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  #1  
Old February 16th, 2012, 10:23 AM
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Question Discover Scuba Diving-->Cozumel, Belize, or Roatan?

DH and I are both certified OW. Our 13yo DS has expressed an interest in scuba certification but we'd like for him to "try it out" first and figured our upcoming cruise would present the perfect opportunity. It's an activity we'd like to experience with him. DH and I can always book a separate dive for "real" diving

Would love any input! Thx!
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Old February 16th, 2012, 10:49 AM
CaribbeanAmphibian CaribbeanAmphibian is offline
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Default Belize

I did Discover Scuba through NCL in Belize. It was a really nice time. You spent maybe 45 minutes in the class room watching some video and having the dive operators talk to you then we took a 10 minute boat ride to a very shallow area to work on some of the things we had seen in video. From there we went about 5 minutes to where we dived in about 30-40 feet of water. The reef was nice, and they kept us in groups of 5-6 people so we were not all bunched up. The guides pointed out things to us and made sure that we were checking our tanks and how much air we had. All in all it was a good time. I've not done it anywhere else though.
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  #3  
Old February 17th, 2012, 04:45 AM
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I think Belize would be a great choice but for a first discover dive I think any water is good.
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  #4  
Old February 19th, 2012, 11:29 AM
Sally Fletcher Sally Fletcher is offline
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Default West End Divers Dive Shop Roatan

We always dive with West End Divers (www.westenddivers.info) in Roatan. The reef is amazing and the conditions are perfect for beginners. West End Divers will pick you up at the dock, take you through the Discovery class and then get you all back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. The staff are really friendly and very experienced. We have never had anything but an amazing time with these guys.
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  #5  
Old February 19th, 2012, 04:59 PM
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Cozumel is my favorite, then Roatan. However, the currents and drift diving in Cozumel might make a new diver nervous.
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  #6  
Old February 20th, 2012, 08:26 PM
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Thumbs up Roatan

I think I've decided on Roatan for this excursion. Thanks for your input!
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  #7  
Old March 25th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by klpsmom View Post
I think I've decided on Roatan for this excursion. Thanks for your input!
We dove Roatan and Cozumel just last week and while they are both fabulous, I'd agree Roatan is better for a beginner. I suggest contacting West End Divers to set it up, they will send someone to pick up your family from the cruise ship and take you to their shop. The dive boat is right across the small street from the shop and the dive sites are all 5-10 min away
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Old March 25th, 2012, 07:42 PM
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We dove Roatan and Cozumel just last week and while they are both fabulous, I'd agree Roatan is better for a beginner. I suggest contacting West End Divers to set it up, they will send someone to pick up your family from the cruise ship and take you to their shop. The dive boat is right across the small street from the shop and the dive sites are all 5-10 min away
Looks like Roatan won't work out for us for this excursion, as my entire family want's to do Pirates zip line and some beach time. I don't think we could do both zipline and scuba.

Who did you use in Cozumel?

Last edited by klpsmom; March 25th, 2012 at 07:42 PM.
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Old March 25th, 2012, 08:31 PM
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In Coz we've used Blue Angel, and Chucko. It can depend on what time your ship gets in port, because most of the dive ops leave early in the morning, before cruisers can get to them.
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Old March 26th, 2012, 11:31 AM
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The discover diving site they will take you in any port will be ones suitable for non-divers looking to try out scuba diving. I am diving with my group in the ports you have mentioned next year, and though we are going to some amazing dive sites that may not be suitable for newbies, trust me when I tell you that all locations where they take out discover scuba folks will be tame by comparison.

I personally think Roatan will have better visibility and more fish in the 20-30 feet depths they take discover scuba folks. In Cozumel, the island doesn't have many shallow dive sites, except Paradise Reef and Chankanaab, and both have few fish these days (a huge problem). In Belize, the same holds true.

Good luck!

