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Dive Review of Amigos Del Mar/Victoria House in
Belize/Ambergris Caye

April, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Jeremy Ellis, GA, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 2946
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Aruba, Bahamas, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Caymans, Florida
Keys, Turks & Caicos 
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, windy  
Seas
choppy, surge  
Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
All dives were guided, but divers could define their own profile.  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
4 stars  
Comments
There are no camera rinse tanks on the boats or when you get back to the
dock.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
3 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
Ambergris Caye is a small island off the coast of Belize.  You get around
the island by driving golf carts along the dirt roads.  Beware that the
roads are fairly bumpy.

We stayed at the Victoria House, which is the most southern resort on the
island and one of the more upscale resorts.  The rooms are amazing and we
highly recommend the #12 Plantation Suite.  The food was fantastic and the
staff very friendly.  There are hammocks on the beach as well as lounge
chairs.  The pool is designed to let you have your lounge chair in the
water making it easier to jump into the deeper water to cool off.  We
recommend renting a golf cart so you can see more of the island and try
some of the restaurants on the island. 

Restaurants "downtown" are mostly good to excellent with all
varieties of cuisine, although local fresh catches are your best bet.  Our
favorites were the Blue Water Grille, Caliente and the restaurant at the
Victoria House.  For those of you who crave a good pizza, there is a small
hut run by some Americans called Pepperoni's that is quite good.

There are several dive operations on the island, but after consulting
Undercurrent and other sites, we chose Amigos del Mar and were happy we
did.  The dive week with Amigos was exceptional and problem-free. They
picked us up daily at our dock promptly (measured in island time) at 9:00
a.m. for a 2-tank local dive just east of the barrier reef located only .5
miles offshore. Accessing the dive sites, though, was dicey at times due to
severe winds and chop/surge. Seasick-prone divers should prepare for the
worst, but the good part of the ride out is that it's only 10-15 minutes
long and the staff makes it easy for those with queasy stomachs to quickly
gear up and backward roll into one of many
outstanding and healthy spur and groove coral-dominated dive sites.  The
boats are not equipped with big ladders so you take your equipment off in
the water and hand it up to the staff.  In addition, given the sort ride to
the dive sites, you are taking back to the Amigos Del Mar dive shop between
the dives where they have fresh oranges, coconut and juices.  This also
gives you the chance to pick up anything you forgot.

Most of Belize is a national park so the quality and health of the reefs
are among the best in the entire Caribbean region. Some sites require some
additional fees to the government for conservation purposes, but the reef
quality makes you feel that it is money well-spent.  You will see plenty of
nurse sharks (didn't see any reef sharks), lots of turtles, great fish life
including several large groupers and beautiful coral formations.

Amigos Del Mar is one of the few, if not the only, dive shop that runs
regular trips to the more distant sites Turneffe Elbow, Lighthouse Reef and
those off Half Moon Caye(an uninhabited island sanctuary for protected
Booby and Frigate birds).  If you are interested in these trips, it is best
to book them on your first dive as they can be subject to change during the
week based on interest level.

The famous Blue Hole is up for debate if it is worth the long boat ride or
better left for a return visit on a liveaboard.  You will not likely get to
see much in the way of marine life at the Blue Hole although some dive
operators do chum the waters to entice the bull sharks.  All the above
sites are accessed on day-long trips aboard a 48' boat that handles the
ocean crossings with ease and comfort. A buffet lunch as well as drinks and
snacks, are included on these trips.  However, you do not need to go on
these trips to see amazing diving.

Amigos will stow and rinse your gear each day of your dive week and has
your unit set up, correctly weighted, and ready to don each morning. All
dives are low-impact drift dives, and on choppy days, it can be hazardous
exiting the water, but Amigos staff does a great job safely getting
everyone back on the boat.  During my 6 days of diving there were no more
than 6-7 of us on the boat.

Overall, a great diving destination!
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.


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