Scuba diving in Puerto Escondido and Belize
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Dec 8, 2012 7:24 PM Last Post By: Kahua
Oct 26, 2012 4:03 PM
This is intended just as a word of caution. I wanted to go diving in Puerto Escondido in early October this year. My first point of call was the Puerto Dive Centre, the details of which are in the 12th edition of the LP (the 13th has just been released but I haven't read it), although it doesn't make a specific recommendation. It does, however, say that it's American-owned, which in my experience is generally a good thing in terms of safety and is one of the reasons I went there first, but I believe this might no longer be the case as I was told the owner was a Mexican woman.
It opens at 9am, which is when I walked through the half-open door to find the diving instructors sat around smoking weed, which they then quickly tried to hide. They then rudely had a go at me for not knocking, although there was no reason why I should have at that time. I asked about what dives they could offer and said that I would prefer the next day because I had not slept well on the night bus (important for rate of air consumption...), but they tried to persuade me to dive that day. I got a very bad vibe from the place and its staff. I later met a French couple who had decided against diving with them after taking a look at the equipment and finding that some of it was badly maintained, including a depth gauge that was full of water and therefore very unreliable and dangerous.
The other two options in town are much more professional. They were happy to recommend each other's services as an alternative, despite being rivals and unrelated, but neither was prepared to recommend Puerto Dive Centre.
I similarly found a gulf in quality and safety when diving in Caye Caulker in Belize. I heard horror stories first-hand from guys who had just passed their PADI Open Water and only had 5 or 6 dives under their belt but were taken down to 42m(!) in large groups of up to 12(!) by a company called Big Fish. There were other companies on the island who were prepared to take inexperienced divers down that deep. The only one that was not and enforces a 'minimum of 25 dives rule' is Belize Dive Services, who often have 2 groups on Blue Hole expeditions, one of which does not go as deep. They're run by Americans. I was told by a few people that Frenchies are the best of the rest and have been around for longer.
Make up your own mind, but I like to know I'm in safe hands when I'm diving.
Oct 27, 2012 7:28 AM
1And so did you go diving with one of the other outfits? How about telling us the price, description of the trip, what you saw, etc. I notice that the tomzap website lists only two scuba diving outfits in Puerto Escondido, perhaps you could send them a message adding the third to their list.
Oct 27, 2012 5:46 PM
Oct 28, 2012 11:21 AM
3In Puerto Escondido, to the right, at the foot of the steps up to the Hotel Mayflower is the guy I'd recommend. I don't remember his name, but then I doubt he remembers my name either.
He's a gringo. Talk to him for awhile, or any other dive master you're thinking of going with before committing yourself. You'll find that he doesn't have much in common with anyone mentioned in the O.P.
Dec 8, 2012 7:24 PM
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