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Diving with… Pro Dive International at Allegro Cozumel, Mexico

American DTA Team

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In this ongoing series, we speak with the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Ignacio Muñoz Avalos

What is the name of your business?

Pro Dive International – Mexico & Dominican Republic

What is your role within the business?

Base Leader at Pro Dive International at Allegro Cozumel

How long has the business operated for?

Since 2003.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

10 years as a dive professional, but it’s been almost 30 years since the first time I dove. I’m a MSDT.

What is your favorite type of diving?

I like drift diving, but also photography.

Photo: David Jones

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

We are located in the middle of the Cozumel National Park. This premium location allows us to enjoy the best sites that Cozumel has to offer with very short boat rides. All our guides are MSDT’s so they are prepared to help both, beginner as well as very experienced divers. We group our divers depending on experience, and we maximize bottom times so that everyone that has enough air can do a long nice dive. Also we provide NITROX for free.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

That’s a very hard question. There are so many nice dives here. To see life and experience fast drifts I love diving in Cedral Wall. To see spectacular coral formations Palancar Caves or Bricks are a must. And of course if I want to go for a deep dive Punta Sur is amazing, especially during Eagle Ray season when lots of the congregate on that spot.

Photo: Stefan Heer

What types of diving are available in your location?

All the dives in Cozumel are drift dives. Some slow, some fast. Amount and diversity of marine life is one of the best in the Caribbean, both for small and big life. And the big coral formations of the Palancar are unique and breath-taking. We also have one nice wreck in the Park, a minesweeper from WWII.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

The chance of meeting divers from all around the world and introduce them to one of the best diving destinations that the Caribbean has to offer. But what I really love is teaching new divers. Being able to see their smiles after their first dives is priceless.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Octopus

Photo: Larry Cohen

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

I wouldn’t say change, but I see there are more and more initiatives from the National park and other NGOs with research studies and other campaigns that aim to make everybody realize that we need to be more careful with how we deal and treat our oceans. Especially divers.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

Having to compete with other operations that offer lower prices but whose standards are really lacking in safety for the divers. Several times we have to help divers from other dive shops that are left adrift on their own and have no clue of even the name of the boat they are diving with. Not to mention occasions in which we have to jump in with our emergency oxygen kits to help divers from other operations because their shops don’t carry O2 to save themselves a couple of extra bucks.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

We are pushing for a plastic free dive center so we are trying to get rid of as many as possible plastic products.

Photo: Stefan Heer

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

I think there’s a need for more companies that put safety on top of everything else. In far too many places there aren’t enough regulations to ensure everybody follows good practices.

It’s a growing industry for sure, but more efforts are needed as an industry to protect and preserve the oceans and its ecosystems.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

Cozumel is one of the best diving destinations. That’s not a discovery. But we at Pro Dive International aim to help you discover the best places, the best sites that our island has to offer. I’ve dived all over the world and there aren’t many places where you can see so much life in one dive. My record is 16 turtles between Green see, Hawksbill and Loggerhead in just one dive! And the night dives here in Cozumel are just so cool with lots of octopus, eels, snakes, huge lobsters and king crabs.

At Allegro Cozumel, we also feature the “Ultimate Dive Experience” – a VIP-Stay & Dive concept unique in the Caribbean, adopted to the specific needs of our divers.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business? 

Just visit www.prodiveinternational.com or email us at info@prodiveinternational.com.

Facebook:

@prodiveinternational 

@prodivemexico

@prodivedominicanrepublic

@prodivemexicoacademy

Twitter: twitter.com/prodiveinter

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Diving with…  Pablo Calderon Cadiz, Takata Experience, Mahaual, Mexico

CJ and Mike

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Pablo Calderon Cadiz

What is the name of your business?

Takata Experience

What is your role within the business?

Owner / General Manager

How long has the business operated for?

6 years

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I have been diving for 16 years; I am a PADI IDC Staff Instructor

What is your favorite type of diving?

I really enjoy all types of dive but deep dives and dives with crazy topography are by far my favourites.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

We are a dive center and also a research center, so we merge both into one big idea.  When you dive with us you also benefit the reef, as we put part of that money into our restoration program. We are also one of the only dive centers in the world that has a full research center working together with us. That’s why our official hashtag is #Divewithpurpose

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

My favorite dive in Mahahual is Piratas, because of the beautiful topography and the amount of big animals you can see, such as turtles, manatees and sharks.

What types of diving are available in your location?

One of the best things about Mahahual is that there are dive sites for all levels, from shallow reefs with beautiful life to walls that can go down to 150 meters within 5 minutes from the shore. You can always choose what you want, if you are looking for biodiversity, topography, shallow sand patches or very deep walls, we have them all.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

The diving industry is an industry that is constantly evolving and from my role I am able to always bring that to Takata.  I am always looking for ways to create a solid business culture, to make sure the people that work for us can always develop themselves from a professional perspective, but also from a personal one. We have created many different programs that are unique to us, where we merge the dive and research center. All that is possible because I can take those decisions. To see how your dream becomes true is the biggest reward ever.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Sharks are my number 1, and if I can be more specific, Hammerheads!!!

