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View Full Version : Turks & Caicos vs Belize



BobArnold8265
10-15-2007, 21:20
As everyone has probably figured from my previous posts, my wife and I are searching for a good dive trip in Jan or Feb. We have been seriously considering Belize but I recently found a good price for a liveaboard to the Turks & Caicos. So here are a few questions for you well traveled divers:

1. For those who have been there, what did you think of the diving around the Turks & Caicos ? Were thinking about a livaboard so are really focused in just the diving and not really the islands themselves.

2. Anyone out there have experience with the Turks & Caicos Explorer II liveaboard ??? Did you like it and would you recommend it ???

3. Anyone been on the Turks & Caicos Aggressor ???

4. For those lucky to have been to both places, how would you compare the diving in Belize vs. Turks & Caicos.

5. Finally, any thoughts about these islands in January (is that a good or bad time ??)

There is about a $500 price difference per person between Belize and the Turks & Caicos. Much of that simply in the airfare (about $360 to T&C and $560 to Belize). I like the idea of a less expensive trip, however, I'd rather pay the extra and go some place I really like versus saving a few dollars for a so-so vacation !!! Please let me know your thoughts.

WestTnDiver
10-16-2007, 19:59
We have been to both places, although it's been six years since we've been to Belize and a lot of trips ago so my memory is hazy. We didn't do a liveaboard there. To the best of my recall, diving was similar in both places. I don't remember the Turneffe Island area having big walls. Both had lots of big things like sharks and eagle rays and turtles. Both had reefs that were deeper than I like. I like to finish a dive with a shallow - 20ft reef. That way I get to do my SS and still see stuff. The sites we dove in both places had reefs in the 40-50ft range.

We stayed at the Turneffe Island lodge. It had 3 dives a day with one night dive and over 70 sites within 10 minutes of home. Small, fast 6 packs took you out and the SI was back on the island.

We did the T&C Explorer last July and had a good time. Others on the boat said it compared favorably with the Aggressor and in fact we shadowed each other several days, trading dive sites. Those who had been on both said the cabins were bigger on the Explorer. They also said the chef was a little better. One thing that wasn't as good was the boarding and leaving. The Explorer didn't dock at the commercial dock and you and your gear had to go and come from a zodiac at a public beach. With the bottom being 40-60 feet below, SS's and getting back to the boat were a trip. The boat would swing hundreds of feet on the moorings and the ride on the hang line was exciting. You would hear the ladders clanging in the distance and try to figure out where it would swing by and see divers flying by and it would be out of sight in seconds!

We did Belize in mid April and the water was in the upper 70's.

Hope that helps a little.

csky
10-16-2007, 21:25
I did it the other way around -- liveaboard in Belize, and land-based diving in Turks & Caicos (Providenciales).

The Belize trip was quite possibly the best diving I've ever done (though my experiences are mostly limited to the Caribbean). My impression is that the absolute best sites on Belize are quite far from most of the resorts, e.g. Lighthouse Reef out closer to the Blue Hole. All liveaboard ops dive the same sites and we often saw the other 2 liveaboards nearby. A few days we saw a day boat around, but they didn't get to dive 5 dives a day on the reefs like we did! February was about 82F at the bottom and turtles everywhere. I wasn't as impressed by Turneffe but will allow that maybe we caught it when the visibility was not so great.

The T&C trip was shorter, 3 days. There are a number of reputable day boats headed the same places, and we did see the liveaboards at the same sites as well. Due to weather, we only went around West Caicos, about 1 hr boat ride, though from Provo you can get lots of places, just not all of them depending on the weather (and of course Grand Turk is a different ball game). We saw sharks on almost every dive. I don't think that particular reef was as vibrant or fish-filled as what I saw in Belize but, not being on a liveaboard, that may not be a fair comparison.

Overall I was glad I did Belize by liveaboard because of the distance to the dive sites I liked best. T&C might be the same way but I think most of the diving out of Provo is within about an hour boat ride. As a side note, Provo (and I've heard all of T&C) by land is incredibly expensive vs. Belize which I found much less so. I actually compared liveaboards in both places and at the time Belize was significantly cheaper. A liveaboard in T&C might be a relative bargain compared to staying there on land. If I had to pick the best of both worlds, I'd go back to Belize on a liveaboard.

Either way, you should have a great trip!

tarheeldiver
10-17-2007, 13:00
I did both from land and I liked T&C better. If I do Belize again it will definitely be on a liveaboard, from what I saw the great diving is definitely the outer Atolls. T&C I would do either way I thought the diving was great there plus Grace Bay at Provo is one of the prettiest beaches in the world a plus for land based.
greg

csky
10-17-2007, 20:55
I do have to agree that Grace Bay in Provo is gorgeous. If you are going with a nondiver or want to sit on the beach, go there!

BobArnold8265
10-18-2007, 20:23
OK, so I have been debating whether to do a liveaboard in Belize or the Turks & Caicos early next year. Well, I finally made up my mind. The winner is Bonaire ??? Yes, that's right, Bonaire. I found a great airfare and room rate for a trip to Bonaire the first week in February and just couldn't say no. So it looks like the liveaboard will be postponed until the end of 2008. Thanks to everyone who replied though !!!!

moodymermaid
10-19-2007, 12:01
Haven't done Turks and Caicos, but the best diving I've ever done has been in Belize. It's also just a really beautiful country. The only one I go back to again and again.

Turneffe has some great diving, but I've really enjoyed the diving down around Glover's Reef. Long Caye has some beautiful wall dives and in my limited experience beat Turneffe. I haven't done liveaboards there, but if you can stay out on one of the smaller cayes, there's excellent diving right on your doorstep, so to speak. I've heard good things about Turneffe Island Lodge, but I haven't been there myself (bit out of my price range).