View Full Version : common/cheap tropical dives


kelly3341
03-07-2009, 2:39 PM
My fiance and I are getting certified to dive in the near future. I am wondering where is a good place to go that is inexpensive, yet still offers great diving leaving out of Atlanta. I am more into corals and fish as apposed to wreck diving. I am thinking somewhere like Cozumel might be a good fit. Any suggestions?

ares
03-07-2009, 5:25 PM
well cruises are retarded cheap right now. you wont find a cheaper food and board if you tried. you do have to get yourself to miami though. not an outlandish drive, or drop 200$ for some plane tickets. but last minute cruises can be had for like 4-500$ a person for 7 days. should be able to get 4 dives in at all different spots, around 60-80$ a dive. oh yeah, the cruise aint too shabby either... royal carribean actually certifies on the boat too, 350$ out the door, all equipment, testing, and 4 open water dives on 2 days at 2 sites for a full padi certification. you also do about an hour in the pool and 2 hours in a meeting room on the ship. I got scuba certified, which was just 2 dives at 1 site on 1 day and a bit less book work, so I can dive, but limited to I think 20 feet, and must be with a master diver. I can always complete the other skill tests later to finish it though.

SShindell
03-07-2009, 7:15 PM
Cozumel is great, but so are Cayman Islands, Florida, Bahamas, Bonaire, Costa Rica, Dominica, etc. Atlanta is a great place to dive, because there as so many choices within a short distance with a lot to do on the surface after you finish diving. I would check to see who has the best travel deals right now, and make the decision on that.

I would get fully certified in Atlanta first, although my son did do all the classroom and pool work in Atlanta and then the check out dives with a very good shop in Cayman (DiveTech). You really want to enjoy your vacation and not be in a classroom on it, and good checkout dives in a great place like Bonaire or the Caymans give you a great start to diving. I agree that cruises are a great deal right now (I go on one in a month) but I would really hesitate getting my first diving experience thru them. Resort certificates are pretty iffy....I would not recommend them.

Call most of the dive shops in your area - they always have trips. I go to Seaventures, but there are a lot of other good shops - Adventures in Diving, etc.

ares
03-07-2009, 8:59 PM
I was worried about that when I did it. and I wont lie. the 8AM pool session and following classroom session while my family was off checking out antigua was kind of a bummer. but the fact that I was done in like... 4 hours. it was nice.

the dive shops around here were like 4 weekends of classes, and cost 400$ just for the pool and class work. I guess that extra time in the pool might have been beneficial, but I didnt have any issues learning in that time period. if I had it to do over again, the 4 hours out of the 7 days wasnt too big a deal.

Cameron
03-10-2009, 8:21 PM
Cheap would be a trip to Florida which has some top diving sites. The Ft Lauderdale area such as Boynton Beach or Key Largo would top my list.

Cruises are cheap, but they aren't particularly good for pure dive vacations. If you want some diving and a lot of variety, can't go wrong. Check out crucon.com and their specials. You can find a nice balcony with 7 nights for 2k for two people. Figure another 1k for expenses including diving.

Here are a few good deals for some Caribbean stays:

http://www.caradonna.com/special/cdacurbreezesnowmiami.aspx?utm_source=SD&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=divein&utm_content=caribbean+february

http://www.scubaclubcozumel.com/specials.html

http://www.bayadventures.com/cozumel/specials.htm

http://fantasyislandvacations.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=24

ares
03-10-2009, 8:25 PM
long as this thread is here, anyone ever been to ambris caye in belize? 2nd largest reef in the world apparently. wondering if anyones ever been.

kelly3341
03-10-2009, 10:40 PM
Has anyone been to Roatan before? Looks pretty cool.

ZDaytonaRoadster
03-10-2009, 11:30 PM
Key West is nice, Key Largo is ok

Corigan
03-10-2009, 11:44 PM
I've dove the turnafee atoll in belize and been to anthony's key restort in roatan as well. Both places are amazing. Roatan is so full of micro critters you can spend all day just hovering over one spot having a great time.

