Dive vacation... where to go????

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Posted by Ell on July 25, 2000 at 18:47:20:

My hubby and I are planning a dive vacation. I am having a hard time deciding where to go. I've never traveled. I've only left California once and that was to go to a very cold, windy and snowy Chicago (I don't plan on visiting again).

I have checked with travel agents in my area and here are my choices... (I've got about a $5000 limit for the vacation including spending money) We are normally a poor family. This will probably be the first and last "big" vacation we'll be able to take until our kids are much older (or I ever finish my college degree ). So I'd love to pick the best of the best. I don't want to go over my $5000 limit and still want to be able to have a really good time on the trip. I don't really care what sort of hotel I'm in providing the rooms are clean, have a toilet and shower and is a safe place to store our scuba gear should we decide to go out someplace. This trip is primarily a dive vacation/ second honeymoon. I'm not that experienced of a diver. I've dove Lake Tahoe, NV several times (boring), and done some Pacific diving around Monterey and Bodega Bay, CA (neat things to see, very cold water). So... I'm still a very new diver. My husband however has been diving for about 10 years. Mostly Northern CA dives as well as a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I want this to be a vacation to remember for a life time. Your feedback is very appreciated :)

Where would you choose to go with my diving experiences and budget?

Papeete, Tahiti staying at Sofitel Maeva Beach (Hotel?)
My package covers round trip air fare from Oakland, CA, 7 nights 8 days in hotel, transfers from airport to hotel and vice versa, buffet breakfasts all days, departure taxes. It would cost us $921 per person. How much should I expect to pay for diving and meals (we plan to bring out own gear... should we bring his 5mm and my 7mm wetsuits?). Where would you recommend diving and with which company? What are other must see things on Tahiti? Any opinions of Bora Bora and Moreea should we bother visiting those islands?

Maui staying at the Kannapali Shores package includes air, car, condo, all taxes, 5th night free, $150 food vouchers, kitchen and bbq (can we catch lobsters while diving to cook and eat at our condo? Is this against the law?) The package costs $2483.00 for two. Where to dive and with which companies? What are other neat things to see on Maui? How much should we expect to pay for renting tanks and possibly suits (how thick should we get our suits?). How much for meals?

staying at the Kiahuna Plantation, 1 bedroom, garden view, Package includes, air, car room, all taxes, 5th night free and costs $2445 for two. Any suggestions? Is it worth the money to go to the forbidden island? Which dive companies do you recommend?

Beaches all inclusive resort in Jamaica Package includes air, room, all food and drink, non motor water sports. Cost is $1756 per person. Apparently it covers diving equipment. Are we going to want to take any boat dives or will be satisfied with all shore dives? What's neat to see in Jamaica?

Grand Cayman
Beach Club Garden-- all inclusive air travel from my home town (saving us a 2 hour drive) Package includes air, room, food/drink,. Cost is $1810 per person. What's good to see in Grand Cayman on land? How expensive is it really? Will we be able to cover all extras under $1000?

Grand Cayman
Spanish Bay Reef all inclusive
Standard room, all amenities listed above for a per person rate of $1838.

Turks and Caicos
Beaches all inclusive resort $2217 per person. I've never even heard of these islands. Anybody just love Turks and Caicos more than the other places I've listed? Why?

Would also consider a trip to Mexico (not Puerto Vallarta, hubby's already been there). Is Cozumel that good? Any suggestions for where to stay?

Thanks for your feedback, Ell

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