Question # 1: what's the diving like in Huatulco?
Answer: Interesting, lots of aquatic life, impressive underwater scenery, a lot of variety. We have over a hundred dive sites, with something for everybody, from beginners to experienced divers. There are hardly any currents here, although at times we can have some underwater surge. In general the diving is relatively easy and shallow, although we do have some more challenging sites.
Question # 2: What's the snorkeling like?
Answer: Nice, with lots of aquatic life and variety. We have some sites with huge, shallow coral plates. Most sites are calm and protected and easy to explore while snorkeling. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, there is something for everyone here!
Question # 3: What's the visibility like?
Answer: That varies, sometimes day by day. We can have 3m (10ft) to 30m (100ft) on any given day. On average it's somewhere between 8m (25ft) to 18m (60ft). Low visibility conditions normally last only a few days at most, good visibility sometimes last for weeks. In general, over the course of a week, it's likely that we have some days with lower visibility and some days with good visibility. With the amount of aquatic life here you will always see lots of interesting stuff, even if the visibility is not that good.
Question # 4: What's the water temperature?
Answer: From May to October it's usually around 30°C (88°F) at any depth. November to April it's a bit cooler, somewhere around 22°C to 25°C (72°F-77°F). It's more variable in the wintertime and there can be thermoclines.
Question # 5: What aquatic life can we expect to see?
Answer: A huge variety and lots of it! For example: tropical and sub-tropical fish, eels, rays, mollusks, nudibranches, starfish, octopi, sea horses, sea turtles, hard and soft coral and the occasional Nurse Shark, Whale Shark or Manta Ray. On the surface we regularly see dolphins and in the winter time, migrating whales.
Question # 6: What are the dive sites like?
Answer: We have over a hundred sites we regularly dive, so they offer quite a variety. There are sites with coral plates, sites with impressive rock formations, sites with a vulcanic rock bottom, sites with huge rocks standing in the sand, sites with pinnacles, sites around small islands, etc. The range from very shallow to the very limit of recreational diving.
Question # 7: What's your best dive site?
Answer: A question I often get, but can't answer. It really depends on the person, their taste, what they enjoy, what they like to see, their experience, what they're used to, the mood they're in, etc. It also depends on the diving conditions on the day that you dive. I'm afraid you'll have to find the answer yourself.
Question # 8: How does the diving in Huatulco compare to other places?
Answer: In general I think you can't really compare different dive destinations around the world with each other, they're simply all different. I'll throw some comparisons at you anyway: the water is warmer here than the rest of the Mexican Pacific, the Red Sea and the Great Lakes. We have more aquatic life than Florida, Cancun, the Dominican Republic, the Canary Islands and many other places I know, but less than the Philipines or the Fiji Islands. The visibility in general is less than in the Caribbean, but a lot better than many quarries or off the coast of California. We don't have coral reefs (we have coral plates), which makes the underwater world less colorful than in many other places, but we do have impressive rock formations, which makes the underwater scenery more interesting then many other places. We don't have wrecks and we don't have caves, but we have a lot of variey with over a hundred dive sites!
In our survey almost 90% of the respondents said that they were happy with the diving and/or snorkeling in Huatulco. Most of them called it excellent!
Question # 9: Does Huatulco offer better diving than the Caribbean?
Answer: To me, no. It's merely different. Again it all depends on your taste and what you're looking for. If you like colorful coral reefs you may like the Caribbean better. If you like diversity and lots of aquatic life, you may like Huatulco better. I personally like to dive in as many different places and environments as I can and I have never had a dive I didn't enjoy. Every site, every day and every dive offers something new and interesting to discover!
Question # 10: What's the best season to come diving or snorkeling?
Answer: In my personal opinion, between the winter months and the rainy season, that's when the ocean is calm and the water warm. That would be the months of April/May and October/November, whereby the latter would be my preference.
Question # 11: What are the snorkeling sites like?
Answer: Nice and with a lot of variety. There are sites with big coral plates, sites with a rocky bottom, sites with huge rocks standing in the sand, etc. Almost everywhere along the coastline you can find interesting snorkeling sites. In most places you'll find lots of colorful fish and an intresting underwater scenery. Most of our dive sites are interesting for snorkeling in the shallower parts as well.
Question # 12: Do you offer boat diving or beach diving?
Answer: We usually go out by boat. There are some shallow sites available for beach diving, but we hardly use them unless we can't go out by boat.
Question # 13: What kind of boat do you use?
