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I'm looking for an amazing dive vacation. We have a group of four... two will want to dive every day, including a night dive. Would love to see sharks / whale sharks. The other two will want to dive every other day but need a place where they would feel safe going off on their own for land fun.
Any ideas? I've googled and googled. Came up with great dive locations, but am unsure about the safety of the area or the ease of getting to land-based attractions:
Roatan - we went here on a cruise but the area did NOT seem safe. Traffic cops had MP5s and there was barbed wire surrounding the dive complex.
The likelihood of seeing a Whaleshark off Roatan is slim. For that you need to go to Utila. In spring. And it's snorkel only. On our boat we did 2-3 dives daily then went looking for them. Over 3 days we found/snorkeled with six. Utila is pretty small though, not a lot else to do there. Personally I'd be bored there if it weren't for the great diving. It's also a backpacking mecca so there's a lot of cheap accommodations. If you stay out at the resorts, you'll access town via boat - so they're probably pretty safe. And somewhat isolated.
Google Deep Blue Utila for one option - they also explain optimum times for seeing Whalesharks. I've stayed there, it's nice.
We spent a week on Curacao and dove 4x day. Never saw a shark - not even a nurse shark. A couple of Dolphins though. There aren't any whalesharks there either. There are some non-dive things to do there, shopping downtown, the ostrich farm, hiking, the Seaquarium etc.
You can dive (too deep to snorkel) with Whalesharks in south Belize off Gladden Spit in late spring/early summer. Either from the Placencia area or any number of land or atoll based resorts. Some of the landbased resorts in the Hopkins area might be a good fit as they have access to the Mayan ruins, jungle tours, nature preserves, cave tubing etc. - something that might meet the "land fun" requirement.
Google Splash Divers Belize for options - including bundled packages. They have some non-dive options also IIRC. Or Hamanasi or Roberts Grove for something a little nicer. There's also a couple of Coppola resorts there, Turtle Inn and Blancaneux Lodge <- not beachfront though.
Doc AdelmanPADI way before there was numbers
â€‹............This is weird -> u/w micro pix ....................... SeaDrops Plutonium:Refined from glistening beads of perspiration gently blotted from the downy
naked inner thighs of our private stable of free-range virginSwedish Divemistresses. ..........................................(Demand it at your SCUBA retailer and pay the highest price~ this alone ensures it's better mask defogger than toothpaste)
these companies due high volume of trip bookings, they hear good and bad first hand, and can steer you in the direction of the trip you want.
As others have said... the chance of seeing a whale shark anywhere in the world is pretty iffy.... they are very unpredictable, to say the least. They do come to Holbox Mexico in late summer and people are allowed to snorkel only with them.
Sharks.... best bet to see real sharks in their environment is to do a liveaboard. That doesn't sound like what you are looking for though. Unless dive ops are chumming the water (very unsafe, IMHO) then you are never guaranteed a shark on any dive.
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, then I would look at Cozumel Mexico. Really is safe there, flights directly into and out, and great diving at a cheaper price than other places in Carib.
check out one of my trip reports: Cozumel - April 2010
HI I'm writing you from beautiful Bayahibe, Dominican Republic.
Here with Coral Point Diving we can offer you an affordable dive vacation with many many options for non-diving excursions. Bayahibe is a great place and very easily accessed from the states. Much less toursty than some of the places you might encounter and offers some amazing diving and other activities.