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

May, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Russ Battisto, MN, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (8 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 2907
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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

Water Temp
79   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
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):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
3 stars    
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
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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