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Dive Review of Belize Diving Services/The Birdhouses (AirBnB) in
Belize/Caye Caulker

Belize Diving Services/The Birdhouses (AirBnB): "Carefree dive vacation on a great little Caribbean island", May, 2018,

by Hugh E Aaron, FL, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 23 reports with 19 Helpful votes). Report 10375 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Caye Caulker is a small island about 45 minutes by water taxi from Belize City. The island has no cars or trucks except a few service vehicles. Everyone either walks, rides a bike or drives a golf cart. The streets are sand. We stayed on Caye Calker for 11 nights. It appears that most people only spend a day or two on Caye Caulker. But we thought 11 nights was perfect. We really got to know the place. There are plenty of restaurants and several interesting things to do on non-diving days. The local people live modestly and are very nice. It is place where everyone blends regardless of skin color or the size of one's bank account. Don't miss the "Cake Lady" who sells homemade cakes most nights from a table she sets up on the road along the windward side of the island.

We rented one of "The Birdhouses" through AirBnB. They are three separate houses run by a wonderful international couple who live on-site with their young daughter. The Birdhouses are new, well built and well run. They are on the water on the leeward side of the island. The leeward side has a little less breeze and therefore seems warmer in the afternoons. However, the sunsets are beautiful. Also, Caye Caulker like other areas in the Caribbean has been dealing with an accumulation of sargassum (seaweed) washing up on the windward side. It smells as it decomposes. We were glad to be staying on the leeward side where there is no sargassum, even if it was a little warmer.

The Birdhouses are small, especially the kitchens, but they have comfortable king beds, luxurious bathrooms/showers and private balconies. Each birdhouse comes with two beach cruisers style bikes. While the golf cart taxies are inexpensive, we rode bikes most everywhere.

We booked the "Dive Till you Drop" package with Belize Diving Services. The package worked out well but the booking process is confusing. I eventually figured out that the packaging provides some discount (I'm still not sure how much) if one books at least one of each of the five standard dive trips that BDS offers: The Great Blue Hole, Turneffe, Spanish Bay, San Pedro, and Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. In addition to those 5 days, we repeated a few of the trips. We ended up diving on about 7 of the 10 days we were on Caye Caulker.

BDS surprised us. We were amazed that such a sophisticated operation existed in such a small country, let alone on such a tiny island. I'm not sure how they make their business model work, but they do - they have been in operation for years. They currently have two Newtons (both 46' I think). The boats are either fairly new or extremely well maintained. For those that don't know, Newtons are generally regarded as top of the line dive boats. Fast, comfortable and built exclusively for diving.

Most of the dives require a boat ride of thirty minutes to a couple of hours. We really enjoyed the boat rides as the Belize barrier reef is beautiful with more uninhabited islands than one could count. Most days, there were no other divers at any of our dive sites.

BDS is very safety oriented. Everyone dives with a guide in small groups. We dove with Giovanni, a local man (notwithstanding the Italian name) who was smart, fun and relaxed. BDS serves either snacks or lunch on board every day. Great local food. BDS is the first land based dive shop I have ever seen with an onsite kitchen and cook.

One of the Dive Till you Drop days takes everyone out to The Blue Hole. While a beautiful spot from the deck, the diving is nothing special. However, The Blue Hole dive is followed by two dives on offshore reefs near the Blue Hole. Those dives are spectacular, probably because they are so far offshore. The Blue Hole trip makes for a long day. It starts around 5 am with breakfast at the BDS shop and the boat does not return until about 5 pm. But it is well worth it for dives #2 and #3 and for the lunch time shore excursion to an island with a small park and a booby bird nesting site.

The reefs showed some signs of stress but were generally in good shape with staghorn holding its own on many sections of the reef and some elkhorn (both usually good educators of a healthy reef). Belize seems to have more big sea life than most Caribbean dive destinations. In particular, we saw a lot of sharks including a lot of Caribbean reef sharks, which we found more interesting than the more typical nurse sharks. On two dives we encountered dolphins playing underwater. While we often see them from the surface, that is the first time I ever remember diving with them. What a treat.

In summary, when it comes to Caribbean diving, it doesn't get much better (or easier) than a trip to Caye Caulker to dive with Belize Diving Services.

Websites Belize Diving Services   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving USVI, BVI, California, Hawaii, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Caymans, Curacao, Dominica, Roatan, Belize, Saba, St, Barths, St Kitts, Nevis, Saint Martin, Culebra, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Bahamas, Bonaire, Thailand
Closest Airport Belize City Getting There Direct 2 hour flight on SW (around $210/rt) from Ft. Lauderdale. Taxi ($25) to the Belize City waterfront. Water taxi to Caye Caulker (around $28/rt). We found it to be an easy and relatively inexpensive trip.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, choppy, no currents
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 35-85 Ft/ 11-26 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Generally there was a max depth announced for each dive. Divers are expected to stay with guides. But that was not a problem as the guides were excellent and the diving was relaxed.
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 4 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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