• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Considering the Caribbean,,,, but where?

Discussion in 'General Travel and Vacation Discussions' started by DivrBikr, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    Coz use to be cheaper due to air but at least from here that is no longer the case. The best I can do on average to Coz is in the mid 500s but I can do Bonaire for the mid 600s or about $100 more. But if you add in more than 2 dives a day, the price of Coz shoots up a lot, for the extra $100 that a couple of night dives cost me in Coz, I can do many more dives with longer bottom times to boot. My average dive is 75 to 90 minutes on Bonaire as opposed to 45-60 on Coz - due to operator limits, I usually still have plenty of air. Based on $/minute of bottom time, Coz is not cheaper by a long shot. Then there is nitrox, included most places on Bonaire, it's another $10 or so per tank on Coz, that would cost me another $100-150. Rooms and meals are about on par. Funny thing is, from here Roatan is actually cheaper air, I can get it in the mid to high $400s if I watch.
  2. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    You need to compare some actual trip itineraries rather than blanket 'island vs. island' comparisons to get anywhere with this. I've got a wife & baby daughter, and may need to factor in bringing a baby sitter, so I've been doing some trip cost estimates with just this in mind for future trips. I'm going to lay out some recommendations for you to research costs and compare for yourself, and you can calculate airfare on Orbitz or what-have-you. And I concur; since airfare is a big part of the budget & the same whether you dive a day or a month, try to get a 1 week trip in.

    1.) Key Largo, Florida, diving with Rainbow Reef Diver Center. Their best rate is a 10 2-tank trip package; I got 20 dives in 5 days flat, $600+tax (still under $650) +tips. Factor in a hotel stay (I did Courtyard Marriot; $800 something with all of us in the room; might cost the same with just you, but I don't know), meals, renting a vehicle.

    2.) Dive Hut, Bonaire. It's off the water, but particularly if you travel solo you can keep your costs down with one of their 'hotel room' type accommodations. You must drive stick (or pay $150 up-charge & arrange in advance for an automatic), figure on $70+ gas late in the week, and food costs money, but it's a good way to get around 20 dives, give or take a few, crammed into a 1 week trip.

    3.) Buddy Dive, Bonaire - will cost hundreds more, but they pick you up from & return you to the airport, breakfast buffet is included, and there's a nice house reef right there for the diving.

    4.) Check out BayAdventures.com (I haven't used them as yet, just found the site browsing around) and look at Hotel Cozumel. You can get all-inclusive or not, I think. Then expect to read some forum threads here debating one hotel vs. another, the convenience of all-inclusive vs. getting better food & maybe value foraging, etc... While they have an in-house op., consider booking as a non-diver, and using your saving to help book your diving with Living Underwater, a well-regarded small op. with steel 120 cf tanks & long dive times.

    5.) Aldora Divers in Cozumel - very reputable op. Also has steel 120's, I believe, and has a housing option - Aldora villas.

    Remember to factor in airfare, baggage costs, vehicle rental & fuel, groceries/restaurant bills, and tipping (you can save money by only shore diving in Bonaire, so no tip expectation).

    For my little group right now, considering I was the only one diving, Key Largo was about the cheapest, but everyone's situation is a little different.

  3. Mike

    Mike Great White

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denver, Colorado
    Top dive spots in the Caribbean

    Cozumel, MX

    If the trip is based on dollars, get on expedia and start looking around and find a deal and follow your nose

    After those there is

    Turks and Caicos

    You won't go wrong with any of them, and there are lots after these, and then there are live-a-boards after that
  4. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    One to consider is a Blackbeards liveaboard. It's $959 all inclusive except for $100 in fees/fuel surcharge - plus crew tip. It's like camping at sea and you'll be sharing an area with several others - it's all bunks. But they do a lot of diving for the money - up to 19.

    So all you'd have is the cost of the flight to Nassau and cab to the boat. Bahamas Scuba Diving Liveaboards - Blackbeard's Cruises

    Cozumel can be very reasonable also. Flights should be more affordable than Roatan or Bonaire. I think you save more money by doing the bag drag from Cancun also - it requires taking a bus to the ferry and back. Some friends stayed at Villa Blanca Garden Hotel for under $700 including a single room, 15 boat dives and 3 meals were like $20 more/day. There's also a so/so shallow shore dive there in some rubble. They work with 5 dive operators nearby. Diving in Cozumel - Villablanca Garden Beach Hotel, Cozumel I don't know Cozumel but I don't think it's near much. My buddy walked to town once - about 2 miles. They also offer 4 night packages - but that's only 3days diving.

