James

James

My Dive Map

Reviews (3)

Cozumel Palace

4
5
5
5

Simply, Cozumel Palace, is touted as one of the nicest hotels on Cozumel. It's not a "cheap" hotel, and the service, food, and accommodations reflect that. We had a Concierge Level room, which gave us a pillow menu, top floor ocean view, and some other niceties. The Cozumel Palace has multiple restaurants, bars, and a buffet. You can eat and drink to your heart's content, and the food was great -- especially the afternoon guacamole they put out daily. The staff is top notch, and takes care of everything. They had rental cars on site, which made taking a day to drive around very easy.

The dive operation on site was professional and accommodating to a diverse group. We chose the "slow boats" on purpose because they had shade and a head (bathroom). We didn't do any shore diving during our stay, as the conditions didn't allow it -- the red flag was up the whole week. We dove the wreck (C-53) one day, and the rest of the time along the walls and other popular sites. My favorite was Palancar Bricks as we saw a couple nurse sharks snoozing under a ledge and a couple turtles. We did one night dive at Paradise Reef, and found a couple octopus and a lot of lobsters.

Overall, we would definitely stay at the Cozumel Palace again! It's centrally located, making it easy to walk to town to visit bars, restaurants, shops, etc.

Visited on 03/2010 - Submitted on 02/28/2014
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Sipadan Water Village

5
4
5
4

Sipadan Water Village, with the private villas over the water connected by walkways, is beautiful! There are great views from pretty much every building, dining area, and so on. The resort is spread out nicely, which is an amazing thing, as long as you don't forget something you need at your villa and you've already walked to the dive center. The rooms are well appointed, with AC (when I was last there, not all rooms had it so make sure if this is important to you). We didn't have a bathtub (standard villa). Definitely don't plan on walking without something on your feet, as the planks of the walkways are very hot if the sun is out.

The food at SWV was usually pretty good, but not great. Be careful eating the chicken dishes, as many people encountered small bones in their food. Service was top-notch, the coffee was amazing, and they will even do a special party if you ask for it. We had a great 50th birthday for a member in our group. You can walk the island, and visit little shops. They have some kayaks available as well.

The dive operation was really great. The dive guides were very attentive the whole time, and were great at finding critters for us. The dive center has a nice setup where you get a number for your gear, locker, and such and use that number the whole time you stay there. Your gear will be on the boat for you every day. Diving from the house reef was great, and unlimited. We dove nearly every night, and even saw some Mandarinfish one night! Their dive boats are comfortable, and never crowded. Mabul island, where SWV is located, has a lot of muck diving as well as many large turtles that come around often. If you love turtles, this is the place for you! I have never seen so many turtles on a single trip. If you can, take a dive or two under the Seaventures rig right across from SWV to find lots of nudibranchs, ribbon eel, and so on.

Diving at Sipadan Island is limited, so the days you are scheduled to dive there, you've got to be on the boat by 0515, which means a very early wake-up! We were fortunate to dive there multiple times in our ten-day stay because some folks in our group gave up their spots a few times. The very first morning, we jumped in a Barracuda Point and found ourselves in a huge school of Bumphead Parrotfish. Amazing. There were huge schools of Jacks, Barracuda, and many turtles as well. We saw a many white-tip reef sharks every day.

Overall this resort is great, the diving is amazing, and the staff are extremely nice and helpful. We plan to make another trip in a couple years, and I am already looking forward to it.

Visited on 10/2011 - Submitted on 02/28/2014
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Solitude Lembeh Dive Resort

5
5
5
5

Kasawari is a small boutique resort, with an amazing staff!. They've got a rule there: divers carry nothing! When you arrive, your bags are taken to your villa along with a basket for your dive gear. You simply put your dive gear in the basket and you'll not have to carry it again until you leave. Security is great at Kasawari, and as a result you will be completely unencumbered by keys or cards -- no one in our group even locked their villa door. The villas are well-appointed and clean, with AC that works great. The bathrooms have an attached outdoor shower which is amazing (and private) as well as an indoor shower.

The food is quite good, and they serve a nice variety every day. The staff goes the extra mile, even remembering how you like your eggs and coffee in the morning. The view of the Lembeh Strait from the dining area's second floor is stunning and a great place to enjoy a meal.

The customer carries nothing rule even extends even to your camera rig. From the well-appointed camera room, your camera is brought down to the dive center where you can submerge it in clean water to test before it is taken to the boat. The dive staff always take great care of your gear, so nothing to worry about here. It did take some people a bit of getting used to this, but after a few days it was normal!

One negative is that there can be some loud music early in the morning coming from the resorts neighbors, which bothered some people more than others.

Diving Lembeh is out of this world. You can write your wish list on the board and most likely see all of them -- my list was fairly extensive and I was able to see everything on it: Blue ring octopus, hairy frogfish, pygmy seahorses, pygmy cuttlefish, bunny ear nudibranch, wunderpus, rhinopia, mantis shrimp, bobbit worm, and more than I can possibly remember. Unbelievable! The dive guides were very good, but not the best. I was happier with them than others, though. We saw more Frogfish the first day diving than I have seen in my last four trips combined, some as big as a basketball. The Mandarinfish dive was truly amazing.

The house reef requires a bit of a swim out from the boat pier, as the water up close is shallow and very low visibility. Once you get away from shore, it's a very nice dive. They will tell you where to go to ensure you stay away from the boats and fishermen.

I would absolutely return to this resort without hesitation, and plan to do so.

Visited on 02/2014 - Submitted on 02/17/2014
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