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Utila Review and Travel Report

Diving Utila Dive Centre and staying at The Mango Inn

Author: Rick Dozier

Report Date: 19-Dec-2004

trip report Utila

We got away out of SFO on TACA on Sat. evening, no problems at all. Arrived in Utila and found our place to live for the next week at the "Mango Inn". We got settled in and noticed that even though the dive operators "Utila Dive Center" (UDC) told us they were together with the Mango, they failed to mention a small factoid that they were not even in close proximity physically to each other. Ok I can live with that. (15 min walk each way in humid temps).
Now for a warm shower after the long fight.... WRONG. nothing but cold water from the hot water tap., OK I can live with that also. We also noticed that there were no curtains on any windows, so that the bar/restaurant patrons had full view into our room after dark if we had the lights on at all. I could also live with that, but the wife could not. Also no lighting at all on the stairs that led up to the room, so you needed to be able to read brail keys if you expected to get into your room. Keep in mind here that we paid EXTRA for the upgraded "deluxe" room. Some rooms went for as little as 7 dollars US per night, and they had hot water!! We had expected a bit better than what we got.
Went down and had a bite to eat, and met the owners of the bar and grill at the Mango. (separate from the Mango management) Nice guys. great food! OK, so we are not off to the best of starts, but I am willing. Went to the front office and informed them of the problems we found with our room. After walking to the dive op on the first day (day 2) and retuning to the Mango, the front office at the Mango told me that they had "fixed" the problems for us.
We went back and found that we now had no water at all from the hot side of the shower( guess they fixed the problem of only cold water coming out), windows still had no curtains, and light still did not work. This went on like this for almost the entire week we were there. We never did get hot water, or a front light. We did however get some jury rigged curtains on day 5 of 7! which promptly fell down as they were held up with masking tape!. Day 6, they offered us another room to use for showers! guess it didn't dawn on them to offer that earlier.
Now on to UDC. John who was in charge of all the dive guests and was quite interested in helping us be happy with our lodging, but even he was having difficulty getting these simple tasks fixed. The UDC dive boats were nothing you'd find in a boating magazine, but they ran well, and never gave a hint of breaking down. At UDC you dive with DM;s who are either training, or recently minted DM's/ We were, at times the only "customers" they had. The rest of them were either training, recently certified DM's or Instructors, or other students. At one point we had a two to one margin. That is, two Dm's for each of us. I guess it is practice for them. All of the dives were great, we got to swim with the whale sharks, three times during our SI's, and I even got so close that one actually hit me with it's tail! That was not planned, but they go where they go, and it is very hard to out swim and shark that size, when it decided to change course. So I got BS'd by a Whale Shark! (e-mail me and I'll explain the BS part). We also got to see a Spotted eagle ray while it ate! we were within a foot of it, and it could care less!. Very cool to witness that.
All in all water was great, weather was great, dives were great, food was great, rooms were great, just need someone else who can do a better job in regards to service in regards to the Mango. I volunteer to go down and do that job. I have more to add, but don't wish to bore anyone, so I am attempting to keep this short and sweet as I can.

This report originally posted on ScubaBoard.com on 19-Dec-2004
Re-published with the permission of the Author