Answer: We have our own dive boat called "Dignity". She is a little bit bigger than the standard "pangas" and has room for 10 divers plus crew. She is equiped with a sun roof, a comfortable ladder, tank racks and two 60HP outboard engines and we have all the required safety equipment on board. When we need more boats or a bigger boat, we rent them as needed.
Question # 14: How far away are the dive and snorkel sites?
Answer: Anywhere from 5 minutes to 50 minutes by boat. We typically dive and snorkel in the area between Tangolunda Bay and Cacaluta Bay, which means a 25-minute-maximum boat ride. The sites further away than that we usually only go to on our All-Day Excursions. We have about 10 very interesting dive sites we can reach in approximately 5 minutes!
Question # 15: Which site(s) will we be going to?
Answer: We don't dive certain sites on a specific day, we decide where we go when we go out. Depending on the conditions and the divers we try to select the most appropriate site(s). Since we have many sites we try to show you as many different sites as possible when you go out with us more than once, unless you would like to dive a certain site again, of course. On the half-day snorkel tour we usually make the first stop at Cacaluta Island and on All-Day Snorkel Excursion we always snorkel in San Augustin Bay (both sites have huge coral plates).
Question # 16: Do you offer wreck diving, cave diving or Nitrox?
Answer: Unfortunately no. There are a few small caverns, but no caves in Huatulco. We can't get Nitrox here and we don't have the equipment to fill tanks with Nitrox. There used to be some wrecks, but over the years they were all smashed to pieces by storms and heavy seas. One former wreck site, "El Barquito", is still interesting to dive though, as it still seems to attract lots of marine life. Unfortunately many websites still mention wrecks as an attraction in Huatulco.
Question # 17: What would be your typical dive profile?
Answer: In general we do two dives at two different sites, with a surface interval of 45 minutes to an hour. We typically dive approximately 40 minutes per dive, the first dive in depth of 12m to 20m (40ft to 70ft) and the second one between 10m and 15m (30ft to 50ft). There are various interesting dive sites with a depth of 30m (100ft) or more, however we only dive those with experienced divers and when the ocean is really calm and clear.
Question # 18: How big are the groups you go out with?
Answer: Most of the year we go out with one, or a few divers. In the high season (the winter) when we are busier, we regularly go out with six to ten divers, sometimes even more, in which case we usually go out with two dive guides and, if necesarry, with two boats. We try to keep the groups down to four, maybe six divers of the same experience level with their own dive guide. If you're with a bigger group and you all would like to dive together, we can accommodate you with a bigger boat.
Question # 19: Can I book the boat and a dive guide just for me?
Answer: You sure can, you can book any of our services as a private service, exclusively for you. You can also choose to dive from a luxury yacht if you would like to go out in style or if you want to treat your partner because of a special occasion. We can pretty much accommodate your special wishes and put together a Made-to-Measure trip for you, as long as you give us the time to organize it. Obviously all of the above comes at an additional charge.
Question # 20: I don't have a buddy, is that a problem?
Answer: No problem at all, with us you always go out with a professional, bilingual guide whom you can buddy up with, or we will hook you up with another diver.
Question # 21: What's your dive schedule?
Answer: Monday to Friday, 09:30 to approx. 13:30 hrs. for a two-tank dive. Upon request we can usually go out at other hours in the morning or afternoon, for a night dive, for a single dive or for more dives, depending on the season, workload, weather and diving conditions.
Question # 22: We come on a cruise ship, can we dive with you?
Answer: Yes, as long as you book in advance. In that case we will adjust our schedule according to the arrival time of your cruise ship. We have plenty of dive and snorkel sites close by, so even if your cruise ship is here for only a few hours, we can take you out for a dive trip or a snorkel tour. Our shop is a very short walk from the cruise ship pier.
Question # 23: What kind of snorkel tours do you offer?
Answer: Our most popular tour is our All-Day Snorkel Excursion, including a tour of the bays and a picnic lunch on a secluded beach. We usually snorkel in San Augustin and then various other places during the day. Another option is a Half-Day Snorkel tour going to two different sites, usually in two different bays. We also offer a simple snorkel tour at nearby La Entrega Beach, where we can go by boat or by car. Besides those tours you have the option to join divers on their trip and snorkel while they dive.
Question # 24: I have never snorkeled before, can I snorkel with you?
Answer: Of course you can! The snorkeling here is nice and easy. We have snorkel vests and life jackets you can use if that makes you feel more comfortable. You're always with a professional, bilingual guide. We even offer an Introduction into Snorkeling if you feel you need some instruction.
Question # 25: I have never dived before, can I dive with you?
