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Dive Review of Fantasy Island in

Fantasy Island: "A Jekyll and Hyde Experience", Sep, 2016,

by Alex Panas, NJ, US ( 2 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 9112 has 5 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 2 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I learned about Fantasy Island Resort while at DEMA in November 2015 in Orlando. They were promoting the resort as apparently new owners had bought the facility and put money into the resort to renovate it. They seemed like they aggressively wanted to get some visitor traffic to see the new renovations, who would subsequently spread the good word about the changes, as the price was incredibly low! We were offered 7 nights with all you can eat, all you can drink, including limited alcohol, and all you can dive(!) for $699 per person! We had been to Roatan the year before at a different resort and fell in love with the island, people and especially the diving and reefs, so we were fine with going back for such a great deal.

Here is the good part of our experience, and I'll begin by saying - if your priority is on these good points, then I recommend trying them! First, the diving was terrific. Roatan has very healthy reefs, lots of divers fish, corals, soft corals etc. It's really a fish identifier's dream location, as we spotted unusual fish on most of our 14 dives. We had 2 morning boats dives and 1 afternoon boat dive daily. If we wanted, we could ask for an additional tank so we could be dropped off at the end of the reef that runs along the island. We did this on our last day, and it was one of our better dives! We were able to traverse the reef around to a gazebo they built at the end of a small pier for shore divers. They have a 170 foot shipwreck with lots of mature growth, easy penetration, and lines to get back to shore safely. You could also do as much shore diving to those reefs and wreck as you wanted. All you have to do is tell the shop before they close at 4:30, they will drop off as many tanks as you want at the gazebo, and you could dive all night! Leave the empties there when you're done, and they will pick them up.

Chris (our dive master for the week) and Ria were very accommodating, friendly, knowledgeable and English speaking! The dive shop is small, but adequate, although they did not have nitrox. The diving is very easy, with warm waters, little current, and great visibility - great for beginners, and still fun for a northeast wreck diver like me!

Another strong point is the food - it was surprisingly good. All the meals are served buffet style, but the quality, selection and flavor were very good. Considering the condition of the common areas of the resort, we weren't expecting that, but were happy with all of our meals. I don't know how much they can accommodate special needs like gluten-free, as we didn't ask, but my girlfriend is gluten intolerant, and she found plenty of food she liked and never had a problem.

As far as the resort, it's located on a small island connect by bridge to the main island. The beaches are in a protected cove, and are beautiful. The grounds are full of palm trees with lots of space to get away from other people if desired.

Now for the bad stuff. The resort itself is in serious need of updating. It looks like it was a 5 star resort 30-40 years ago, but nothing has been done with place since. It has so much potential, but just looks really tired, old and used. Some things just needed a fresh coat of paint. There was some litter in some corners too. These type of things are so easy and inexpensive to address that it's inexcusable that they're not. For example, they don't have a speaker system around the grounds, so they have 1 concert speaker that blasts Spanish music all day. I don't mind the music, but you could not sit on the nice deck area because you can't talk to anyone over the music! That's a relatively inexpensive upgrade that would go a long way. The pool was available, but looked old - there's a stone waterfall that wasn't working, a swim up bar but no bar behind it to serve drinks, and pool showers with clogged drains. The online pictures were definitely inaccurate!

The staff seemed friendly, but frankly few of them spoke English, so it was tough to tell. I think they hire a lot of locals who only speak Spanish and may have been intimidated trying to communicate with Americans. We often asked for the same things each day, but they never seemed to pick up on the American terms. The front desk staff spoke limited English. I'm glad we didn't have some sort of unique issue, as I'm not sure we would have been able to communicate it. We also didn't get any special services that we've gotten at other resorts like bringing luggage to the room, room service, welcome reception etc.

They have several buildings with rooms, and we were given a room in a building close to the dive shop. Apparently, the promised "renovations" were done to the rooms, not to the rest of the resort, and we were shocked to hear that our building was one that was "renovated". Our room was clean, had a fresh coat of paint, a small refrigerator, a safe for valuables, and flat screen TV on the wall. But the furnishings were dated, the bathroom, although clean, was also seriously dated. For example, the ceiling fan worked, but lacked a sconce over the bulb. There was no phone, not that we needed one, but it would have been nice to be able to call the front desk if we needed something.

Now I've stayed in plenty of dive lodges, converted fishing boats, cheap motels etc. all in the name of diving, and this was no worse than that, but if you're going for more than just a dive trip and you want modern accommodations, you won't find that here. That said, our room was turned down each day, and when we needed some special considerations, the staff was more than happy to take care of it.

Overall, the diving experience was excellent. The food was very good. The grounds were beautiful. The staff was as friendly and helpful as they could be considering the language issue. The room was adequate and clean. If that's all you need, you can't beat the price, and you'll be very happy. If you're looking for a 4-5 star resort experience, look elsewhere. And if you're a dive but your significant other is not, this may not be a good option for them.
Websites Fantasy Island   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving New Jersey/New York, Florida Keys, Great Lakes, Scapa Flow, Scotland, Aruba, Virgin Islands, North and South Carolina, Southeast Florida
Closest Airport RTB Getting There Connections available from 4 US cities.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas no currents
Water Temp 86-88°F / 30-31°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Our dive master gave us a lot of latitude to dive our own profile. There were only 5-7 divers on our boat each day, and they were all good divers, so that made his policy a lot easier to manage.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments I'm not a professional (or even avid amateur) photographer, but there was not a lot of room on the boar to set up a big camera with strobes. They did have a large dedicated fresh water rinse bin, both on-board and on the dock.
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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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