I’m about to take an 11-day trip to St. Lucia, and 4-5 of those days don’t have anything special “marked” to do. With my schedule and classes available near Denver, it looks like it would cost me about $500-$570 to get my open water. On the other hand, it’s about $100 cheaper down there.
Now when I say it’s cheaper, that’s if I don’t do the PADI E-learning, which is a ridiculous $179 IIRC, but cuts the time to get your open water from 3 days down to 2. Has anyone done the E-course and is it worth the price?
I got an open water certification package on Groupon, maybe check there for any deals. I wonder how your dives are going to be in Denver with the altitude.
Also I don’t know how seriously St. Lucia would take the classes but it took me a couple hours to get through the course over like4 days. I doubt you would want to devote vacation time to studying.
The E-learning is a great self-paced way to go through the material.
jBut hopefully there is also a 2-3 days (4-5 hrs each day) instructional in a pool before you do your open water because it’s essential to gain the confidence before you do a dive.
when you say “100 cheaper down there” - do you mean in St Lucia? Because the last thing you want to do while on vacation is take a class. You want to dive, dive, dive.
Another option you can explore is doing classes and pool locally and then do ocean dives on vacation. I don’t remember what it’s called but it was an option I looked at before finding the groupon.
I got my open water while on vacation and it was an intense sprint for 3-4 days of studying and being in and out of the water. Of course I got sick, because air travel, poor sleep schedules, and being cold (even though the water was pretty warm), and I barely passed.
Get your open water, and then take a vacation.
Most stores/classes will be happy to let you take your actual open water certification dive down in the nice warm waters of the Caribbean rather than making you coat yourself in 10mm of rubber and do a dive in some crap quarry.
So do your classroom and pool work near your home. After you’ve finished your classwork and done whatever written tests there are, you just have your Denver instructor fill out all the paperwork and hand it to the dive shop in St. Lucia when you go down there. They’ll take you down for your first dive, do all the certification nonsense, and then you’re off to join the rest of the group for the rest of the dive(s).
It can actually be a lot cheaper to do your certification dive down there – less gear to rent. And you’re not as worried about hypothermia.
Thanks, y’all. @MattN, I pretty much facepalmed. Never even thought of a groupon. Dadgumit. Back in the day I got everything but my open water cert, as the group was traveling all the way to Utah to do it and I ran out of time off. Hurray for the Rockies in the winter.
I think that I’m going to take the advice to do the open water here or wherever I can find a groupon and use that as an excuse to book a week at Anse Chastanet or something and really get into diving the next go around. I’ll probably take the “discover scuba” package to just get a taste of the area without having to waste two days in pools. I don’t want to end up in the same boat (intended) as @fire.
@Tin_Wisdom, I have my own wetsuit, fins, etc., since I like to raft when the water’s still in the 50s, but yeah, I think I’ve been convinced to relax this go around.
Yeah, the total course cost there is about 450 for the 3-day, plus self-study time. ~$600 here for me, plus the cost to travel to do the open water cert. Still, someone mentioned that many places will let you do the cert elsewhere. Sounds like a plan to me.
Hal, this was my route. I did a week course in Virginia Beach, then open water in a bay there, in January, because I had an upcoming trip to Puerto Rico and wanted more dive time. It worked, but damn was that water cold, even in a wetsuit. Prepare for that, because cold water mask clearing is a thing all it’s own. It WILL shock you. The water hurts. Visibility was barely a few feet and the weather was miserable. But the instructors know that, and they will go through everything quickly, getting people in and out.
Still, worth it for the extra dive time once you are on vacation. I would also recommend somewhere you CAN get pool time, because the practice in a safe environment means a lot once you do your dive test.