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xcorallusx
12/28/2014, 04:42 PM
I'm in the planning stages for a dive trip with my uncle,brother and his wife. My uncle mentioned Belize as a choice, and we were planning on sometime next december or january for 7 to 10 days. We are all new to diving, but can get certified ahead of time if we need to. Are there any other places/reefs that you would recommend to beginner divers that would be close in cost to a trip to Belize? I am interested in seeing a nice mix of stony corals and fish. I am most likely going to want to dive as much as I can but they might want to do other activities during the day. thanks for your help

billsreef
12/30/2014, 07:30 AM
Haven't been to Belize, so not sure how the costs will compare, but both Cayman Islands and Bonaire are excellent with good diving for both beginners and experienced divers alike. Caymans being my personal favorite for the wall dives. I also recommend getting certified first. Can't see spending good vacation time in a classroom and pool, when you could be diving the reef ;)

snorvich
12/30/2014, 09:43 AM
Haven't been to Belize, so not sure how the costs will compare, but both Cayman Islands and Bonaire are excellent with good diving for both beginners and experienced divers alike. Caymans being my personal favorite for the wall dives. I also recommend getting certified first. Can't see spending good vacation time in a classroom and pool, when you could be diving the reef ;)

I agree with all that Bill said. Belize is best done on a liveaboard whereas both the Cayman Islands are superb even land based. Definitely get certified first.

billdogg
12/31/2014, 04:50 PM
I've been to Bonaire several times. I really like it for the ease at which you can go diving. Most resorts have tanks available 24/7/365. I've stayed at Capt Don's the most. Rent a vehicle, sit through a very short conservation seminar (ALL reefs are protected in Bonaire), do a short check out dive out front on the resort reef (one of the best, especially for night dives, and GET WET!!! If you are diving with a computer (as you should) you can easily do as many dives a day as the computer will let you. Up at 3AM and can't sleep??? Go for a dive! I didn't do a single boat dive last time I was there - way too much great diving to be had right from shore.

jm.02

and a big +1 to get certified first - don't waste time down there, wherever "down there" turns out to be!

hogfanreefer
12/31/2014, 07:07 PM
We'll be going to Belize in mid Feb, will let you know how it goes.

We really like Cozumel when we went in August. Drift dives are lots of fun and the night dives at Paradise Reef were good. Cost was a little more than we're spending in Belize but Cozumel was an all inclusive and we will still have food costs in Belize...probably a wash.

rjallen
01/01/2015, 09:18 PM
Because you will be a new diver and I assume you don't have much experience on small ocean craft? I strongly suggest Grand Cayman for your first trip. Cozumel has great drift dives and a fantastic party atmosphere but those drift dives mean strong currents on some sites and longer boat trips. Some Mexican dive operations are not as professional as other destinations. Do you easily get sea sick; do you know about everyone in your group? Some dives in Cozumel and Belize take longer trips. Boat trips in Bonaire and Cayman are much shorter with calmer seas [if you dive the lee of the islands]. Both Bonaire and Cayman have good shore diving but I do not suggest scheduling shore dives without local guides for newly certified divers. Bonaire and Cayman have VERY professional and safety conscious dive operations.
Bonaire's problem is it is a LONG way down to Bonaire and you are likely to have to land in Curaçao first then continue to Bonaire. Bonaire has okay beaches but there is not much more to do.
If you live on the east coast or southeast Grand Cayman will be easier and quicker plane rides. Cheaper too. There are many options for night life and the 7 mile beach is fantastic. The diving is very good and their are many dive operations in the Georgetown area. There is great diving at all the discussed destinations but for new divers with other and perhaps different interest levels Grand Cayman will provide you the best balance per your post.
Good Luck and let us know where you go and how all of you fare.

RJA

liverock
01/02/2015, 10:28 AM
Haven't been to Belize, so not sure how the costs will compare, but both Cayman Islands and Bonaire are excellent with good diving for both beginners and experienced divers alike. Caymans being my personal favorite for the wall dives. I also recommend getting certified first. Can't see spending good vacation time in a classroom and pool, when you could be diving the reef ;)

There is an alternative for diving Lighthouse reef and the blue hole now. Instead of making the two hour plus boat ride which can be really rough and wet and miserable, make your dive and then the two hour trip back to the mainland.....the way to dive there is...

www.itzalodge.com

The blue hole is just a few miles from the end of the dock. Always the first divers there so the vis is excellent, and back on the island for lunch before any of the boats from the mainland get there.

You can snorkel right off the beach and collect conch and lobsters. It is a world heritage site. The patch reefs are the best left in the Caribbean. Half moon cay is about 2.5 miles from the dock, owned by the Audubon society and a red footed boobie bird sanctuary.

Just outside the reef the wall drops to thousands of feet....amazing diving.

There are saltwater crocodiles in the lagoon at Long Caye....is a private island and a real cast away experience. All inclusive, internet, and cold beer! lol

Richard TBS
www.tbsaltwater.com :rollface::rollface::rollface:

M3P
01/05/2015, 12:11 PM
Just spent 5 nights in Caye Caulker, Belize in November and did 8 dives while there. Dove with Frenchie's and recommend them if staying on Caye Caulker. We did the Blue hole trip - 3 dives (2 hrs each way), Turneffe North - 3 dives (1 hr each way) and a couple local dives. Overall great trip. Lots of nurse sharks on the local dives. Saw a few bigger sharks on the further dives. I dove Cozumel in July last year and enjoyed that more (lots of swim throughs and different rock formations + drift dives). There is less current in Belize from what I experienced, so I'd say Belize is probably easier for beginners though.

Patchmty
01/26/2015, 02:48 PM
+1 on Cozumel great dives there. Also If the current is too strong you can catch the ferry (45 min) and go diving in Playa del Carmen which are shallower and easier dives.

dg3147
01/29/2015, 08:56 PM
+1 cozumel, maybe mix it in with a whale shark snorkel trip. Very easy and cheap trip.

Been to belize. I stayed at the Turtle Inn further south.

If you have say 6 nights... I would do cozumel (diving), tulum (for the beach and food, though u can dive or snorkel in the "cenotes" --fresh water sink holes that are a must see), and Islas de mujeres for 1 night only (if it is whale shark season).

myaerica
01/30/2015, 10:58 PM
Belize is good if your looking for stony corals. the reefs were 10x more alive than the caymans or mexico. If your looking for stony coral tonga is A great place to dive,not in the belize price range tho.