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Dive Review of Sharky's Dive Shop/Nirvana Inn in
Colombia/San Andres Island

January, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Roger Zander, Mi, usa
Report Number 1047
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bonaire, Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Saba, Xcalak, Hawaii
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
79   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
100   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Return with 500 psi.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
1 stars  
Someone at dive shop and resort really liked my UW camera.  So much so,
they stole it on our third day there.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
2 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
We had Scuba San Andres (Lauren McKinney) arrange all our travel
connections from Detroit to the Nirvana Inn on San Andres Island.  On the
way down, we spent an overnight at a Comfort Inn in San Jose, CostaRica.
The next morning we flew on a Western Caribbean Airlines jet for the half
hour hop to the island.  Carlos, from Nirvana, met us at the terminal.  At
the hotel desk, Loreen was waiting for our arrival and to give us a quick
tour.  You can go to and view pictures of the resort.
The picture of the lobby shows our rooms patio directly above.  The
website images show all the buildings bright white.  During our visit, I
noted that most were spotted with the black tropical mold and were in need
of cleaning and repainting.  Our room was tidy but, the bathroom showed a
lot of wear and tear.  The door wouldnt shut, cracked window, very strong
musty odor.  The pool water was rather cloudy the first day.  By the second
day, it was considerably cleaner.  There was a noticeable sewer odor from
the rear of the complex.  The Nirvana Inn is about 25 years old, owned by
Americans, according to Roger Madero who owns the SharkysDive Shop, next
door.  Since we were the only guests at Nirvana, we felt like royalty.  The
cook, Inez, was preparing meals just for us.  For our first dinner, we had
chicken, rice, potatoes with a salad of green tomatoes and cucumbers.  The
salad was ruined by the olive oil which had gone bad, otherwise all the
meals were fine.  We had everyday items like pork chops, fish, chicken and
my 8 year old daughter was particularly fond of pancakes for breakfast. 
Each day, Inez made a different fruit smoothie drink.  The next morning, I
met Edgar the divemaster, and we went out for a 2 tank trip, I was the only
diver.  It was a 5 minute ride to a coral reef that was in good condition
with no special features.  I counted 3 large spotted drum, two scorpionfish
and at least a dozen pufferfish.  The next day, Jose is the DM and again, I
am the only diver.  The first site is called Punta PADI with typical reef
fish like snappers and parrotfish on healthy coral.  We dive with computers
and have about 30 minute surface intervals.  The second dive is to the
Diamond shipwreck, sunk in 1995, broken in the middle and only 42 feet
down.  For day three, the winds are right for a trip to the other side of
the island.  Edgar says that usually the water is too rough for the
"six-pack" sized dive boat.  We motor for 15 minutes, anchor in
60 ft of water on top of the Blue Wall.  The Blue Wall is just that, a
sheer vertical drop to nothing but, deep blue.  The surface of the wall is
so straight that it almost appears man-made.   This was my most memorable
dive on San Andres.  The second dive was to a shallow wreck, there was too
much wave action to enjoy this dive.  This day there were two robberies. 
At Sharkys Dive Shop and Sunset Hotel, Edgar and Roger had about $2000
currency stolen.  At the Nirvana Inn, our room was broken into and I lost
my digital camera, housing, strobe, laptop computer, and other personal
items for a loss of over $3000.  The thieves were very selective and Roger
Madero says it was an inside job, one of his employees with possible
assistance from Nirvana staff.  The police eventually arrived to
investigate and I visited the police headquarters to make a police
report.  Lauren contacted the Nirvana Inns owners, who say that they have
not had problems with their staff. Lauren offered a complimentary stay at
Nirvana as a goodwill gesture, the owners appear that they could care less.
 The last day of diving was off shore of the Nirvana Inn.  The shoreline is
too rocky for entry and is only accessible by boat.  Would I return to San
Andres?  Yes, although Im not sure if it would be to the Nirvana.  In
addition, I would go through Toronto for a non-stop flight direct to San
Andres Island.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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