Roatan in Sept. - Anthony's vs Coco View?

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Painter

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I will be returning to AKR at the end of this week. I was there a year ago and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I liked the people and the diving very much.
I have only stayed at one other resort, Sunscape Sabor on Cozumel (twice), so I can't make a comparison to CCV.
I have a pretty hearty appetite, but I never felt underfed at AKR. I did feel that they were kind of chintzy when it came to booze, and their selection of beer and ale was poor. More varied food choices and free booze gives Sunscape an edge.
I am mildly disabled and climbing the stairs to the restaurant wasn't easy for me, but I really liked being outdoors with the view so it was worth it. I had to do a lot more walking at Sunscape.
My accommodations at AKR were far superior to those at Sunscape. I loved my bungalow at AKR, loved being over the water, loved lazing in the hammock.
I was very happy with the 3 dives/day schedule at AKR, and the two night dives. The pace was good and after returning from the third dive I usually just wanted to relax until dinner. At Sunscape, afternoon dives and night dives were extra.
I never left AKR last year, mostly because I didn't feel like I had the time. Most of my last day last year was taken up with getting the required covid test and results. I'm hoping to take a cab into West End on this coming trip because I would like to see a bit more of the island. I rented a car for the entire week of my last trip to Cozumel. Because I didn't pay extra for the afternoon dives I had the opportunity to get out and explore. I am a birder, so it was fun.
The trip to Maya Key was kind of meh, IMO.
Of course, the diving is what it is all about. I felt that the dive ops at both AKR and SS were very good, and much better than some that I have gone with in Florida and Turks and Caicos. I like to poke along and get close to things and I could do that easily at AKR. And the guides were really good at finding things and pointing them out. The same was true of SS. The Palancar area of Cozumel was closed the last time I was there, but some of the sites at AKR were close to as impressive. I found myself doing a lot of comparison and my feeling, at the end of the week, was AKR diving had a bit of an edge over SS, though I would return to Cozumel in a New York minute.
 

Phil Ravlin

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Recent dive trips took me to Curacao in December 2021 and Roatan in May 2022. Curacao was a far superior experience for me. As a solo traveler/diver, I felt very safe in Curacao. Although I didn't leave Anthony's Key Resort during my stay in Roatan, I would not have ventured out alone at any time of the day. Honduras is going through a lot of political violence and unrest, and even though Roatan is not in the capitol, the ripple effect runs through all the islands' people, and they are desperate. I was getting daily alerts from the U.S. State Department about the protests and called AKR about it to see if I should cancel my trip, and she assured me that it would be safe to come.
I spent a week on Roatan (West End) in Sept of 2021. I stayed in a decent hotel next to my dive shop (Coconut Tree). I walked everywhere up and down the small strip along the West End and never felt unsafe at any time. Of course, I wasn't out at 2 am. I really enjoyed all the small local shops for food and drink. I'll definitely go back.
 

Doctor Rig

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I will be returning to AKR at the end of this week. I was there a year ago and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I liked the people and the diving very much.
I have only stayed at one other resort, Sunscape Sabor on Cozumel (twice), so I can't make a comparison to CCV.
I have a pretty hearty appetite, but I never felt underfed at AKR. I did feel that they were kind of chintzy when it came to booze, and their selection of beer and ale was poor. More varied food choices and free booze gives Sunscape an edge.
I am mildly disabled and climbing the stairs to the restaurant wasn't easy for me, but I really liked being outdoors with the view so it was worth it. I had to do a lot more walking at Sunscape.
My accommodations at AKR were far superior to those at Sunscape. I loved my bungalow at AKR, loved being over the water, loved lazing in the hammock.
I was very happy with the 3 dives/day schedule at AKR, and the two night dives. The pace was good and after returning from the third dive I usually just wanted to relax until dinner. At Sunscape, afternoon dives and night dives were extra.
I never left AKR last year, mostly because I didn't feel like I had the time. Most of my last day last year was taken up with getting the required covid test and results. I'm hoping to take a cab into West End on this coming trip because I would like to see a bit more of the island. I rented a car for the entire week of my last trip to Cozumel. Because I didn't pay extra for the afternoon dives I had the opportunity to get out and explore. I am a birder, so it was fun.
The trip to Maya Key was kind of meh, IMO.
Of course, the diving is what it is all about. I felt that the dive ops at both AKR and SS were very good, and much better than some that I have gone with in Florida and Turks and Caicos. I like to poke along and get close to things and I could do that easily at AKR. And the guides were really good at finding things and pointing them out. The same was true of SS. The Palancar area of Cozumel was closed the last time I was there, but some of the sites at AKR were close to as impressive. I found myself doing a lot of comparison and my feeling, at the end of the week, was AKR diving had a bit of an edge over SS, though I would return to Cozumel in a New York minute.
Please share your trip report with us upon your return!
 

