Roatan, Honduras Review
Roatan Island – CocoView Resort February 2007
We went to Roatan to check out the diving and see the island. We chose CocoView because of the shore diving at the resort. We found the shore diving to be the best dives that we did all week. The diving at the resort was easy and we did 16 dives during the week – a record for us. If you are thinking of trying Roatan go now, you can see the effect the building on the island is having on the reef, silting, algae growth, and few large fish.
Getting There and Back:
We flew direct from Toronto with WestJet – they really are a strange/happy group of people. The luggage allowance is not enough for SCUBA gear but there is a special SCUBA allowance if you ask for it. There general boarding is a bit of a zoo but we all got seated eventually. Because this is a Nolitours charter you do get fed on the plane. One note on coming back – the duty-free shop at the airport does not sell liquor any more and once past security there is only one tiny shop. Any booze you want to bring back has to be purchased ahead of time and put in your checked luggage. Also the luggage is all hand checked at the airport, so don't bother locking your luggage and allow lots of time at the airport.
We stayed in an over the water bungalow. These are nice large rooms with a great deck, with a hammock, large wooden chairs and a fantastic view. The rooms had ceiling fans, floor fans, air-conditioning if you wanted it, small fridge and a coffee maker. There was coffee on 24 hours a day at the restaurant, so we were able to pick up creamers for the room any time we wanted. Most meals are served buffet style at the restaurant. Get there early, as everyone was hungry after all their dives and the food went fast. We missed out on some great cookies a couple of times by being late to lunch. Breakfasts had made to order eggs, omelets, pancakes and waffles. Lunch was varied, tacos, burgers, sandwiches, etc. Dinner was always two choices and a great dessert. One night we had a bar-b-que on the little island, followed with music and the local school kids doing island dances. One night we had really good fire dancers and a really bad band.
The one really bad thing about the resort is the no-see-ums. These are tiny bugs the size of a pen tip that you don't even feel biting you. The bites comes up in very itchy welts that last for a few days. The bugs live in the sand but can fly and climb and get moved around on your body/clothing. I got bites on my legs, back and even one on the top of my head. Spray everywhere and often.
There is not a lot to see or do on the island, we took a tour and half a day was more than enough. One thing not to miss is the weekly dinner excursion to Gio's seafood restaurant – his seafood platters are huge.
The best diving was right off the resort. You can shore dive out to the wreck and walls or be dropped off on the way back from the boat dives. The boats are large and roomy, the resort was full and there was about 14 divers assigned to each boat. The boats from Fantasy Island were the same size but had many more divers on each boat. There are storage rooms in front of each boat and a storage area is assigned to each diver. If you wanted to dive you put your block on the peg and the staff would carry your gear onto the boat and set up your tank. If you were a Nitrox diver, you had to gauge your tanks, mark them and leave them at your storage area to be carried on board. For those set up their own gear, we carried our tanks and gear aboard and set them up in our assigned place on the boat. The boats went out at 8 am for the morning dive. After the dive and a SHORT surface interval (25 to 45 minutes) you could be dropped off at one of the two walls or the wreck that are in front of the resort. You swam along the walls to the wreck and from the wreck followed the chain back to the resort. The went out at 2 pm for the afternoon dive. After the dive and a SHORT surface interval you could be dropped off at the walls or wreck to make your way back in to the resort. You could also suit up at the resort and follow the chain out to the wreck/walls to do a shore dive. This could be done day or night. The effects of increased building/population can be seen on the reef with some coral die back, algae growth and lack of fish and large fish. The boat diving was Okay but definitely not great. The shore diving was the best, resident green moray on the wreck, garden eels near the wreck, giant school of scad fish, coral garden on the bow of the wreck, lots of small life on the walls near the wreck.
The best question is would you go somewhere again? The answer is no, the resort was nice, the food was good but there are places with better diving. But if you wanted to travel somewhere with a group, with a lot of easy diving this could be a good choice.