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“Nice cavern deep cavern dive for intermediate divers.”
Review of Paradise Springs

Paradise Springs
Ranked #26 of 70 things to do in Ocala
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Attraction details
Owner description: Commercially operated cave diving site.
Reviewed 27 May 2007

Well, first of all, I was surprised that this little sink hole was in someone's yard. Granted, it was a 5 or 10 acre lot. Like another rater stated, you do fill out the paperwork in the owner's driveway. The mandatory video is on a stand in his garage, behind the 4 wheeler! Don't get me wrong -- I had a great time and even appreciate the fact that it's not some overrun, overdeveloped spring. It really is a beautiful throwback to pre-Disney Florida.

The sink itself is unassuming, hidden in a grove of trees and thick underbrush, in the middle of a horse pasture. I was surprised how far down the sink was. I realize sinkholes are depressions in the ground, it just seemed weird to see a deep depression hidden in the trees. The property is otherwise pancake flat.

The dive was enjoyable. It reminds me of Blue Springs (depth and angle), but I enjoyed this one more. There are a lot of interesting fossils, shells and petrified things to look at -- however, you have to look for them! If you jump in and head straight for the bottom and then head straight back up, you'll miss seeing the cool stuff between there and back!

I believe someone mentioned that the cave bottoms out around 140 feet deep and the cavern (visible light) ends at about 96 feet or so. If you haven't been in a cavern this deep, the surface above is visible at 96 feet, but very faint and very hazy. I'm sure we were kicking some stuff up, but don't think you would want to go even 20 feet down without a light.

If you have a couple of bright lights, or have a buddy with one of those super bright cave lights, you can see the tombstone (marker) of someone who died. The marker is located just past the 96' mark (Grim Reaper sign). You have to look straight down into the cave, slightly to the right. I would guess that it's another 15 or 20 feet deeper. It had inscriptions on it, but I didn't dare go closer. I'm told it had the birth and death date of the diver who died. Certainly a reminder to not ignore the Grim Reaper sign and do anything foolish.

Up top, there are a few picnic tables and a decent gazebo. No barbecue grills though. There is a little bathroom nearby. Clean enough for me, but not the most fancy. There is an outdoor shower (with no pressure) and a waist high spigot. The spigot had good pressure and served as a great place to wash the dirt off of the wet suits.

This is not a place for the non-diver. Take the family to Ginnie Springs. There is no beach or swimming area here.. It's just a 20 foot wide (if that) hole in the ground.

Did I like it? Heck yes! Would I go back? Most definitely.

I think from a pure dive perspective, it's a much more enjoyable cavern dive than say Ginnie Springs. Paradise Springs will set you back about $30, but definitely worth checking out!

5  Thank Jeffrey R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 31 October 2005

I Dove Paradise Springs for the first time on October 29 2005. I found it delightful.

The area right around the springs is natural. There are clear pathways and decks at the springs, picnic tables all around, a gazebo, a bathroom with an electric fan/heater where you can keep warm while changing.

The owner, Curtis, is a PADI instructor and avid diver. He shows a very well-done orientation video to all first-timers.

Paradise Springs has a wealth of prehistoric fossils, one large whale bone, lots of fossilized sand dollars and sea biscuits. You can go to 97 feet without cave diver training. Some of the cave divers I spoke with had been as far as 155'.

The springs is located on their personal home property. Jennifer is a groomer and will groom your dog while you're there.

Perhaps a little pricey at $30 per day, but you can dive all you want for one price. Air fills are $8, and the equipment is slow, but it's about a hundred feet away so you can have a tank filled while you are diving or taking an SI.

Loved it. Would go again.

4  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2005

Excellent dive!!! But the place is getting run down. Paradise lost! the father gave this to the son to run. He is not a scuba fan. Weeds growing around the condemmed office. You sign up from his garage. Your $30 dive fee is not going to upkeep....it's going to his motorcycle collection. Also, be weary of his tank refills. Equipment looks really old.

13  Thank Damon V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Orlando, Fl.
Reviewed 5 December 2003

Although easy to find in most Scuba guides, Paradise Springs is almost unknown and very little appreciated among the diving community outside the Ocala area.

The place is privately owned, and it features a dramatic and beautiful crevice the drops down to approximately 140 ft beneath the Earth surface.

It gives divers the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful prehistorical setting in a controlled and safe environment.

Our club have made over 30 visits this year alone to Paradise Springs, and we always feel satisfied and attracted to do it over and over again.

Paradise Springs is easy to get to. Closer to Orlando than other popular spots such as Ginnie Springs, Blue Grotto etc., and provides deeper safer dives than the above ones.

While you do need a cave certification to dive the Ginnie Springs' maze systems, you do not need one at Paradise Springs, and it is an excellent place to log some deep dive bottom time and practice diving skills such as buoyancy control, low visibility/night dive, cavern diving, etc.

The water temperature is always found at a comfortable 72 degrees, and although lights are needed to dive the site, visibility easily reaches close to 100 ft, when there are not many divers before you enter the cavern; otherwise, visibility could easily drop below 50 ft, when careless divers are present.

Capt. Kurt, the owner of Paradise Springs is a talented and friendly individual who cares for the spot.

Do not expect to find the wide variety of services and amenities you are used to. For instance, while restroom facility is present, P.S.
does not have hot showers nor food outlet. You have to bring your own drinks and/or snacks if you do not want to leave the site and drive 3 or 4 miles to one.

The place is beautiful and inviting for sun bathing, however, no facilities are there for such. Bring your own chair-lounge if you want to.

There is a cold water shower to rinse out after the dive, near the spring which is very convenient.

There are no bar-b-que grills, although a small gazebo is present. We have brought our own grill everytime we dive, and we have been able to have a great time.

Paradise Springs is not friendly to non-divers (there is nothing for them to do, since entering into the spring is only permitted to divers)...No swimming is allowed.

Admission price is $27 per diver. Air tanks refill station is available as well as equipment rental, but do not expect to find a fully equipped shop.

Overall, the place is above average due to its natural beauty, friendliness, safety and security and quality of the dive.

The Latin Divers Club URL: www.LatinDiversClub.com E-mail: info@LatinDiversClub.com

21  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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