Answer: As long as you can swim and you're healthy you can come diving with us. We offer the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Program, which is an introduction into diving precisely for those who have never done it before and would like to try it out. It's a safe and fun way to find out what scuba diving is all about! We offer the "Bubble Maker" Program for kids of 8 and 9 years of age.
Question # 26: I've dived before, but I'm not certified, can you take me diving?
Answer: Yes we can. However you will have to complete the Discover Scuba Diving Program (this is required by Mexican law and PADI). The program consist of an explanation by the Instructor, some training in shallow water and a dive to 12m (40ft) maximum. Once you have completed this program you can continue diving with us if you like or continue on with a certification course.
Question # 27: I don't have my certification card, is that a problem?
Answer: Not if you're a PADI diver. In that case we can check online with PADI to determine whether you're certified or not. If you're certified with another agency it may be more a bit more difficult. In any case, I would ask your certification agency for a new card. If you're a PADI diver you can do that through us while you're here.
Question # 28: Do you offer a course to get certified?
Answer: Yes we do. We offer the PADI Open Water Diver Course, which is the standard entry-level course. If you don't have the time (or the money) to do the Open Water Diver Course, you can do the PADI Scuba Diver Course and dive with some restrictions. You'll be able to complete the Open Water Course at a later date, if you would want to. You don't have to do that, you're PADI Scuba Diver Certification is valid for life.
Question # 29: I already started a course, can I continue with you?
Answer: Yes, you can. A nice way of doing your course is doing the knowledge development part and the pool training with your dive center back home and come here to complete the open water dives. That way you don't have to study during your vacation and you have more time to do other things (or more diving!). This is called a "referral" and you can use this system for practically any course.
Question # 30: What's the minimum age for scuba diving?
Answer: You have to be 10 years of age before you can take a scuba diving course. If you're at least 8 years of age you can do an introduction into diving in a pool or a very shallow bay. By the way, there is no maximum age for scuba diving!
Question # 31: I'm already certfied, what courses can you offer me?
Answer: The whole lot! Everything from the PADI Advanced Course, Specialty Courses, the Rescue Diver Course to the professional level course, such as Divemaster, Instructor and beyond. We also offer the Emergency First Aid Course, as well as various DAN Courses, including at the Instructor level.
Question # 32: Do you offer Instructor courses?
Answer: We certainly do. We offer the whole range of PADI and DAN Instructor Courses, including a wide range of Specialty Courses. We also offer Career Packages, which include the various courses to get you to a certain level.
Question # 33: Do you offer DAN courses?
Answer: Yes, we offer various DAN Courses at provider level as well as Instructor level. They include: Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Injuries and Aquatic Emergencies(Oxygen Provider) and First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries.
Question # 34: How long does a course take? What's the schedule?
Answer: For almost every course you can find those details by clicking on the button underneath the course that says "Course Details". You will see the course contents, course duration and the duration of each of the various course components, a sample course schedule and the pre-requisites for the specific course. We are pretty flexibel with the scheduling, you can start a course at almost any time.
Question # 35: What are the pre-requisites of the various courses?
Answer: For almost every course you can find the pre-requisites by clicking on the button underneath the course that says "Course Details". You will not only see the pre-requisites for that course, but also the course contents, course duration and the duration of the various course components and a sample course schedule.
Question # 36: Do you rent out U/W cameras and dive computers?
Answer: Yes to the cameras, no to the computers. We have a few digital Sony Cybershot cameras for rent. Rental includes burning the photos and/or videos you take on a CD. If you have a memory stick or laptop with you, we can also download them on one of them.
Question # 37: Do you have a special space on the boat for U/W cameras?
Answer: No, we don't. Our boat isn't that big, however, if you like we can bring a bucket of fresh water to rinse your camera after a dive.
Question # 38: Can we get a video of our dive(s)?
Answer: Yes, you can rent one of our digital cameras and shoot whatever video you like (see question 36).
Question # 39: Can my non-diving partner join me on a dive trip?
Answer: As long as we have space on the boat, he or she is welcome to. If you book it in advance we'll make sure he or she can. We do charge a small fee that includes rental snorkel equipment if required, drinks on the boat and the entrance fees to the National Park and the marina.
You also have the option to do an All-Day Excursion with us, which is the ideal tour for any combination of snorkelers and divers.
Question # 40: I'm a diver, my partner is not, can we dive together?
Answer: Yes, you can. Your partner can do the introduction into diving with us (the Discover Scuba Diving Program) and you can accompany us on the dive. We would just charge you for a single dive in that case. After your partner has completed the introduction you can continue diving together with us, on shallow dives limited to a depth of 12m (40ft).