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Dive Review of Tropical Island Divers/Paya Bay Resort in

May, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Clem Clapp, AL, US
Contributor   (12 reports)
Report Number 6649
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Gulf Coast, Keys, Hawaii, Central America, Variety of Locations in the
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, no currents  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
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.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
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):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
5 stars   
4 stars    
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,
(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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