Matt

Cameron
03-11-2009, 12:11 AM
Key West is nice, Key Largo is okKey Largo is great if you want a DIVE vacation. Key West falls into the why bother when it comes to diving I am told. Key West has more to do if you are big on the night life.

ZDaytonaRoadster
03-11-2009, 12:22 PM
Key Largo is great if you want a DIVE vacation. Key West falls into the why bother when it comes to diving I am told. Key West has more to do if you are big on the night life.


the reef around the Dry Torutogas is amazing, hence why i said Key West :)

jhutto
03-11-2009, 12:33 PM
I used to live near Ft Lauderdale. Great beach diving behind the Marriott. Easy boat diving with three reefs starting at 30 feet then about 60 and then 100 feet. You can also go off Boynton Beach on a boat drift dive which is cool. No need to go all the way to Keys for great diving. But the el supremo is Belize or Bonaire. In Bonaire you can easily dive to you heart is content off the beach. It takes time and money though for those long term trips.

AtlReef
03-11-2009, 12:47 PM
I have dived Belize (Turneffe Island) had my own dive master so a great trip. Blue Hole was unbelievable. I have also been to Roatan twice. It is the cheapest diving I have done ~$25 a dive, PADI OW cert, ~$250 and its a five minute boat ride to the protected reef.

mojo
03-11-2009, 2:07 PM
Has anyone been to Roatan before? Looks pretty cool.

I did a couple years ago for a week. I wouldn't go back. Decent coral, cool terrain, but almost no fish. It was like diving in a desert. There are much better places to spend your money...

texhorns98
03-11-2009, 2:21 PM
I did a couple years ago for a week. I wouldn't go back. Decent coral, cool terrain, but almost no fish. It was like diving in a desert. There are much better places to spend your money...

Er?!?

I've logged well over 50 dives off Roatan and it's one of the healthiest reefs I've ever seen. I'm not sure where on the island you dove, but to say "almost no fish" makes me very curious. I see more fish in the first ten minutes of a dive there then I do in Dominica, Belize, Mexico, Curacao, etc. over the course of a full dive!

AtlReef
03-11-2009, 2:34 PM
I did a couple years ago for a week. I wouldn't go back. Decent coral, cool terrain, but almost no fish. It was like diving in a desert. There are much better places to spend your money...

I dove Roatan Oct. 07 and July 08. There was not a lack of fish by any means. I also am curious as to what part of the island you dove.

mojo
03-11-2009, 2:35 PM
I've logged well over 50 dives off Roatan and it's one of the healthiest reefs I've ever seen. I'm not sure where on the island you dove, but to say "almost no fish" makes me very curious. I see more fish in the first ten minutes of a dive there then I do in Dominica, Belize, Mexico, Curacao, etc. over the course of a full dive!

I stayed at Paya Bay Resort, on the north shore, west side of the island. I was there for a week and did about 25-30 dives, all on the north shore. Maybe there's more fish to be seen on the south shore. It wasn't just me - others in my group all had the same comments. I'd guess that I saw 50-100 total fish per hour dive.

I also paid for a ride on the Carl Stanley's submarine (http://www.stanleysubmarines.com/welcome/index.php) to 1700' -- an interesting experience and person... not sure I'd do that again, either, but for completely different reasons. :)

texhorns98
03-11-2009, 2:51 PM
Well, the NW side of the island is the Marine Park area so I'm still confused. Did you go a couple of days after a hurricane went through or something? :)

texhorns98
03-11-2009, 2:54 PM
And I would see 50-100 fish just poking my mask underwater while waiting for others to jump in!:up:

texhorns98
03-11-2009, 3:07 PM
Makes more sense now. Paya Bay uses TID as their dive op. That is most DEFINITELY the East end of the island. I have no experience over there because it's outside the Marine Park and therefore subject to fishing, etc. Not sure your reasons for choosing that location, but the West side is sounding like it's a better option to anyone in the future. I always stay at Luna Beach Resort. Close enough to the "action" of West End, but far enough to feel remote. Some of the best dive sites I've even been on are just about a 4 minute boat ride out from their docks.