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  #11  
Old March 26th, 2012, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klpsmom View Post
Looks like Roatan won't work out for us for this excursion, as my entire family want's to do Pirates zip line and some beach time. I don't think we could do both zipline and scuba.

Who did you use in Cozumel?
We used Scuba with Alison in Cozumel. She was great, but I still recommend doing it in Roatan with West End Divers.

You can do a beach day in Cozumel and do zipline in Belize (it's right next to the cave tubing if you are already planning that for Belize)
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Old April 11th, 2012, 11:00 AM
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Newbie here....I have heard the best diving spot in the Caribbean is Cozumel. Any feed back on that?? DH and I just got certified this past weekend and now are looking to book a trip/cruise. Any input would be wonderful!!
We have talked to people at the local dive club and a lot are talking about fresh water diving. We are looking for something with a cruise attached to it. Opinions on dive excursion with the ship or private?? Recommendations??

Thanks in advance!
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Old April 11th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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....I have heard the best diving spot in the Caribbean is Cozumel
hmmmmm

who did you her that from? Cuz if I had to say what the best diving spot in the Car' was I'd be hard pressed to provide an answer

but I was working on ships in the Carib' for 20 years and dove many many islands and many sites at each island . . .

a great site yesterday might be a bust today . . . conditions change.

did you see an eagle ray yesterday? Hmm, did the dm pay it to come back today?

let us cut BEST out of the equation
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Old April 11th, 2012, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by CruizinBabyGirl View Post
Newbie here....I have heard the best diving spot in the Caribbean is Cozumel. Any feed back on that?? DH and I just got certified this past weekend and now are looking to book a trip/cruise. Any input would be wonderful!!
We have talked to people at the local dive club and a lot are talking about fresh water diving. We are looking for something with a cruise attached to it. Opinions on dive excursion with the ship or private?? Recommendations??

Thanks in advance!
There are several great dive destinations in the Caribbean, and a lot of very good ones. Factoring in your level of experience should play an important part determining where you dive. So will how much you want to spend on diving, as not all dive destinations charge the same for diving - for example, diving is cheap in Cozumel, and pricey in Dominica. A cruise to the Southern Caribbean will expose you to many islands noted for diving; the cost to dive in nearly every port plus the cost of the cruise itself is fairly close to what you will pay at a landbased dive resort in the Caribbean for the same number of days. The diving in the Western Caribbean is going to cost you less, thanks to ports in Mexico, where a two tank dive is still a bargain.

The diving in Cozumel is definitiely fairly high on my list, but not for newbies. Strong, unpredictable current is no place for a newly certified diver - we're heading there next year, and I won't take any divers who are not AOW certified with us on the cruise. If you are not AOW certified, it will limit where you can dive - for our dives in Cozumel, I require my divers to have at least 50 logged dives because of the dive sites we are heading to. But more and more dive operators are limiting where they will take you if you are NOT AOW certified - it's a PADI liability thing.

Costa Maya is easy diving, and perfect for newbies. So is Belize (hop over to Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker) - don't bother with dives near Belize City. There is a lot of variety in Grand Cayman and in Roatan; great choices for newly certified divers. Other amazing dive destinations perfect for you guys are Bonaire, Curacao, Grenada, St. Lucia and Dominica. You will find good visibility, little current and lots of fish to make you want to keep diving. Other islands in the Caribbean, like Tortola for example, have good days when the diving is amazing, and not so good ones; I find this to be the case in St. Thomas and many others. Some dive destinations, like Grand Turk for example, are great when you gain a little more experience, as the dives there tend to be deep. All these islands can be experienced on a cruise, but why stop there? Take note: there is no substitute for a land based dive trip.

Cruise sponsored dive trips are fine for newly certified folks - but one recommendation is to go in the off-season to avoid crowds. Smaller dive groups are going to be your best bet when making arrangements on your own. Dive travel to these islands is down right now, but cruises are still going strong, so many dive operators have started to cater to cruise passengers, including round trip tranportation in with the cost of diving. As long as you have a full day in port, this too is a good option. After you decide on a cruise itinerary, you can decide where you want to dive and what you want to pay. You will always save money booking your dives independently, however, if your time in port is limited, play it safe and book your dives through the cruise lines.

