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Dive Review of Belize Diving Services/Iguana Reef Inn in
Belize/Caye Caulker

August, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Michael, MD, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 5032
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
26-50 dives
Where else diving
Florida, Bahamas
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, choppy  
Water Temp
86   to 88    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
Small Critters
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
No rinse tank (of any kind) on the boat. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Service and Attitude
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
4 stars   
3 stars    
I just returned from a week in Caye Caulker, Belize. I traveled with my
wife and two children. We stayed at the Iguana Reef Inn, which was lovely -
I recommend it without hesitation. My daughter and I dove with Belize
Diving Services, while my non-diving wife and son snorkeled with a
different tour operator. 

Belize Diving Services is located immediately next to the Iguana Reef Inn,
on the west side of Caye Caulker. It's one of three dive operators on Caye
Caulker (the others are Frenchies and Big Fish, which we did not try; there
are other tour operators that advertise diving, but are actually acting as
booking agents for others). As I understand it, Belize Diving Services was
sold by its original owners earlier this year (at the time of this writing,
the shop's web site has not been updated). The new owners are a very nice
couple from the US, Chip Peterson and his wife. He's a tech diver, and is
one of the few people in the area to dive with a rebreather. Apparently the
new owners updated and/or overhauled everything when they bought the shop,
plus they hired a trained technician. No nitrox, here or anywhere on Caye
Caulker, but Chip said that's in the works.  

Our main focus on this trip was for my daughter to do checkout dives to
complete her open water certification. That went very well - she joined a
class of three other students for these dives. The instructor, Anna, was
patient and supportive. 

Pros:  Well-trained staff. Boats carry oxygen. Divemaster on each trip. No
feeding the fish, nor touching the reef. Pre-dive briefing before each
dive. Tanks and rental gear all seemed to be good quality and
well-maintained. Staff rinse and store customers' personal gear. Shop
provides dive computers to all divers. Shop works to accommodate customers'
needs/preferences (for instance, my daughter is a junior, & so is
limited to 40 feet). 

Cons:  I had two negative experiences. On one trip, there were a few
logistical glitches - trouble starting one engine at the beginning, and at
the 2nd dive site they dropped the anchor without it being attached to the
line - and the staff made no effort to update the customers and mainly
joked among themselves. And on that same trip, the choice of dive profiles
was poor:  50 minute 1st dive, with a maximum depth of 85 feet and average
depth of 54 feet; 46 minute surface interval; and then the 2nd dive at a
site where the reef was at 65 feet. On my computer - Suunto Cobra 2,
default settings - I had to spend fully half the 2nd dive floating 30 feet
*above* the reef to avoid going into deco, and there was nothing to see
(except, just before surfacing, a school of spade fish, the only thing that
redeemed the dive). My daughter had stayed back due to illness; if she had
been on the trip, we presumably would have gone to shallower sites in the
first place...

In short, I certainly recommend the shop - but I also recommend not being
shy to say how you want to dive. We had to cut our diving short due to
(unrelated) stomach problems, but otherwise would have been more proactive
on subsequent dives. There are lots and lots of great dive sites in the
area, to suit all kinds of divers - shallow vs. deep, inside the barrier
reef (flat water) vs. outside (choppier), close and farther away, etc. The
shop also offers night dives, which we didn't try. And, I believe, Chip is
working towards offering tech diving, so people who are into that might
request more info. 
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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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