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Dive Review of Atmosphere Resort & Spa/Atmosphere in

Atmosphere Resort & Spa/Atmosphere: "Sets a new standard", May, 2019,

by Steven Moore, CT, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 11056 has 2 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 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I've avoided the Philippines for several years out of concern that it wouldn't match up with Indonesia, PNG, Fiji, etc. Dumb. This trip was outstanding enough that we already have booked a follow-up for May 2020.

We frequently stay on liveaboards when we travel to new areas because we know the emphasis will be on diving. This time, we decided to go for some on-shore luxury based on the reputation of Atmosphere Resort in Dauin, just south of Dumaguette, about a 40 minute shuttle ride from the airport.

Unfortunately, we were scheduled to arrive on a Saturday afternoon and Atmosphere was fully booked for that night. After mulling over our options, we agreed to stay for one night at the property right next door, Bahura Resort. We were picked up at the airport by the Atmosphere van/driver and delivered to Atmosphere. After checking in with the wonderful, friendly staff and leaving most of our gear in the office, the manager walked us down the beach about 50 yards to Bahura. The two properties could not have been much different. Bahura was, we were told, a wonderful place in its day. That day was not the day we arrived. It is tired, shabby and old. For example, one of the pool lights was detached and floating in the water. Still attached. That evening, a local company was using their ground for a teambuilding workshop, so we were blessed with a VERY bad karoake serenade. For hours. The room was nice enough, but the food was awful. At least the staff were pleasant and tried to help.

The following morning, we returned to Atmosphere for breakfast and the real holiday began. First a few words about the resort. It is probably the finest one we ever have visited. The room was spacious, clean, and comfortable. The outdoor shower was delightful, with plenty of hot water and their own shampoo and wash. The restaurant was extraordinary. Specials every day, and the option of ordering from the specials menu, the lunch/dinner menu, the "healthy" menu, or just asking the kitchen staff to make something special. The entire staff went out of their way to accommodate any request. My wife, a vegetarian, was totally satisfied with her options, as was I, a devoted omnivore. The meal times always lasted long enough that there was plenty of time to relax, although lunch sometimes was rushed if the morning dive destinations were farther away from the beach. The wine steward was engaging and inviting, offering us a complimentary 5-wine tasting in the roomy wine room located right off of the main dining area.

But the reason we booked this trip was for the diving. At a dive show this past March, the representative for another resort had told us that Atmosphere was "a yoga place trying to be a dive resort". With NO hesitation, I can tell you that was just competitive marketing. Atmosphere's operation was smooth, consistent, accommodating and professional. The first three days, we were the only guests in the resort, so we had individual attention on the dive boat. But in the last 5 days, when they were at or near full capacity, there was no drop off. Our personal guide, Ar Jay, is known as The Legend for good reason. He can spot a minnow in a squall. He found some critters that we hadn't even heard of, including spotting some small octopus at a distance of 100 feet. I couldn't even see the rocks and he was finding their eyes sticking out of the hole. On one dive, he found TWO poison oscellated octopus, a creature that may be more rare than the famed blue ring.

One of the best features of the area is that each dive site, typically only a minute or two apart from each other, has its own personality. The bottom topography goes from muck/sand to reef to rubble to reef and back again, all within a couple of minutes on the boat. That means every dive has its own personality and an opportunity to see new things, And we did. The diversity of life here was tremendous.

One reason we chose Atmosphere is that is't the only place in the world that offers a PADI-approved Frogfish Specialist training course. The instructor, Daniel, is Dr. Frogfish. We have always been intrigued by frogfish, from the tiny ones to the rugby-ball sized giants. During this course, we saw all of them.

Atmosphere shows something like 20 dive sites along its shoreline. We hit probably 10 of them. The first three days, the ocean was like glass. The rest of the week, it was a bit choppier, but overall not bad. The reason we went back to several dive sites multiple times was that we loved them that much. From new-to-us nudibranchs to frogfish to foot-long shrimp/goby pairs, the diversity was fabulous. We didn't see a single shark during the week, but did see probably 20 octopus during the week.

To see a video of the highlights of this trip, you can go to: [ link] -- or on YouTube, search for Atmosphere Diving, May 2019.

Atmosphere is pricey. Well, actually, it's downright expensive. But I have to say that we felt we got more than our money's worth. Between the amazing, friendly and helpful staff, the phenomenal meals, the great diving, the luxurious room and pools -- this is one of the best places we've ever been. And we have already agreed that we'll be back there after sampling more of the Philippines.

It says something that we're willing to endure the Manila airport experience again -- that ranked in the bottom 10 worst ever. But the trip to Atmosphere was worth it.

Compliments to the management and staff there for a tremendous resort that gave us a wonderful vacation.
Websites Atmosphere Resort & Spa   Atmosphere

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving US, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (x5), Caribbean, Alaska
Closest Airport Dumaguette Getting There JFK to Manila, then to Dumaguette. Easy trip on the way out. Nightmare on the way back. Manila airport is rightfully rated one of the worst in the world. Freezing cold, no food, half as many seats as people. Return trip is a royal pain.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-80 Ft/ 9-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments They have just renovated and upgraded the camera room. It's located next to the room where they hang the equipment to dry between dives. Plenty of outlets, good lighting. It's even temperature controlled.
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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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