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Dive Review of Royal Playa Resort in
Honduras/Roatan

Royal Playa Resort, May, 2010,

by Mark & Jan, CA, US ( 1 report). Report 5519.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Roatan (Coco View), Bonaire, Cozumel, Maui, Loreto (Baja), Ambergis Caye (Belize)
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 75 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No restrictions. Dove our own profile. Typically 60 feet to 40 feet to gas off at 30 feet. Typically surfaced with 500 psi.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments My wife and I chose Royal Playa Resort based on Undercurrent reviews of resort as well as financial consideration. We had contemplated a return to Bonaire, a trip to Fiji (too expensive), Phillipines (too long of travel time) as well as Hawaii (boat dives too expensive). We had a prior trip to Roatan (Coco View).

Royal Playa Resort was described as "Fancy Camping, civilized shoreline jungle living, live-aboard ease from land," which is a good description. A few days were hot and if the tradewinds were not blowing we got pretty warm. The cabana's have no ac, but a bed fan made sleeping comfortable. Most of our 'off' time was spent on the beautiful large palapa over the water, cool ocean breezes and an unobstructed ocean view. The resort is off the grid and relies on solar, generator, battery bank. No seeums were a problem which is normal for Roatan. Royal Playa lies on the southeast end of Roatan which has good tradewinds. The resort is accessed by boat and backs up to a jungle preserve. The resort typically gets an ocean breeze that the West End of the island does not. The food was very good. I am a bit picky about my food and the cook went out of her way to accomodate my tastes.
We had the option to do 3 dives a day but only dove twice a day with the exception of one day. The reason for doing 2 dives was that we averaged 75 minutes/dive. We had one 90 minute dive and our last dive was 122 minutes, keeping shallow depths. We never felt the need to get in a 3rd dive. The DM allowed us to dive our own profile and was good at pointing out critters we might have otherwise missed. We usually dove with a slight current and never had to dive against the current. The DM and captain handled our gear with confident knowledge and safety. We used one of the smaller boats, back-rolling into the water; larger boat was available for larger groups.

In 2 weeks of diving we saw 2 dive boats in "our area." Coco View sent a boat to the area but we heard they charged $50 per diver for the trip (not verified). We never encountered a dive boat at our dive sites. No one appears to operate this far east. Lots of black coral, sea fans, barrel sponges, many schools of small fish, Jacks, baracuda, groupers, nurse sharks, drum fish, octopus, rays, morays, one slipper lobster, lots of spiny lobster and king crab. The reefs are in excellent condition, mostly untouched by large dive groups. Unfortunately we saw a lot of lionfish (would estimate 40-50+).

The DM did take us west to dive Calvin's Crack which is a "noted" swim through for many resorts. After the dive we told the DM not to bother with dives to the west (including Mary's Place) as the diving on the east end has much better diving including swim throughs. We told the DM take us to dive sites he would want to dive which he was happy to do.
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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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