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I'll be in Puerto Vallarta this year from Dec 30- Jan 6th. This op is connected with my hotel so I assume that they give some sort of discount?? Would anyone recommend this dive op? experiences with them etc
Last edited by skresch; July 24th, 2007 at 12:11 AM.
I dove with them last year and they were alright. Lots, and lots and lots (120 to 170??) of people on the boat with maybe 12 to 16 divers, 3 to 5 DMs and a videographer. The dives are cut short and probably not the best dive sites due to the mix of divers (newbies and some advanced divers).
We went on holidays to Puerto Vallarta November 06. Puerto Vallarta is lush, green, beautiful a quaint little city. We stayed at Paradise Village for two days, and the Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta for a week. We loved both places; Paradise Village has two big pools, comfy rooms, a nice beach and the best golf course in town. The Grand Mayan is gorgeous, very modern, posh furnishings and had a fabulous waterpark including a lazy river, water slides, and lots of pools. Nuevo Vallarta is about 20 minutes by taxi away from Puerto Vallarta where most of the Dive ops are.
I chose to dive with Vallarta Adventures because they were in Nuevo Vallarta about 15 mins walk from the GM. I knew from reading Scubaboard that they were a cattle op, but I had no idea how much. I arrived at the Vallarta Adventures office and there were many, many people milling around. I found the dive desk, there were at least 15 people trying to check in. I checked in and got my gear (not bad Aqualung Breakers newer BCD and Aqualung regs) signed a bunch of wavers and had to wear a bracelet marking me as a diver. Then we got on a huge boat with about 150 other people, I am not joking 150 people. We rode all the way to Puerto Vallarta and picked up more people and let some of the people off our boat to go to different boats for different sites. We were headed out to Las Marietas, and finally underway. It took about 1-½ hours to get there from PV dock. The boat was huge and it had four bathrooms, an eating area, and sundeck upstairs and a dive platform too, with two chase boat pangas in tow. They fed us sandwiches and fruit and lots to drink. They also had entertainment; a guy doing standup about PV, Mexico, safety features of the boat and about Las Marietas, he was funny.
The divers were let off the dive platform first and in a different area than all the snorkelers, and then picked up by the chase boats at the end of the dive. I was impressed with the dive; lots of fish, warm water, many eels, fair visibility (40 foot) and some coral. The second dive had lots of swimthru areas and puffer fish and two people saw a seahorse. The dives were each about 40 minutes at 60 feet and were led by the DM. The DM sent each buddy pair up as they got to 700 psi; I was buddied with the DM. At 40 mins the DM signaled he had to surface, I had 1200 psi left and lots of nitrogen time, I was disappointed but whatever. The DM signaled that I could stay down by myself if I wanted to, I signaled back to check if I ‘heard’ right, I thought about it but figured I’d better not since I wasn’t set up for solo diving. I am not sure if the DM cut the dive short because of a schedule or airtime, he might have been getting low on air because he didn’t have good trim and had to chase after a couple divers a lot. There were a total of about 18 divers with three DMs and a video guy. I bought the video and I have been watching it as I look at the 11 F degrees on our outdoor thermometer.
Diving in Puerto Vallarta area was kind of an afterthought but I was impressed with the diving and wish I would’ve made time to dive more.
In PV we usually use Vallarta Adventures for a snorkel trip with our non-diving friends: VA is a great opp for this kind of day and we always have a great time. For diving we use Pacific Scuba: They run small boats and small groups and have great service.
I've gone with VA 4 times over the last few years. I really like their operation. The dives are pretty decent, albeit about 40 - 45 minutes at about 60 fsw. The dive boats are not as crowded as stated above, but do have snorklers, etc. The dive boats are pretty comfortable and the trip to and from the sites are pretty enjoyable. The dives are not as gung-ho as with some other operators, but I'd go with VA at every opportunity.
I really like Pacific Scuba, personally. They are priced reasonably, the DMs all speak good English and lots of experience, the boats are small, and comparatively the lunch is better than some of the other ops :-) They are also very flexible as far as planning dives that you are interested in and making deals for multi-day diving.