Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs);
We’ve compiled a list of commonly asked, and not so common but good to know, questions. If however you cannot find information regarding a question you have, then please feel free to contact us and we will get back to you ASAP, and remember, the only silly questions are the ones you don’t ask!
1) What dives do you recommend?
Our favourite destinations are Silk Cayes, South Water Caye, Laughing Bird Caye which are all part of the Southern Belize barrier reef, and then a little further North we have the UNESCO world heritage marine park Glover’s Atoll. The famous Blue Hole is often on divers’ bucket list and we do that from Placencia as either a day trip or as an over night trip. For reliable and regular Whale shark encounters at seasonal times we also visit Gladden Spit. These are all marine reserves except for Laughing Bird Caye which is a national marine park and a World Heritage Site.
The Silk Cayes are post card perfect islands on the barrier reef where there are often sightings of turtles, sharks, rays, eels and a wide range of reef and pelagic fish. The wall starts at about 35 feet/11 meters and drops off to the deep.
South Water Caye is known for its double wall which starts at about 35 feet/11 meters going down to more than 50 feet/15 meters with the second wall dropping from 45 feet/13 meters into the abyss. Marine life is similar to that at Silk Cayes.
Glover’s atoll is one of 4 in the Caribbean and is arguably has the best diving in Belize with more than 20 dive sites with spectacular coral formations and an abundance of marine life including rays, turtles, sharks, eels, lots and lots of reef fish as well as pelagic fish.
The Blue Hole is one of those world famous dives that everyone feels they have to do at least once. From Placencia, we can either do it as a day trip (and it is a long day with 3 dives) or as an overnight trip diving the Blue Hole before breakfast on the second day (two long days with 6 dives).
Gladden Spit in Belize, and the closest to Placencia, is known as the one place on this planet where the arrival of whale sharks is reasonably predictable due to being an aggregation site for spawning fish at the time of the full moon in March, April, May and June. Whale sharks can be observed by snorkelers or by experienced scuba divers (blue water dive with no visual reference to a maximum of 80 feet/24 meters). In addition to whale sharks, large schools of snappers and jacks are seen at the time of the full moon and divers are often visited by dolphins.
Laughing Bird Caye is a national marine park and World Heritage Site with lots of interesting coral formations and a myriad of marine life including lemon and nurse sharks, lobster, turtle, eels, colourful reef fish and a great beach to barbecue or picnic.
2) What types of boats do you use?
We have five custom dive boats. Our largest is a 46 foot Newton dive special built in Louisiana. The rest of our boats are Belize built. We have two custom built 39 foot Pelicans dive boats, one with inboard diesels and a head and a second with outboards which we can beach at places like Silk Cayes and Laughing Bird Caye. We have a 34 foot custom Luna which we use for smaller groups and a 25 foot which we use for private trips and for 2 or 3 divers/snorkelers. During peak times, we charter additional boats as required. Our boats are fully equipped with all the required safety equipment, oxygen, first aid kit, marine radio, fish finder (important for whale shark trips) and all are powered by two engines. You can see photos on our website under the heading Our Boats.
3) Do you do pick ups from the hotels up the peninsula?
Yes we do pick up from hotels and at the Placencia airport in one of our air conditioned sixteen seater vans.
4) Can I do a PADI Divemaster internship in Belize?
In Belize, you must have a Belize tour guide licence to lead divers on a tour and to get a licence, you must be Belizean. We can certify you as a dive master using the Practical Training Exercises option for the in water sessions.
5) Can I work as a PADI Divemaster or Instructor in Belize?
You need to have a Belize tour guide licence in order to be either a dive master or work as an instructor in Belize. To obtain a tour guide licence, you must be a Belize citizen.
6) How is a whale shark dive conducted?
Whale shark diving is carefully regulated to protect the whale sharks. The boat captain and dive master both need specific whale shark licences to ensure that they understand the regulations. The number of boats in the whale shark zone at any one time is limited. The maximum number of divers per boat is 12. Splash Dive Center uses two dive masters, one to search for and draw in the whale sharks and the other to ensure the safety of the divers as this is a blue water dive with no visual reference. Afternoon dive slots are set by SEA who enforce the regulations while morning dive slots are first come first served. Between dives lunch is served on the boat inside the reef where there is some good snorkelling. You can read more on our Whale shark trips in our diving section.
7) What are the requirements for the whale shark diving?
As whale shark diving is blue water diving with no visual reference and has a maximum depth limit of 80 feet/24 meters, you should be an advanced diver or an open water diver with at least 30 dives.
8) What are the requirements to do the blue hole dive?
As the blue hole dive is a deep dive to 130 feet/40 meters, you should be an advanced diver or open water diver with at least 30 dives.
9) What type of wet suit do you use in Belize?
Water temperature ranges from 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit/24 to 28 Celsius. We use 3 mm long or short wet suit most of the time.
10) Can we customize our own package?
You certainly can. This is your vacation. We will do our best to make it happen just the way you want it.
11) Can we pay with credit card?
Yes you can pay Visa or Master Card.
12) What type of scuba training do you do?
We do PADI open water, advanced, rescue diver, dive master, instructor, MSDT and IDC staff instructor. We handle referrals at all levels from open water to dive master. We do the bubble maker program for 8 and 9 year olds and junior open water, junior advanced, and junior rescue diver for kids 10 to 15 years old (and we have a lot of experience teaching kids in our Splash Kids Club where we teach local kids whose parent cannot afford diving lessons free of charge).
We also do Discover Scuba for those who would like to experience diving without committing to the open water course.
13) Can you help with local transfers and accommodation arrangements?
Yes we can, and we have a variety of accommodation providers, both in the village of Placenica and resorts up the Placencia peninsula with a range from low budget/economy to high end/luxury resort style accommodation. Please see our accommodations page for a range of guest houses, hotels and resorts that Splash Dive Center work with. We can also arrange house or apartment rentals
14) Are there activities for non-divers to do in Placencia or near by?
Yes, and we encourage all guests on our scuba diving packages, to take at least 1 inland tour whilst staying in Placencia or nearby. There are jungle tours, river tours, Mayan ruins, zip lining, river tubing and other adventure sports activities. For non-divers we can also offer snorkelling tours, sometimes at the same site as divers.
15) What currency is used in Belize?
The Belizean dollar is the national currency, and also US dollars are widely accepted, at a standard rate of 2 Belizean to 1 $US. It is also possible to chnage $US travelers cheques (American Express) in the banks and large hotels. We recommend having small denomination $US or Belizean bills when shopping in the Placencia village or eating out.
16) What electricity output is in Belize?
110v same as US and Canada, and is stable, though for expensive electrical equipment we recommend bringing a surge protector.