Congratulations on getting certified and dive often!

Suzi
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Last edited by Sailfish; April 11th, 2012 at 07:15 PM.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CruizinBabyGirl View Post
Newbie here....I have heard the best diving spot in the Caribbean is Cozumel. Any feed back on that?? DH and I just got certified this past weekend and now are looking to book a trip/cruise. Any input would be wonderful!!
We have talked to people at the local dive club and a lot are talking about fresh water diving. We are looking for something with a cruise attached to it. Opinions on dive excursion with the ship or private?? Recommendations??

Thanks in advance!
I think that if you are on a budget and looking for value for your money, Cozumel MIGHT be a good choice.

HOWEVER, if given the choice, we'd go to Roatan EVERY time.

I have not been to Bonaire, but I've heard that they'd certainly be a contender for best shore diving. We much prefer to jump off a boat.

Also, Grand Caymen gets great diving reviews, but every time we look to go there, we are deterred by the cost.

If you want to plan a cruise, look for a Western Caribbean that goes to Cozumel and Roatan and be sure to dive both. Some also include Grand Caymen, so I'd be sure to dive there. Our last trip was on the Carnival Dream (can't beat $630/pp for balcony cabin in March) and we went to Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, and Costa Maya. Didn't dive in Costa Maya, but the rest of the diving was excellent.

In Roatan, we highly recommend West End Divers. In Belize, we used the ship's tour so we didn't have to tender and then taxi somewhere. The ship's dive op in Belize picks up right from the cruise ship.

If you want more info, let me know. This post got really long!

Last edited by Kryssa; April 11th, 2012 at 07:12 PM.
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Old April 18th, 2012, 05:42 PM
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I think that if you are on a budget and looking for value for your money, Cozumel MIGHT be a good choice.

HOWEVER, if given the choice, we'd go to Roatan EVERY time.

If you want more info, let me know. This post got really long!
Yes, I would love some more info!! Thank you so much!
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Old April 18th, 2012, 06:09 PM
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There are several great dive destinations in the Caribbean, and a lot of very good ones.

Congratulations on getting certified and dive often!

Suzi
Thank you so much for the info!! I look forward to getting AOW cert soon.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 09:36 PM
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Yes, I would love some more info!! Thank you so much!
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  #19  
Old April 20th, 2012, 08:43 AM
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i was looking into this too and i don't know if price is a factor for you or now but island marketing has a discover scuba dive for $57 in cozumel whereas in roatan is was $68 and $99 in grand cayman. West end divers is $100 in belize. just thought i'd throw that out there! good luck! i'm trying to make a decision too and i'll be honest that money is definitely a factor for me.
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Old April 20th, 2012, 11:58 AM
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i was looking into this too and i don't know if price is a factor for you or now but island marketing has a discover scuba dive for $57 in cozumel whereas in roatan is was $68 and $99 in grand cayman. West end divers is $100 in belize. just thought i'd throw that out there! good luck! i'm trying to make a decision too and i'll be honest that money is definitely a factor for me.
I would not book with Island Marketing unless I knew who the operator was and could check them out. However, the price of diving in Mexico is relatively low compared to the rest of Caribbean so the $57 surprises me only a little. However, I would spend the extra money and book direct with an operator I was referred to.

I am not familiar with West End Diver in Belize, are you sure you didn't mean Roatan? My husband and I paid $103 for 2 tanks with them, but it included round trip transportation from the ship. Something we'd easily pay $20-30 for if it wasn't included, bringing the real cost of the diving to about $80 per person.

Please do not start your diving experience by price shopping for the lowest cost Discover Scuba experience. This is an expensive sport and you are already sailing on a cruise ship, what is another $20-30 to escape a "budget" diving experience?
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