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Traveling to AI in Playa, Rent gear or bring my own?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Aimless81, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. Aimless81

    Aimless81 Angel Fish

    I'm sure everyone would prefer to bring their own gear but here's my specific situation.
    I'm staying at Gran Porto Real in Playa Del Carmen in January. This is a 7 day family(kids) and friends vacation, not dive specific. Me and one other plan to dive, probably just one day. Last year we did a trip like this, we didn't check any luggage and it was nice. I brought my mask and snorkel only, I didn't dive due to weather. This will be my first dive away from home. I'm considering going full tourist and not bringing anything.
    My gear consists of: Hog DIN reg set, SS BP w/ STA, 28lb wing and hog harness, sherwood Triton fins, 6.5mm boots, shorty, 3mm, 7mm wetsuits.
    I'll bring my mask, snorkel and wrist computer for sure. As far as the other stuff I'm not sure what to bring, if anything and how to pack it. Do I bring everything and check a bag for $50 for just a dive or 2? Pack my BP/W and regs in a carry-on and rent fins/wetsuit etc.? Will I need a DIN to Yoke adapter, travel fins, Lighter boots? Any recommendations will be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    I went with my now-ex to an AI resort in PDC shortly after my OW cert. I took all my own gear (including regs, SS BP/W, and full wetsuit). I only had to use a shop-supplied tank while I was there. Most everything fit in my carry-on bags, so I checked one bag that had my non-dive stuff (i.e. clothes) and my fins.

    My reg was DIN and I took a DIN-to-yoke adapter, but to the best of my recollection I did not have to use the adapter. I just made sure to tell my dive operator ahead of time that I had DIN regs. All the tanks they brought me had convertible valves.

    I was there in early December and used a 3/2 mm full wetsuit and was very comfortable. Looking at my log, water temps ranged from 76 to 79 degrees. I dived the PDC reefs, Cozumel reefs, and 2 cenote dives (at Dos Ojos).

    I don't regret taking all my own gear at all! It probably cost a little more than if I had rented. And it was some extra luggage to keep up with on the way there and back. But, the peace of mind and comfort of having my own stuff was well worth it, to me.
  3. Chavodel8en

    Chavodel8en Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oakland, CA
    You may want to check with dive ops you plan to use. Some of them may include equipment in the cost of the dive.

    I was in Cancun & PDC in December. I looked around for ops, and some included equipment in cost (and probably charged a bit more), while others didn't. You can add this factor into your equations.

    I am similar to you in that my vacations are not dedicated dive vacations (wife doesn't dive), so bringing equipment becomes a question.

    Some vacations I bring everything but tanks and weights (but so far I have not had to pay extra for luggage). My wife generally checks luggage, so there is no benefit for me to go carry-on only.

    Some vacations I don't bring my BCD or wetsuit, as in this recent Cancun/PDC trip (6 full days there, and I dove 2 mornings). The BCs & wetsuit I rented looked very much used, but fully operable. Personally, I really prefer to bring my own reg.

    Really the decision is yours to make based on luggage fees, how much diving you plan to do, equipment rental fees, how comfortable you feel using rental equipment, dripping equipment, etc. If youre only planning 1 morning of dives, I could see the desire to bring only mask & computer.

    BTW - January you may see eagle ray & bull sharks. Enjoy!
  4. guruboy

    guruboy Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    Just bring your regs and maybe booties
  5. Aimless81

    Aimless81 Angel Fish

    Thanks for the comments everyone!
    If we check luggage I'll bring everything, if we try to carry-on only then I'll see how things pack up and go from there.
    How about dive shops in PDC? I was Leaning towards Tank Ha or Dive Shop Mexico. They are both right around the corner from the resort. Any experiences or recommendations?
    Thanks again!
  6. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    I dived with Blue Life when I was down there 2 1/2 years ago. Frank Gutierrez was (is, I assume) the owner. I talked to him on the phone extensively, but did not meet him in person. I dived with 2 different instructors or DMs of his and they were all super nice. It was my first OW dives after finishing my OW cert.

    For my days where we dived PDC reefs or Coz, I took a taxi from my resort to get down to the beach in PDC to meet them. For the day we dived cenotes, they came by in a van and picked me up at the resort.

    If I were going down there again, Frank would be my first phone call.
  7. Dogbowl

    Dogbowl Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Somewhere
    I think you're gonna get very different opinions here, as equipment is very personal. I'll be going to The Royal just across the street from Gran Porto Real in several weeks and planning to dive 3 days. This will be our 2nd time diving in and around Playa.

    We will be bringing mask, fins, snorkel, wetsuit (3mm or 5mm), 3mm bootie, and bcd. We will be renting regs because we haven't bought ours yet. We are bringing almost everything because we are diving 3 days.

    Personally, if we were only diving one day, we'd bring everything but bcds and regs, which we would rent. We've generally found rental equipment to be in quite good shape, but I guess it depends on the shop you choose.

    What you might want to bring also depends on what you will be diving: ocean, Cozumel or cenotes. For example, some people will be fine with no wetsuit to a 3mm wetsuit for ocean diving or Coz, but may opt for a 5mm for the cenotes since the water is cooler. Booties are generally not essential for Coz in my experience, but there may be some walking on pavement and beach if diving in Playa. And there will be walking in the jungle and on stairs with cenotes. And if you're doing cenotes exclusively you won't need your snorkel unless you intend to snorkel at the resort.

    So yeah, there are soooo many variables to consider. And now that baggage fees are pretty much standard, that becomes yet another variable in your thought process.

    I also considered going with Tank Ha since they're close to the resort, but we might end up going with Cenotexperience this time based on their good reviews here and we prefer the smaller, more intimate shops anyway. We dove with Blue Life last time and was very happy with the personal experience we received. We just wanted to try someone else this time. But there are so many good dive shops around Playa.

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