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Backpackers wanting cheap Scuba Diving spots!

Discussion in 'Central America' started by Frank23, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Frank23

    Frank23 Angel Fish

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    Hi, We're two backpackers looking for all the best places to dive in central america in February.We'll probably start in Utila or roatan Honduras and then go south to nicaragua costa rica and panama. Can someone direct us to the cheapest diving centers in those countries where we could rent equipement and dive without going broke right away. We're in search of the cheapest options ands still get the best dives we can. THANKS!!!
     
  2. diversteve

    diversteve Technical Admin

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,242
    5,820
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    Utila is a backpacker's haven so I'd start there. The cheapest way to get there is the Princess ferry - it's about $25 from the mainland. Utila Princess - Utila, The Bay Islands, Honduras There's all sorts of hostel type accommodations in town and cheap diving. IDK any as we stayed at an AI resort away from town.

    Inexpensive diving on Roatan is in the West End. Dives are $30-35 or less. Coconut Tree Divers adds gear for $5 more. Chillies is the hostel in that area and there's also other cheap rooms. There's also a new(er) place - http://www.actiweb.es/buenaondaroatan/servicios.html

    Decent sandwiches are at Sundowners or there's local street vendors. There's also a noodles place that was really cheap - can't recall the name. The Galaxy is the inexpensive way to get there - plus a $25? cab ride to the West End since it docks in Dixon Cove on the south side. http://www.roatanferry.com/index.html Negotiate with the cab drivers - most are flexible.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
    mermaidjade and lthomas132 like this.
  3. macado

    macado PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston, MA (mentally in Cozumel, MX)
    1,206
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    Caye Caulker in Belize has lots of budget accommodations and if I remember correctly the diving was reasonably priced. It's definitely a backpacker destination. This will probably be the cheapest place to dive in Belize. Ambergris Caye is slightly more expensive.

    If you can get to Cozumel (easy to get to from Belize or Guatemala take bus to Chetumal and then ADO bus to Playa Del Carmen) the diving here is a bit cheaper as there are hundreds of different dive ops and a lot of them will do package dealsd.

    There are a few hostels you can stay at that are very reasonably priced. It has some of the best diving in Central America/Caribbean.
     
    lthomas132 likes this.
  4. Frank23

    Frank23 Angel Fish

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    Thanks guys, Does anyone know about nicaragua's corn islands ? is it worth it ?
     
  5. gb_williams

    gb_williams Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Smyrna, Georgia
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    When you get to Panama, go directly to Bocas del Toro. The dive op is Bocas Water Sports. A two-tank dive is $60, and that includes all your gear. If you're doing multiple dives, it drops down to $55. There are other dive ops in Bocas. Dutch Pirate seems to be good, but you'll have rental charges on top of the dive charges. La Buga is much more focused on surfing, which is also very good and quite popular in the archipeligo. Based on my personal experience, I would strongly recommend you avoid Starfleet.

    Bocas is a great place for backpackers. There are a number of hostels within easy walking distance of BWS. If you eat with the locals in the cafeterias, you can get by very cheaply. Plus, there are a number of excellent restaurants and bars with very reasonable prices. A step up from the hostels are a few bed-and-breakfasts. Check out Lulu's, Cocomo-on-the-Sea and Hotel Angela. All are in the quieter area of Bocas Town and all within a short walk of restaurants, bars and BWS. Check this website: www.bocas.com.

    Just be aware - February is not only carnaval time, it's summer vacation in Panama. Bocas is a very popular spot, and BWS is a small dive op. They only take 4 divers per DM on their two six-packs. Making reservations is a very good idea in February. www.bocaswatersports.com.

    The diving is about like shore diving in Roatan. The viz is not that great, but the corals and the macro life are rich and plentiful.

    If you have other questions about Bocas, let me know. I've been diving there since 2000.
     
  6. Krazytomdiver

    Krazytomdiver Divemaster

    # of Dives:
    Location: Alona Beach,Bohol,Cebu,Philippines
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    I have lived & worked as a dive guide on both Big & Little Corn Islands. Forget about Big Corn except for ATM & take the wild water taxis to Little Corn. Two dive shops on this beautiful island,Dive Little Corn & Dolphin Dive,both are great. Diving is so-so except for the exceptional Blowing Rock. Contact either one for a cheap place to stay.
    Dive safe & have fun!
    "living life without a hard bottom"
    KT
     
  7. Scuba Tom

    Scuba Tom Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
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    Diving in Bocas del Toro is not so good. I would recommend you or to stay in Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica or to head to Coiba or the pacific coast of Panama.
     
  8. laurenceh

    laurenceh Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: utila & chicago
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    if diving is the main reason for your trip i'd skip the corn islands and bocas del toro, neither impressed me with their diving. stay longer in honduras, caye caulker is fun and has a cool vibe, both places are cheap and offer great diving.
     
  9. gb_williams

    gb_williams Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Smyrna, Georgia
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    While Coiba is certainly the highest rated diving location in Panama, it doesn't fit the OP's requirement for "cheap." That's why I didn't mention it previously.

    The last two times I dove Bocas, ex-pats living in Costa Rica joined us. They came to Bocas Water Sports because they said the diving was better, much cheaper, with better gear and more to see than in Costa Rica.
     
  10. Salt

    Salt Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New England
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    Having been on a similar backpacking trip I can easily recommend:
    1) Utila, Honduras
    2) Roatan, Honduras
    3) Caye Caulker, Belize
     
    lthomas132 likes this.

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