ScubaJoy65

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Never been to CCV. But ...

For AKR -
Tuesdays and Thursdays, there are 4 boat dives (if you include the night dive).

There should be no hike uphill to the chow hall at AKR.

They strung it out and strung it out and strung it out, but as of two weeks back when I was there, they were planning to open the new check-in/reception/bar/dining room this week. (But last September, they were speculating by last November too....) They say they can't get stuff through customs... Two weeks ago, most all furniture appeared to be in and they were letting guests wander around through the facility. It is a really nice facility, but views won't match the sunset vistas from uphill. And, it ain't open til it's open.

Overall, it was an enjoyable week of 20 dives in 5 1/2 days (viz was not pristine, and as rainy WX starts moving in in Sept, plan accordingly ..... may or may not be a factor).

OMMOHY
How were the reefs and fish? Were there things to see besides divers and sand?
 

ScubaJoy65

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Twice to AKR in last 9 months. Only 4 dive days were Tuesday and Thursday, the night dives being the 4th dive of each day. All others were 3 one-tank dives daily. You can do the shore dive daily to make 4 day dives. J-fish two weeks ago were minimal. Three night dives and only saw one when instructor Pete pointed it out. Slight stinging getting out of the shore dive, but it wasn't bad. Don't think it was a full-on jelly attack. Last August into September was a buttwhompper of a jellyfish show (right after full moon cycle) with the entire boat doing vinegar spray-ons afterwards (I got zapped inside my upper lip going into the water which made that a miserable dive).

Rather than the mid-morning dock return, I think they would do a lot better to have one two-tank dive in the morning and use the surface interval between just plowing off on the way to more remote sites. Last month I found the dock time on the morning turnaround was minimal. Less than a half hour, sometimes as little as 15 minutes. Silly, as boat staff loaded two tanks for each diver at the start of the day so not swapping tanks.

One two tank dive schedule may kink the schedule in favor of those doing dive vacations, not vacationers doing dives (them that want to sleep in). At the end of the day, it's the schedule that works for the resort, not the divers. Add to that fuel costs 3-4 times what it was a year ago, and the resort is coming out of a year-log Wu-flu hiatus so they're trying to squeeze every nickel out of the week that they can.

Oh, Julio, did I mention that you should ditch the full-fleet Maya Key Monday fiesta? Save that fuel oil. Or use it to go to more varied sites on the north side. Or is the thought to give non-divers something else to do?

OMMOHY
Did you feel there was more to see than divers in the water? Asking as some of my local diver acquaintances said they would never go back because there was nothing to see - no fish, etc. But these two are known to complain about the slightest thing - so I'm just trying to verify if the diving there will give me beautiful things to see and photograph. Thanks, in advance, for your input.
 

Hoyden

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Did you feel there was more to see than divers in the water? Asking as some of my local diver acquaintances said they would never go back because there was nothing to see - no fish, etc. But these two are known to complain about the slightest thing - so I'm just trying to verify if the diving there will give me beautiful things to see and photograph. Thanks, in advance, for your input.
I cannot speak to the "things to see" at AKR since I have not been there in many years, but I will say that on the sites regularly used by CoCo View there is plenty to see if you like fish and TWA coral. If you want to see turtles or sharks on every dive CCV is not for you, but other than a lack of those, there are abundant fish and inverts. In 10 trips I have seen probably a handful of turtles and sharks, but it is not guaranteed on every trip. If large animals are what you are seeking, Roatan probably should not be your destination.
 

Doc

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Did you feel there was more to see than divers in the water?
There are some really good looking divers in the water, if you like your “diver-love” dressed for 82° (year round) water.
Asking as some of my local diver acquaintances said they would never go back because there was nothing to see - no fish, etc. But these two are known to complain about the slightest thing -
As Lily Allen would say, avoid such negative nellies.
so I'm just trying to verify if the diving there will give me beautiful things to see and photograph. Thanks, in advance, for your input.
It’s true that advertising drives everything in every SCUBA Magazine, Chapbook, and e-media site, but Roatan has been in the forefront of any Caribbean destination since 1982. Gotta be a reason.

IF you stay with a better DM, they should be showing you a Pipefish or Seahorse on every dive. Pretty much-so the norm at CCV. (it lies on the LEE of all the storms) so it’s all about micro.

For those who “want to go exploring on their own”, well, they might just see rocks and sand. Pretty common. A first class naturalist DM is the key, follow him like a puppy. Which is what we are: puppies. By his eye, we don’t know sh*t. Sounds like your ‘local diver acquaintances“ might be used to diving Jupiter?

Big fish! That simply is NOT what Roatan offers that is unique. Sure, certain operators lay claim to zones that you will see….the same bigger fish/critters that you can see anywhere in the Caribbean. Did you drag yourself to Roatan (and pay the airfare?) just to see Barracuda, Parrotfish and pay-per-view Sharks?

