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Dive Review of Bottom Time Dive Shop/Villas @ Banyan Bay, Grand Colonies in
Belize/San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

Bottom Time Dive Shop/Villas @ Banyan Bay, Grand Colonies, Aug, 2006,

by M. Dal, NY, United States . Report 2654.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 26-50 dives
Where else diving Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Dominican Republic, New York, Pennsylvania
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, surge, noCurrents
Water Temp 70 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 50 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Common Sense Depth & PSI Limits
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Rinse tanks are sometimes - not always - found on the small boats, but that doesn't matter much since they are always found at the surface interval dive shop, which is a 5 - 10 minute boat ride. Also, camera tables are not always on the small boats either, but as stated above, it's a quick ride. Not sure about the processing capabilities on shore, as I did not use any, but with more & more people using digital cameras, I don't think it's a much of a concern as it used to be?

The subject matter is out of this world, tho, and well worth a camera, especially one with video!

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
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I can't say enough good things about the diving in Belize - it's just absolutely wonderful. Both of the guides hired by Bottom Time - their own Divemaster Rudy, as well as the Amigos del Mar guides - were great. I've dived with Rudy before, and he's professional, knowledgeable, and cares enough about the reef to clean any sand off of it that he finds as you go. Twice I dove with newly certified people, and twice they ran low on air (only about halfway thru the dive), and he was quick to share his with them, having enough PSI to still last the whole regular dive time, so no one missed out on bottom time.

We stayed at The Grand Colonies, the sister resort of Banyan Bay, located right next door to it. The accommodations were unreal, one of the most luxurious places we've ever stayed, with gorgeous granite countertops and amazing views (especially Oceanside) and private in-room jacuzzis and marble bathrooms and a beautiful pool and an incredible kitchen and a dining room and a tv in each bedroom and a huge flatscreen in the livingroom and the nicest beachfront property on the island, located very close to town; about a 5 minute drive with the golf carts. The Staff is warm and friendly, just like everyone on the Island that we've met, and we highly recommend it as the best place to stay in all of Ambergris Caye, after having toured the island for a month now over the past couple of years. The golf cart rentals there can be expensive, tho, people found much better deals in town, so that's something to consider. The Island now sprays for mosquitoes, which we found to be a hundred times better than last year, when we got eaten alive even with bug spray. Just a few bites this year, and that was without using any bug spray at all.

The diveshop is located right at Banyan Bay, a 5 minute walk away, and they will pick you up right at the Grand Colony dock if you prefer.

The diving this time was just as great as it was last year, with a lot of healthy reefs and life - I saw a giant sea turtle and a Spotted Eagle Ray and a Jack & Moray Eel hunting in tandem, and tons of Nurse Sharks that seemed like they almost enjoyed being pet, and Barracudas and huge Groupers and tiny Brittle Stars and Conch and Lobsters and Cleaner Shrimp and of course all the common fish that normally occupy the Caribbean reefs, with lots of channels and a swimthru...and this was just on ONE DIVE at Tacklebox!

The daytime snorkeling/diving, and especially the night dive, at Hol Chan is not to be missed; Octopus and sleeping fish everywhere and 2 different species of Lobster and Moray Eels and Stingrays and...get this: Spawning Coral. Yep, was lucky enough to see the Coral Spawning on the night of 8/16/06, what a treat. When you surface, be sure to look up, and if the sky is clear, you'll see the most amazing stars ever. A touching end to the dive.

Some people wore wetsuits, but I just wore a t-shirt and was totally comfortable. There was a thermocline this time, and it was pretty cool to see the visual effects of the warmer/cooler water meeting. The cooler water was still comfortable, tho.

The food everywhere is amazing, we have not had a single bad meal both times we have visited the island. The nightlife during the slow season (summer) is not exactly abundant, but there's always something going on each night - the staff can give you a list of the bars that have live bands, karaoke, etc. and on what night.

We didn't do any trips to the mainland this time, but for anyone interested we give those 2 thumbs up - just be sure to bring lots of strong bug spray!

Construction is definitely on an upswing, and many areas are being developed. But it's still a pretty quiet place in the summer.

We definitely plan on going back, possibly even next year. My one big regret is that I didn't lug my video equipment back this time since I figured I'd done that already last year. BIG mistake! Check out this website to see video of our vacation & diving there last year:
[video.google.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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