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Dive Review of Felipe Diving/Sol Caribe Hotel in
Colombia/Providencia

Felipe Diving/Sol Caribe Hotel, Jan, 2004,

by Roger Zander, Mi, USA . Report 1042.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Belize, Bonaire, Saba, Cozumel, Roatan, Xcalak
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 79 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Recreational 130 ft.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments You're on your own.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Our dive trip to Providencia, also known as Old Providence, was the second half of a two island dive package. I usually build my own trips, this time I let Lauren McKinney, of Scuba San Andres, do the work. We awoke early on San Andres to be at the airport for the first flight from San Andres to Providencia. There is one plane, a Russian built LET 410 turboprop that hops back and forth, it is the bus for the islanders. The flight was only 30 minutes and all 19 seats are filled for every flight. At the Providencia terminal, after passing immigration, we had to confirm our departure flight before we could leave. It turns out that tourists can only stay a maximum of 5 days. Our taxi, a Ford pickup, took us over a concrete road that reminded me of Saba. Lauren had arranged for us to stay at the Sol Caribe Hotel, from what I observed, the nicest place on the island. The buildings, grounds and pool were all neatly maintained. Our room was overlooking the water, average size and clean. The water was not potable, we bought bottled water from a nearby market. It was 10 am by the time I walked down to the beach, the dive boat was just pulling away. I called out to Felipe, who turned around to pick me up for a wall dive and a shallow dive at a place called Manta City. I saw a couple small rays. Felipe Cabeza runs a small one boat operation, 100 yards from the Sol Caribe. The shop has been operating since Dec. 2002 and has basic service. My Apex first stage needed an O-ring, that was not a common size, bring your own save-a-dive kit. You rinse your own gear in the outdoor shower and they hang it in the shop for you. The dive boat has a Yamaha 75 and Suzuki 85, I never saw more than one motor running a time. Sorry, no oxygen on this boat. Felipe and the other local operators use an anchor at all dive sites. They try and drop it on a sandy bottom, if available. There were buoys purchased, white with a blue stripe, that the Columbian government decided had to be yellow, instead. So the site marker project is stalled, for now. My Alum 80 tanks were filled with 2700 to 3200 psi, the compressor is outside under a shed, protected from the rain. A two tank trip costs 90,000 pesos or about $36. The next days diving is to two walls, one has some very large Grouper and the other has 3 turtles, one of which allows me to swim parallel for a long period. There is not an abundance of fish at any site, so far. After diving, we stroll ¼ mile down the road to Martins Place for lunch, the hotel serves breakfast and dinner only. The grilled fish lunch special with corn ice cream for dessert, so good, I had it three days in a row. My wife and daughter went on the island tour by boat, which took most of the day. They said it is the best way to tour the island. I decided to go diving instead. We went to a deep wall called Nicks Place, the top is 100 ft. In the distance is a shark, swimming away. I couldnt tell what kind but, it was about 15 ft long. There is abundant black coral on this wall. That was a thrill for me, since I have rarely seen it on other dive trips. As we near the end of the dive, I see one of the pins for the aborted buoy project. Nearby, under a relatively small rock, I discover 13 lobsters, packed like sardines. For the second dive, Felipe picks a shallow spot and we take along an extra 4 snorkelers along. This turned out to be an outstanding dive for critters. There were 3 large spotted eels, 2 nurse sharks, a scorpion fish who showed his wings, and more spotted rays than I could count. The French grunts and goatfish were everywhere and hardly noticed us. We could swim very close. The fish were sitting in cleaning stations and there were photo ops everywhere I looked. This was my favorite shallow dive of all time. Back at the Sol Caribe, we enjoyed another beautiful Caribbean sunset. Dinners at the hotel were buffet style. A typical meal is: oxtail soup, island salad, bread plant, sausage, potatoes, grilled chicken, pork chops, multiple fruit juices, and rice pudding. For our last day of diving, Felipe took us to Petas Place. We swam along a ridge, 100 ft at the top, and along one side we came to a huge crack that was begging for me to explore. Id need more air than the Alum 80 had left, so we stayed at about 120 ft and shortly began our return. We needed some surface time, so Felipe motored slowly and trolled for fish with a bright green lure. Five fish later, we came to Felipes Place, which had more than the usual number of fish seen at other Providencia sites. Midway in the dive, two spotted eagle rays arrived and did a double loop to give us plenty of time to enjoy their graceful flight. A beautiful end to a memorable trip and left me with the desire to return again, soon.
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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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