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Dive Review of Laguna Beach in

Laguna Beach, Jun, 2003,

by Laura Todd, CA, USA . Report 546.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Laguna Beach is a top notch operation from the location to the dive services and great staff. The setting is on a peninsula well away from town; very peaceful. Your bungalow with its own dock backs up to a mangrove lagoon and fronts on the ocean. Accomodations are quite simple, but large and very well maintained; most have A/C. The food was divine, home-cooked and served buffet style. Always 2 main dish choices and a full breakfast. Kitchen staff will also make you a snack anytime, no english spoken though. Honor bar with lots of supplies but no bartender. The managers are very organized, customer oriented, genuinely interested in making sure you have a good time.
They have 2 big powerful boats that were uncrowded with 6-8 when I was there - could feel a little full at capacity of 16. Each had shade, heads, oxygen and radio. They also have the kind of tank racks that are cut down in front, a small but nice detail that means you don't need help to stand up with all your gear on. Drinking water and homemade cookies supplied. The staff waits on you hand and foot - all you need to do is remember your personal stuff and rinse your wetsuit. The divemasters are great at seeking out the little stuff and really get into their finds. They don't skimp on the gas like a lot of places do; it was routine to go all the way around the island for the morning's diving. Divemaster Jen tended to be a little conservative profile-wise, usually asking folks to stay above 80' but all the critters tended to be at that depth or above. Experienced divers with computers were allowed to start deeper.
We had a little bit of everything weather and conditions wise. The north side of the island could be quite swelly, with the south fairly calm and the shallow west side with the tiny cays covered with fishing villages always gorgeous. Topside the weather ranged between hot and damn hot.
I was skeptical coming from a week on Roatan where we saw almost no animals, but Utila is packed with wonderful critters, admittedly mostly small. They tend to have a lot of the pretty reef fish: queen angels, rock beauties, the jewel-like juvenile yellow tail damsel fish and spotted drums both juvenile and adult, including one whopper about 1' long. There was a variety of eels, balloon, porcupine and burrfish, toadfish and scorpionfish, several hawksbill turtles. Invertebrates included plenty of lettuce leaf sea slugs, a few nudibranchs, decorator crabs and of course, the squid squad of 32 who contemplated us for quite a while. Bring your big book of blennies - there are tons here from the teensy secretary blennies to quill fins. A couple yellow and regular sting rays. Then there were the EAGLE RAYS that let us get within 8 feet and actually slowed down and stayed at one depth so we could really see them - very nice. No whale sharks and the promised seahorses did not materialize. There is great snorkeling right in front of the resort and some decent shells wash up on the rocky beach west of the main building.
The only downsides were that the two adorable chocolate lab puppies who insisted on "helping" with everything tended to poop pretty much everywhere and it was not cleaned up timely. Also, the ocean and beaches had a dishearteningly large amount of trash. Even so, it was a great trip and I will definitely be back.
Be aware that the local flights always go back to the mainland before going to the next island and that their flight schedules are pretty random, often leaving early. They do not synchronize well with a couple of the international flights into Roatan, notably Sol Air. What that really means is that any trip to Utila alone may necessitate an overnight in La Cieba. The main booking agent, Utila Tours knows the drill and will get you set up.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Hawaii, Fiji, Palau, Tahiti, Bahamas
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas choppy, surge, noCurrents
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 1 hour limit
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Simple bucket for cameras on boat. Dry table tended to get taken over with other stuff. No processing at resort.
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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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