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

I feel that many dive centers in the world don’t  know yet what makes them unique, so the way for them to attract people is to charge very low prices, sometimes that is very difficult, because the one that is next to you can charge 30% less than you for the ¨same service¨. I believe we should always find what is unique to us and to create a value on it. We should all focus on the professionalization of our industry.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

As I mentioned before, we have a full research center, our director has 2 master degrees and our 2 biologist both have PhDs. Actually our research center was name as Actor for the UN Decade On Ecosystems Restoration for the next 10 years.

Our research center works together with the Mexican government to ensure a sustainable development in the area and to implement big scale conservation and restoration projects in Mahahual.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

As we are a new company, there are always exciting thing coming our way, in these years we became an IDC center, UN partners, we did a small hotel and we are looking forward to develop our research center even more.  We would like to become the biggest research center in Mexico which is very ambitious and to become leaders in diving, restoration and everything that involve costal ecosystems. We dream big because we love what we do.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

I think the industry is doing ok but not great.  For sure freediving has grown a lot in the last 10-15 years. There are several organisations around the world who do great work, but we need more people and businesses looking to do the exceptional.   Sometimes talking with diving friends around the world, we all agree that this is probably one of the few industries where the prices we charge are the same or even cheaper than 5 or 10 years ago. We urgently need to proprofessionalize the industry and put the correct value on our product and services.

Finally, what would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

If you guys are looking for a unique immersive experience where you can mix your passion for diving with deep understanding of marine and costal ecosystem, then we are your choice.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

You guys can follow us on IG: Takata.experience 

FB: Takata Experience                                                                                

Our website is: www.takataexperience.com

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Discover the Best of Belize with Dive Worldwide

American DTA Team

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This June marks the 25th anniversary of the Belize Barrier Reef becoming a World Heritage Site! To celebrate, Dive Worldwide have rounded up their top trips to Belize which includes a resort-based stay, a liveaboard special and a twin-centre with neighbouring Guatemala – perfect for soaking up some culture. 

Reefs, Atolls & Mayan Ruins

The only English speaking country in Central America, Belize is warm, welcoming and offers unbelievable adventures. This gem has plenty for divers from incredible nature and topside activities to magical diving opportunities. Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world and three of the four atolls in the western hemisphere making it a popular choice for divers.

If you missed the Dive Worldwide Belize talk in January you can catch up here.

Belize Discovered

Spend a week diving the remarkable barrier reef from Ambergris Caye before enjoying a few nights exploring the jungle with its Mayan ruins and caves.

Underwater there’s plenty on offer, with canyons, drop offs and swim throughs in addition to a unique topography and relatively easy conditions. You’ll be accompanied by a kaleidoscope of reef fish as you marvel at the array of sea fans and sponges adorning the seabed. Highlights include nurse shark, stingray, grouper, angelfish, turtle and dolphin. 

You then head off-the-beaten-track in land where you stay at an eco lodge in the heart of the Belizean jungle. Here there are a multitude of activities on offer including hiking and cave tours or you can immerse yourself in Mayan culture and visit a number of nearby ruins for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 13 days

Price from: £2,945 per person

Belize Liveaboard

Dive the Lighthouse and Turneffe Atolls from a liveaboard and experience the very best diving Belize has to offer. Located in the Lighthouse Reef there will be the opportunity to dive the Great Blue Hole. This atoll is full of marine life with angelfish, Creole wrasse, butterflyfish, barracuda and sponges found here.

Turneffe is the largest of the three atolls and offers a mixture of shallow reefs and sheer walls with a variety of reef fish and beautiful underwater scenery. Turtle, eagle ray, reef shark, snapper and jacks live on the healthy reefs. Dive sites of note include Half Moon Caye – another UNESCO World Heritage Site – and Painted Wall where you can find macro subjects such as ghostfish, crabs, blennies and invertebrates.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 10 days

Price from: £3,475 per person

Guatemala & Belize

Begin your holiday with some topside cultural discovery in Guatemala. This country packs a punch with its colonial architecture, Mayan ruins nestled in the verdant green jungle and stunning vistas. Don’t miss a visit to Lake Atilan, widely renowned for being one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with its volcanoes, thermal springs and incredible sunrises.

After a few days in Guatemala it’s time to go diving in Belize! Explore the barrier reef and spend time diving the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Blue Hole – the largest of its kind in the world and one of the top reasons to visit Belize. Here the waters are crystal clear, the topography is impressive with large coral and rock formations and the marine life is prolific with reef and black-tip shark in addition to large grouper.

Departs: Jan-Dec

Duration: 14 days

Price from: £3,495 per person


If you want to experience the world class diving and topside highlights of spectacular Belize, contact the Dive Worldwide Team.

All prices are per person and include flights from the UK, liveaboard or accommodation, diving, most meals and airport transfers.

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