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Ambergris Caye vs Placencia Diving

Discussion in 'Belize' started by scuba kbell, May 31, 2016.

  1. scuba kbell

    scuba kbell Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NJ
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    Hello! We are planning a last minute trip to Belize in June. There does not seem to be too much recent info on Placencia diving. How does the diving compare to Ambergris Caye? We were thinking about splitting the time between the 2 locations. Is it worth it to try both or just one location (10 days)? I was looking for a place that had a decent beach to go to after a morning of diving. Does anyone have a dive shop recommendation? I am indifferent about diving Blue Hole, so it isn't factoring into my decision. How about your experience with Maya vs Tropic Air?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Downing

    Downing Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Portland, Oregon
    1,887
    624
    113
    I haven't been to AC, but I go to Placencia every year and in fact will be there next week for the rest of June.

    Placencia - boat rides are longer, so lunch will be served on a caye. Splash Dive Center is the shop of choice, but some of the hotels have their own in house dive ops. Great beaches up and down Placencia. Also, very easy access to the jungle if you're so inclined. The village isn't quite the tourist centric location that is San Pedro, but there are plenty of restaurants, bars, sandwich shacks, etc to choose from.

    AC - has more of everything and is where the bulk of the tourist trade goes. Nothing wrong with that, and in fact helps keep the lines shorter in Placencia for which I am grateful.

    Splitting time? I would think more like 14 days would be the bare minimum if I wanted to split time. The logistics of going from one to the other is going to take a pretty big bite out of a precious vacation day. If I were only doing ten days, I'd rather stay put, at least until near the end, then go back to the mainland and check out the stuff to do there before hopping a plane. You can always go back and stay at the other place next time. Otoh, getting there is half the adventure, and I see package deals all the time for 3 days on the beach followed by 3 days in the jungle or vice-versa. Not my preference but ymmv.

    Maya vs Tropic. No difference, really. For whatever reason, I prefer Maya.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2016
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  3. katzgar

    katzgar Nassau Grouper

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    look at them on gmaps. Placencia is 20 miles from the reef and AC is yards from the reef. they fly the same plane, the caravan.
     
  4. scuba kbell

    scuba kbell Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NJ
    63
    3
    8
    I think I am going to do Ambergris Caye only since this is my first trip to Belize (other than a dive during a cruise stop). I was thinking of staying either north or south of San Pedro since it looks like there might be better beaches there and looks a bit more quiet. Is this accurate? Do most dive shops service these areas too or do they only stay in certain sections of AC? Does leaving from north vs south in AC go to different dive sites, and if so which is better?
    On some dive shop sites I see mention of going to Basil Jones or Hol Chan. Are these worth the premium cost or are the sites local to AC about the same?
     
  5. rydog

    rydog Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Placencia, Belize
    94
    11
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    Both Maya and Tropic are the same price, depends on the departure time for us. Down here in Placencia Seahorse and Splash are regularly going out. I go out with Seahorse which actually has a smaller boat but I like the crowd better. Its an hour out to the reef here and yes, lunch is provided on a sandy caye. I prefer the dives out at Turneffe (from AC) over anything down here FWIW but that is also a long ride out to the site. June is SLOW so keep that in mind. Snorkel Hol Chan, its not that spectacular of a dive.
     
  6. katzgar

    katzgar Nassau Grouper

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  7. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    26,587
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    The beach is not necessarily the same. I prefer the far north beaches myself. The majority of the south beaches are smaller than the majority of north beaches except for Sunset Beach Resort and Caribe Island Condos, which are on the south side and have a very large beach area.

    That said, while I prefer the beaches up north, I don't prefer access to town from there because you have to pay to take your cart over the bridge which is fine once in a while but not that great if you're going to town in your cart every day or evening.

    Let me know when you've identified a couple of options and I may be able to tell you more about them.
     
  8. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Hol Chan is a shallow site in the reserve. It can be snorkeled though I enjoyed diving it way back when. A snorkel at Hol Chan is usually combined with a snorkel at Shark/Ray Alley, a nice fun way to spend couple of hours. You shouldn't need to book anything yet, so wait until you get there to decide.

    I can't speak to the exact site differences between north and south resorts. I have done some north sites in the past and enjoyed them well enough. This is probably something you shouldn't worry about in your overall determination.
     
  9. mmmbelows

    mmmbelows Regular of the Pub

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    Is there a reason you wouldn't just go for it and stay out on Turneffe where all the best diving is?
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  10. Downing

    Downing Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Portland, Oregon
    1,887
    624
    113
    What's the toll on the bridge?

    I'm surprised Belize doesn't have more toll bridges. Punta Gorda could really use a new bridge over Joe Taylor Creek. And the Hummingbird Highway's one lane bridges are an adventure unto themselves.

    Turneffe Island Resort tends to run a lot of specials in the summer. Right now the website says "$1,000 off." Worth checking out for the OP. It doesn't get much better than TIR, and he can skip the Blue Hole but get in some pretty great dives that day out at Half Moon Caye.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.

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