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

Amigos del Mar/Perla Escondida Condominum, Mar, 2005,

by Greg Yarnik, IL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 1649.

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
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
UW Photo 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
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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