Where to stay and who to dive with

Jan 17th, 2008, 11:16 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2005
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Where to stay and who to dive with

We are going to Curacao the end of April. I just can't decide where to stay. I have been looking at several properties. Marriott, Avila, Hilton, Breezes and Sunset waters. Sunset waters seems far out and I don't really like AI. But the diving is better up there. Read some bad things about Breezes and Hilton. Was really leaning towards Marriott but then read a bad report on their dive operation. So now I am leaning more towards Avila. Which is more our type of place to stay I think. I really like smaller and a kitchen so I can do something simple for breakfast and lunch and then eat dinner out. And thinking about Going with Ocean Encounters for the diving. Not really what I prefer for diving. I am use to small companies that take out small groups. But, I have not really found that on Curacao. Any input on those topics would be most apprectiated. Thank you in advance Jeanette
twiggyy8 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 11:54 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We got certified in Curacao - and I second the bad review of the dive shop at the Marriott.... We stayed at the Marriott (really liked the hotel), but they were really not into safety at the dive shop. If you're an experienced diver, and you probably have your own gear - they would be fine, I would think, but it seems to be alot of really young people working there that were not that experienced.....
Debi is offline  
Jan 18th, 2008, 12:32 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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We stayed at the Marriott and went diving with their operation and it was great, we had no complaints at all. The group was small but that might be the time of year and they had a schedule of where they were going each day, as opposed to others who didn't know from one day to the next what sites they were going to.
Odin is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 05:21 PM
  #4  
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Thanks for the info Debi and Odin. Seems to be right on par with what I have read about the dive operation at Marriott in Undercurrent. Love it or hate it. One bad one I read though was about bad smelling air fills. And that really kinda freaks me out. So I am still up in the air about what to do.
twiggyy8 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 03:31 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Jeannette,
We're leaving for Curacao in Feb.
We're planning to do one day of diving with Ocean Encounters and then doing one day with the Dive Bus...guided shore dives. Depending on how these operations run we'll pick up another day with them.
Other then that, we're planning on renting a car and just doing shore dives on our own.
I'll send in a report when I get back.

Have you checked out Scubaboard.com
They have a good message board to bounce diving question arounds.
Coop is offline  
Jan 25th, 2008, 07:49 PM
  #6  
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Thanks Coop I would love a report after you get back. I am now kinda leaning towards diving with Ocean Encouters. I also had someone on another board reccomend the dive bus also. We are fairly new divers and only dive once a year on vacation so we are not really into the shore diving on our own. Which I know is what Curacao is good for. Anyway if you find the time when you get back I would love to hear what you think about Ocean Encounters and the Dive Bus. Jeanette [email protected]
twiggyy8 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2008, 10:40 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Twiggyy8
I wanted to report back to you about the diving in Curacao. We just got back from Curacao on 2/17 and had a great time. The diving was better then I was expecting, so that's all good.

We did 3 1/2 days of diving while there. 2 tank dive with Ocean Encounters (the one by Lions Dive), 3 guided shore dives with the Dive Bus, and 2 dives just on our own.

Ocean Encounters is a large operations with big boats with plenty of shade. They do try and fill those boat up and the day we went (mushroom forest) there were 27 divers on board. Trip took about 1:15 via boat to get to the 1st site. A quick briefing took place on how the dive would be lead (drift diving). however, nothing was really said about what to look out of in way of fishes, types of coral etc. Dive was lead by one Dive master and the other DM took up the back. DM's really didn't take the time to point out things of interest. Dive went quickly, and I came up with 1200psi (my buddy came up with 1000psi). 2nd dive (Hells Corner) was basically lead the same way. Seems like the DM's just drifted above everything without getting down in to the fun stuff. Lunch was served (sandwices on the trip back to the shop).

Dive Bus-They do guided shore dive. They picked us up at our hotel in a 9 person van. They we went back to their 'hut' and met with some other divers. 6 divers climbed in the bus and 4 other divers followed in their vehicle. The plan was to do 2 dives at the same area. At the site everyone gets their gear and sets up. Dive breifing was made, buddies set up, and we went over underwater signals. Especially signals for different things we would see (spotted drums, eels, turtles, sea horse, trumpet fish). One dive master was in the water while another stayed on the beach to watch our stuff. (came up with 800psi, on both dives0. On the second dive, basically the same thing was done but we headed in the other direction. DM advise that at the end of the dive he may get out early, and can follow him on the exit. There were 2 newbie divers on this trip and the DM advise them to follow him on this exit. However for the experience divers he said if you have more air, no problem with saying and enjoying the site, as long as you stay with a buddy.

On another day we went back to the Dive Bus and dove their house reef, Carpile. Really a nice site. Easy dive.

I personally like the Dive Bus better then Ocean Encounters. OE just had too many divers on board for my taste. Plus Ocean Encounters is much more expensive (if you don't do a package deal). We are planning to return to Curacao and we would do all our diving with the Dive Bus.

Hopefully this helps. If you have any questions....ask away and I'll try and help.










Coop is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2008, 10:39 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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We were at the Marriott the first week of January. The snorkeling off the Marriott beach on the Hilton side of the property was fantastic.

We scuba dived with the dive operator at Hook's Hut which is on the other side on the Hilton. The diving around Hook's Hut and the Hilton is NOT terrific. It would be worth going somewhere better on the island. The operator next to Hook's Hut seemed reliable and I think had many trip options. It is in walking distance of the Marriott.

We rented a car for a few days and drove around the island.

Had a good meal at Goveneurs (Wilhelmstad) and Sjolette (across from the Marriott)

If you stay at the Marriot ask for a room on the end on the Hilton side of the hotel. You get windows on two sides and it is quieter.


In general, the Marriott was nicer than the Hilton. We don't like all inclusives.

Kitchenette kind of places are nice, but you might not find one on a good beach.

Have a great time.
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