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Dive Review of Oceans Unlimited, Taino Divers, and Parguera Diver/N/A in
Puerto Rico/West Coast

June, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Edward Clapp, CA, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 1254
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Hawaii, California coast from San Diego to Monterey, Florida, and over half
a dozen places in the Caribban.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Required to dive with divemaster  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Didn't check.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
Puerto Rico's diving is good but not first class and it's expensive ($70 -
$90 for a two tank boat dive).  I can't recommend going just for the
diving, but the island has remarkable beauty making it worthwhile to visit;
diving can be a part of it.

Here are some of the things you should see in Puerto Rico:
o Phosphorescent Bay, an explosive night underwater light display (no 
diving, but be sure the boat you go on allows you to swim); you get to see
fish swimming as dancing lines of light.
o Rio Camuy, a cave system formed by the 3rd largest known underground 
o El Yunque, a tropical rain forest, with lovely hiking.
o Old San Juan, a beautiful city with fascinating architecture, enclosed in
a fortress system.

Caveats: don't leave valuables visible in your car anywhere on the island. 
They are likely to disappear.  You almost certainly will need a car and
driving patterns on the island are, um, different than they are on the

There were a number of commonalities among the dive operations.  All had
useful websites, were helpful with arrangements, and were 
competent and pleasant.  They worked pretty much the same way, too.  The
boat leaves 8:00-ish, you dive, eat lunch which they provide, dive again,
and return 3:00-ish.  Briefings are adequate but (and?) there are no
warnings about keeping hands off things or harrassing the animals.  The
areas have been fished (though that's no longer allowed at Desecheo, maybe
- see below), so you won't see much by way of big fish.  You are required
to dive with the group lead by a divemaster; profiles are sensible but
require either computers or faith in the divemaster.  OU and Taino
primarily dive off Desecheo Island, and at the end of the dive with them
it's OK to use remaining air at shallow depth near the boat.  Snorkling is
possible for those who don't dive.  PD dives off a wall and the boat is
anchored too deep for this: you come up with the divemaster.  Warning: it's
not exactly calm out there and people were sea-sick on all three boats.


Oceans Unlimited (

OU has a large boat with a good-sized cabin with a head.  It's got tables
and indoor seating for a dozen or so people.  With fewer people, or if most
are on deck, there's space to stretch out for a nap.  They also provide the
best lunches.  Given their size, they can spread out stuff for you to build
your own sandwiches.  But their boat is located quite a ways from their
dive destinations and about a 45 minute ride.  

OU also arranges trips to Mona Island, some 50 miles out, which people
who've been there say is magnificant, though a recent Undercurrent review

On one dive, OU permitted a diver to hunt for lobsters with a pole with a
metal loop at the end.  Their policy permits this, with the 
expectation divers will be "taking only what they will eat,
considering the size of the animal and of course releasing the animal if it
is harboring eggs."  The divemaster once pulled a crab out of a hole
to show to people on the boat (I don't know how its fate). 

Taino Divers's (

TD's boat isn't large, they have shade but no real cabin, and their lunches
are premade with no suggestion that you could make specific 
requests, which they do accept.  If you have food preferences, you'd best
let them know in advance (though you might want to bring 
backup food: on one of our trips a vegetarian's request was forgotten).  

One oddity about the operation is how you get on and off the boat: it's
driven onto the beach and everyone forms a human chain to load it 
and then climbs aboard.   The process is reversed at the end of the trip. 

The divemasters were good at spotting fish.  They were also good at
"encouraging" them to leave where they were so divers can better

appreciate them.  On one dive, a nurse shark and an octopus were accorded
this treatment.  

They weren't so good at customer's needs.  My dive buddy has ear problems,
which we repeatedly reminded divemasters about.  On our 
last TD dive of the 2nd day, the divemaster decided on a dive called
"The Caves", which featured swimthroughs at shallow and varying 
depths.  As described, the dive was to start with a few swimthroughs and
then move to deeper water without the up-and-down that can 
be hard on ears.  Once in the water, she seemed to have forgotten about the
latter part.  After a few swimthroughs, we gave up and 
stayed outside, but she didn't get the hint and never did the second part
of the dive.  This was a contributing factor to my dive buddy 
missing out on a day with Parguera Divers.

TD does an occasional Mona Island dive.

Parguera Divers's (

Their boat also isn't large and it too has some shade but doesn't have a
real cabin.  But then, the trip out is only 25-30 minutes and they 
generally get back 12:30-1:00.  As with TD, their lunches are premade and
again you're not asked about preferences.  

They do wall diving, so as mentioned before, you can't get a lot of bottom
time in and there's no point getting on the boat if you intend to merely

There may be scheduling issues for the different boats.  Parguera
apparently dives if weather permits, regardless of the number of 
customers but TD needs to have enough to commit to a dive.  I didn't get
that impression from OU, but don't know for sure.  All the 
operations were clear about when dives were happening and we had no
difficulty with cancellations.
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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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