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Dive Review of Utila Dive Center (UDC)/Mango Inn in
Honduras/Utila, Honduras

Utila Dive Center (UDC)/Mango Inn, May, 2006,

by Russ Battisto, MN, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 2907.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Mainly Caribbean destinations. Some So pacific. We like warm water.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm,noCurrents
Water Temp 79 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Cameras were accepted and accomidated but not a strong suit. Seems not a lot of divers bring cameras.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Mary and I decided to try something different so I inquired with Gene Dold at Aqua Dreams Travel. He recommended Utila as a different experience. He was right.
We took a puddle jumper from Roataan to Utila. We were met at the Utila airport (a small strip without any buildings) by Hector (very helpful). He got us and our luggage to the Mango Inn Hotel.
The hotel is beautiful, well run and has great food. Even the locals come by for the food (the wood fired pizza is great). They seem to have fresh fish every night and Im led to believe it is from the locals which makes sense as the fish life wasnt as abundant as a protected park like Cozumel. We enjoyed dinner with a couple who run a vet clinic on the island. We stayed in one of the suites, not the typical room the backpackers go for, expensive by Utila standards but very nice. The Mango Inn caters to all visitors and does it very well. Utila Dive Center is an easy 6 block walk from the hotel and Hector gets your dive equipment to UDC on the first day. Watch out for the rain storms overnight. They tend to take out the power for a short time. A little disturbing at first but we got used to it as it seemed to happen only overnight. Reminded me of Cozumel 10 years ago
Regina (head DM for UDC) gave is orientation for the upcoming dive week, checking us out for experience level. Utila is a backpackers paradise where most come to stay cheap and learn to dive at Utila Dive Center or one of the many other schools on the island. Most specialize in advance, DM and Instructor courses. We met many students while diving. In fact, I think we were the only couple who werent taking a course at UDC during our visit that week.
We stayed close to Regina (the DM) on our first day. But once we passed their inspection we were free to do our thing. I had fun following Brian & Robin (both going for their instructors shingle) along with the other students, checking out their routines. I had a great time with my camera and got good response from the folks at Utila when I published some on my website. We met some wonderful people and correspond with them still.
Nitrox is normally readily available but we ran into a problem in the middle of the week. I wasnt clear on what happened but Nitrox became unavailable for two of our dive days out of the six. Jimmy (dive shop manager) was very apologetic and refunded our Nitrox payment in full. A step above and beyond in my book.
The most interesting dive day we experienced was with some tech diver students and their instructor going for their deep dive. WOW, the equipment these divers had to put up with makes me wonder why anyone would want to do it. Thats just me. Simon and his students were VERY diligent in their routines and followed a long checklist leading up to the actual dive. Very disciplined with an emphasis on safety. We saw them at one of their safety stops around 70ft where I got some good pictures.
The diving is easy overall, very little current and average vis. The coral is in good shape. The water was warm. Two things I was disappointed in. First, I expected to see more fish life. Lots of little stuff to look at and take pictures of and great coral structure but Utila lacks the big stuff. Second, Utila is known as a spot to see Whale Sharks at certain times of the year. We were in that time and did hear about Whale Shark sightings but never got close enough to experience it ourselves. We heard about sightings the week before, the week we were there and the week after. I chalk it up to the luck of the draw and an incentive to go back and enjoy Utila again. We did see dolphins though so that helped a little.
All in all, Id recommend Utila for any diver from newbie to experienced looking for a relaxing week of fun diving, cheap but good food and friendly people. We plan to go back again.

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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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