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Looking for my personal best diving spot June/July-Caribbean/C.A./Mexico

Discussion in 'General Travel and Vacation Discussions' started by Wanphatkatt, May 26, 2012.

  1. Wanphatkatt

    Wanphatkatt Angel Fish

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    Been reading posts now for a few days and am at the point where I need the advice of the experienced..those that might be able to steer me in the right direction cuz I am overwhelmed with the amount of info out there and researching is very tiring![​IMG]

    Im looking for the best place to dive in June and July that meet all my needs. I thought of Roatan( maybe too Americanized for me) Providencia(columbian Island- seems beautiful), windward islands of the Antilles( is the diving good? Is it really expensive?) corn islands, Belize....Panama??other islands in the Caribbean? Sea of Cortez or Isla de Mujares in Mexico? am open to more suggestions. Trying to stick to destinations in the Caribbean and Central America or Mexico as those are the most accessable areas from the USA.. The most affordable flights.
    this is what I'm looking for:
    1) best diving possible..not over fished, good visibility, palagics, good season for big stuff-whales,whale sharks, other sharks?? Healthy reef.. Good dive outfitters that are safe and reliable. Good weather in June/ july.
    2) somewhat remote and non-touristy..off the beaten path as much as possible. don't want resorts or any cruise ship destination area..don't want to be one of 100 dive boats to dive an area a day..etc..
    3) vibrant local island culture.. I love immersing myself into other cultures.. Not into Americanized places..
    4) not expensive... I'm not into resorts.. I like staying in budget places or with locals.. Im on a budget so I'd rather spend less money on accommodation so I can spend more diving!
    help![​IMG]
    What destinations do you think would cover most of what I'm looking for in June/July?
    im also open to live aboards if you have any that come to mind...
    thanks in advance for reading and replying.. Thanks!!
    Alexis
     
  2. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year with
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    Wanphatkatt also sent me this question in a PM

    Yup, that's why SCUBABoard exists.

    Your requirements are, when taken as a whole and in total, are impossible to fulfill~ certainly in the Caribbean- except for the weather- as that will be assuredly good!

    My best advice is this- chill out and relax on the part "...best diving possible..not over fished, good visibility, lots of big stuff-pallagics...whale sharks?? Healthy reef..."

    The holy grails of diving will come with repeated dives. Right now, I'll bet that you might be just starting on this path. Go to a place where you can get a whole lot of dives in very cheaply. I am talking in the realm of 25 dives in a week. In the world of dive ops, there are "American" style places that understand and cater to that desire by Americans to dive-dive-dive... then there are those which operate on "island time". You have to decide what you want- do you want to dive as much as possible and thus eventually see all the cool stuff? Or... what?

    You'll have to decide what is more important, the actual diving or the search for "local island culture", which if you're being sincere (vs talking about some concocted Jimmy Buffet experience), the real island culture is something that is either non-existant or will be unavailable to you.

    You can't use words such as "...that meet all my needs... as those are the most accessable areas from the USA...The most affordable flights... best diving possible..not over fished, good visibility, palagics, good season for big stuff-whales,whale sharks, other sharks?? Healthy reef.. .... somewhat remote ....vibrant local island culture.. I love immersing myself into other cultures.. Not into Americanized places... not expensive... I'm not into resorts... I like staying in budget places or with locals.. Im on a budget so I'd rather spend less money on accommodation so I can spend more diving!....im also open to live aboards ..." and get a reasoned, legitimate response. These words simply do not go together.


