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“Amigos del Mar” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop

Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop
Beach Front, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
+501 226-2706
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Ranked #46 of 75 Activities in San Pedro
Type: Water sports, Adventure
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Attraction details
Owner description: Established in 1987, Amigos Del Mar is a SSI and SDI resort facility which specializes in full-service diving, instruction, snorkeling, and fishing expeditions and is ideally situated in the heart of San Pedro Town. Our boats provide a convenient complimentary pick-up service at most of the island's major hotel docking establishments. We provide local diving expeditions on a daily basis starting with two dives at 9 am and two afternoon dives commencing at 1 pm. Night dives are also available upon request. In addition to the local diving excursions, trips to Belize's renowned offshore atolls including Turneffe, "The Elbow", Turneffe North, and The Great Blue Hole situated at Lighthouse Reef are also available. All offshore packages are full day excursions which consist of three dives and include continental breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks.
San Diego, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Amigos del Mar”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2013

I did the Blue Hole, Half Moon, and Aquarium trip on Monday (I signed up the day before). Our boat had an engine problem and we ended up doing Turneff, Half Moon Wall, and Blue Hole instead.

I got a little seasick and luckily someone had some Bonine to give me. It takes 2.5 hours to get to the Blue Hole from San Pedro!

I really liked my divemaster in group 1. He showed us some interesting things and took special care since this was my 1st dive after cert.

Trip cost was $300 (including $40 park fare) - a bit pricey.

I had a great time.

Visited May 2013
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English first
Fairfield, CA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Greatest Dive Experience EVER!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

My daughter and I had been planning our trip to Belize for about 8 months and we had scheduled our dive to Blue Hole with another dive company. That shop had to cancel our dive due to lack of registration but lucky for us they called Amigos and they were able to take us!!! What a great twist of fate for us because these guys are the most fun, safe and knowledgable divers in San Pedro! We had the best time and didn't have to lift a finger - our dive equipment was put together for us, basically put on us as well and we felt completely comfortable with them even down at 130 feet! All of the staff were wonderful (Edgar was especially outgoing and made sure we made it back to our resort safe and sound). They are competitively prices and very clean, I would strongly suggest you dive with them on your next trip to San Pedro, I will be back in the winter for sure!

Visited May 2013
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Lucerne, Switzerland
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“I don't recommend Amigos del Mar”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

My friend booked us in for a day's diving at the Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye and 'The Aquarium' in the beginning of May. He lives in Belize and I'm a European Divemaster based in Switzerland.

We went down to the shop two days before to check-in and get the full details. I was unimpressed by the quartermaster's indifference and general apathy, but nonetheless, he answered our questions. None of the staff in the shop made any attempt to engage in conversation. I don't expect a dedicated chaperone, but a simple hello would have been more than enough. They were not impolite, but obviously totally disinterested.

On dive day we were picked up by a couple of friendly lads from Amigos del Mar in a well-maintained skiff and shuttled along to some private resorts to pick up the rest of the divers. There was tea and coffee and selection of fruit set out for us when we arrived - ample for a pre-boat ride breakfast. We were asked to collect our gear first and then eat and get on the boat. We were last to collect our gear, and hurried on to the boat with only enough time to grab quick cup of coffee to take on board.

I am used to dry-suit diving and I often start to feel the cold in a wetsuit. When they asked me about wetsuit size, I asked them what the water temperature would be like - I usually wear a 5mm full wetsuit up to 29 degrees celsius and a dry suit below 20 degrees. They couldn't tell me what the water temperature was, and they only offered 2.5mm or 3.5mm. I thought it was a fairly normal thing to ask, but the divemaster's attitude made me feel like I was being difficult; in the end they are the local experts so I trusted their expertise and took the 3.5mm.

The boat was very good: fast, stable, well-equipped, clean and well-maintained. The dive guides gave us a very quick briefing on boat protocols and good info on the weather conditions. A couple of platters of fruit were laid out, along with some nice baked goods, however, once we were steaming out beyond the barrier reef, it was very difficult to actually move around the boat and get to the delicious fruit!

On the dive sites, the dive briefings were short and insubstantial. We were given no orientation, there were no maps or diagrams. I may have been spoiled by having all of the exceptional guides in the Red Sea over last six years; but the Amigos' guides were barely amateur in comparison. We were not told about what kind of wildlife to expect. The guides were only interested in sensationalising the larger species, making promises about seeing sharks and turtles. Since there was no option to conduct our own dive in buddy teams we had to go in a group of ten at the Blue Hole and two groups of five in the afternoon dives. This was fine, and often to be expected in well-managed marine parks. Nonetheless, the divemasters didn't make any effort find out what we wanted to see. Some of us might not be impressed by the larger species.

One thing that really struck me was the divemaster's approach to dive planning and no-decompression dives. In the briefing we were told that the three DMs would be monitoring the dives on thier computers and that we wouldn't go into deco; he then added with a wink that we may earn a few minutes of deco, but that would be taken care of in the dive profile. I always carry my own computer, and am comfortable with deco diving, however, I know that my diving insurance covers me for decompression diving. If someone on that trip had a problem and had to be hospitalised, and the dive profile showed decompression time earned, then they may not have been covered for any barometric treatment at all. At this point I started to have serious doubts about this dive operation.

