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Dive Review of Aquadives/Aquamarina Suites in
Belize/Ambergris Caye

December, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Richard Kollodge, NY, USA
Report Number 1530
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Turks and Caicos, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Roatan
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
choppy, surge  
Water Temp
78   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
On my third trip to Ambergris Caye, January 19-23, I stayed at the
Aquamarina Suites hotel in San Pedro and did my diving with Aquadives, a
shop located on the beach in front of the Sun Breeze Hotel, a 10-minute
walk from my hotel.

Aquamarina Suites

My accommodation at Aquamarina Suites had a bedroom with two comfortable
beds, kitchen/dining area and living room equipped with a sofabed and TV
that carries about 50 cable channels from the US and other countries.  A
balcony overlooked the hotels courtyard, small pool and the sea. 

A small restaurant adjacent to the pool area served solid meals at
competitive prices, and the poolside bar served very weak cocktails from
about 8 a.m. through about 11 p.m.

A little beach fronts the hotel.  The water at the shoreline, however, is
full of weeds, so wading really isnt possible.  Swimming is possible from
the hotels dock.

Staff were extremely helpful, courteous and friendly.  But because the
property doubles as a time-share condominium, however, I had to endure a
very brief, low-key, low-pressure sales pitch one evening.  When I
expressed no interest, I wasnt approached again.

My only complaint with the hotel was the limited supply of hot water. Each
unit appears to have its own small (five-gallon capacity?) water heater,
which empties after the shower runs for a minute or two.


Aquadives frustrated and disappointed me from my first contact with them. 
My travel partner and I told the man working the desk that day that we were
interested in doing the 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. dives each day.  The response
was, It doesnt matter.  We asked him to explain what that meant, but we
were repeatedly met with the same response. 

When my travel partner and I informed the desk person that we both needed
to rent some equipment, we were again told, It doesnt matter.  I ignored
his reply and said I needed a BC and regulator.  He went to the racks and
returned with obviously worn-out equipment.  My travel partner needed
similar equipment as well as a wet suit.  When he asked for a full-length
suit, the desk person again responded, It doesnt matter. 

Eventually, someone else came to the desk to finish outfitting us and to
finalize our paperwork. The new desk person brought my travel partner the
only full-length suit they had.  But sadly, the suit had a gaping hole in
the back. So my travel partner had to settle for a shortie, which was
inadequate for the 78-degree water.

The next day, an Aquadives boat collected us from the dock at our hotel and
brought us to their own dock in front of the Sun Breeze Hotel, where others
came on board.  We traveled outside the reefonly five minutes awayto our
first dive site.  When my travel partner assembled his equipment, his
regulators second-stage started free-flowing, which could not be
controlled by holding a finger over the mouthpiece. The dive master told
him not to worry and to use the equipment anyway.  When we entered the
water, it was apparent that my travel partners first stage was also
leaking air.  The low-pressure hose to my BC had a leak, and the air-dump
valves in the back were broken.  I, too, had a leak in my regulator.  My
travel partners leaks were so bad that he ran out of air long before
everyone else (I still had 1,600 PSI in my tank).

Other equipment problems plagued us on every dive: blown o-rings, leaks,
broken pressure gauges, and so on.  The whole time I was there, I never saw
any equipment that was not obviously in disrepair.  I constantly worried
about equipment failure under water.  Miraculously, there were no

Dive masters seemed competent, but their laissez-faire approach concerned
me.  On our final dive of the trip, the dive master apparently became bored
and returned to the boat 20 minutes before the divers and didnt bother to
alert anyone.

The staff at Aquadives also clearly suffered from morale problems.  On one
occasion, the dive master got into a heated argument with one of the office
staff.  On another occasion, the office staff were fighting with each

I strongly recommend avoiding Aquadives.  I have never seen an operation so
shoddy and shabby. 

My terrible experience with Aquadives confounded me because the shop is
apparently owned by the same people who own the Aquamarina Suites, which is
a professional, competent and quality operation.

The diving

Four of our six dives were disappointing because of extensive reef damage
and an absence of marine life.  Two dives were much better (Hol Chan Cut
and Tacklebox Canyon), with healthier coral and more fish.

On my previous trips to Belize, the coral seemed generally much healthier
and the fish abundant.  I dont know what caused such a change in
conditions in only about 18 months.

Visibility was about 60 feet, compared with probably 150 feet in the past. 
I assume the decrease stemmed from the surge and waves brought on by
unusually heavy winds.
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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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