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Dive Review of Chico's Dive Shop/Barcelo de la Jolla Resort in
Mexico (Western)/Puerto Vallarta

Chico's Dive Shop/Barcelo de la Jolla Resort, Jul, 2008,

by Nancy Collins, NM, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 4203.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Bonaire; Maui, Hawaii; Several Islands in the Bahamas; Florida; Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos; Guanaja, Honduras
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, surge, no currents
Water Temp 81 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 35 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Only restriction was to surface with 500psi in tank.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Very small 20 foot boat with no set up for cameras at all.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Stayed at the Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya Resort about 30 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. Resort was first class, all-inclusive, but the food left a lot to be desired. Typical all-inclusive buffet quality food, even the two "reservations required upscale" restaurants at the resort seemed to serve a variation of the buffet type food. It was edible, but that's about all I can say about it. The room was fabulous, had been completely redone, with two flat screen TVs on the walls and a lovely balcony overlooking the pools and to the ocean.

Diving was arranged with Chico's Dive Shop located at the resort. Two tanks and weights were $98 US dollars. They used a very small 20 foot boat not equipped for diving. No tank racks, they used a sea kayak to carry the gear to the boat, then moved the boat over to the beach where you had to climb in while they held onto it. The first day the boat had a ladder to exit the water, the second day we did not. More on that later. Entry into the water was by backwards roll. Rodolfo and Mario were the two dive guides we had, Arturo manned the boat. The boat followed us on the dives (but they were not drift dives), and was there to greet us at the surface. We dove two dives on a weekend, both at Los Arcos, about a 10 minute boat ride north from the resort.

The first dive was on a Saturday. We dove a maximum of 60 and fish life was much more than we had thought we would see. Lots of pufferfish (schools of them in fact), lots of King Angels, several eels, lots of starfish. Bottom was rocky, no coral to speak of. Overall the dive was enjoyable. Vis on this dive was about 50 not great, but not horrible, either.

The second dive was Sunday. It had rained all night and visibility was awful. For the first 15 below the surface, you could barely see each other unless you were within 5 of each other. We dove to 100 into Devils Canyon on the drop-off from Los Arcos. Vis improved to around 35 when we were at 50 and below.

Operations were a little confused at the dive shop, but the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. The first day the engine on the one boat would not start, so they towed it to a catamaran which belonged to Chicos in Puerto Vallarta proper, then worked on the engine while we dove. It was running when we surfaced, but they neglected to tell us the original boat would be leaving and so they drove off with our gear bags on board. However, they did call into town, and our gear was waiting at the Chicos dive shop when we got there with nothing missing, not even the money we had put in a dry bag.

We were supposed to do two dives on Saturday, but the dive shop at the resort didnt have any more tanks, so we did our second dive on Sunday instead. Overnight the rain had caused the dive shop boat to capsize in the little cove by the resort. They were unable to right the boat and finally took us out on the boat that had towed the dive shop boat the day before. Needless to say, the swim ladder from the dive shop boat was now on the bottom of the cove. Getting back on to the boat (a good 2-3 feet above the surface) was a challenge without the ladder, but after several tries, we made it. Good thing Arturo was on the boat, it took him, my boyfriend and the dive master with me kicking to get me back on the boat. My boyfriend and the dive master didnt have as big a problem, probably because they have more upper body strength.

Overall this trip was great, it did rain, but July is the rainy season there. The people at the resort and the dive shop there were great and always willing to do whatever you needed them to. Everyone spoke great English, so communication was no problem.

I would return to Puerto Vallarta, but would probably stay closer in to town. The resort was nice, but it was a 30 minute, $15 USD one way taxi ride into town, so it wasn't as convenient as some resorts there.
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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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