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

Amigos Del Mar/Victoria House, Apr, 2006,

by Jeremy Ellis, GA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 2946.

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
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
UW Photo 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
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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