mojo
03-11-2009, 3:08 PM
Well, the NW side of the island is the Marine Park area so I'm still confused. Did you go a couple of days after a hurricane went through or something? :)

Not sure- it was June of 2006. I'd have to go back and lookup to see if a hurricane went through, but I'm pretty sure I'd remember that. Possibly just bad timing. Either way, I'd rather go back to Bonaire for Carribean diving- I didn't care much for the island itself, and my experience diving didn't make up for it, unfortunately.

Oops- you're right - it was the north east side. My apologies.

texhorns98
03-11-2009, 3:50 PM
No worries, Mojo. You really should consider giving it another try there. I've been all over the world and it's tough to beat that place for it's overall experience and (more particularly) proximity to the ATL.

diverjack
01-26-2010, 1:46 PM
Cozumel is great, cheap. Curacao is easy, great beach dives so no boat rides or costs, but hotels are on the pricy side. If you want o go nuts, Bora Bora that's where my avatar pic is from.

blu_devl_06
01-26-2010, 2:09 PM
Cozumel is great, cheap. Curacao is easy, great beach dives so no boat rides or costs, but hotels are on the pricy side. If you want o go nuts, Bora Bora that's where my avatar pic is from.

Jack, last years thread.....

Smoothie
01-26-2010, 2:23 PM
Good one to get rolling again. It's almost summer

diverjack
01-26-2010, 2:30 PM
ha lol missed that

blu_devl_06
01-26-2010, 2:34 PM
went on a cruise to cozamel last year, wanted to do some snorkeling with the kids. they canceled all the water activities due to riugh weather, drank margaritas in the casino instead......:doh:

diverjack
01-26-2010, 2:46 PM
I've done that myself. Actually showed up in Coz rightbefore a hurican back around 99. hurreican never hit, hoel was empty and port closed. Had a hell of a time at the bar. Once the port opened the dives were great. no under water traffic.lol. But the last hurrican a couple years ago did a fair amount of damage. island recove fine, but reefs had a lot of setiment. Ended up goin got Curacao the following year. great diving very cheap. got unlimite tanks and did about 25 shore dives over the course of the week. amazing walls and valley's.

Cjsparky
01-26-2010, 3:50 PM
From what I understand about Bonaire, its an incredible drift dive... I have seen some of the clubs around town also advertising planned trips there on the cheap, relatively...

CJ

mojo
01-26-2010, 3:53 PM
From what I understand about Bonaire, its an incredible drift dive... I have seen some of the clubs around town also advertising planned trips there on the cheap, relatively...

CJ

Hmm. There's really no currents to speak of around Bonaire... so not much drift diving. But don't let that stop you from going! Relatively good diving and direct flight from Atlanta!

Cjsparky
01-26-2010, 3:53 PM
Also...I have found (this may be VERY unpopular here) that I have seen more, had more fun, and was able to do it more often, snorkeling in the Carribean, instead of diving. In fact, the last 2 days we were there, we skipped our dives and went straight to snorkeling. I find now that one or 2 dives is all I need in an area where the snorkeling is great.

C

Cjsparky
01-26-2010, 3:54 PM
Hmm. There's really no currents to speak of around Bonaire... so not much drift diving. But don't let that stop you from going! Relatively good diving and direct flight from Atlanta!

