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#68736 - 05/21/03 06:56 PM Divemaster Certification and Dive operator recommendations
NEDiver Offline
Hi all!

New to this forum and am currently committed to spending the summer diving and likely getting my divemaster certification. I am torn between Costa Rica and Belize and could use some advice from a (unbiased wink ) crowd on the choice in terms of how one could spend 6-8 weeks.

I also have some specific questions to ask of the divers here.

1)I have heard that PADI requires all DMs to renew annually and stay current by paying liability insurance through them which runs $400-500 a year. Sounds a bit like ransom to me. Is this accurate?

2)If so, would it not make more sense to go the extra step and get certified to be an Assistant Instructor? Or is that significantly larger investment in time and money for a recreational diver who wants to be able to assist in marine projects and or work occasionally assisting dive instruction?

3)Has anyone had experience with an instructor named Elbert Greer at the dive shop at Ramonís Village or with the management of the operators? It sounds like itís a decently large sized shop that stays busy and has safe, modern equipment, but I know nothing about the quality of their instruction or their reputation. Feel free to email privately on this point.

4) The course runs 2 weeks for a fee of $650, minus materials & cert fee. This seems very reasonable (especially because First Responder in the fee), and I wonder whether the curriculum will be haphazard and off-the-cuff. Iíve heard that CDC centers such as ProDive (who I got certified with in Australia) has a strict course (7 hrs/day x 9 days) while some smaller shops spend between 2 weeks to 3 months training. Is longer necessarily better?

I would really love to hear your thoughts and will be happy to pay back in drinks when/if I make it to AC!


#68737 - 05/22/03 04:29 AM Re: Divemaster Certification and Dive operator recommendations
Marty Offline
elbert is an awesome teacher. he taught several in my family and they all worship him...

seriously, he does a hell of a job.

#68738 - 05/22/03 10:33 AM Re: Divemaster Certification and Dive operator recommendations
Marie Offline
You might contact Sylvin Forman at Bottomtime@btl.net. He and his brother, Alan, were two of the first divers on the caye, and he is an experienced instructor. He will steer you in the right direction. Tell him Marie said "Hi". He's a wonderful man and a great teacher.

Costa Rica is a beautiful place to dive, but more difficult to learn a new skill at. Might be smart to start in Belize so you can ease into it. Have fun!

#68739 - 05/22/03 10:07 PM Re: Divemaster Certification and Dive operator recommendations
BC Offline
Maybe I can shed some light for you, as I am a PADI AI, got my cert last year in Colorado and am curently assisting with sudents in Colorado.
The difference between a DM & AI is not much, except as a AI you are one step closer to becoming a instructor.
The insurance is the same for a DM or AI thru PADI $360 @ year and, yes, you must renew your PADI Pro membership and insurance each year or you can not assist in most areas.
I have dove with Ramons and they are excellant. It would be a good choice.
The more experience you have, the more you will be in demand.
Remember, when you are looking at working in other countires there are many, many labor laws which you may have to hurtle before you can go to work.
Hopefully I have answered a few of your questions and good luck
27 more days and I'll be back in AC and the great diving there.

#68740 - 05/22/03 10:18 PM Re: Divemaster Certification and Dive operator recommendations
Pedro1 Offline
Marie what on earth where you talking about?

#68741 - 05/23/03 12:20 AM Re: Divemaster Certification and Dive operator recommendations
klcman Offline
laugh eek
_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman

#68742 - 05/23/03 01:08 AM Re: Divemaster Certification and Dive operator recommendations
NEDiver Offline
This is terrific feedback, guys! It's good to know that it sounds like the dive community is pretty tight down there and it also sounds that Ramon's is not representative of some fly-by-night dive shops I've seen (and worked for as a "safety diver") in lesser developed countries.

Help weigh in again as far as Belize vs. Costa Rica. The arguments that my Costa Rican friends put forth are:

* Cost of living for a budget traveller is lower (this seems to bear out when I took a look at accomodations costs)

* Costs are greater to get back and forth from mainland to Ambergris Caye than to the dive areas in CR.

* The June-Aug timeframe is hurricane season in Belize and the seasonal weather in CR is better during this period

* More national parks and biodiversity in CR

On the other hand, by and large, I hear that diving in Costa Rica is characterized by lower viz, stronger currents, and lot of pelagics. This may not be ideal for getting in the DM training I'd like...

Arguments for Belize from those who've sampled both worlds?


#68743 - 05/23/03 01:13 AM Re: Divemaster Certification and Dive operator recommendations
Kra-Z-K Offline

I highly recommend Eddie at Amigo Del Mar's.
They are a large company and he and Alberto were EXTREMLY patient, and great instructors, I felt at ease and very comfortable.

Amigo Del Mar's is on this site when you look on the Diving link.


#68744 - 05/23/03 01:16 AM Re: Divemaster Certification and Dive operator recommendations
Kra-Z-K Offline

Let me know what you what to know, I went to Costa Rica for several weeks and to Belize for one week...

everything in Belize far outwayed Costa Rica... GO TO BELIZE.

#68745 - 05/23/03 01:18 AM Re: Divemaster Certification and Dive operator recommendations
Pedro1 Offline
Out of interest for people who learned how to dive with Eddie.Did he ever do a compass drill on an open water certification.

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