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Dive Review of Utopia Village in

March, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Richard Sinnott, MA, USA (1 report)
Report Number 4041
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Cocos Island, Cozumel, Cayman Islands, Red Sea,
throughout Caribean, Hawaii, Florida, New England
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 0    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
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):
3 stars
1 stars
Service and Attitude
1 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
1 stars    
Utopia Village was established over a year ago by seven partners.  Its
like a beach house rented by friends.  Nobody is in charge.  Nobody takes
responsibility.  Sort of Friends meets Gilligans Island.  Lets start
with the good.  The facilities are nice but all of the outside wooden beach
chairs and chaise lounges had no cushions and were uncomfortable.  We met
some very nice people there.  The message therapist, Kim, gave a great deep
tissue massage.  We had a nice surprise on the way to a dive site when we
ran into pods of dozens of spinner dolphins.  We were able to snorkel with
them for about a half an hour. 

While diving was mediocre, the main problem with Utopia was a total
disregard of customer service.  They say coffee is available at 6:30 a.m. 
You were lucky to have it by 7:00 a.m. and you had to ask for hot water for
tea. Youd always have to request something that the staff forgot about:
plates, water, milk, even silverware.  Breakfast was never served at 7:00
a.m. as promised.  It was served when they felt like serving it.  That was
the way all the meals went. Lunch was often as late as 1:45 p.m., some two
hours after the return from morning dives.  While they tell you can special
order appetizers from 3-6 p.m., when we tried to do so one day, we were
told to go to the gift shop and get some Pringles.  Dinner is supposed to
start at 7:00 p.m. but one night, we werent served until after 8:30 p.m. 
However, the partners were going into the kitchen and getting bread and
snacks while everyone else was waited for dinner.

Only one night was dinner ever started at 7:00 p.m.  We had complained
about the lateness of the dinner after the 8:30 p.m. fiasco.  The next
night was the only night it started at 7:00 p.m.  The following night, they
had three unexpected guests for dinner.  Dinner didnt start until 8:30
p.m. and we were the last served, even the partners who were at dinner
were served before us.  We were the only guests who were not friends or
family of the partners.  Women were usually served after the men.  We were
almost invariably served last!  To add insult to injury, they didnt have
enough desserts for one of us because we were the very last ones served and
they hadnt accounted for the three unexpected guests, all of whom were
served first.    

The food was average with a couple of above average meals, the best thing
being homemade tortillas.  There was usually no choice for meals.  It was
obvious they often used leftovers for some of the next days meals and one
desert of hard rice in some brown sauce was inedible.

The tap water was unsafe to drink so you needed filtered water in your room
to brush your teeth.  They never filled the water pitcher in your room. 
Dirty cups or dishes would stay outside our room for days.  The shades in
the room facing the ocean would not open. There is a thin, beach of rough
sand.  There is no way to get into the ocean without beach shoes or sandals
because there is no cut out and it is all rough coral that will cut your
feet up until you get a little ways out.   

One day, nearly everyone else, included many of the partners, decided to go
to Water Cay, a small nearby island.  We wanted to stay back.  At 11:00
a.m. we couldnt get a drink anywhere.  In the dining area, where there is
supposed to be water and iced tea available, there was nothing but dirty
dishes and cold coffee from the night before.  

We got the feeling we were inconveniencing these people and that they did
not get the concept that they were the ones who should be inconvenienced. 
Here is an example. One night we were awakened at 11:07 p.m. because some
of the partners decided to crank up the music in the bar so they could
dance.  Another example is that one day, they were running short on water
so instead of getting the water in the afternoon, when there were no dives
going, they decide to do it in the morning and use the large dive boat. 
They packed seven divers with all equipment and several snorkelers in a
much smaller boat that was not made for diving, causing a lot of
discomfort.  There was no shade in this boat so they gave us a couple of
umbrellas.  Im sure everyone can figure out how well that worked.  

None of the five partners present during our visit are experienced divers. 
The divemasters were well-intentioned but inexperienced.  The diving was at
best only average. The best marine life we saw consisted of a couple of
seahorses and turtles.  On the dive boat, there were not enough towels for
everyone on any day.  There were never enough water cups.  The plastic wrap
over the sliced fruit container would quickly blow off.  The steering broke
on the dive boat on our last day and we had to again transfer to the small
open boat.  After our very last dive, at night we had to retrieve our own
dive equipment from the dive shop and bring it to our room to pack.  

You got the feeling they were nickel and dimeing everywhere. While one or
even a few of these deficiencies would not have been fatal, the combination
is.  In all our years of diving, we have never felt the need to write a
negative review until now.  
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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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