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Dive Review of Amigos del Mar/Perla Escondida Condominum in
Belize/Ambergris Caye

March, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Greg Yarnik, IL, US
Sr. Reviewer   (7 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 1649
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Grand Cayman, Turks & Caicos, Bonaire, Aruba, Puerto Rico, Anguilla,
Virgin Islands
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, windy, dry  
Seas
choppy, surge, currents  
Water Temp
75   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
1
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
?  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
all dives were drift dives  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
Schools 
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
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
Separate rinse bucket on boats for cameras; no dry storage available on
boats.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Service and Attitude
4 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  
My wife and I visited Ambergris Caye from March 17-27, 2005 and had a very
good overall experience on this friendly, dusty, laid-back island. I would
advise travelers to secure a reservation prior to your trip on either Mayan
or Tropic Air(the two carriers that fly from Belize City airport to
Ambergris), in order to bypass long, sweaty lines for their tickets in
Belize City. We stayed at 2-year old Perla Escondida Condos just south of
the San Pedro Town airstrip and it was a good choice(2 BR, 2 Bath, AC, full
kitchen, ocean-side patio and groomed beach, washer/dryer), just far enough
outside town for peace and quiet and only a 10-minute golf cart or bike
ride into town(no paved roads and no rental cars, but there are plenty of
taxis available around the clock). Restaurants "downtown" are
mostly good to excellent with all varieties of cuisine offered to please
any palate, although local fresh catches are your best bet. A multitude of
fine dive operations serves the greater San Pedro area, but after
consulting Undercurrent and other sources, we chose Amigos del Mar and were
happy we did. Other than forgetting to pick us up at Woody's dock(2 doors
north of our condo)on our first dive day(one has to expect a minor glitch
here and there.....), our dive week with Amigos was exceptional and
problem-free. Once the first-day communication glitch was solved, they
picked us up daily at Woody's dock 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(I count myself in this group) should prepare for the
worst, but the good part of the ride out is that it's only 15 minutes long
and Amigos 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. Nearly every reef community in Belize is
either a national park or World Heritage Site, so the quality and health of
the reefs are, in this writer's opinion, among the best in the entire
Caribbean region. Several sites require a nominal $5.00 fee to the
government for conservation purposes, but once one observes the reef
quality, it will be money well-spent. Particularly interesting are the more
distant sites Turneffe Elbow, Lighthouse Reef, and those off Half Moon
Caye(an uninhabited island sanctuary for protected Booby and Frigate birds
that is well worth the visit during a surface interval). The famous Blue
Hole is worth one visit as the cave-like geology is interesting, but you
will not likely get to see much in the way of marine life on the dive. All
the above sites, however, must be accessed on day-long trips aboard a
fully-appointed 48' cruiser that handles the ocean crossings with ease and
comfort. A tasty and filling buffet lunch, as well as drinks and snacks,
are included on such daytrips. Amigos will stow and rinse your
regs/BCs/fins 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(during our week, no
more than 8-10 divers)aboard. All in all, Belize is a terrific choice for a
quick dive getaway, or longer trip when more distant sites can be visited,
and Amigos del Mar is highly recommended as a dive operator on Ambergris
Caye.         
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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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