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Guam, Palau, Yap...anyone going to be there in April?

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by TwoScratchers, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. TwoScratchers

    TwoScratchers Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: San Francisco, CA
    I'm doing a solo trip to Guam (April 6-10), Palau (Sam's and Rose Garden, April 10-17), and Yap (Manta Ray Bay Resort/Yap Divers, April 17-24) next month. If anyone is going to be there (or lives there!) and wants to get together for a meal or a post-diving beer, please email me.

    And a question about Guam...from what I've been able to learn from Dianne at MDA, weekday diving is pretty expensive unless you're part of a prearranged tour group. Has anyone figured out how to manage the costs on M-F diving there? Thoughts on the Fiesta hotel vs. the Santa Fe? I like smaller, boutique hotels, but don't want to be too far away from everything.

    Thanks, all!
  2. Deep Water Dan

    Deep Water Dan Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Kodiak, Alaska
    Yeah, I'll be on Guam then. And we're going to be on Yap April 16th-24th, starting out at Pathways and then moving to MRB.

    Boat diving on Guam during the week is pretty much dominated by Japanese tour groups. Even if you got on cheap it would be like bumper cars in the water with the tourists. There is some pretty decent shore diving here, but you'd need a buddy that knows where to go. Frankly, if you're heading to Palau and Yap I wouldn't waste any money doing a cattle-car boat dive on Guam.

    No first-hand experience with either of those hotels, but you'd probably be happy with any of the hotels on Tumon Bay. It's usually a real madhouse down there with all the tourists, I like the Hilton because it is on the opposite end from all the chaos. Of course, if you like chaos, you'll want to be on the other end. However, tourist numbers are down right now because of the earthquake. I am judging by your question that you do not have a reservation here yet - if that is the case I would strongly recommend you make one immediately, like right this second. Whatever rooms are left could be sucked up in a minute if they expand the evacuation.
  3. jjardin

    jjardin Angel Fish

    Should be in Yap with the wife and 13y/o from the 20th-27th. I would see if I could go to Yap first on my way to Palau--the diving is much better in Palau--although the MRB is a fairly relaxed place.
  4. diverken374

    diverken374 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: 2 1/2 hrs north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I stayed at the Fiesta for 3 nights in Feb. Not a bad hotel but looking a bit older. I thought the buffet meals were decent. It is very convenient to get on the beach and within walking distance to everything. I did not find it busy. I would not call it a boutique hotel however as it has a lot of rooms although much smaller than the Marriott or the Hilton etc.
  5. Krazytomdiver

    Krazytomdiver Divemaster

    # of Dives:
    Location: Alona Beach,Bohol,Cebu,Philippines
    Personally I would forget about Guam & Yap except to land,and do all your diving in Palau. I've spent many a day in all three places but there's is no comparsion when it comes to Ulong,Peleliu,and Blue Holes/Corner.(Bonus Jellyfish Lake!) Just my opinion & 500+ dives in Palau.

    "living life without a hard bottom"
  6. TwoScratchers

    TwoScratchers Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: San Francisco, CA
    Thanks, all. Ended up taking Deep Water Dan's advice and booking the Hilton in Guam...hope to figure out a way to shore dive while I'm there. JJardin, maybe I'll see you and your family in Yap...I'll be the solo female diver looking super relaxed and happy. Will share news and photos when I'm back.
  7. J105Puff

    J105Puff Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sea level
    Guam Hilton is OK it is an older hotel. It is the oppsite end of Tumon bay area where most of the hotels and resturants are. Fiesta is a little closer, I have never stayed at Fiesta. If you like Thai food try Ban Thai. Proa near the Hilton is a also a good resturant

    You might try Guam Tropical Dive Station (GTDS) as they say they have boat dives every day, I do not remeber the price. They have a shop on Marine drive and one up on the airforce base. There is an interesting dive in Guam the Cormorant and Tokai Maru a WW1 and WW2 wreck that you do as one dive they are on top of each other.
    I have been told that the Hilton beach club does some dives via kayak you might want to check in to that.
  8. Banyan

    Banyan Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Homestead, FL
    Just piling onto the "Why stay on Guam if you can go to Palau?" argument. I love living here, but there's no comparison from a diving perspective.

    Hotels: Hilton is on the far left (south) of Hotel Row and has Ypao Beach Park between it and the tourist row proper. Though Proa, which is one of the better restaurants on the island, is at the entrance to the park and an easy walk. It is one of the older hotels. Fiesta is smack dab in the middle of hotel row and has one of the better buffets on the island, imo. Santa Fe isn't even on Hotel Row but is on the south side of the point on East Hagatna Bay. You won't be within walking distance of pretty much anything if you stay there. If you want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere, go to Sheraton, since there's an great shore dive right off the back of the hotel. ;)

    Diving: I've seen kayaks with dive gear being sent out of the Westin, so I assume that there's some sort of business that specializes in dive kayaks out of the hotels. The good news is that Tumon Bay outside the reef actually has decent dives. I've done one boat dive out there and ran in turtles, eagle rays and an array of fish. I just saw that MDA now requires a dive guide on weekday boats if you're from off island. (Before you just had to have a buddy, which is a problem when you're the only diver who isn't on a Japanese package tour.) I guess they got too many people showing up without a buddy and with no idea about the dive site. You might check GTDS if they still have the old "bring a buddy and go" rule, but you'll still be diving almost exclusively with Japanese and Korean tourists so finding an English-speaking buddy may be a chore.
  9. rkj1969

    rkj1969 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Guam
    GTDS requires a dive buddy to book a dive.....the DMs for MDA are pretty darn cheap, compared to anywhere else - and for a weekday dive, that's really going to be your best bet! (since most of us unfortunately work...)

    I have a couple I can recommend if you're interested - for the boat or for shore dives - just PM me!
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
  10. TwoScratchers

    TwoScratchers Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: San Francisco, CA
    Thanks for the restaurant recommendations, J105Puff, much appreciated. And yeah, Banyan, I'm a little sorry now that I didn't just overnight in Guam and spend more time in Palau, but Continental would only waive the change fee once (since I was originally flying through Tokyo), so it's Guam for me! I appreciate the info...guess I should have brought along a dive buddy, too. I'll touch base when I arrive to get the local recommendations. Thanks, all. Can't wait to get underwater.

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