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OW/AOW destination recommendation: Aruba /Punta Cana /Cancun/Montego Bay

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by DivingChipmunk, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. purbeast

    purbeast Barracuda

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
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    Direct from the DC area I'd say Grand Cayman for sure. That's where I did my OW/AOW dives and it was fantastic.

    I've been to Aruba 5x and GC 4x now and the water is noticeably clearer in GC. And warmer, although Aruba's water isn't cold by any stretch.

    EDIT:

    Oh just saw you can't get to GC then. Not sure why you need to have direct flights though. I've flown SW to GC the past 2 times and we are there by 1pm with a layover in FLL.

    I'd pick Aruba over the other 2 places, just because I like Aruba more lol. Been to Cancun 2x and it's just a party central place for the most part.
     
  2. diversteve

    diversteve moderatorem noster omnipotens

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: everywhere
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    Florida?
     
    KathyV likes this.
  3. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
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    Well now I understand why you are looking for direct flights and all-inclusive, you are planning a very short trip - more of a long weekend - and you are planning to pack a lot into it! Dive certifications and non-dive family activities.

    Wednesday and Sunday will be travel days and Saturday is the "wait to fly" day. So you only have Thursday and Friday to dive (and maybe early Saturday morning depending on the time of your flight home on Sunday).

    I agree with others that you and your niece should try and get as much of your preliminary work done in advance and only plan to do check-out dives on vacation. And you may also want to consider @diversteve's suggestion of Florida. You could probably fly direct, short flights to/from Fort Lauderdale or Miami and arrange for your check out dives.
     
    Damselfish likes this.
  4. diversteve

    diversteve moderatorem noster omnipotens

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: everywhere
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    btw that was a serious suggestion. A friend lives in NYC and flies direct to one of several airports on FL's east coast. (JetBlue?) If she takes an early flight, she's gone shore diving that afternoon.

    As KathyV mentioned for any of your suggested destinations you'll burn a day getting there. Some shops also hold an orientation that next morning which further reduces your max possible dive count.

    I also suggest that both divers do the E-learning b4 they go so they don''t burn a day at the destination sitting in a classrom.
     
    KathyV likes this.
  5. Jenny Vannari

    Jenny Vannari Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Estonia
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  6. purbeast

    purbeast Barracuda

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
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    Another thing to keep in mind is that dive shops can only do 3 training dives per day. So your OW/AOW is going to take a total of 3 days. If you are getting there the 27th, that gives you November 28th, 29th, and 30th to dive. Then you are flying back on December 1st. So just be sure you have enough no-dive time before you hop on your flight.
     
    Damselfish and KathyV like this.
  7. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
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    None of those places sounds ideal to me to do a certification, generally without shore diving and limited choice of ops and boat schedules. Seems like a tall order especially to fit in OW, too rushed if even possible. Definitely would want to do class/pool at home and a referral to increase odds of getting it done in limited time slot. I was going to say Grand Cayman before I read the part about the short holiday weekend and no flight. I like the Florida idea.
     
    KathyV likes this.
  8. Storker

    Storker Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: close to a Hell which occasionally freezes over
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    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...


    Duplicate threads merged

     
  9. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
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    @DivingChipmunk would it be possible for you and your husband and niece to arrive a few days early (or stay over a few days) and plan on spending a full week? Then you could get some of the diving taken care of and still have time for family events. You might need to split up and use multiple dive shops - but that ruins your shared experience! But that's rather a lot to expect from one dive shop, over a couple of days during a holiday week, when they have their regular dive schedule to maintain. A place with reliable shore diving might be a plus for accomplishing some of the training dives.
     
    Damselfish likes this.
  10. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
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    Now that I have a better idea of your trip, I would amend my original post also. You have some great info from others if this was mainly a diving trip, but I see this as a trip you want to enjoy with family and try to get in some diving with a family member who maybe wants to learn to dive.

    If I were planning a trip on my own with the main diving goals being to get niece OW (or Scuba Diver) certified and maybe myself AOW certified, within your trip parameters (especially the number of days), it would go like this:

    1. Plan the trip to Montego Bay or Cancun area and stay where Dressel Divers is either located or nearby. Punta Cana would fall into this group also but I'm not sure Dressel Divers has the same type of daily dive schedule as the other locations, that being 3 dives a day. Whether or not these locations are considered great places to dive or not, the water will be warm and pretty clear....so it will be great!

    2.If the plan is for your niece to still be certified:
    PLAN A: I would still say that your niece doing the course before your trip is the ideal way to do it and then complete her check out dives at the dive op on your trip.
    PLAN B: The full OW scuba course is 5 modules theory (class/videos), 5 pool modules, and 4 dives. That's cramming a lot into a few vacation days. You have to decide if your arrival time, number of days staying, and leaving a 24 hr. no-dive time before the flight home is feasible. ***To eliminate reading/study time on your trip, OW is offered through PADI eLearning.
    PLAN C: The PADI Scuba Diver Course is a basic certification that allows a person to dive with a dive professional and only requires 3 modules theory (class/videos), 3 pool modules, and 2 dives. Same considerations as above. ***To eliminate reading/study time on your trip, Scuba Diver is also offered through PADI eLearning.

    3. If the plan is still for you and the hubby to get AOW certified you will have 5 sit down sessions/reviews with an instructor and also have to complete 5 dives.
    PLAN A: Complete the AOW PADI e-learning course before the trip so that you only have to complete the dives on your trip.
    PLAN B: Spend vacation time reading 5 sections in a manual, complete the associated questions, sit with an instructor reviewing those questions, and schedule the 5 dives associated with those sections.

    * AOW is offered free through Dressel, with the exception of the course materials. You pay for the dives. When I did the course, which happened to be through Dressel, I paid for a 11 dive package and did my 5 AOW dives within those.

    * No matter what, chances are that Dressel would take you and your niece out together for dives, but you will each have different instructors leading the dives. With 3 dives a day offered, it definitely makes it easy to get the required dives in.

    4. Not knowing flight arrival/departure times, I would be trying to squeeze all of my diving into Thursday and Friday, so I had all of Saturday as a surface interval (and day for fun) before flying home on Sunday. If I knew I had 24 hours from the end of a final dive on Saturday to the time I actually flew, I might try to get a last dive in. If I were taking any of my gear, I definitely would not dive on Saturday as I would want it to be dry for the trip home.

    I'm not necessarily promoting Dressel Divers, but them being located at places on your list certainly make it easier to fulfill your diving goals. You don't have to research other diving ops and try to make plans for certifications because this is what Dressel does - you can coordinate the eLearning through them.
     
    KathyV likes this.

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