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Dive Review of Laguna Beach in

June, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Laura Todd, CA, USA
Report Number 546
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Hawaii, Fiji, Palau, Tahiti, Bahamas
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy  
choppy, surge, noCurrents  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
1 hour limit   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Simple bucket for cameras on boat.  Dry table tended to get taken over with
other stuff. No processing at resort.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
3 stars    
Laguna Beach is a top notch operation from the location to the dive
services and great staff.  The setting is on a peninsula well away from
town; very peaceful.  Your bungalow with its own dock backs up to a
mangrove lagoon and fronts on the ocean.  Accomodations are quite simple,
but large and very well maintained; most have A/C.  The food was divine,
home-cooked and served buffet style.  Always 2 main dish choices and a full
breakfast.  Kitchen staff will also make you a snack anytime, no english
spoken though.  Honor bar with lots of supplies but no bartender.  The
managers are very organized, customer oriented, genuinely interested in
making sure you have a good time.
They have 2 big powerful boats that were uncrowded with 6-8 when I was
there - could feel a little full at capacity of 16.  Each had shade, heads,
oxygen and radio.  They also have the kind of tank racks that are cut down
in front, a small but nice detail that means you don't need help to stand
up with all your gear on.  Drinking water and homemade cookies supplied. 
The staff waits on you hand and foot - all you need to do is remember your
personal stuff and rinse your wetsuit.  The divemasters are great at
seeking out the little stuff and really get into their finds.  They don't
skimp on the gas like a lot of places do; it was routine to go all the way
around the island for the morning's diving.  Divemaster Jen tended to be a
little conservative profile-wise, usually asking folks to stay above 80'
but all the critters tended to be at that depth or above.  Experienced
divers with computers were allowed to start deeper.
We had a little bit of everything weather and conditions wise. The north
side of the island could be quite swelly, with the south fairly calm and
the shallow west side with the tiny cays covered with fishing villages
always gorgeous.  Topside the weather ranged between hot and damn hot.
I was skeptical coming from a week on Roatan where we saw almost no
animals, but Utila is packed with wonderful critters, admittedly mostly
small.  They tend to have a lot of the pretty reef fish: queen angels, rock
beauties, the jewel-like juvenile yellow tail damsel fish and spotted drums
both juvenile and adult, including one whopper about 1' long.  There was a
variety of eels, balloon, porcupine and burrfish, toadfish and
scorpionfish, several hawksbill turtles.  Invertebrates included plenty of
lettuce leaf sea slugs, a few nudibranchs, decorator crabs and of course,
the squid squad of 32 who contemplated us for quite a while.  Bring your
big book of blennies - there are tons here from the teensy secretary
blennies to quill fins.  A couple yellow and regular sting rays.  Then
there were the EAGLE RAYS that let us get within 8 feet and actually slowed
down and stayed at one depth so we could really see them - very nice.  No
whale sharks and the promised seahorses did not materialize.  There is
great snorkeling right in front of the resort and some decent shells wash
up on the rocky beach west of the main building. 
The only downsides were that the two adorable chocolate lab puppies who
insisted on "helping" with everything tended to poop pretty much
everywhere and it was not cleaned up timely.  Also, the ocean and beaches
had a dishearteningly large amount of trash.  Even so, it was a great trip
and I will definitely be back.  
Be aware that the local flights always go back to the mainland before going
to the next island and that their flight schedules are pretty random, often
leaving early.  They do not synchronize well with a couple of the
international flights into Roatan, notably Sol Air.  What that really means
is that any trip to Utila alone may necessitate an overnight in La Cieba. 
The main booking agent, Utila Tours knows the drill and will get you set
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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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