Ugh, I have been misinformed...was told there were drift dives basically right off the beaches...

wmboots
01-26-2010, 5:17 PM
CHEAP reef diving go to Roatan fantastic reefs you can stay at coco view for around $1,100 all inclusive and dive to your hearts content on a portion of the second largest barrier reef system in the world

wmboots
01-26-2010, 5:21 PM
bonaire would be my second choice and if you get a chance to dive the east side it is even better but for the better part of the year the east side is way to windy and wild to be able to dive

wmboots
01-26-2010, 5:23 PM
Ugh, I have been misinformed...was told there were drift dives basically right off the beaches...

bonaire isn't known for drift diving go to West Palm or Cozumel for that and West Palm is much closer and has world classs diving too

mojo
01-26-2010, 7:07 PM
West Palm is much closer and has world classs diving too

:confused2: I'm not sure about "world class"! That's pretty much limited to the coral triangle in the south Pacific...

wmboots
01-26-2010, 9:03 PM
I've dove the turnafee atoll in belize and been to anthony's key restort in roatan as well. Both places are amazing. Roatan is so full of micro critters you can spend all day just hovering over one spot having a great time.

Matt

roatan is just a great place to dive period can't wait to make another trip back to coco view

wmboots
01-26-2010, 9:06 PM
I did a couple years ago for a week. I wouldn't go back. Decent coral, cool terrain, but almost no fish. It was like diving in a desert. There are much better places to spend your money...

mojo where were you diving that you saw no fish, roatan is loaded with sea life and there are coral reefs you can just hover over for an hour and just be mesmorized by the colors some of the healthiest reefs I have dove are in roatan

mojo
01-26-2010, 11:10 PM
mojo where were you diving that you saw no fish, roatan is loaded with sea life and there are coral reefs you can just hover over for an hour and just be mesmorized by the colors some of the healthiest reefs I have dove are in roatan

It's in the rest of the thread..

Roatan was "OK", but I wouldn't go back. I was certainly never "mesmerized" by the reef there (or anywhere in the Caribbean, for that matter) - we're spoiled by our tanks.

wbrown
01-27-2010, 4:43 AM
no mention of Trinidad and Tobago? Isla de Margarita? North up to and around Grenada is cool. Trini is into eco-tourism and prices are going up, however not too far west and controlled by Venezula is Margarita Island. Kind of obscure and a bit more work to find information on, but for using USD, you will be hard pressed to beat it.
There are a handful of American and British ex-pats there running dives and stuff with B&B type places that will blow your mind.
Couple grand in 1's, 5's and 10's will set you up like a monarch for a month. ;)

wmboots
01-27-2010, 8:57 PM
no mention of Trinidad and Tobago? Isla de Margarita? North up to and around Grenada is cool. Trini is into eco-tourism and prices are going up, however not too far west and controlled by Venezula is Margarita Island. Kind of obscure and a bit more work to find information on, but for using USD, you will be hard pressed to beat it.
There are a handful of American and British ex-pats there running dives and stuff with B&B type places that will blow your mind.
Couple grand in 1's, 5's and 10's will set you up like a monarch for a month. ;)

what is the best way to get to margarita? pontoon plane, puddle hopper or boat? I have heard of the island but never investigated it

wmboots
01-27-2010, 9:02 PM
It's in the rest of the thread..

Roatan was "OK", but I wouldn't go back. I was certainly never "mesmerized" by the reef there (or anywhere in the Caribbean, for that matter) - we're spoiled by our tanks.

if your diving the west side or west end that is understandable move over to the east side of the island, hit chimneys, mary's place, half moon bay and a few others and you will find coral beds that incredible especially minagerhea's reef

wbrown
01-28-2010, 4:39 AM
what is the best way to get to margarita? pontoon plane, puddle hopper or boat? I have heard of the island but never investigated it
Island hoppers, they do have an airport. You have to go through mainland Venezuela, or a larger island like Trinidad.
I've been a few times, and the place is great. It's worth a googling, there is not a great deal of info out there in English tho, but you can translate several of the spanish sites and get a lot more info.

wmboots
01-28-2010, 4:40 PM
thanks for the info and I do love the translation button in the google tool bar

Corigan
01-28-2010, 10:23 PM
if your diving the west side or west end that is understandable move over to the east side of the island, hit chimneys, mary's place, half moon bay and a few others and you will find coral beds that incredible especially minagerhea's reefThe North Side/North East rocks if you can get to it. The waves/currents and surge sometimes blow it out, but if you can get in there it is amazing. I was in the worst surge I've ever been in though on some reefs on the northeast side.

