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Dive Review of Utopia Villagae in
Honduras/Utila

Utopia Villagae, Jan, 2012,

by Eric Weiss, VA, US ( 1 report). Report 6431.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Belize, Turks and Caicos, St. Vincent, West Palm Beach, Keys, San Diego, Puerto Rico
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 78 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dove with dive master, but could dive deeper or shallower as long as with buddy. Back on boat with 500 lbs.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments A large cooler served as a camera tank. Dive masters did not enforce rule against no dive masks and no dripping wet suits into the tank, so I did. Lots of great stuff to see and photograph. I got a picture of a French angel and a turtle hanging around together.

They checked at the beginning of the week to size the tank for the equipment the divers brought. Plenty of room.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Utopia runs a really great all-inclusive operation (extra for liquor, extra trips, etc.). Six of us flew from DCA to ATL to SAP to Utila. Some of the luggage had to follow later because the plane and the Utila airport are so small. Utopia arranged for a taxi (mini-van) to take us through town to the dock. We took the Miss U (Utopia's dive boat) 45 minutes to the resort. The resort is set up for divers on a Saturday-to-Saturday schedule. There are 17 rooms, but they accept only 20 divers because of the size of the dive boat. The boat was very roomy with 17 divers. The system leads everyone to become friends, even the honeymooning couple learning to dive.

They are very safety conscious. You must always dive with a buddy. Your first dive on the house reef is lead by a dive master. Divers are broken up into groups of 6-8 and we started back to the boat (by a different route) when someone reached 1,500 pounds. After each day, one of the DMs puts notes from each dive on a board: time, depth, name of the site, notable fish. (The web site made it sound like they check your dive profile, but this is not the case.)

My fish sighting include: whale sharks (snorkel only), nurse shark (sleeping), 4-foot porcupine, morays, lobster, crabs, flounder, mackerel, turtles, eagle rays, trunk fish, full sail blennies, scorpion fish. assorted angels, and a glossy slipper.

We did a night dive on the house reef and found two octopuses. The second one played around as we shined a dive light on it. I did two day dives on the house reef and they were great. They have posts planted in the reef and a rope connecting the posts to make entering and leaving the water easier.

Reefs are very healthy. There's lots of little stuff, both juvenile and macro.

Dives were 45-60 minutes.

Sidney, who drove the dive boat, did a great job of finding the whale shark. Anke our dive master was great. One day when the water was a little rough, she stayed deeper and helped us to remove our fins. One bit of confusion, when they put out a tag line, they would pull you in. (A nice touch, but my dive buddies and I are used to holding onto the tag line, removing my fins, and pulling myself in.)

I had gear malfunctions on my first dive. My mask kept flooding and Anke insisted I trade with her. I haven't taken off my mask underwater in a 100 dives. Then my BC started power inflating. Back on the boat, Anke suggested removing the inflator hose and adding air orally. I took off my in-line horn and it never happened again.

Two of the divers in my group recently had knee operations and the crew was very helpful. One diver took his gear off in the water and the crew brought it into the boat. The other diver did not need any extra help.

The resort has a large dining rooms and meals are served at roughly fixed times. Breakfast is a buffet. The staff offers two choices for lunch and dinner (one meat, one fish). Peter the chef made excellent meals for us. He accommodated special requests as best as possible; Utila is a small island with limited resources.

There's an open air bar run by Brien with help from Soquey. The four local beers are on the light side, but good. They cost US $4.50. At the airport they were US $2.00. Wine was available by the glass or bottle.

One afternoon we took the water taxi to town (30-40 minutes each way). The spray was rough, so they put a blue tarp over us and we stayed mostly dry. Town was interesting, but small. "Tree Tonic" is an interesting bar/restaurant/folk art venue.

The rooms were large with two queen side beds, air conditioning, shower and bathroom. The grounds are pleasant with various palms and broken coral. There's a sandy beach that reverts to coral once you enter the water.

The resort is on the south side of the island near the west end. This allows Utopia to dive south, west, or north depending on how the wind is kicking up the ocean. The sea was never very rough by Florida standards, but several days it made returning to the boat a little difficult.

One warning about the airport at San Pedro Sula. One of the divers in our group did not realize that the Delta agent did not return his credit card (used for an overweight bag). The agent tracked him down 30 minutes later, but it turned out that $1,000 was charged within minutes in several Wawa stores in Delaware. He notified Delta, but has not received any personal response. His credit card company has canceled the charges. So you will get your passport, your boarding pass, a luggage receipt, a receipt for the overweight fee, etc. make sure you get your credit card back.

Returning home, the six of us killed four hours in the airport at San Pedro Sula. There's not a lot to do, but you can eat and purchase souvenirs. Bring a book or an e-reader.
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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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