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Placencia, Belize
frrdiver - 3/20/2009 9:37 PM
Category: Travel
Replies: 4

Has anyone been in Placencia, Belize? I’m planning a Dive vacation there, any suggestions, what about the Placencia Hotel? Dives? Any Whaleshark?
lulu222 - 3/21/2009 1:43 PM

Just came back from Placencia. Stayed March 8th-16th. I went to see the whale sharks but had no luck. Guess you have to be lucky. On Friday the 13th, after leaving the marine park, it was reported the park rangers saw two whalesharks in the early evening where the dog snapper were spawning. We found the dog snapper the next day and they were spawning but nothing. The boat captain said later in the day is better for sighting but we always left around 10 am, and the marine park closes at 5pm. I was told many different things about the best time, including April and May are better but there are too many boats out.

I stayed at Laru Beya which is nice. Didn’t make it as far as the Placencia Hotel which was opposite the dive shop and I didn’t hear much about it.. Turtle Inn and Roberts Grove were supposed to be the most exclusive. Both looked really nice but Turtle Inn, Francis Ford Coppola’s place, reportedly charges $20.00 for a beer which is a real turn off.

You can message me if you have more questions
frrdiver - 3/21/2009 8:15 PM

Thanks for your response. We are going there on April 8, until the 15th, we are going to the Placencia Hotel, apparently the best days to see the Gentle Giant are April 9, 10 and 11, due to the full moon.

Couple of questions, How long is the trip on the boat from Plancencia to Gladden Spit? Is it bumpy? How do they plan the Whale shark diving, do they just hang at sea all day until they find one? If the Whale Shark does not show up, did you dive in other place or you just go back? Is it just open water or are there more things to see?

lulu222 - 3/22/2009 12:47 PM

It took about an hour and a half to get to Gladden Spit. It was pretty bumpy, especially the first couple of days. It was pretty windy in the city too. It could be just March weather. One of the days, it was too rough to go to Gladden Spit which was where we saw the highest waves. They took us to Laughing Bird Caye for some reef diving.

When you go to Gladden Spit, you are there for two tank dives to look for the whale sharks. You check in with the rangers at a very pretty reef that you go back to for lunch. It is calmer there and there is some great snorkeling.

Then Captain cruises around looking for schools of fish and you jump in. One day we didn’t see anything at all, just the deep blue sea and some hint of a wall. Visability wasn’t great because of the rough seas.

One day we caught a glimpse of a hammerhead, which is rare. We saw some bull sharks and reef sharks and lots of dolphins. When you see the thousands of snapper, it is impressive. We also saw other schools, including the horse-eyed jack.

I heard different theories about the full moon while I was there. After getting there, I heard it was better after the full moon rather than the 2 days before and after. Then, as it got later in the week, I even heard the sightings were better as it approached the waning quarter. You’ll see when you get there. The one thing they said was certain, if the cubera snapper were spawning, then the whale sharks would show up. 

I hope you don’t have to go through any of this, that they are just there when you get there. They say if you see them it makes it all worthwhile. Please report when you get back. I’d like to get a better idea of the odds in case I decide to go back.
diverchet - 3/22/2009 8:43 PM
I stayed on Ambergris Caye in March of 08. I was told the whale sharks time was June’s full moon. Half Moon Caye had the best diving of my trip. There’s also a short hike to an observation platform for the red foot boobie bird sanctuary.