Inexpensive 8 day trip to Some of the Best diving in Carribean
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View Poll Results: I have been to San Andres and find the diving to be...
Inexpensive 8 day trip to Some of the Best diving in Carribean
A group of us are planning a scuba trip to the island of San Andres. To get to the island, we are chartering a flight from San Jose Costa Rica on March 2nd and returning on the 10th. We are looking for other divers that may be interested to travel with us and therefore reduce the cost for all. Flights to the island from the US are impossible in one day (unless you live in Miami - inwhich case you MIGHT be able to fly through Bogota... uhhhh no thank you). We expect the cost of the trip to run about $800-$1000 depending on the number that wish to come. This would include hotel, air FROM San Jose costa Rica, 3 meals a day at hotel, and six two tank dives with unlimited shore diving infront of the hotel.
I have included what links I can find. I visited the island for 10 days over the summer and found it to be safe and the hotel clean.
I have been to San Andres, the island used to be a party town since it was a free trade zone (ie, no taxes), however since it lost that special status, the island has not kept its allure.
Now, from the diving part, the water is really warm, great reefs and a lot of fish. I did not scuba when I was there but snorkeled (due to flying constraints), but what I saw was simply amazing, and it is a place to recommend.
The fares are really cheap, since it is a 3rd world country and you get good service. Keep in mind that the boats and gear may not be the latest but they do the job. Overall, it is highly recommended.
Good luck on your trip!
PS: You can fly from Bogota as well, the airport is somewhat small but there are VIP rooms if you don't want to leave the city. As someone who is not Colombia, I have to say that it is actually one of the nicest cities in all of South America.
We just returned from San Andres Isla mid January and we had a great time.
Flights (from Toronto direct to San Andres via AirTransat): were on time; had to wait in the hot sun when arriving for customs; when leaving we were padded down (frisked) by Colombian army (sounds worse than it actually was) on departure; airport is small and noisy (renovations on-going.)
Accommodations: stayed at the Decameron Aquarium; some rooms are very nice with great ocean views; some rooms are musty with a view of another room; safety boxes available ($2 / day); staff tries to please, but very laid back (i.e. phone messages delivered next day – or not at all.)
Locals: very nice, helpful and friendly; not one person asked for a handout (very nice).
Isla: very small; lots of shops and boutiques; US $ and Colombian pesos accepted; rented a golf cart ($20 for 3 hrs) and toured the Isla – and had extra time! Some pretty spots and traffic isn’t too bad.
Weather: where there is no snow is great, but it was in the 80’s and always windy; it rained every late afternoon, but only for 15 – 30 minutes then sunny.
Safety: no problems encountered; we walked around the town at night and never heard of any trouble by anyone in the group; there is a Army and a Navy base on the Isla and the military personnel are very friendly,
Food: typical island fare but the coffee is above average and the fruit is delicious.
Nightlife: abundant, but we didn’t take any in – due to early dives and ZZZZZ
We dove with Diver’s Dream, they are on the Hotel’s complex (small) and there were two morning dives, leaving the dock at 9:00 AM. ($150 for 5 days of 2 tank dives). Our dive master (David), was great and we all appreciated his help and friendliness. Make sure you have a “save a dive” kit as a few o-rings had to be replaced while on the boat (they don’t bring replacements?!)
The boats, (25 x 7) are open and hold about 12 divers. We usually dove on the leeward side as the seas are pretty rough on the other (10 – 15 ft waves).
Wreck Cantile: 70’ 100’+ vis, nurse shark, turtles, rays, beautiful fish (Parrot, etc. I don’t know all the types as this was our first warm water dives and everything was new!)
Blue Diamond Wreck: 45’ large ship on sand, some fish, great vis.
West Point: 100’, clear, beautiful coral, this was our Advanced OW deep dive.
Reggae Nest: 65’ nice coral, rays and colorful fish.
Pyramid: 30’, night dive, not much to see (lobster and eel), but the surge was strong and as this was our first night dive, not very enjoyable.
Nirvana Cantille: 75’, small fish and lots of coral.
West View: 30’, great dive (other group did a night dive here and loved it), coral tunnels, caves.
Grouper Palace: 100’, DEEP (>300’) wall dive, rough seas (on windy side of island), the wall was very interesting and I really enjoyed this dive.
Tortuga Trap: 75’, beautiful fish and coral, turtles, barracudas, nice and easy.
Swimming Pool Cantile: 100’, lots of fish (big schools), saw 2 tuna, great dive.
Beautiful Shallows: 60’, great vis, fantastic coral, rays and lots of small fish.
Saw some barracuda and the biggest ray of the trip (5 ft wings), while snorkeling near the hotel.
There are no big animals or big fish – but David (dive master) saw a Hammerhead in the fall. Water temp was a constant 80/81 degrees and beautiful colors. The shop had Nitrox, but it was an extra $18 per tank! Extra dives were $18 and the night dive was $30. The trip was $780 (US) including air, accommodation, food and drinks – the dives were extra.