Caribbean diving/hiking/not-too-expensive?

Old Dec 29th, 2005, 10:28 AM
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Caribbean diving/hiking/not-too-expensive?

Despite reading this very informative forum I am still at a loss regarding where to go for the following (for spouse and 2 teenage daughters):

1. novice diving instruction (open water certification) and good (not necessarily deep) diving.
2. other things to do - e.g. hiking (not golf)
3. local cul-chah (how we say it in Boston).
4. low-key resort or condo accomodation (plenty listed on
5. relatively simple to get to.

I am unfortunately stuck with April school vacation week window. I also recognize benefit of doing diving classwork before trip but its not in the cards. Belize sounds great but many $$ for flights. Grand Cayman sounds like great diving but otherwise not much going on. Bahamas? St. John? Thanks for your help.
drbeier is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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St. John. Budget accomodations at Mahlo Bay. Gorgeous beaches, good hiking, and an interesting local culture. As low key as it gets. Fly into STT and take the ferry to St. John.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 11:10 AM
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St. Eustatius sounds like it might fit your bill nicely, but it isn't necessarily easy to get to. Where are you departing from?
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 11:12 AM
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i'm pretty sure you need to go to mexico. i think it is one of the few places you can take a very short course and then go out for a limited depth dive right then.
the mayan riviera resorts meet all your other wants as well especially the cul-chah. where else can you show the kids those kind of ruins. most resorts are AI so all is paid in one fee. there are marine bio parks, jungle tours by foot, horse, atv, jeep. fun shopping.
excellent snorkeling in case the diving does not go as you plan.
many cities have dircect flights to cancun.
needless to say mexico is very laid back.
diving in usvi will require the same long course as at home. and st. john is not really novice diving conditions.
i will check with a friend this evening and see if she can suggest other places that let you dive quickly.
check the temps for bahamas.
have heard more than once that if you don't dive you could be bored in the caymans. perhaps tomcayman will jump in here with better info than mine....
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Flying from Boston. Can potentially travel to NYC and fly from there as I see there are many more direct flights.

We have been to Yucatan - Chichen Itza, Merida, Akumal. It was a great trip but would like to try something different.

Like me, I see many people would rather think about vacations than work. Thanks for quick and helpful replies.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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Often islands with great diving are volcanic I believe ...? (not a rule ) These islands have great diving , hiking , and lotsa irie(local culture) , and great low key places to stay !!! St.Lucia , Tobago , St.Vincent , Dominica , and Saba ..... I am not a diver , but my husband is . I actually was researching these islands not for the "dive factor " more for visual effect etc. , and stumbled across the extra trivia that they are dive destinations . But ..... they are not all easily accessible .
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 11:47 AM
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Anse Chastenet has diving just off it's beach . The famous " supermans Wall ".....
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 12:03 PM
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Oops !! And of course Statia ( as Statia mentioned )And Roatan is a big dive destination , on the same reef as Belize , but not so easy to get to .
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 12:04 PM
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Grand Cayman has non-stop air service on Cayman Airways from Boston... and if you book right away, they have killer fares if you book through Dec 31.. move fast !

There is plenty to do other than diving.. and as time is short for you to make a decision, I'm going to point you at my resort (The Reef) as a source of info on a low key resort with condo accommodations, plus it lists a bunch of things we have to offer, including, who offer land and sea based activities.... I live here and never get bored.

Other Cayman info sources for condos are Cayman Villas and Cayman Vacations, plus check the website.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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only Cayman Airways flights are $853. Not exactly "killah" (in local parlance). Thanks for the tip, tho.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest looking into sailing on Windjammer. I'm not a diver but I do know in some instances beginner courses are offered. If you visit as faithie suggested the volcanic islands you will have probably a greater chance of opportunities. The biggest problem is reaching siome of these islands whether you sail or are stationary. What's your budget like?
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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$800 or less for airfare. $250/night accomodations. Prefer a room with a kitchen to economize on meals.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 03:18 PM
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Sorry, that web only deal of $198 from Boston (!) was for travel through March 1st only (ticketing by Dec 30th).. I guess the April flights are full already !
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 03:42 PM
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I would suggest going to a local travel agent to see if you can still get a package deal. Hotel and airfare often work out better.

YOu might also try some of the online travel agencies like

I can also suggest a couple of places in the Bahamas that might fit, and April should be good weather.

Some of the best diving in the region is off the Bahamas islands, since the water there is also cleanest.

On Harbour Island there are 2 dive outfits Valentine's and Fox, with excellent dive masters. I know Valentine's does 2 dives a day and in nice weather, they also do night dives.

A particular interesting site is a Civil War Train, sunk on a barge just after the Civil War, it's an amazing dive site 100 years later.

You might be able to find more info on the Valentine's website and I will see if I can find the address for you.

Nassau also has Stewart Dive, also a very well know dive outfit, and you can arrange to be picked up and dropped off at your hotel.

You might try the and for more info.

Also Abaco has a dive shop, and you can get more info on Abaco at

Hope this helps and book SOON since you are planning on going during the busiest time of the year.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 09:23 PM
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I think on selloff vacations , and other such sites you can find super deals . I looked quickly for Tobago out of Boston in april and found flights for $600.00 return including taxes . Great deals on hotels , small inns , and villas here as well .( Tobago )
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