    People who will follow this and tell you that all of your requirements are available~ they're selling something.



     
    vladimir likes this.
  3. TulumScuba.com

    TulumScuba.com Cave Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
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    hi there,
    I have some new idea for you, cenotes in Tulum, cavern diving together with whale shark experience in Isla Mujeres, cause June-July is the best season to spot them there in amount like more than 100...what a great experience!
    together with my boyfriend we run an independent dive school based in tulum, the best location for those who like cavern and cave diving. for us cave diving is a passion and tulum area is the most amazing dive destination. just help you maybe to make up your mind and try something new, you can do cavern dives as an open water certified diver or you can take some courses and become a cave diver. One can be sure, cave diving is an ultimate experience, which gives you an opportunity to discover underwater world and yourself from a very new side, much more beautiful that you ever expected! Do some research online.
    if you have never been here we offer a nice introduction package where you can visit all caverns within a week, 2-3 dives a day, no groups. you drive to the jungle and go diving many times without seeing other divers. that is really cool comparing to ocean diving nowadays. cavern diving is all very safe and unique, breathtaking calcite formation, beautiful light penetrating the cavern and unlimited visibility. diving condition does not depend on weather which gives you a grantee when it is raining......we dive everyday.
    Whale shark tours are more depending on weather, but in July there is 100% guarantee to see them eating plankton in calm water. Last year I saw more than 100 of them at once.
    If you have more question contact us on tulumscuba@gmail.com or on facebook or scubaboard. Here also some pictures from the most popular places.......
    cenotediving_angelita.jpg cenotediving_carwash.jpg cenotediving_chacmool.jpg cenotediving_grancenote.jpg cenotediving_manatee.jpg cenotediving_pit.jpg
     
  4. diversteve

    diversteve mod

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Phoenix
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    Agree with Doc's post. I have yet to find that sort of diving mecca in the Caribbean.

    You might find some of what you're looking for in Tobago. There's the Mantas, whales during parts of the year (not summer) Dolphins, the worlds largest brain coral, Speyside is a relatively small town and there's Hammerhead diving off the Sisters nearby. For us it was about 18hrs. travel and so expensive that it cut into our normal trip budget substantially just to get there - so I have no personal exp. there.

    Utila maybe also except you've missed the Whale shark "season". And it's snorkel only with them there. We saw some bigger pelagics: cuda, oceanic triggers, grouper, rays etc. but no sharks. The backpackers and dive students overwhelm the local population there so probably not the cultural experience you want either. And it's mostly boat diving if you stay in town, the AI resorts have shore dives but they're isolated and quiet - no local interaction there. There is one local town off the west end that's on it's own little island - there's at least one resort and dive op based there also - IDK any details.

    Possibly South Belize near Placencia also - about the only place you can dive with Whale sharks - Mexico is snorkel only also - but the last days for that are June 4-14 this year - it's based on the Cubera Snapper spawning after the full moon and occurs only at Gladden Spit offshore from Placencia. There are some affordable accommodations near town - or more expensive resorts up along the coast - some of which also run day trips out there. As do several of the AI's on the atolls but they're pretty isolated. Other things to do in that area include river tours, the Mayan ruins, howler monkeys, the jaguar preserve, jungle treks etc. Cruise ships do go to Belize but they moor offshore from Belize City so no impact on Placencia.
     
  5. DeputyDan

    DeputyDan Great White

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
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    I didn't bother with an answer because the OP's request does not exist in the Caribbean basin.
     
  6. Quero

    Quero Will be missed

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
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    It sounds like a typical pie-in-the-sky Lonely Planet post, Alexis! What you are asking for--cheap, easily accessible, but few tourists and untouched reef full of large pelagics--is just a contradiction in terms. The cheap places are overrun by budget traveler/backpacker types; the easily accessible places are full of tourists. Both of these facts mean that the reefs are not going to be pristine and it won't be only you and large pelagics in the water in some remote place where you sleep in a hammock on the porch of a dive center. You need to prioritize. What can you cross off that shopping list of yours?
     
