If you are reading these reviews, you have at least thought about GOING PRO! And if you are like me, you haven’t stopped thinking about the possibility of being a dive professional since the first time you blew bubbles beneath the waves. You may have asked yourself…How do I make the leap? Where is the best place to go? How do I know I am getting the best deal for my money? How good is the education? Are there things to do other than diving where I do my training? I know because I asked all these question myself when thinking about the big decision of changing my life forever. So I will try to answer all these questions and more by giving you my experience over the course of the last few months.
Back in November 2012, I finally made the decision that I wanted a career in the dive industry and there was nothing that could stop me. So I started researching all the IDC Centers I could find on the net. Knowing that I could go anywhere in the world, I wanted the best! Through my research I had narrowed it down to about 6 IDC Centers and started sending emails and making phone calls, just trying to learn as much as I could about the whole process. There are many great Course Directors out there and most are willing to help any way they can. Yet, some set themselves apart from all the others. For me there were two whose communication was very clear and immediate. Georgia King was one of those two. She was actually one of the last people I emailed but she responded within a couple of hours and answered every question I had. Which brought up more questions, which she answered, which brought up more question, which she answered…and you get the point. You have many questions when you are thinking about going a long way from home and have no idea what to expect there. Without a doubt, Georgia gave me every bit of information I needed. So after a week of asking questions and getting answers I made the decision and chose Go Pro Costa Rica! Looking back, I made the best decision I could have made.
So the education…I did my Advanced, Rescue, Divemaster and Open Water Scuba Instructor. Yeah that’s right; I did them all back to back to back to back. It was an epic experience and I learned so much more than what is just covered in the standard classes. The instructors have so much knowledge to pour into you! My Advanced and Rescue were done by JT and nothing was missed or skipped over. Every section of both courses was taught to a mastery level. He was patient when I needed patience and pushed me when I needed to be pushed. JT is very clear and concise in everything that you need to know and teaches and reteaches everything that you need to feel confident in your level of training. My Divemaster course was taught by both JT and Georgia and must admit it is the most fun training you can do! If your dream is to be a Divemaster there is no place that you will learn more and have as much fun doing it as Go Pro Costa Rica!! They go above and beyond the basics, not only teaching what you need to know but the things you want to know too. Plus they give you an unbelievable insight into the dive industry through the eyes of people that have been living the dream for years. Now if Instructor is in your sights, this is also the place for you. As expected, the IDC is tuff. Make no mistake, you have to work and study if you want this one. With that said it is never overwhelming or ever feels impossible. Georgia teaches the IDC and with her in your corner you are getting instruction from the best! You know how every-now-and-again you come across people in their field and can’t imagine anyone else being better or more knowledgeable. Well that’s Georgia. I know I haven’t met every Course Director out there but I can’t imagine anyone better out there. She exemplifies everything she expects out of you, encourages you when you struggle and celebrates in your successes! As I am sure everyone is, I was nervous going into the IE after the IDC. No matter how well prepared you know you are, you know the finality of exam time. An examiner from PADI headquarters flew in to administer the 3 days of examinations. Those included the written, confined water and open water. Admittedly, the IE was easy compared to the IDC. Not that you will breeze through it if you don’t stay focused, but you are so well prepared after the IDC it seems easy in comparison. The entire staff at Go Pro Costa Rica are more than just experienced divers, they are top level educators! That brings me to Bob who owns the shop. Although Bob doesn’t teach the classes you may choose to take he is still a wealth of knowledge. He will sit in on classes from time to time and talk about his experience and passion for diving. You can’t help but learn from Bob just by being around him. Whether it is how to fix something that you think could never be fixed or valuable information from being in the dive world for 30+ years. So when you get here make sure to pick his brain, Bob is always more than happy to teach. Go Pro Costa Rica will take you to the professional level you seek and you will learn a ton on that journey!!
Now the stuff that I really wanted to know about in addition to the diving…Is there anything else to do there besides diving? The short answer is “You bet”!!! One of the deciding factors in my choosing a place was quality of life outside and away from the shop. We all need breaks and escapes; even from the things we love the most. A couple of the IDC Centers that I looked at, though the education seemed high quality, appeared to not have much else to do outside of diving. Here in Costa Rica there are so many options for fun and excitement or even just to chill and relax in beautiful breath-taking surroundings. There is rafting, zip-lining, repelling, Manuel Antonio National park and the list goes on and on. Or maybe you just want to chill on a beach from time to time. The beach in Manuel Antonio is absolutely amazing! Something you have to experience in person because there is no way I could use enough adjectives to describe what you will see as the sun sets over the waves! I used much of my free time learning to surf, which is now my second passion next to diving. Bati, one of Georgia’s friends, helped me purchase a surf board and also gave me some free lessons and from there I was hooked! The night life is also pretty darn good around here. Whether you want to just grab a drink and decompress from the day, or dance the night away you will find it all here in Manuel Antonio/Quepos. So again, no matter what you might be passionate about outside of diving it’s here waiting for you!!!!
So if you’re on the fence about a PRO career….make the leap!!! You won’t regret your decision. And if you make the decision to GO PRO, why not do it at a place the offers the highest level of education anywhere and all in one of the most beautiful countries in the world! Part of the reason I love to dive is because when you’re in the ocean you feel, for a moment, a part of something so much bigger then yourself. Why not become a professional in an organization like PADI and teach the world to be a part of something bigger then themselves! You won’t regret it and it will be an experience and an education that can never be taken away from you.
From a new PADI Instructor,
Live the Dream!! Pura Vida!!
Kevin Grimm #320387