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Dive Review of Utopia Village in

Utopia Village: "Finally Whale Sharks!", Apr, 2017,

by Michael Marmesh , FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 9570 has 1 Helpful vote.

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 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments My dive buddy and I have been keeping an eye out for whale sharks ever since our first SCUBA diving trip together, over 40 years ago on our honeymoon. Finally it happened, four days in a row.

Utopia Village is the first dive resort I’ve visited where the owner/operator gave an orientation briefing that included his philosophy of management…Interesting and illuminating. The all-local staff is very invested in caring for the resort and its guests.

Due to its isolation and distance from Utila Town, Utopia Village is essentially run as an all-inclusive resort. Each night we received a schedule with the next day’s dives and activities.

My third day of diving was an unbelievable trifecta. On the way to the morning dives, we spotted two sperm whales. We weren’t able to get close enough to snorkel with them, but still pretty cool. After the second morning dive we ended up snorkeling with a pod of dolphins. And the “piece d resistance”--we had just returned to the resort after the afternoon dive when Paul, the owner, greeted us with the information that there had been a whale shark sighting an hour before. If we could get eight people who were interested, they would make the trip to go out and search. Ten of us went, along with Paul. The result was a magical encounter with Elvis, a young whale shark. We spent 18 minutes snorkeling with him and watching him feed. One of our group sent in photos and reported our sighting to He was informed that this was the first sighting, so we had the option of naming the whale shark. Elvis was our boat driver and was given the honor.

It’s hard to be objective after that kind of experience, but I should also evaluate the more typical diving experiences. The dive staff was knowledgeable and helpful. Our divemaster, Chris, was able to obtain a 100 cf nitrox tank for me to use. They offer valet diving and the staff efficiently and carefully changed out gear between dives.

Chris was good at finding small critters like seahorses, nudis, and pipefish and kept a magnifier for viewing them. The corals were beautiful and healthy and included several vibrant stands of elkhorn. Which was somewhat of a surprise considering there were no big fish. The largest tarpon and barracuda I saw were no longer than 3 feet. Fish that normally school, like snapper and grunts, were only seen in ones and twos. There were no large grouper. There is a fishing industry on the island.

In contrast, on the one night dive we saw basket stars, octopi, 2 seahorses, a toadfish, queen conch, helmet conch, horse conch, a southern stingray, and an electric ray. A lot of special critters for one hour under water.

We had room 208, probably the best room in the resort, with floor to ceiling windows facing the ocean just 40 ft away. The resort had a beach area, large pool, jacuzzi, and a 10-ft deep dive training well. The beachside bar ran a happy hour with snacks every afternoon. Most meals were served in the cathedral ceiling dining room. The table settings and centerpieces were created by the local staff and matched some of the finest restaurants I’ve been to, though dress was very casual. Breakfast was served buffet style with many options. For most lunches and dinners we were given a choice of two main entrees. The food, including local fish, was of excellent quality.

The 4 days of whale shark encounters was a truly memorable time, but for the previous 3 weeks there had been no sightings. So would I go back if I knew there would be no whale shark encounters? Absolutely.
Websites Utopia Village   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Caymans, Cocos, Palau, Belize, Roatan, Galapagos, Bonaire, Curacao, Costa Rica, FL Keys, Maui, Cuba, Dominica, Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos
Closest Airport Utila Airport Getting There Fly commercial to Roatan; charter to Utila-(We went with Island Air) one bag included/extra bag $50 each way

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 77-80°F / 25-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions You could dive your own profile for shore dives. All boat dives were led.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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