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October 2003 Vol. 18, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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CoCo View Cuts the Cheese and (hopefully) Blows Away Turista

from the October, 2003 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

For a year or more, CoCo View Resort on Roatan has had a serious problem: divers by the numbers contracted turista. Many guests lost precious diving days because they were too sick to leave their rooms. During some weeks, readers reported, more than half the guests at the resort were affected.

While CoCo View has received rave reviews from Undercurrent readers for more than 20 years, management's response to Undercurrent's reports of GI tract problems disappointed us. At first, they dismissed the issue, saying that the intestinal problem "disappeared before it could be identified or its source traced." After we ran that quote in February, readers inundated us with e-mails describing continuing problems. Later, management offered scapegoats, saying that the cause may have been a virus brought in by cruise ship passengers.

In the May issue of Undercurrent we stated, "If any restaurant or hotel in the United States had a fraction of the gastrointestinal problems reported by the people who visit CoCo View, it would be shut down immediately."

Terry Evans, son of CCV owners and proprietor of travel wholesaler Roatan Charter, took issue, insisting that his parents were doing everything they could to address the problem -- extensive testing of tap water, bottled water, water at dive sites, food bacteria counts on both raw and cooked food items. The kitchen was renovated, and the staff retrained.

Even so, the problem didn't end, and unsuspecting divers were still being booked. One of our readers, Sandy Alexander, who had visited CoCo View often, arrived August 16th and reported more than half the guests were stricken with severe intestinal diarrhea and many missed diving much of the week. Friday of that week, Alexander said, it was reported "that there was some sort of 'mold' on the native Honduras cheese that was different from U.S. cheese. Owner Bill immediately pulled cheese from the menu."

Since then, we've had no more reports of problems, and the complaints on Internet bulletin boards have ceased. Terry Evans told Undercurrent that CCV did indeed trace the problem to Honduras' largest distributor of cheese and dairy products. They switched suppliers, and Evans says no incidents have been reported since.

Given CCV's public handling of the problem during the past year, we will excercise a little caution in accepting their claim of total victory. But Evans' is certain the problem is solved. Still, he is offering a unique guarantee. If anyone gets to CCV and decides it's not the place for them for any reason, "we'll book them elsewhere on the island free and refund all unused nights immediately." Alexander received a $200 refund and half off on the next visit.

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