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What destination to get 25+ dives in a week?

Discussion in 'General Travel & Vacation Discussions' started by gkrane, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. gkrane

    gkrane Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Corpus Christi, TX
    486
    106
    43
    I am looking for destinations to get 25+ dives in for a week long trip at a dive resort other than Bonaire, Cozumel, and Roatan. Right now a liveaboard is not in the budget. Cost effective places with entertaining shore dives would be a plus to me as we travel and dive as a family.
     
    Mia Toose likes this.
  2. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    8,540
    6,249
    113
    Hi:

    Well, you wrote off Bonaire, CocoView Resort (by excluding Roatan) and live-aboards, yet want 25+ dives in a week, and 'budget.' Preferably with entertaining shore dives. Assuming you're looking at the Florida & Caribbean region, I hope you pull all that off, and I'd be interested to read the trip report later! I get that traveling as a family, sharing a hotel room can give a land-based trip a cost advantage vs. live-aboard.

    Curacao, at a resort with a good house reef, comes to mind. Perhaps St. Croix, staying at a site with good shore dive access?

    Live-aboards include some cheap options, such as Blackbeards, the Juliet (not that many dives) or the Explorer Ventures boat headed to dive St. Kitts & Saba, or the Bahamas Aggressor (which does 2 separate itineraries; one is cheaper).

    If you're not married to warm water, you might find a California live-aboard worthwhile, and quite cost effective. Doesn't have to be a live-aboard; not sure what it'd cost for the family to stay on Santa Catalina Island, dive Casino Point by shore & do boat trips with Scuba Luv. What you lose in exposure suit hassles & lower viz., you gain in new experiences and species, such as kelp diving.

    A few years back I dove with Rainbow Reef Dive Center in Key Largo; their 10 trip package deal, with 20 dives, was very cheap, and you might find that a good way to get a land-based high dive count trip in (my trip report; be aware their location moved some).

    Some links that might help you:

    Curacao vs. Bonaire - http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/lesser-antilles/473036-curacao-vs-bonaire.html

    Curacao 1st Timer Trip Report - Curacao 1st timer Trip report

    Place to stay in Curacao - Place to stay in Curacao See Damselfish Post #3.

    Curacao Trip with Teenagers in June - Curacao Trip With Teenagers In June

    Picking a Caribbean Live-aboard - http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/li...ats/495738-picking-caribbean-live-aboard.html

    T.C.’s Report on Blackbeards May 2014 - http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/bahamas/484271-trip-report-blackbeard-s-cruises-24-30-may.html

    Total Cost Mid-range Budget Florida & Caribbean Trips - Total Cost Mid-range Budget Florida & Caribbean Trips

    Discussion about St. Croix as a dive destination - http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/greater-caribbean-and-bermuda/504123-st-croix.html

    Best Boat & Shore Diving Locations - Best boat and shore diving locations

    Overall impressions from first visit to St. Croix - http://www.scubaboard.com/community/threads/overall-impressions-from-first-visit-to-st-croix.522475

    My Notes For Researching My California Dive Trip - My Notes for Researching My California Dive Trip

    Richard.

    P.S.: How many in the family, what ages, what topside stuff is desired? Is a beach a big deal? Is Curacao of interest?
     
  3. gkrane

    gkrane Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Corpus Christi, TX
    486
    106
    43
    I guess it is asking alot. By entertaining shore dives, I mean something that would compare to the shore dives of Coz with rubble and some fish. Relly an excuse to get wet and practice photography. The reason I excluded Bonaire is because I have been there and love it tremendously. I excluded CCV in Roatan because I have a trip planned there next year. Basically, I am just trying to see if there is anything out there that I have not heard of yet. By budget I mean somewhere between 4-6k for a family of three. Definitely warm water. Done enough of SoCal diving (which is cold to me) and could only hang for 2 dives per day.
     
    Mia Toose likes this.
  4. gkrane

    gkrane Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Corpus Christi, TX
    486
    106
    43
    There are three us in the family. Youngest is 12. Topside activities are not required. From what I have read Curacao is basically like Bonaire without the same level of shore diving access and variety.
     
