Just a few miles offshore from John Pennekamp lies a fantastic coral reef, the world's third largest, teeming with marine life and vibrant corals, so it is no wonder that diving and snorkeling are two of the park's main activities.
There is a fully equipped PADI 5-star facility at the park which provides boat tours to the reef, gear rental, and scuba instruction.
They frequent some of Key Largo's most popular sites like
These are all relatively shallow sites and ideal for beginners and recently certified divers but also enjoyable for the more experienced divers with lots to see, tons of marine life, schools of fish, endless gardens full of seafans, plumes and sponges...
They also offer trips to some of the deeper wrecks upon request for the more experienced divers and Advanced Open Water certification or higher is necessary.
There is one morning and one afternoon dive trip, both are two-tank, two-location dives. Cost is $55, add $29 for gear if you don't have your own. In addition, you have to pay the park entry fee.
The Dive Shop is conveniently located, after you enter the park, the Visitor Center will be on your left, make a right towards the marina and campground. See the map here.
There is plenty of parking in front of the dive shop and the boats leave from the dock right in front, so no shuttling back and forth to another jetti.
All sites are in a protected area within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, so be mindful of some basic rules which the staff will point out like not touching or taking anything from the water, live or otherwise.
The John Pennekamp diving tours go to the same sites as the many Key Largo dive shops that operate outside the park, and there are pros and cons when deciding whether to dive with one or the other.
One of the advantages of diving from Pennekamp is the park facilities. You can chill, shower and change, have a bar-b-que or picnic after you are done diving and make it a full day.
The Park is also a good choice if there are non-divers in your group since there is much to do from relaxing at the little beaches, taking a canoe or kayak trip, check out the boardwalks or do the snorkel or glass-bottom boat tour.
Of course, all the extra ammenities come at an extra cost, because if you are diving with the Key Largo shops, you save the park entrance fee.
If you are choosing a Key Largo dive shop there are many options, some take smaller groups, 6-8 divers for example, and if you prefer, some dive shops offer a dive guide that will go in the water with you. There is certainly a great variety of services you can choose from.
Here's more on Pennekamp vs. Key Largo Shop on our Snorkeling page.
More info, reservations and $5 off coupon: www.pennekamppark.com/scuba-tours or call (305) 451-6322.
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