Thanks for all of your input. We only have a week-we are traveling from Michigan . . . -somewhere in the Caribbean will be our destination!!!
As far as Belize, I've read about some of the resorts on Ambergris Caye, as a possibility.
What about Turks and Caicos???
So Curaçao is similar to Bonaire - I would not be opposed to giving Bonaire another try, but here is our experience from a trip in spring 2010:
Went with a group of 20 or so from our local dive shop- most had been there before and many knew each other and also raved about Bonaire. We stayed at Divi Flamingo. The weather was cool, overcast and rainy the week we were there. The boat dive sites seemed to be all the same and the aquatic life, especially turtles and other larger life, not as abundant as we expected. We are learning to appreciate the smaller stuff, but are more interested in the larger stuff. (We did rent a truck one day and went off on our own and had a ball-most just figuring out where to go, how to go about doing shore diving, not being restricted to a boat etc.). Of all of our trips, this was the most expensive, and all things considered just didn't feel it was all it was made out to be.
The local diving from Ambergris is OK-mediocre. You can make it out to the atolls and Blue Hole from there, but it's a long, rough boat ride.
Originally Posted by Goose
Turks and Caicos diving can be excellent, but you usually go to Providenciales, and once again the diving local to Provo is so-so. The much better diving is done by signing up for a boat ride to the better reefs and walls, which is about an hour each way. You are likely to see reef, nurse, and whitetip sharks on the outer reefs. I've done it and it's no big deal, but you can forget about 4 dives a day. No shore diving that I know of. Lodging and food at T&C/Provo is expensive.
You can also go to Grand Turk and all of the diving is on the surrounding wall. Short boat rides and better diving than Provo, but again you won't see much big stuff there. But you can easily get in 3-4 boat dives a day and there is shore diving available if you don't mind a stout swim from the shore out to the reef. Topside, Grand Turk is sleepy and slow, with few, but overall good quality restaurant choices available.
Curacao diving is very similar to Bonaire. Sloping reefs, mostly macro stuff, little current, usually good vis, and plenty of shore diving so getting in lots of dives is easy. Topside there is also much like Bonaire, arid and sparse vegetation.
Really, all of these locations have something to offer and are worth visiting, but if you want 20 dives a week and shore diving, your choices are more limited, and you have already visited the best places in the Caribbean that fills those bills, especially if you didn't find Bonaire to your liking.
Where did you go in Roatan? If you went anywhere except CocoView, then I would highly recommend CocoView.
Last edited by Saudio; 06-26-2013 at 06:41 PM.
Advice Sought-Where to Next?
I've heard that Light House Reef Resort on Belize had reopened. The diving near there was awesome - big stuff - I'm remembering conch bigger than my head and the Midnight parrot fish. And so many turtles!
However that was many years ago and I have no idea what the op does now. I recall the diving being good. Boat was challenging.
I will second the CoCoView recommendation. We went once and the life was nearly dead and then we went again after they made it a marine park and it was so much better! And the op is the best. It doesn't get any easier than that even during a hurricane. I've had some times at CoCoView that I wished the annoying large dive groups would go away however.
The only place I did more dives than CoCoView was Curaçao. I had 36 dives in 8 days. I imagine that group trips are different than doing your own thing. I assume that Bonaire is similar under water but different attitude topside. Less populated and more off the beaten track.
I've done one group trip to Australia. Very touristy trip and I'm not sure if it is for me again!
Saudio - thank you so much for your input. When we got certified about 7 years ago, I found this board and learned so much about diving and dive travel. It continues to aid in our learning and planning! I do the research and share with my wife and other couple we travel with, as of the 4, I'm really into it. In our two trips (back to back years) to Roatan we went to Anthonys Key. When we were in the planning stages, I lobbied for Cocoview, but was out voted. I found Anthonys Key to be a great - the accomodations on the Key were awesome, the dive sites were quite different from one another, shore diving - while not fantastic, was offered and worth it to do. The trips to the dive sites were very short - often less than 5-10 minutes. Visibility and quality of the reefs were good. Shark dives (feeding) were offered as was dive with dolphins. The food and service was very good. We don't need night life, as we're usually exhausted from the diving, sitting in the sun . . .Plus we go on vacation to get away from all the hustle and bustle of crowds, people, etc. We did not leave AKR while we were there, but we do try to get out to a restaurant or two when we do travel. So an All Inclusive is our preference. I have 3 magazine subscriptions - SD, Sport Diver and Dive Training, in addition to this board and "the other board" so I try to get as much information as possible when planning a trip. Provo sounds intriguing - except for the long boat rides. Hmmmmmmm . . . .
Originally Posted by Goose
You are very welcome. I also have received more help and advice here than I can describe. Great place, although it's much slower than it used to be.
One other thing about Provo, for my money the beaches and water hue are the most beautiful there of any Caribbean location.
I've heard nothing but good things about Anthony's key, but CocoView is a singular experience in the Caribbean because of the incredible shore dive there.
Here is a trip report I put up a couple years ago about CocoView.
I can't believe you bailed during Richard! We were there! My husband loves storms so actually experiencing a Cat I hurricane in an overwater cabana was much to his liking. We got in 2 dives before the storm hit, took a day off to relax, then were back in the water. Nice trip report!
Originally Posted by Saudio
Ok . . . really looking into Belize . . . . Blackbird Caye Resort has been suggested by the other couple as a possibility. I may have to compromise . . . 3 dives per day (no shore diving) and a bit more pricier than I would have liked. It gets very good reviews. Any thoughts?
How do you get there? Is this the same as Turneff Island resort? Sometimes getting there is half the adventure as I recall my trip to Light House Reef Atoll when the pilot kissed the grass runway after we landed in a crazy squall.
TheHawk2002 - Thanks for all of your input. In researching this resort, it sounds like it is near TIR, as it is located on the Turneffe Atoll. In reading their website, they either take you by boat from the mainland (about an hour and a half ride) - most likely - or they fly you over in a puddle jumper- which does sound a little nerve racking. I don't know yet - I think it is a little out of our price range, but we'll see . . .
For the value, you can't beat Roatan! I want to say that Belize was the second most expensive trip we went on. The most expensive being Spirit of Freedom on the Coral Sea! There is also another atoll -- Glover's Reef atoll maybe? I think they used to be rather expensive and then they all became "eco-friendly" resorts and even more expensive!