wmboots
01-29-2010, 7:02 PM
The North Side/North East rocks if you can get to it. The waves/currents and surge sometimes blow it out, but if you can get in there it is amazing. I was in the worst surge I've ever been in though on some reefs on the northeast side.

whats amazing is they consider bad viz when it's under 125'

RedStang
05-17-2011, 6:12 PM
Anyone else have experience in the Turks and Caicos? The family and I stayed at the Beaches resort last summer and thought the diving was fantastic. Trying to load video up now for everyone if I can link to it. Plentiful fish and corals. A little better in our opinion than what we saw off Kauai but we only did a single two-tank dive there. Far better than either Negril or Ocho Rios in Jamaica.

RedStang
05-17-2011, 6:31 PM
Bah, I can only provide a link for download but it's a 459MB file. Fair warning if you want to watch it!
https://files.me.com/theraders/lq5pql.mov

Smallblock
05-17-2011, 6:33 PM
hey boots, is that your dog or a pic of someone elses. Would that actually work

wmboots
05-17-2011, 7:22 PM
not my dog but is it possible? WHY NOT but it would take lots of patience

Edit: Anyone else have experience in the Turks and Caicos? The family and I stayed at the Beaches resort last summer and thought the diving was fantastic. Trying to load video up now for everyone if I can link to it. Plentiful fish and corals. A little better in our opinion than what we saw off Kauai but we only did a single two-tank dive there. Far better than either Negril or Ocho Rios in Jamaica.

TC is some top notch diving if doing so off a liveaboard, will be there this friday aboard explorer ventures and again in october.
In fact I am currently putting together a trip for oct 12 for a week aboard explorer ventures need 5 more divers and we can get a great deal can make things work with 3 more as far as that goes. pm me for info and rates if interested

RedStang
05-17-2011, 7:34 PM
not my dog but is it possible? WHY NOT but it would take lots of patience

Edit:

TC is some top notch diving if doing so off a liveaboard, will be there this friday aboard explorer ventures and again in october.
In fact I am currently putting together a trip for oct 12 for a week aboard explorer ventures need 5 more divers and we can get a great deal can make things work with 3 more as far as that goes. pm me for info and rates if interested

Would love to but with a 9 year old and 6 year old we're about 6 years away from a live aboard :D.

wmboots
05-18-2011, 9:13 PM
no up for 7 days of liveaboard in turks and caicos, you haven't had a dive trip if you haven't done liveaboard. talk about spoiled you will be spoiled, eat, dive, cervasa after the last dive for the day, sleep and do all over again with your gear brought to you at the dive platform all you do is slip your arms into your bc straps, snap the buckles while tendents slip your fins on and 1 stride later your in the water on reefs that make you wonder why your tanks don't look like this

grayskwerel
05-19-2011, 9:14 PM
I did a dive trip to Turks and Caicos around 10 years ago... some of the best diving I have ever experienced. When I lived in NY, I went diving 3 or 4 times a week... one of the few things I miss about living in NY.

wmboots
05-19-2011, 10:22 PM
turks and caicos does have some extremely world class diving but I believe my favorite is roatan. I have spent 50% of a dive just hovering above a reef doing nothing but taking in the awesome colors of a coral reef that was so covered you could barely see rock or sand.
But I posted looking for people to join on a trip to TC in october but I had my mind changed and just booked a trip on the cayman aggressor for the end of october

Corigan
05-19-2011, 11:18 PM
Roatan is a blast, never dove T&C. The micro critters in Roatan are amazing.

RedStang
05-22-2011, 8:20 PM
Just curious if anyone has tried to download my insanely large 459MB video? It's my first attempt at underwater videography and I would love some constructive criticism. I saw plenty of mistakes but I did think that it got better throughout the trip. Biggest mistake was not taking the red filter on the dive where we saw the four sharks! We were only going to 35-40 feet and it was our second dive so I wanted to see how much the filter made a difference. All the difference in the world.....