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Dive Review of Utila Island Quest in

Utila Island Quest: "A Dream Come True", Nov, 2021,

by Gayle Kirby, TX, US ( 1 report with 3 Helpful votes). Report 11827 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I love diving in the Caribbean. A wetsuit is not needed in most locations, and that means no extra weights! I have traveled to all three Bay Islands of Honduras, but I fell in love with the Island of Utila in 2014. It is the place I compare to all other places I travel.

With no other scuba buddies wanting to travel until restrictions are lifted, I decided to book a trip to Utila by myself. As a single female traveling solo, I had no qualms about going to Utila alone – it is a very safe island and US visitors are very welcome. I knew that I would be staying in Utila Town and decided to book my trip with Utila Island Quest, owned and operated by Ryan (Sarge) Payne and his wife, Tamara, who retired to Utila two years ago. Sarge is a PADI Master Scuba Instructor who can certify open water divers and about 100 specialty certifications; he also has new dive gear for rent if you prefer to travel lightly. Tamara is a licensed massage therapist and a yoga instructor with 20+ years of experience and advanced training, in addition to being an entrepreneur.

I flew into Roatan, and a driver arranged by Tamara picked me up at the airport and drove me to the Utila Dream Ferry for a short ride (60-75 minutes) to Utila, where Sarge and Tamara met me at the dock. A 5-minute tuk-tuk ride delivered me and my luggage to my accommodations for the next 10 days. I stayed in a one-bedroom apartment (with separate entry) attached to their residence. They can accommodate up to 6 people, which makes it perfect for friends, couples, or families traveling together. Utila Island Quest is like a completely customized B&B that furnishes all meals, drinks, diving, and excursions. Prior to arrival, I completed a questionnaire that included my food and beverage preferences/likes/dislikes and any special dietary needs, as well as desired activities and diving time preferences. About a week before my trip, Sarge and Tamara scheduled a video call with me to review my questionnaire and any special requests. In addition to diving, you can book massages and energy work with Tamara, as well as yoga overlooking the beautiful Caribbean!

After settling in, Sarge and Tamara took me to watch the sunset from the cantina at Coral Bay. Sarge explained that we would do a check-out shore dive there the next day. There are amazing shore dive locations all over the island; Sarge assured me that we could shore dive in the afternoons after our two-tank morning boat dives. The afternoons were filled with activities ranging from tours of the island, a trip (actually more than one) to the Utila Chocolate Company, a visit to the Iguana Conservation Center, massages, yoga, and souvenir shopping.

I visited during the rainy season, which can range from beautiful, hot, sunny days to cloudy, drizzly days, to drenching, rainy days. The visibility and water conditions ranged from great to not-so-great, and on one day, the boats did not go out because wave conditions were too high. I was able to schedule the “lost” day later in the week.

This was undoubtedly one of my best scuba trips ever; I began my scuba adventures in 1988. Utila is magic, and Sarge and Tamara definitely have a hand in contributing to the magic. The price is extremely reasonable considering all the unique experiences provided. Tamara has a special gift of finding animals underwater. The most unique sighting of the trip: two crabs mating – during the day! She also found a young nurse shark hiding under a coral head. Even when visibility was limited, there were always surprise sightings of eagle rays, turtles, and other animals. Sarge also has diver propulsion vehicles for rent and a highlight of my trip was diving with a DPV on the last day. It was a vast improvement over the 1990s-era bulky DPVs - very easy to maneuver and so much fun!

A negative Covid test was required within 72 hours of arrival in Honduras and 24 hours prior to departure on my return trip. The doctor who runs the hyperbaric chamber on Utila provided my Covid test, and he was extremely considerate – the most gentle Covid test I’ve experienced. Masks are generally not required on Utila but are required on the ferry and in the airports.

Caveat: during rainy season, mosquitoes are out there and repellants with 25% Deet is highly recommended. Long sleeves and long pants are essential – in light colors (mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors). A rain poncho is also a good idea. Hats and sunscreen are essential.
Websites Utila Island Quest   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Fiji, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Belize, Roatan, Guanaja, Utopia Village on Utila, Cozumel & Yucatan Peninsula (Xchalat & Chutumal)
Closest Airport Roatan Getting There Non-stops to Roatan from Miami, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 35-100 Ft/ 11-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Safety stops
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Sarge takes his GoPro on every dive and photographs/videos the animals, coral, and guests. Take a thumb drive and he will copy his edited photos/videos for you. He also (with guests' permission) posts some of them on Facebook.
For this reason, I did not take my GoPro on this trip.
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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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