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Dive Review of Rainbow Reef Dive Center/Hilton Key Largo in
The Continental USA/Florida Keys

Rainbow Reef Dive Center/Hilton Key Largo: "Keys Wreck Trek Continued", Jul, 2015,

by D. Tan, NY, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 8292.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Andros, Bonaire, Curaçao, Grand Cayman, Heron Island, Islamorada, Little Cayman, Roatan, Saba, St. Martin, Turks & Caicos
Closest Airport MIA Getting There 90-min drive from MIA

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 84 to 90 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 50 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Computers & air. Depth limits suggested to extend bottom times.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish For Subscribers Only
Small Critters For Subscribers Only Large Fish For Subscribers Only
Large Pelagics For Subscribers Only

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

Subject Matter For Subscribers Only Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's For Subscribers Only Shore Facilities For Subscribers Only
UW Photo Comments Just a small 5-gal camera bucket, and limited dry areas, not enough for a serious photographer, but plenty for my GoPro. ... Subscribe to get the full story. For Subscribers Only  Active subscribers continue reading here

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

Accommodations For Subscribers Only Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude For Subscribers Only Environmental Sensitivity For Subscribers Only
Dive Operation For Subscribers Only Shore Diving For Subscribers Only
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ For Subscribers Only
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced For Subscribers Only
Comments We've dove off of Key Largo for many years doing standard 2-tank charters with Ocean Divers (now owned by Divers Direct). Tired of the cattle boats, we decided to try something different on this trip and booked 3 days of private 2-tank charters for our group of 5 with Rainbow Reef Dive Center over the July 4 weekend. We wanted to do the Eagle wreck down off Lower Matecumbe Key on Day 1 and, a few days before we were due to arrive, after originally promising to take us in the morning, then saying they could only do it in the afternoon and would limit us to 40 min dives due to the length of the trip (apparently they wanted to book a second private charter on this holiday weekend day), RRDC put us in touch with Islamorada Dive Center for that first day (see my separate report: We then returned to RRDC for Days 2 and 3 and were overall very pleased with the operation.

We stayed at the Hilton Key Largo (a solid, but often pricey, resort-style hotel, midway between Key Largo and Islamorada diveshops) and the RRDC boat launch was a short 6-min drive up Overseas Highway, in the parking lot of the Courtyard Key Largo under the big DIVE TODAY sign (don't follow Google Maps to the dive shop itself, which is further up the road!)

We arrived at 8:00am, along with every other diver in Florida, so check-in was a bit of a factory, but still well-organized. Squeezing down the narrow dock and passing their 3 jam-packed Newtons (we heard one diver exclaim "You've got us packed in like sardines!"), we were very glad to board our 30-ft Island Hopper, Tropical Explorer, with just our group of 5, Captain Corbin, Mate Kenzie, and Divemaster/Guide Jardin. The boat was fully equipped with life vests, raft, EPIRB, O2, radio, large cooler, a hot-water hose at the stern, and a small 5-gal bucket for cameras, with a second for masks. Other amenities included a sound system, cooler, and various store-bought cookies between dives. The standard ch ... Subscribe to get the full story. For Subscribers Only  Active subscribers continue reading here
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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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