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Dive Review of Bandos Island Resort in

December, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Sherri Dullingham, TX, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 4585
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Cozumel, Hawaii, Florida Keys, Fiji 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No decompression, 20 meters for Open Water, 30 meters for Advanced Open
Water, strictly enforced.   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
I don't have a camera (yet), but I did notice there was no fresh water
rinse tank on the boat for cameras. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
3 stars
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
3 stars   
4 stars    
We chose Bandos Island Resort because were were looking for a Maldives
resort for a Christmas trip with both a good house reef and child care
facilities, and Bandos seemed to fit the bill for our needs.  Bandos gets a
4 star rating, sometimes a 4+, from most rating agencies. In our opinion,
it's not a 4 star, *maybe* a 3 star.  We rented a Jacuzzi Beach Villa for
$520 a night, including breakfast, and we were given the first JBV on the
beach, #101, which was just next door to the reception area, the boat
jetty, and the bar.  We were subjected to thumping disco music from the bar
most nights until 2 a.m.  There was no beach to speak of in front of our
"villa", the villa furniture was ratty and tired, and the
interior was dark.  I did notice that villas from about 118 to 124 were
nicely located, and I would ask for those if you are headed to Bandos. 
There are three restaurants at Bandos, for all intents and purposes.  One
is a buffet style for all the Europeans that are there on package deals
that include meals.  We didn't eat there.  There is also a 24 cafe, where
we ate most nights, and a "fine dining" option we ate at a few
times.  The food in both was OK, with the fine dining option the better
choice, if only because the service was better.  The food and the service
in the 24 cafe was mediocre.  The pizzas were OK, the burger was terrible. 
They also had pasta, Indian food, and Maldivian food, which is very similar
to Indian.  Most stuff was edible, but beyond  Every single
thing we ordered took at least 30 minutes to come out, they never checked
on us after delivering the food and some things we flagged someone down to
ask for never arrived.  
Now, the diving:  Bandos has a reputation for being a top-notch dive
operation, and, in some ways, it is, but I don't think it's a good option
for a serious diver.  Dive sites were repeated often. They list about 45
sites on their web site, but only go to about 10.  We were told the others
were "too far", even though they are on the web site.  After much
pressing by a Dutch couple, they did get up a Manta expedition to a site
about an hour away from the resort, but it took a lot of pushing and
complaining. They routinely cancel boat dives if they don't have at least 4
divers, which happened to us once during the week. The dives are very
expensive--$49 for *each* dive, plus $15 for the boat ride, so $113 for a
two tank morning dive.  Any rental equipment is rented on a per dive basis,
so, if you need a computer, it's $6 *per dive*.  Worst of all, they charge
$49 for each shore dive! A small discount is given for repeat dives during
the week, but it's not much.  Some of the dive sites were outstanding
(Banana Reef, Paradise Reef) and some were duds (Maagiri).  We did see lots
of sharks, 2 mantas, huge stingrays, spotted eagle rays, huge Napolean
Wrasse, huge bumphead parrotfish, two kinds of morays, tons of lionfish,
banner fish, moorish idols, a 1000 strong school of jacks, etc. etc.  The
fish life really is outstanding.  And they are deservedly proud of their
house reef--it's also outstanding.  We saw blacktips on every snorkel
there, another couple saw a spotted eagle ray there, and again, tons of
lionfish, morays, HUGE lobsters, small shrimp, nudibranchs--everything you
can imagine, we saw.  Just about.  Dolphins on the surface a few times but
never under the water.  
In sum, we loved the Maldives but would not go back to Bandos.  
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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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