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Snorkeling tours

Posted By: travelgal

Snorkeling tours - 07/02/04 09:17 PM

My husband and I will be staying on Ambergris Caye for a week. We would like to take several snorkeling trips. Can anyone recommend who to go with? Did you have any really good experiences going with a tour operator?
Posted By: papashine

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/02/04 09:36 PM

You will not have any trouble finding snorkle trips, lots of good guides around, just walk down the beach and ask around.
Posted By: egcntrk

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/02/04 10:13 PM

I highly recommend Tulu. Years of experience & you will be very well treated. None of the dump ya out & let ya go. He'll tell you what you're seeing and pull you over to see what he's found.
His boat, the Janelle, is docked on the north side of town. Think it's the Contessa dock...Next door to the Rasta Pasta pier.

Tulu:
600-4582 cell
226-2287 home
Posted By: Skyliner

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/03/04 01:34 AM

Travelgal -

Do yourself a favor and book your snorkel trips through the resort. They'll call the tour company and make the arrangements. If you want, some resorts will even make the payments direct to the operator and add the amount onto your room. Do you really want to trust someone you just encountered on the beach? You're safer checking out the guides that are listed on this website (//ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/dive.html) and knowing that they're reputable.

We've done trips with 'lil Alphonse, Searious and Seaduced and had great times. With some visitors, Alphonse is becoming a bit of a local legend. He is excellent with the marine life, he loves the sea and he knows his stuff. He's patient with beginners and knows enough to give more freedom to experienced folks. However, if you do a Hol Chan snorkel, you can expect every guide to be more regimented - you'll probably be in a group and it's a national preserve that they take good care of.

In addition to Hol Chan, there are several good snorkel spots north of San Pedro, such as Tres Cocos and Mexico Rocks. You might also want to consider taking the water taxi to Caye Caulker and going snorkeling from there - you'll see a number of tour shops right along the beach.

For the best snorkeling, you will absolutely want to go with a tour operator - they're the only way to get out to the reef. If you're adventurous, try a night snorkel (we've been twice with Alphonse) at Hol Chan - it's a completely different trip.

Finally... although I could forego the manatee watching - generally murky water, less than clear views of the manatees - most manatee watching trips also go to Goff's Caye and then to another snorkel spot near Caulker. Goff's Caye and Caulker are worth the trip (IMHO) without the manatees. Take a look at the website for some of the tour companies and check out their trip listings for more information.

Bottom line, you're gonna have a great time.
Posted By: Badco

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/03/04 04:05 AM

Amigos Del Mar to Mexico Rocks. This is a wonderful snorkle trip that is so overlooked. Enjoy!
Posted By: lizzy

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/03/04 01:26 PM

Alphonse is the best on Ambergris. I swear he is 1/2 fish. If you go to Caulker snorkle Coral Gardens. I forget the tour company name but we booked on Caulker behind Rasta Pasta. Our guide was Mario and he was awesome.
Posted By: CrackerLarry

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/03/04 03:47 PM

We just returned from 10 days on AC and we went on 6 snorkeling trips. A full trip report will soon follow.

I booked all the trips through the resort (Xanadu). To me, this was the most convenient way to handle the bookings and insured a quality experience. The reasonable fees were billed to our room.

We went out with Amigos Del Mar, Seaduced and Sea*Rious, and snorkeled Mexico Rocks (twice), Tres Cocos (twice), Hol Chan, Shark Ray Alley( twice), Caye Caulker Shark Alley, Goffes Caye and a few other places I don't remember the name. Every trip was great and worth repeating.

All the guides were excellent, professional and knowledgeable. All were very attentive to the people and to the environment. My favorite guide was Manuel with Amigos Del Mar. My favorite location was Goffes Caye. A long boat ride, but worth it! Wow, what a reef!
Posted By: bywarren

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/03/04 05:18 PM

FYI: Goff's Caye is one of the places where they take the cruise people. They put up port a potties as they decend in masses on the reef. frown

Probably won't due a lot of good, but it sure wouldn't hurt for you "over night vistors" to let the Belize Tourist Board and the Minister of Tourism know your feelings.
Posted By: CrackerLarry

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/03/04 06:17 PM

Hello Byron.....
I meant to mention that. We were lucky as the day we went, we had the place to ourselves. Our guide, Ali, said the cruise ships stop here several days a week and off load 2,000 people! I can't even imagine.

The reef environment is fragile and cannot stand this kind of pressure. That reef is what brings people to AC and it will be ruined in a very short time. Then no one will come anymore. Very shortsighted if you ask me or any of the guides I spoke with. The guides also tell me it is all about the money and the politicians. They hate the cruise ships but when they try to complain, if they complain too loudly, the politicians will pull their tour guide and boat permits and put them out of business.

The same thing is also happening at Lamani. Thousands of people trampling all over the ruins, throwing trash on the ground, stealing artifacts. We were lucky here too and pretty much had it to ourselves, but our guide, Daniel with Tunisia tours was very bummed out about it. Glad we did not get to witness it!

In any case, if you plan a trip to Goffes Caye, try to do it on an off day for the cruise ships.
Posted By: Skyliner

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/04/04 03:32 AM

Here's the Tourist Board's information if you're interested in cncouraging them to reduce the overuse of Goff's Caye.

BELIZE TOURISM BOARD
New Central Bank Building, Level 2
Gabourel Lane
P.O. Box 325
Belize City, Belize
Tel: 011-501-223-1913
Fax: 011-501-223-1943
Tollfree: 1-800-624-0686
Email: info@travelbelize.org
Website: http://www.travelbelize.org
Posted By: egcntrk

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/04/04 06:42 PM

Booking through resorts: I observed our neighbors having difficulty with that. Through a resort they booked a tour, to Altun Ha, with Sea*rious. They spent the day before the tour speaking with multiple people & couldn't get a departure time. A boy shows up at their doorway at 8:30 am the morning of the tour & they are told they'd be picked up at 9:00. Sure enough, Ser*ious III docks at 9:00. Needless to say, they didn't go. Next was the refund issue. Neither the resort or the tour operator had the cash. It took them several days and much frustration but finally did get the refund.

Not saying the large tour operators are bad or that problems will be encountered every time. Just that it does happen.

Reef Ransom had a bit to say about the guide issue.
Posted By: papashine

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/04/04 07:49 PM

If you book your own trip you will probably be able to get up to 20% off, when you book through a hotel they get the 20%. Tulu is very good,and so are a lot of other guides, go on down to the docks and ask around, it won't take long, get some prices and then decide.
Posted By: SnorkelG

Re: Snorkeling tours - 07/05/04 04:11 PM

Can anyone tell me how to get in touch with Alphonse. I was in AC 4 years ago and enjoyed 3 trips with Alphonse. I had his cell number back then and called to arrange trips. I will be back again this year and would like to find him again.
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