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Dive Review of Tropical Island Divers/Paya Bay Resort in
Honduras/Roatan

Tropical Island Divers/Paya Bay Resort, May, 2012,

by Clem Clapp, AL, US (Contributor Contributor 12 reports). Report 6649.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Gulf Coast, Keys, Hawaii, Central America, Variety of Locations in the Caribbean.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 75 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Pretty loose. Don't go too deep, try not to touch anything, come up with air and point out lionfish to the dm with the speargun.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 2 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments My non-diving spouse and I look for uncrowded, somewhat off-the-beaten path destinations with decent diving plus a good beach for a beach bum. This location on the north side towards the east end of Roatan was a perfect fit for us. Paya Bay's driver met our direct flight from Houston for the hour or so rumble in the jungle partial dirt road ride to the resort filling us in on local stuff and patiently answering our questions along the way. They didn't mind stopping for a quick burger for us. Upon our arrival at the 10 room or so hotel we found that our low season vacation would only be shared with at most five other guests for the 10 days we were there. This 3 generation, extended family run operation was more like a 3-4 star guesthouse rather than a resort. All the employees were helpful, friendly and accommodating while maintaining a nice island attitude. The restaurant had a pretty decent menu with a nice variety of local dishes for each meal. Service was a bit slow at times but I believe most everything was cooked to order. Tom, a son, was the bartender and ran a daily snorkel trip for those interested.
The rooms were basically in two buildings with the cliff rooms having perhaps the best views right over the crashing waves on the rocks. We chose a room a bit higher that was larger but still had a very good view itself. All rooms had a nice flow-thru arrangement that would catch the near constant breeze and also had ceiling fans and ac. Security wasnt an issue and we left our room unlocked without losing anything. An armed guard roamed the area at night. The 20 acres or so rocky and hilly property was laced with a wonderful network of trails in the jungle which made for a great early morning walk to view the water, birds and iguanas. The new yoga platform on top of the ridge had a wonderful view of both the bay to the west and the sea towards the north and east. It was a great location for sunrise and sunset although it had competition for both of the views from a deck at the restaurant/bar. There were two beaches on the property. Buccaneer Beach was c/o at all times but the small Bliss Beach was perhaps one of the finest small beaches around. We spent a lot of time there as it was partly open and partly covered with a nice shade of coconut trees along with the very small pool. It also had two open showers and restroom facilities were under construction just steps away above the beach. Kayaks were available and a nice trip could be had into the inlets and along the wooded shoreline. A very nice and large public beach was also adjacent to the property but was vacant most all of the time.
The resort no longer has a dive shop but it does have a wonderful working relationship with the nearby Tropical Island Divers at Marble Hill Farms. Each morning after breakfast they would drive us the 10 minutes or so over to the TID dive shop and we were on our way. Most days the boat dropped us off on our pier after diving was done and they kept our gear to rinse.
Jan and Mel run Marble Hills Farm resort. Jan runs the TID dive shop. We used their small covered boat for all of our trips along with Cpt. Edward(?). The most divers we had were 2 from our hotel and 4 others plus Mel. Edward and Jan took turns leading dives in the calm 80 degree water. Skins were the most I ever needed and didn't use those very much due to the calm conditions and lack of jellies. The fish life and corals could have been better but the laid back atmosphere of the operators and other guests made up for perhaps not the finest of diving. It was still very decent diving though.
Most of the diving was just out front of the TID pier along the fringing reef so we came back to their dock for the SI and tank changing. Jan would break out the cookies and hot tea, coffee or water as personal preference dictated. We went further east closer to Paya Bay one day and did our SI at La Sirena's, a terrific little restaurant on stilts in Camp Bay. They had some very good fish, lobster and rum punch. We also stopped there on our all day trip to Morat Wall and one more time on our land cruise. The Morat trip was a much longer trip to the east end near Barbaretta Island. There was a fuel surcharge but was well worth the time and expense. It was a really nice wall with much better underwater life than the other diving. Unfortunately there was only one mooring ball that I could see. It would probably be good for a drift dive as well.
I took a day off from diving for a land cruise with my wife and 2 others. We did a very interesting water tour of Oak Ridge, went zip lining at Pirates of the Caribbean, did a jelly tasting at Marble Hills Farm and took lunch at La Sirenas, //www.tripadvisor.in/LocationPhotos-g292019-d1764017-La_Sirena_de_Camp_Bay-Roatan_Bay_Islands.html (cut & paste to get this one if you're lucky)
This is not a place for the hard core diver but we both really liked this trip very much. The McNabb family made our stay at Paya Bay most enjoyable. At the dive op, Jan, Mel and Edward were most accommodating and pleasant folks and helped make the easy diving quite nice. No stress here folks. We're not repeat type travelers but this one would be in the top five should we desire to do so.
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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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