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
) 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!