The Blue Hole was fabulous and, in the water, the DMs kept a good distance but intervened when they thought necessary. In fact I was impressed at the way they executed the dive. It was obviously a site that they were well-rehearsed in diving.
Post dive we steamed off to Half Moon Caye for the next dive.

In between dives the guides didn't make an effort to talk to any of the men or couples on the boat, preferring any and all of the single american women. I have to add that one or two of the girls really didn't seem to be complaining.

They hurried us through a 50min suface interval, which, after a 42metre dive, with a bottom time of nearly an hour, seemed a little bit optimistic.

The second dive was very enjoyable, I tended to hang around at the back taking my time over photos. The pace was good and the DM managed to point out a few things of interest. The profile very nearly sent my Suunto into error mode though. Partially my fault, but also, if you're diving in a group, the DM should be diving the most conservative profile. I gave me and my buddy an extra 5 min safety stop at the end to be sure.

We moored up at Half Moon Caye and lunch was served. Chicken, rice and a coconut pie - all absolutely delicious and very welcome after the morning's dives. We got a chance to wander around the beautiful Half Moon Caye and paid a brief visit to the Red-footed Booby sanctuary.

The final dive was at The Aquarium. The DM who gave the briefing was really trying hard to sell it to us, promising lots of big fish coming really close. Perhaps this is what their usual clients want to see, I was a little bit dubious. Apparently it was also "two dives in one", well it certainly felt like one dive to me. I'm afraid the crew didn't do a very good job at masking their efforts to boost their tip.

I was incredibly disappointed, when half-way through the dive, the DM reached into his pocket and produced a fist full of food to attract the animals. It now became clear why this Great Barracuda had been following the group all of the time, and why the sharks were so attentive at the previous dive site. They are all used to being fed by the local Divemasters. It really spoiled my experience. How can you expect to observe natural behaviour in the water when you handing out free food to the animals? Nature is not there solely for our enjoyment. We are visitors to the underwater world, but it doesn't belong to us and we shouldn't interfere. This is clearly a message that has not reached Belize yet.
It's absolutely forbidden to feed the animals in the Red Sea. It happens occasionally, because in a competitive world, if you can promise your guests something a competitor cannot, such as very photogenic predators, then you stand to make more money. Most divers in the Red Sea and even the Coral Sea would probably report or at least question such activity. In Belize it seemed par for the course. I made sure to film it and I will check the regulations on the Belizean Marine parks. The massive shoal of Chub was actually kind of annoying anyway.

On the journey back refreshing rum cocktails were served and everyone loosened-up to some nice reggae. When we got back to San Pedro, we weren't given much turnaround time before we were loaded back onto the skiff and shuttled back to our landing.

I like to buy a T-shirt or something from the dive operator wherever I go diving. If anything it's a good talking point if you run out of conversation somewhere. I made sure to go back to Amigos del Mar before leaving Ambergris Caye to get a T-shirt. I went in and asked if I could go have a look and, without taking their eyes off the TV, they pointed me in the direction of their merchandise. I had a look but felt so annoyed with their total lack of interest in helping or even talking that I decided just to leave it. I didn't think they deserved the business. In the end I got a nice T-shirt at the airport, which was cheaper anyway.

I don't usually write reviews, but I wanted people to know about my experience, especially since a great deal of the visitors to the island are couples enjoying their honeymoon. It would be a shame if a trip to the Blue Hole spoiled what should be a holiday of a lifetime.

Amigos del Mar are fairly safe, and their equipment is generally fine. The whole day (+ kit hire) cost about 260USD, which I thought was incredibly overpriced. The shop staff were not welcoming. The boat crews were pleasant and quite professional. The dive guides were approachable on the boat, and professional in the water. The dive profiles exceeded safe limits, and, for those with no computer and/or not in good physical condition, were verging on reckless.

This was my first experience of diving in the Caribbean, and hopefully not my last. I don't have any other experience of diving in Belize, but I do have a lot of experience diving elsewhere in the world. Perhaps this is just the way it is in Belize. If I go back I will definitely not go to Amigos del Mar.

Visited May 2013
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San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“AMAZING trip out to The Blue Hole!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2013

I was weary about diving with these guys after reading mixed reviews, but our experience was fabulous! Our 3 dives at The Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall and the Aquarium were the best we did in Belize. I actually wasn't at all impressed with the diving off the coast of Ambergris Caye. This Blue Hole Trip was the highlight of our time in the water. Despite a big group of people on the boat Amigos does a good job of dividing everyone up into dive groups, and it never felt cluttered or crowded. Their large boat is great for the LONG journey out to Lighthouse Reef - anything smaller and I would have been seasick. Also after our Aquarium dive a pod of 100 dolphins surrounded the dive boat - jumping, playing and racing the boat. It was all luck, but it was amazing! Dive masters and boat staff were all very nice, personable and made me feel comfortable (I was nervous about the 130-ft depth). Would definitely dive with these guys again!!

Visited April 2013
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San Pedro, Belize
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Great Service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013

Friendly people. Great dive refresher and WHAT?! a really good massage on the upper deck of the pier after the dive. Good people, good professional and safe dives. Yes. We will be seeing them again soon.

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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