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Dive Review of Manuel Antonio Divers in
Costa Rica/Quepos

March, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Jeffrey Levin, OH, USA
Report Number 3361
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
BVI,   USVI,  Belize,   Cayman Is.,  Red Sea,  Cozumel,   Bonaire,   Aruba,
etc etc
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
77   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
dive was deeper than 65 ft at the bttom, so close supervision was
unnecessary for the 4 of us  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
4 stars    
We dove with Manuel Antonio Divers of Costa Rica.

Raymond & Mindy Passavant are the owners of Manuel Antonio Divers. We
had booked several different types of excursions with this company. 
However, Manuel Antonio Divers (MAD) has a perception of what transpired in
the booking, payment, and execution of those excursions than that of our
party of 6 whom had actually experienced the trips. We had a bad experience
with this company involving a diving and fishing trip to Cano Island, a
sunset river tour, and the loss of a deposit on a ill-conceived nighttime
zip-line tour they arranged.

Unfortunately we pre-paid for the trips on our itinerary.  I am sure had we
been presented with the charges AFTER THE FACT, we could have contested the
many items that we did not receive.  Bottomline: Did we receive what we had
paid for?- NO.  If the tour was overscheduled with too many activities that
could not, in any circumstance, be delivered, then, we believe, it is the
obligation of the tour operator, Manuel Antonio Divers, to tell us this in
advance.  As a matter of fact, it was THEY who put together the ambitious
itinerary for us.  We relied on the expertise of this tour operator to make
the arrangements for a trip that should have been both appropriate and
within the realm of possibility to execute.  It was not until we returned,
that Raymond and Mindy informed us that this type of trip was perhaps
pushing it. The Passavants were not onboard that day and  therefore
unaware of all that was not done as promised. It fell far short of what we
had contracted and had anticipated.

It was our understanding that there would be a lengthy boat ride to Cano
Island where we might tour the island (yet never got closer than 50 meters
from shore); we would have TWO scuba diving opportunities, and a snorkeling
opportunity for the 2 non-divers.  There was only ONE scuba dive and NO
snorkeling.  The crew, who spoke little English, promptly left the dive
site after the 40 minute scuba dive; they setup 5 fishing poles, and
trolled the waters for sailfish and marlin at over 20 knts as we set a
course for an unrequested, early return to Quepos. During our swift return
to the Quepos dock, the 5 fishing hooks were baited twice. The first bait
that was set had been torn from the hooks due to the brisk trolling speed. 
Needless to say, we caught NO FISH - not even a nibble.

We are a small group that travels often.  We have stayed in many beautiful
areas like Costa Rica.  We have used dive companies and tour outfits
throughout the world. Before we contacted the credit card company to
dispute the charges, we tried to resolve our disappointment and complaints
directly with Manuel Antonio Divers but were given a stern refusal to
negotiate the discrepancies between what we were charged and what in fact
we received.  

There is much to do and see in this area of Costa Rica. BUT, I would advise
to steer clear of MAD if you wish to avoid the disappointments and
confrontations we experienced during our week there.

The Passavants of MAD are apparently unaware of the power of UnderCurrent
reviewers and readers.  MAD should know that the internet giveth and the
internet taketh away.  Personal accounts of experiences with dive companies
is widely read.  As a member of Ben Davisons  The Travelin Divers
Chapbook, I told him that I would be submitting my report on our Costa
Rican trip after this "one star" episode, in an otherwise
flawless vacation.  

We were guests staying at Villa La Macha, a fabulous residence overlooking
the Pacific sunset. The owners of the home and their right-hand-man on the
island, Jota, are generous, gentle, and fair-minded individuals that can
and do get many benevolent things done in the Quepos area.  I urge the
Passavants, owners of Manuel Antonio Divers, to follow their example; be
honest with clients and do the right thing. 


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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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