Money poorly spent. Roatan’s singular unique feature to anything else in the Caribbean is it’s shape and location in the bottom of the Western basin. It is in a backwater. The one single zone in Roatan that is unique? It’s the South shore, 5 miles either side of CCV. (only four dive ops are located here, CCV is the big player, the only real shore-dive today on Roatan)

That special 10 mile shore zone: Shallow Sunlit vertical walls. It is a nursery for all, haven to the little stuff. It baffles a lot of divers who are not yet able to see the micro, it disappoints divers who are still agog over “big fish”. Seeing things smaller than a toaster takes time. The preoccupation with GoPro (etc) exacerbates this.

I have seen Hammerheads, Whale Sharks, 8’ Rays, couch sized Groupers, all sorts of stuff, right from shore-dive range of CoCo View. But that’s absolutely NOT the attraction for me. I get my jollies using a magnifying glass and flashlight (during the day and night), going slowly, looking with care, follow that DM. I heave thousands of dives in the Bay Islands, I never leave the DM…ever.

I think your friend‘s comments were due to a combination of the three factors: Mediocre DM, the urge to explore, being able to see vs. look-at.

So, you’re asking us if Roatan, the single hot-spot for divers today, if Roatan will make you giggle?

Depends upon your giggle meter.
 

OMyMyOHellYes

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Did you feel there was more to see than divers in the water? Asking as some of my local diver acquaintances said they would never go back because there was nothing to see - no fish, etc. But these two are known to complain about the slightest thing - so I'm just trying to verify if the diving there will give me beautiful things to see and photograph. Thanks, in advance, for your input.
On the late June trip, saw a bunch of turtles - one up close (10') - that swam over, stuck his head in a sponge near me and started munching away at something, pulled out, turned, looked at me as if to say "Go find your own lunch", always a bunch of various fishes, got undershot (20' below) by a pod of 6 dolphins (Captian saw them coming our way, dropped to neutral and said grab your masks and jump in NOW!"), a bajillion sardines making the water behind the boat boil one morning (so cool to swim through that school - a few barracuda and a couple groupers seemed to be herding them. Night dive was pretty dull - viz was bad with muddy waters after rain - no octopussesses. but did find a small flight of squid, saw jellies (did not get attacked). DM this trip was OK, but DM last fall was a lot better at finding and pointing out critters on the reefs. Did see/fed mantis shrimps, tons of schooling fish like butterfly and angel fish, a couple of spectacular Queen Angelfish. A bunch of groupers - a couple up to 2', maybe 3' long, eels (tiny ones burrowed in the sand, a bunch of green morays, a couple spotted morays. DM pointed out one or two sea horses a day ..... I could go on.

Like I said, viz was not great (rain), but I was satisfied with the trip.

OMMOHY
 

ScubaJoy65

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I cannot speak to the "things to see" at AKR since I have not been there in many years, but I will say that on the sites regularly used by CoCo View there is plenty to see if you like fish and TWA coral. If you want to see turtles or sharks on every dive CCV is not for you, but other than a lack of those, there are abundant fish and inverts. In 10 trips I have seen probably a handful of turtles and sharks, but it is not guaranteed on every trip. If large animals are what you are seeking, Roatan probably should not be your destination.
Thanks for your insights. My husband and I have decided to give it a go. Our trip is April 2023. We're looking forward to it.
 

ScubaJoy65

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Land O Lakes, Florida
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On the late June trip, saw a bunch of turtles - one up close (10') - that swam over, stuck his head in a sponge near me and started munching away at something, pulled out, turned, looked at me as if to say "Go find your own lunch", always a bunch of various fishes, got undershot (20' below) by a pod of 6 dolphins (Captian saw them coming our way, dropped to neutral and said grab your masks and jump in NOW!"), a bajillion sardines making the water behind the boat boil one morning (so cool to swim through that school - a few barracuda and a couple groupers seemed to be herding them. Night dive was pretty dull - viz was bad with muddy waters after rain - no octopussesses. but did find a small flight of squid, saw jellies (did not get attacked). DM this trip was OK, but DM last fall was a lot better at finding and pointing out critters on the reefs. Did see/fed mantis shrimps, tons of schooling fish like butterfly and angel fish, a couple of spectacular Queen Angelfish. A bunch of groupers - a couple up to 2', maybe 3' long, eels (tiny ones burrowed in the sand, a bunch of green morays, a couple spotted morays. DM pointed out one or two sea horses a day ..... I could go on.

Like I said, viz was not great (rain), but I was satisfied with the trip.

OMMOHY
Sounds like we're going to have a good time. Thanks for sharing. Our trip there is in April 2023 and we're looking forward to it already.
 
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