First Time Diving in Belize: Ambergris Caye or Placentia/Hopkins?

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DivingChipmunk

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We are planning a short trip to Belize end of May and it will be our first trip there. We plan to spend 5 to 6 nights, and will do 3/4 days of diving.

I have done some research on SB and am debating whether to base our diving at Ambergris Caye or the southern Belize area of Placentia/Hopkins.

What we are looking for is a base for
1) Some good local dives at the Barrier Reef
2) Easy travel from BZE
3) Would like to make it to Half Moon Bay and/or Glover's Reef if possible.
4) Looking for a low key resort with reputable dive shop onsite or nearby, something like Ramon's village.

Seems that Ambergris Caye is an easy flight away (15min) from BZE , but the southern part is not hard to reach either, given the 25 min flights by Maya Air and Tropic Air from BZE. When I book these such domestic flights, how much time should I leave between the international arrival/departure and the domestic flight?

Is the "local diving" in the south much better than Ambergris Caye?

We appreciate your experience and wisdom to share regarding these two areas as our dive base, and any recommendation of resort and dive shop would help.

Thanks in advance!

Sue
 

Scraps

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The connections to the local hops are easy regardless which destination you choose.

Placentia is a quaint and relaxing place to visit, but it’s not a diver-centric destination. Ambergris Caye will give you a lot more diving options. More sites. More operators. The dive boats out of Placentia have longer runs to the dive sites and cost more.
 
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DivingChipmunk

DivingChipmunk

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The connections to the local hops are easy regardless which destination you choose.

Placentia is a quaint and relaxing place to visit, but it’s not a diver-centric destination. Ambergris Caye will give you a lot more diving options. More sites. More operators. The dive boats out of Placentia have longer runs to the dive sites and cost more.
Thanks @Scraps. I have decided not to base on the mainland in the south this time. Maybe will visit Placentia next time when I can also do some Jungle tours.
 
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DivingChipmunk

DivingChipmunk

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After further research, I decided to stay at Blackbird this time. So it's neither AC nor Placentia. It's easier to get to the Atoll resorts than I thought, with a boat transfer from Belize City, and the remote island resort would be a new experience for us. They have a weekly trip to BH and Lighthouse Reef, and 3 "local dives" on other days.
 

Downing

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If I remember correctly, Blackbird also has a small runway so you could even fly there from Goldson if you wish.

I'm sure it would be more expensive plus you would miss out on experiencing a bit of Belize City. Not that BZ City is a tourist destination but still it's interesting, at least to me.

Getting around Belize via plane is easy as there are lots of flights to and from all the major villages and all of them are a half hour or less. If you miss a flight, they'll just put you on the next one which would be coming up shortly. And if you're early, they might even bump you up if there's space on the plane.
 

Hank49

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After further research, I decided to stay at Blackbird this time. So it's neither AC nor Placentia. It's easier to get to the Atoll resorts than I thought, with a boat transfer from Belize City, and the remote island resort would be a new experience for us. They have a weekly trip to BH and Lighthouse Reef, and 3 "local dives" on other days.
Good call. Turneffe has good diving. The Elbow is really nice.
 
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DivingChipmunk

DivingChipmunk

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If I remember correctly, Blackbird also has a small runway so you could even fly there from Goldson if you wish.

I'm sure it would be more expensive plus you would miss out on experiencing a bit of Belize City. Not that BZ City is a tourist destination but still it's interesting, at least to me.

Getting around Belize via plane is easy as there are lots of flights to and from all the major villages and all of them are a half hour or less. If you miss a flight, they'll just put you on the next one which would be coming up shortly. And if you're early, they might even bump you up if there's space on the plane.
Yes, there is an air strip and you can fly to Blackbird Caye at a reasonable price (for a private charter). We will just use their boat transfer this time.
 
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