    vladimir likes this.
  7. Wanphatkatt

    Wanphatkatt Angel Fish

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    Thanks for your post, Quero, at least you are willing to engage in communication and ask me what I can cross off my list! And thanks Diver Steve for your suggestions as well!
    Sorry if My post sounded ignorant...I have mostly dived in the most pristine places that exist, with a vibrant culture to explore topside. Like Papua New Guinea, Indonesian live aboard between Bali and Komodo, Fernando De NOronha in Brazil, Solomon Islands, etc... I also am not a Lonely Planet backpacker traveler type, ( have worked in Antarctica, lived in Brazil for two years, have done expeditions in Papua New Guinea, etc...I really do interact with locals and love other cultures.. I have been doing cultural travel for over 20 years)even though this time around I really am on a budget.This time, I don't have that much time or money so I thought to stay closer to home- in the Caribbean, central America or Mexico, but I have little idea what these places have to offer since I havent been and am just starting my research so I put up the post asking for exactly what Im looking for , but not expecting to get it all...I thought folks could just give me thier best advice based on their experience instead of criticism. I guess ultimately, It would be great to get A LITTLE of all the things I would like... SOME local culture.. A pretty awesome dive experience...I wouldn't freak out if there were SOME backpackers around and hotels and resorts.. I guess the worst would be to have a great culture to explore but terrible diving..But great diving and beaches covered with resorts and partying backpackers and cruise ship tourists would be pretty bad, too. And a place so expensive that I would have to leave after a week wouldn't work either. So how about a place that offers a middle ground? I just thought that there are so many very experienced divers that have been to so many locations that I could get some good insight.
    thanks again for anyone willing to respond!
     
  8. Quero

    Quero Will be missed

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
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    You're welcome, Alexis. My first reaction when I skimmed through your post was "Asia is perfect for her!" But then I saw you want something close to home...

    Here's an idea, if you're willing to forgo the "easy access" bit: Little Corn Island Nicaragua
     
  9. Wanphatkatt

    Wanphatkatt Angel Fish

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    I've read about Little Corn Island..and wonder how it compares to Roatan..anyone know?
    ..Quero, of course I have considered Thialand, its further and more expensive to get there, but seems cheap to live and travel there. but Ive always been turned off by what a backpackers Mecca it is...seems like there are so many dive shops, backpackers, hostels, resorts, beach parties, live aboards, etc..I get the idea that the sites are over-dived and crowded..and top side it's just a big backpacker party. I may be wrong though? I was interested in gong there to dive the Similian Islands but found in my research that they are not open for diviing in June/July when I can go...Richelieu Rock sounds interesting for whale sharks but also seems like June /July is not the time to see them...I'd
    like to know what you think. Do you know anything about diving in Burma? The governmant and borders have softened a bit lately, i think, so perhaps it's a good time to go there for both diving and land/culture travel..
    any other suggestions?
     
  10. Quero

    Quero Will be missed

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
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    Alexis, there are indeed parts of Thailand that are backpacker havens, just as there are parts of Central America, like Honduras, that are infamous in the same way. And because the diving in Thailand is (in my opinion) so much richer than anything at all I've seen in multiple trips to the Caribbean, and the food and culture are so wonderful, it naturally attracts lots of visitors, and at times there are lots of boats in the water. Having said that, though, there are plenty of places that are not beach party areas, and when you're on a liveaboard, it's just you and your ship-mates, so if you're not on a party boat, you don't get the wild party atmosphere. It's a big topic, and too much to really go into here, but even on Phuket island, where I'm based, there are a few areas that are very touristy and the other 85% of the island that isn't; people tend to equate Phuket the island to Patong the beach town, but that's like thinking all of California is like LA. As you know, it takes a long time to get to this part of the world from North America, and jet lag/travel fatigue is an issue when it comes to diving safely, so doing a short trip isn't advisable. The diving in the northern marine national parks, including Richelieu Rock, is permitted between Nov 1 and May 1 when sea conditions are safe for pleasure boating, meaning that when you are free to travel, the parks will be closed to visitors.

    Burma is opening up, and should be interesting, at least land-based, but the dive sites are a different story. There's constant dynamite fishing going on there, so the reefs are not in good shape. The main attraction of going there, IMO, is the lack of other divers. But there's not too much to see, and it's very, very expensive, not to mention hugely remote in the case of any illness or accident. The diving season is the same as for the Thailand marine parks in the Andaman Sea.

    In June, in Asia, I tend to recommend Malaysia and Indonesia to my divers. You would probably like Pulau Weh.
     

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