    Roatan's West End can be dirt cheap also. Places like Posada Arco Iris are $40-48ish per night for a studio with full kitchen. A one bedroom is $10 more. There's several small markets in the area for staples - one even sells some produce and meat. Food can be anything from street vendors grilling meet just outside your door to Sundowners Bar on the beach for sandwiches up to one of the finest Indonesian restaurants in the Caribbean. We never paid more than $5 for lunch or $25 for a steak dinner - at Argentinean Grille which fronts Posada. All the nightlife on Roatan is in that area also - the pub crawl later in the week is a good time. Posada Arco Iris - Lodgings

    Coconut Tree Cabins nearby has studios starting at $45/nt. If available, some with full kitchens. I think it's the same price. Lots of general West End info here also: Roatán, West End | Scuba Diving | Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras | PADI - we dove with CTD and I recommend them. Depending on your standards, you can find rooms for $10-20 nt. at many other places also. More inexpensively, Chillies is a hostel there. They're owned by the same people who own Native Sons, the other dive operator I recommend. Chillies: Best Budget Hotel on Roatan Island

    Diving is 10/$300 from any number of operators - there must be a dozen within a 1 mile stretch. Night Dives are $40 more. There's one shore dive there but access is more difficult - so is finding tanks to rent as most ops are boat based. You don't need/want a car (liability issues) and a cab from the airport is $25 one way. The only other expense is $40 to leave.

    One last thing if you're flexible on timing is to wait until Low Season starts. Typically that's April 15th or May 1st in the Caribbean. You'll save quite a bit. We plan our trips for late April/Early May - it's not summer so kids are still in school so less people travel then.

    Grand Cayman and Turks & Caicos are the 2 highest priced places I've dove. You won't find accommodations on Grand Cayman (as a single) for under $90 night, food is exorbitantly priced - even in markets - but there's a Burger King, several Subways, Dominos etc. Hardrock Cafe and Margarataville downtown also. Boat dives are about 2/$100+ from every operator. You can shore dive reasonably at a dozen sites but that requires $2-300 more for a car with CDW. Most sites have an onsite operator for tanks - they own to the waterline and do not allow other rentals on-site. Cayman is much better with a group so you can quad share a 2BR condo on the beach reasonably - they start at $250/nt. and up.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  5. ginpow

    ginpow Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canada/USA
    I have gone diving all over the world and I keep going back to (what I consider) the best spot: GRAND CAYMAN. It is the most amazing dive destination for ANY level of diver. It has tons of dive spots from beginner level to advanced. It has 60 to 100 feet of CLEAR visibility with tons of marine life. Shore diving is amazing as well. Another thing I love about Cayman is it is "Americanized" with great food and great medical facilities (not that you would need one). However, I have gone diving in adventurous destinations only to find out they that don't have medical facilities - no more of that for me. The only drawback is that Cayman is expensive. It is worth every penny. However, I have gone on "cheap" dive vacations that are not really cheap when you add everything up. Plus I didn't enjoy them so going cheap is not always a good indicator.
  6. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    Very true. That is one reason we always do Bonaire at that time of year.

    But if travel cost is a major part of the decision, I agree with the other posters that you need to just plug in travel dates and get your cost/options then come back here or to the specific forums for more advice.

    Another consideration that may be important to you is the best spots for single travelers. There are several threads on this as well, especially for Bonaire and Coz.
  7. DivrBikr

    DivrBikr Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Melbourne Beach, FL(still from Colorado!)
    (Same day,,, a little later.....)
    I will reiterate my earlier statement, I VERY much appreciate all of your input!
    I will reread all of this in-depth (no pun intended).
    I am open to any and all info.
    Thank you again!
  8. Corky Leadhogger

    Corky Leadhogger Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Houston, Texas
    Air is a little more than Cozumel, but less than Bonaire or Turks.
    When you get there, rooms are 57 to 69 a day.
    do West End - Night walking the street bars is way cool.
    Dive shop, bar, restaurant, hotel every 50 feet.
    Reef is incredible everywhere, cant buy a bad dive, and they're $35US.
    Don't tell anybody, but if you can stay more than 4 or 5 days
    to make the extra 200 airfare worth it, Roatan Honduras is it.
    Let's keep it a secret, while it lasts.

Share This Page