport in san juan--bummer. As i said before you need to include distance from airport to diving location in your calculation.
  3. FPDocMatt

    FPDocMatt Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Middletown, Maryland, USA
    I just found out there's another airport on the south side of Puerto Rico, called Ponce. I'm looking at flights from DC/Baltimore into there. Will keep you posted.

    I agree, I don't want to get off an airplane and then have to drive for 2 hours.
  4. ScubaSteve1962

    ScubaSteve1962 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ellenwood, Georgia, United States
    Hope you have luck with that, I tried ponce, and couldn't find anything from Atlanta. Going to have to stay in Carolina and make the 40 min to an hour drive to Fejardo or Humacao
  5. diversteve

    diversteve always tired

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Puerto Rico is not a place I'd go for great diving. I'm sure there's some areas that are good but they're not near San Juan. I'd really look for an area where the airport, hotel and diving are all in the same vicinity. My list - some of these won't work in your timeframe though as the initial flight from BWI might be too long:

    St. Thomas
    Grand Cayman
    Providenciales, Turks/Caicos
    Cozumel - if you fly there direct. The bag drag from Cancun would eat up your weekend.
    Freeport/Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama
  6. danvolker

    danvolker Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    No contest..You want to go to West palm beach. Hilton on Singer Island is 15 minutes from the International airport.
    Special diver rates, in summer as low as $100 per night for a room that would be rack at $170. Even in spring the rate could be as low as $130 for divers if booked far enough ahead. Groups do even better, but this requires 6 or more rooms per night. Special diver menus, no need for rental car, as they have a free shuttle to diveboats less than a mile away.
    Boat ride is about 7 to 10 minutes to get out of the intercoastal and into ocean. Closest sites are then beginning from 5 more minutes to the farthest at around 30 minutes.
    See South Florida Dive Journal > Home Finding your Dive Issue for picking the sites YOU would like the most.

    On your first day, you may be able to dive easily if you fly in on an early morning flight. Some of the operators like Pura Vida will make special provisions for you if you need them for a first day like this.
    On your last full day here, make it at the Blue Heron Bridge Marine Park ( about 900 yards from the Hilton) ..It is never deeper than 20 feet, so the no fly rule will not apply here--you can do one dive their for 4 hours if you like....every day in your trip can be a dive day on a Palm Beach dive trip.

    There are great social opportunities for divers here as well...whether at the beachside Tiki of the Hilton, or the waterfront Tiki at the Riviera Marina..There are ecotourism options like Kayaking in a mangrove area, or spectacular nightlife or shopping on Clematis Street or City Place ( 10 minutes away).

    See why Divers prefer Palm Beach 6 minute Tour version of "Why Divers prefer Palm Beach" video - YouTube
  7. Taiwanate

    Taiwanate Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Kaohsiung, Taiwan
    Ever consider doing the springs that lay around Florida. You can get to most of them pretty easily from major airports such as Orlando and Jacksonville. They have easy entries with no waves, can be done very cheaply, always close to internet access, and can offer some really cool and unique dives if you have never experienced them before. As well there are always instructors nearby that can help with advancing your certifications and once you start to meet a few regulars to the springs you will find that there is a whole network of spring divers that frequent the various spring sites and can potentially become long distance dive buddies. As well, you can generally complete numerous (4-5) dives in a day (given your profiles allow it and you stay on whatever level of conservatism you prefer) very easily. And if nothing else, they are a great option for that quick and cheap trip you want/need to take between the longer and more expensive trips.

    Oh yeah, and if you like camping, some spring sites can be even more amazing of an experience.

    Just another thought you may want to consider.

    Florida Springs: Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Florida Springs
  8. FPDocMatt

    FPDocMatt Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Middletown, Maryland, USA
    Yes, and there are no direct flights from my area into Ponce airport.

    Precisely what I'm looking for.

    Yes, I may just return to Sunset House. I had a great time there when I went in December. It's a one-stop flight from here though.

    I don't find any direct flights to Cozumel, but there are some to Cancun. Is there scuba diving in Cancun?

    I'll check out your other suggestions. Thanks!
  9. Dirty-Dog

    Dirty-Dog Frequently Censored ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Pueblo West, CO, USA

    Non-stop flights are definately the way to go, whenever possible. It's one less chance for the baggage monkeys to lose or destroy your luggage, for one thing.

    One thing you can do. Find out which airlines have a hub in your area. These will be your best chance at a non-stop flight.

    Absolutely, and excellent diving too. Like you, Cancun is an easy destination for us (Frontier has a hub in Denver, and non-stops to Cancun year-round), so we have 50 or so dives in that area. The reefs off Cancun are shallow, generally no more than 60FSW. The only ones I can think of offhand that are deeper than that are the C-55 and C-58 wrecks. The currents are usually mild, the visibility runs 80-100+ feet, and the waters are warm.

    Lionfish are certainly found, and you're allowed to shoot the tasty little bastards, if you like.

    Because the reefs are relatively shallow, you won't find that spectacular reef structure (huge arches, long swim through, etc) that you find on the deep Cozumel sites. If you've dove Cozumel, think Paradise reef or Dahlia. The reefs are healthy and active. I think there are actually more fish on the Cancun reefs than Cozumel. Cozumel has more turtles. Cancun has more barracuda. Cozumel has more nurse sharks. Cancun has more other sharks.

    Most (if not all) of the dive ops in Cancun will also take you down to Tulum to dive the cenotes.

    Like every place with good diving, there are a ton of ops. Sue and I have always dove with Alvaro from AlwaysDiving and strongly recommend him. If you go to that area, give him a call.

    If you're staying in Cancun, you also should plan on going to CocoBongo one evening.
  10. FPDocMatt

    FPDocMatt Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Middletown, Maryland, USA
    Okay, I just spoke with a very nice fellow at Pura Vida. Looks like that's my best bet for a dive op there. There are just 2 factors which argue against this destination: Pura Vida shop is not right near their boat, so I'd need to either rent a car to get to the boat or bum a ride with them from the shop to the boat. They said we could work something out. (I'm spoiled after the experience at Sunset House on Grand Cayman, where the hotel, dive shop and boats are all right there in the same place.) The other thing is that the water temp there right now is 70 degrees, which is a bit chilly. I'd like to do a dive trip in late March. Perhaps if I put a 3-mill shorty on top of my 3-mill suit, it'll be adequate. But all in all this sounds pretty good. SW Air has a direct flight to West Palm from Baltimore, and there are several hotels near the dive shop.

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