Summer camp for divers, a liveaboard on land - I'd heard all of the descriptions but until I actually went to Coco View, I didn't really understand why it was the resort with the most repeat visitors I'd ever heard of. Put it this way - before I finished my first week there, I'd already signed up for a return trip the following year.
I met my friends at the Houston airport - we'd come from all over the country to head to Coco View. Most of the group were repeat visitors - only a few of us were newbies. The trip to Roatan is only 2 hours - very, very quick. And you're met in the airport by Nora, who knows every repeat visitor by name and gives you a "Welcome home!" - and for some reason, it doesn't seem "kitschy" at all - it just seems very real. She takes care of everything for you - just point out your luggage on the carousel and it will magically appear next in your room. All you'll need to do is go through security and into the air-conditioned bus. When everyone's arrived, you'll be whisked off to the CCV dock, where a quick (3 minutes at most?) boat trip will put you at the CCV docks. Just follow the crowd and you'll have your key to your room in hand and time to unpack, relax and get on CCV time. If you're a repeat visitor, you can start diving right away. Newbies have to wait until they have an orientation/checkout dive the next morning.
Accomodations - Our group had all of the bungalows over the water. Ours was sparkling clean with room for hanging clothes and plenty of shelves - very little drawer space, however. But then again, you won't need a lot of clothes - just bring a bunch of bathing suits, a pair of shorts and a couple of T-shirts. Casual is the theme at CCV.
Food - If you're a gourmet foodie, you're probably not going to be excited. However, if you appreciate good, comforting, homecooked food and plenty of it, you'll do just fine. I have some food issues I have to eat around and had no trouble whatsoever doing that. The ladies in the kitchen are wonderful and friendly and always willing to help out in whatever way they can. I would say that I ate as well as I have on most liveaboards at CCV and I never had a meal where there wasn't something I thought was wonderful.
Diving - I just loved it. As an u/w photographer, I could've dived it for a month and still have had a blast. You can dive the two walls right in the front yard at pretty much any depth and have a very different dive each time. And the Prince Albert wreck has different things on it every time you look - so it was always a bit different each time I dove it. And that was just what was available as shore dives! The boat dives we did never disappointed - from Calvin's Crack to Mary's Place, each one was special in its own way. We didn't see a lot of big animals, but every DM was amazing at knowing where all of the cool little stuff was - seahorses galore, pipefish, eels, turtles, nudibranchs, you name it! I got some amazing photos. The dive briefings are superb and the boats are really diver-friendly for exits and entries. If you get bored here, you'll get bored diving anywhere.
Bar - When you're done diving for the day, try a Monkey-lala - OMG. Or a Rum Punch. Yowza! The drinks are actually very reasonably priced. Your drinks will be put on a tab for you to settle when you check out. I found a great place to enjoy the sunset it from the hammocks or chairs on the veranda upstairs at the clubhouse, with a rum punch in hand...ahhh...
Shopping - Each day, one of the locals brings his/her handiwork to the resort and sets up a table outside the clubhouse. This is by no means a high-pressure sales pitch kind of thing! But there are some really lovely handicrafts you may want to buy. Try to bring cash for this - smaller bills are better than larger ones. You'll find everything from inexpensive T-shirts and jewelry to intricate and expensive carved art pieces.
Entertainment - There's always the several parrots and macaws that need to learn new phrases (if one says "Bite me" that'll be because of me ;-), the dog and the little orange cat - plus there's a wonderful wall of paperback books - bring one, take one. There's a big-screen TV upstairs in the clubhouse if you absolutely feel the need and 2 computers downstairs. Plus some board games and my personal favorites, the hammocks. At night, some of the locals come by to do some amazing entertainment - from fire dancing to local native dances, there's plenty of entertainment if just sitting and talking to your friends and watching the bajillion stars doesn't do it for you.
Bugs - Yes, there are no-see-ums. Consider yourself warned. I used Cactus Juice (available online or at the store at CCV) and got maybe 3 bites. But it doesn't work for everyone. If you're really worried, you can use a DEET-containing product - but please save that for after you're done diving for the day. It also helps to keep out of the sand, as the no-see-ums tend to live in the sand. I was there in late June and the only place I saw mosquitos was on the quay where they have the BBQs - a little bug spray should take care of it.
Fees - Remember that your bar tab isn't included - you will also be charged for the optional $2/day chamber fee - you *can* have that removed (but why would you?). If you used nitrox during the week and didn't pay for the whole week it's $7/tank extra (IIRC). And you'll most definitely want to tip - both the boat crew ('cause they work their butts off :-) and the rest of the support staff (cooks, housekeepers, groundskeepers, etc, - tips are pooled and split - and take some time to look around at the gardens - they really are well done). Try to bring enough cash to cover these costs, as your fees will be discounted for cash - credit cards cost significantly more for them to process, so they pass that on to the consumer. Cash works best (and US dollars are fine).
So - this is a diver's vacation - it's about as low-key as it gets, but the diving is fabulous. Eat, sleep, dive, repeat. This is my kind of vacation.