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Dive Review of El Salvador Divers in
Other Locations/El Salvador

February, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Greg Liebman, Illinois, US (2 reports)
Report Number 4661
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Throughout the Carib, Red Sea, Indonesia, Philippines
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, surge  
Water Temp
25   to 30    Celsius  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
5   to 10    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  1 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
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):
4 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
1 stars   
1 stars    
Looking for something different, I heard that there was "volcanic lake
diving" in El Salvador, so I went online and checked it out. The lake
is Ilopango, about an hour out of the capital San Salvador. 753 feet deep,
it's perhaps best known as the lake where Matt Knight, son of Nike founder
Phil Knight, died while scuba diving. I also read that there was some more
traditional ocean diving near Los Cobanos, with some interesting wrecks and
possible whale sitings. So, I booked the Los Cobanos Village Lodge, and
contacted El Salvador Divers. Heeding the warnings about serious, violent
crime, especially in the cities, I opted to take a taxi from the airport to
Los Cobanos, which runs about $60. If I were to go again, I would
definitely stick with my usual plan of renting a car. There's alot to see
and do in El Salvador not related to diving, and I wish I had risked the
banditos and had a car. Anyway, El Salvador Divers maintains a very
professional shop with several divemasters, equipment, instruction, and
even Nitrox fills in a wealthy area of San Salvador. We met our divemaster,
Jorge, and headed off in his Jeep to Ilopango. We changed at a little house
the shop keeps at the lake, and then headed out in a boat they also keep up
there. Short briefing, and then the dive to "The Devils
Cauldron"--so named because you can feel the thermal vents of heat
bubbling up from below. But that's it for Ilopango....visibility is crap,
there are no fish to speak of, and very little else to look at. A novelty
dive for sure, and not one I would recommend. 
The two dives we made in the Pacific were equally uninspiring. The
visibility, which Jorge thought was "pretty good" at around 10
feet, limited the enjoyment, but more than that was the caliber of diver
allowed on the dive, and the lack of leadership and control demonstrated by
Jorge. He's a very nice guy, but he had to surface twice mid-dive with
divers who were clearly not up to the dive, and did not clearly indicate
his intentions to the other divers on either occasion. Several got lost,
safety stops were ignored, and a general sense of impending disaster
pervaded my thoughts. 
The lodging at Los Cobanos Village Lodge is very nice for the price, and I
opted to have meals included, since there are no restaurants in the area.
The food was bland and the portions miniscule, but the staff is extremely
helpful and pleasant. 
Driving back to the airport in San Salvador, I noticed all the little
seaside villages clustered near La Libertad, and the international groups
of surfers that are beginning to put El Salvador on the adventure travel
map. The surf break and the scenery looked like the coast of California. If
I travel to El Salvador again, I think I'd have to confine my water sports
to above the surface. 
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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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