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Dive Review of Dive Copamarina in
Puerto Rico/Southwest Coast

December, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Sherwood & Judith Smith, WA, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (7 reports)
Report Number 5314
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
All over the Indo-Pacific, Caribbean, Australia, Maldives, Mozambique etc
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
We had agreed to curtail depth on the wall dive, to shorten our surface
time between dives, because of the sea state  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 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):
5 stars
Service and Attitude
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
4 stars    
We had planned to get in a day of diving during our pre-Christmas week in
San Juan. We chose to dive the south coast after email correspondence with
an Undercurrent contributor who was familiar with Puerto Rican diving. 

A two hour drive from San Juan, leaving at 5 AM, took us across the island
to about ten miles west of Ponce, where, near Guánica, we found
Caña Gorda Beach, and the Copamarina Resort. We had actually
arranged the dive day ahead of time, by telephoning the dive shop at
Copamarina Resort (800-468-4553 x729) from home, after having visited their
website .  The dive day came off exactly as advertised.

The PADI dive operation at the resort is run by divemaster Roberto Jobo
Gutierrez ( Since we were traveling lightly, with
our 1mm suits, masks, regs, and computers only, he supplied us with
like-new Mares BCs and fins, at no additional charge, a pleasant surprise.
He actually gave Judith his own personal BC to use! We set up our alu 80
tanks on a well-maintained pier, and all gear was loaded onto the boat, a
sizeable diesel-powered V-hull approx 28 ft, with a very adequate
hard-topped canopy, by Jobo, and his deckhand Andy. There were a total of
seven divers on the boat, plus the crew.

The ride to the first dive site, The Wall, was about 30 min through
building seas. By the time we grabbed the mooring, the sea was running a
good five feet, and getting geared up was accompanied by mal de mer among
some of the divers. Entry was via giant stride off of the swim step. We
gathered around the buoy with a down line, and descended into a typical
Caribbean coral garden, with fans, sponges and plenty of small reef fish
life, and swam over the top of the wall at about 50 feet, descending along
the vertical face of a very lush spur and groove coral wall. Jobo had
stated that with the current sea state, he wanted to shorten the surface
interval, and asked us to curtail our depth to 70 feet, which we did. The
wall featured the typical array of gogonia and fans, but remarkable to us,
compared with typical Caribbean dive sites, by the intactness of all of the
features. One could not tell that this site had ever been dived before.
Water temp was a comfortable 82 degrees throughout the 50 minute dive. We
were the last to surface, and discovered that Jobo had removed his gear,
and was in the water in his swimsuit only, removing gear from the other
divers in the heavy seaway, and passing it up to Andy, helping the
less-experienced divers to re-board the boat.  We found this to be a
remarkable demonstration of responsibility and expertise. (In point of
fact, he did the same after the second dive). The ladder was actually quite
stable enough for the more experienced divers to climb out with our gear
still on.

We bounced our way to the second buoy, at a typical coral garden with spur
and groove formations, and a maximum depth of 50 feet. After an
uncomfortable surface interval of  about 35 minutes, with three seasick
divers, we did another 50 minute dive. Fish life was more prevalent here, 
including large gray, French, and queen angels, as well as quite large
filefish, two kinds of puffers, and copious schools of small reef fish. We
found small lobster, large crabs, and many flamingo-tongue snails on
perfectly intact sea fans. Again, the reef appeared absolutely untouched,
not our usual Caribbean experience.

Another bouncy ride, fortunately off the wind, brought us back inside the
reef, and into the calm bay where the Copamarina Resort is situated. Jobo
assisted with the gear washing, and hung it to dry for us, while we
consumed an excellent lunch at the resorts outdoor restaurant.

The two hour drive back to our hotel in San Juan, this time in daylight,
gave us a chance to see the countryside in brilliant sunshine.  Although
Puerto Rican drivers are a little different, we were on divided roads,
mostly national tollways, for the whole ride.

This is typical Caribbean Diving, which we find considerably less diverse
than the Indo-Pacific, but well worth the trip for such  pristine sites. If
we were to return to Puerto Rico, we would plan on bypassing San Juan, and
staying at the Copamarina, a beautifully appointed and well-maintained
small resort on Puerto Ricos south coast, though somewhat isolated, and
doing more dives in this area with Jobo. In all fairness, there may be a
number of small shops and restaurants to discover in nearby Guánica,
but we did not have enough time to explore.

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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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