  5. gkrane

    gkrane Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Corpus Christi, TX
    486
    106
    43
    One liveaboard I have been looking at with great interest is Lost Island Voyages in the Bahamas. Blackbeards is out as I dont think I could take 20+ people on a small sailboat for a week at my age.
     
    Newdiv, Dizzi Lizzi and Mia Toose like this.
  6. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    6,512
    5,277
    113
    KathyV likes this.
  7. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    5,311
    3,497
    113
    Take a look at St. Croix, in addition to good boat diving the Fredricksted Pier is a fabulous shore dive and a dream for photographers. I could go again and again! You would have to check resorts and dive ops find the prices, I don't remember it as an especially budget place to visit.

    What time of year to you want to travel? The fall specials for the Saba St Kitts Explorer livaboard is really nice diving and a good deal. The fall specials are the best rates across the Caribbean.

    An all-inclusive Grand Cayman resort with a house reef and unlimited shore diving might work for you, see the link below for a recent discussion on this topic. DiveTech the dive op with Lighthouse Point has a reputation for offering good family trips and diving options for juniors.

    Is It Possible to Dive Grand Cayman on a Budget?

    If you plan to travel in the winter, the prices will be at their peak across the Caribbean and the water temps will be chillier in the Northern Caribbean (around 78 F in Cayman) but the Bahamas will be very cold IMO! I did it once in March and never again!

    It won't get you 25 dives a week but an all-inclusive at the Cayman Brac Beach Resort would meet your budget needs, especially if you have triple occupancy, see the link below.

    Cayman Islands All Inclusive | Cayman Islands Vacations

    There is also supposed to be good shore diving on Brac but I have never tried it, see the link below, but you would need to rent a car.

    http://www.scubaboard.com/community/posts/7552158/
     
    Mia Toose likes this.
  8. bmorescuba

    bmorescuba Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Baltimore, MD, USA
    363
    402
    63
    I'll join the chorus in suggesting you check out St. Croix. You can definitely do it within your budget - use VRBO or AirBnb if resorts are prcied too high. 4 dives a day is quite possible. 5 dives a day would require some planning and sticking to a strict schedule. When we went, we stayed right near Cane Bay, which offers some great shore diving. The swim out is significantly longer than Bonaire, so be prepared for that. The fact that there's a dive shop right there means tank swaps are fast. And you don't have to keep diving Cane Bay itself - there are numerous sites along the north shore close to Cane Bay. The dive shop also runs boats each morning if you want to get the first 2 in on boats. Then, when you need some variety, head over to Frederiksted and dive the Pier. In the week we were there, we did 5 dives on the pier and were longing for more. It also makes getting 5/day easier since the Pier is a world class night dive. Of course, you have to like long, shallow dives with tons of cool critters...If you're staying in Cane Bay, there is the ~30 minute drive back, but 5/day is going to be a long day no matter what. There's plenty to see in St. Croix:

    https://flic.kr/s/aHski3NqBS

    The dives and topography are significantly different than Bonaire, there are boat dives on the north shore and in Frederiksted, and rum costs less than soda. I've been twice and would go back in a heartbeat. The most thrilling dolphin, shark, and octopus encounters I've ever had all happened in St. Croix.
     
  9. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    5,311
    3,497
    113
    Another thought, I have never been to Aruba and it doesn't have a great reputation as a dive destination, but it is said to be a good place for junior divers; lots of shallow reefs and easy dives.
     
    Mia Toose likes this.
  10. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    6,512
    5,277
    113
    Hey Kathy. I have been to Aruba many times. All but one before I started diving. I love Aruba and it offers a lot top side but I would not recommend it for a dive focused vacation and there are no dive resorts.

    Another budget friendly option is South Florida and the Keys but it would take some work to get in 25 dives a week. I recently did 22 dives in 9 days in West Palm Beach. Could have squeezed in a few more but these were mostly boat dives. There are some shore diving options south florida but takes some driving to get a variety of shore dives.
     
    Mia Toose and KathyV like this.

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