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Dive Review of El Salvador Divers in
General Travel/Other Locations/El Salvador

El Salvador Divers, Feb, 2009,

by Greg Liebman, Illinois, US ( 2 reports). Report 4661.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments Looking for something different, I heard that there was "volcanic lake diving" in El Salvador, so I went online and checked it out. The lake is Ilopango, about an hour out of the capital San Salvador. 753 feet deep, it's perhaps best known as the lake where Matt Knight, son of Nike founder Phil Knight, died while scuba diving. I also read that there was some more traditional ocean diving near Los Cobanos, with some interesting wrecks and possible whale sitings. So, I booked the Los Cobanos Village Lodge, and contacted El Salvador Divers. Heeding the warnings about serious, violent crime, especially in the cities, I opted to take a taxi from the airport to Los Cobanos, which runs about $60. If I were to go again, I would definitely stick with my usual plan of renting a car. There's alot to see and do in El Salvador not related to diving, and I wish I had risked the banditos and had a car. Anyway, El Salvador Divers maintains a very professional shop with several divemasters, equipment, instruction, and even Nitrox fills in a wealthy area of San Salvador. We met our divemaster, Jorge, and headed off in his Jeep to Ilopango. We changed at a little house the shop keeps at the lake, and then headed out in a boat they also keep up there. Short briefing, and then the dive to "The Devils Cauldron"--so named because you can feel the thermal vents of heat bubbling up from below. But that's it for Ilopango....visibility is crap, there are no fish to speak of, and very little else to look at. A novelty dive for sure, and not one I would recommend.
The two dives we made in the Pacific were equally uninspiring. The visibility, which Jorge thought was "pretty good" at around 10 feet, limited the enjoyment, but more than that was the caliber of diver allowed on the dive, and the lack of leadership and control demonstrated by Jorge. He's a very nice guy, but he had to surface twice mid-dive with divers who were clearly not up to the dive, and did not clearly indicate his intentions to the other divers on either occasion. Several got lost, safety stops were ignored, and a general sense of impending disaster pervaded my thoughts.
The lodging at Los Cobanos Village Lodge is very nice for the price, and I opted to have meals included, since there are no restaurants in the area. The food was bland and the portions miniscule, but the staff is extremely helpful and pleasant.
Driving back to the airport in San Salvador, I noticed all the little seaside villages clustered near La Libertad, and the international groups of surfers that are beginning to put El Salvador on the adventure travel map. The surf break and the scenery looked like the coast of California. If I travel to El Salvador again, I think I'd have to confine my water sports to above the surface.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Throughout the Carib, Red Sea, Indonesia, Philippines
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, surge
Water Temp 25-30°C / 77-86°F Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 5-10 Ft/ 2-3 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions
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 2 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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]
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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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