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Dive Review of Bottom Time/The Villas at Banyan Bay in
Belize/Ambergris Caye, San Pedro

August, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by M. Dal, NY, United States
Report Number 1985
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
26-50 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Dominican Republic, NY Atlantic Wrecks, PA Quarry
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry  
Seas
calm, choppy, surge, currents, noCurrents  
Water Temp
75   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
0
Water Visibility
90   to 120    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
None, very accomodating, while also very attentive to our well-being.  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
Schools 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
1 or 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Comments
[None]
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
5 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
We can't say enough good things about the location, the diving, the resort,
the diveshop, and the outfitters they used!  Everything from the incredible
food, to the wonderful people of the island - sincerely the most genuinely
friendliest people we have ever met in our lives - to the relaxed
atmosphere on the boats, everything was just amazing.

The diving was the best I've ever done, schools of nurse sharks and tiny
cleaner shrimp and tarpon somersaulting and feeding at night and huge moray
eels and giant hermit crabs and stingrays and jacks and huge groupers and
snappers - and this is all during just one two - three hour outing (to Hol
Chan and Shark Ray Alley)!

Belize has the second longest reef in the world, and everywhere we went the
coral and fish life was very healthy and thriving.  Fresh seafood is
delivered right from the reef to the restaurants, and it's not unusual to
see coolers of fish and lobsters being cleaned for such occasions.  The
reef has no problem sustaining this activity, believe me!

The divemasters/captains (Eddie on one boat, Ramon on another, and Albert
on a specialty dive and beach barbeque) take care of all of your gear, set
it up for you, and then even haul it up onto the boat while you hang in the
water holding the ladder.  Talk about service!  And they are so very
relaxed, so knowledgeable, so pleasant to be around.  The diveshop was also
so very accommodating, keeping a tab and letting you check out at the end,
finding specialty diving for us, and we had some great times just chatting
away with them while waiting for the diveboats, relaxing in one of their
hammocks on the dock.

Great for snorkelers, too, and all water sports enthusiasts.  There are
also many amazingly incredible top-side excursions and wildlife, so it's
great for non-divers as well, as my girlfriend will attest to, for she
doesn't dive.  Mangroves, Mayan Ruins, cave river tubing, a jungle spa, a
zoo and horseback riding are all just a one-day excursion away, two trips
in total to see all that.  We used SeaDuced for these two trips and they
were incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, ask for Sylvan.

We ate at a lot of different places, and every single meal was delicious! 
None, however, topped the beach seafood barbeque arranged by the dive shop
and prepared by Albert.  It didn't look like much, just fish and spanish
sauce, but the taste was beyond description.

This island is so relaxed that shorts, t-shirts and sandals is all you
need, really.  We didn't need 75% of the clothes we brought!  There is a
small casino, one or two dance clubs and several bars.  Not much of a night
scene, really, but we found that to be part of the attraction, as we live
in NYC and it was nice to get away from that for a while.

The summer months see some heavy mosquito activity and sporadic rain,
usually not lasting for more than 15 or 20 minutes tho.  A can of Off and a
light rain jacket will be appreciated.

The water by the shores can be silty, due to the sea grass that is
protected for the benefit of the sealife, but a three-minute boatride and
you're atop crystaline blue water reefs.  Storms can wash up some litter
onto the shore, too.

The Villas at Banynan Bay was definitely the best place to stay on the
Island, as we cruised almost all of it in the 2 weeks we were there and
found it to be the most comfortable, convenient and relaxed resort, great
for families and couples, and we're really happy we stayed there.  They had
the best beachfront of all the resorts we saw, a very nice three level
pool, which was great for infants and adults, beautiful rooms, friendly
staff, a great restaurant, a dive shop about a 30 second walk from most of
the rooms, internet access in the lobby, and golf cart rental.  That's
right, you don't rent cars on Ambergris Caye, you rent golf carts!  It was
great fun, and the main town of San Pedro is only a 5 minute drive away.

The exchange rate is 2 Belize dollars for every 1 US dollar, and we found
prices to be very reasonable, and often pretty cheap, too! English is the
official language, and unlike some destinations in the carribean, we were
never, ever hassled to purchase crafts by the locals.  They were just
simply marvelous, friendly people.

We loved this place more & more with each passing day, and you probably
need a few days before it really sinks in how wonderful a destination it
is.  La Isla Bonita was truly a magical experience, a place where their
motto is "No shoes, no shirt, no problem!"

We made a video from our different movie clips that might describe
everything I've tried to put into words.  You can see it at:
[media.putfile.com link]
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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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