Our family (two adults and one 15 year old) chose Coral View to take our PADI Open Water certification course and were amazed at the level and quality of service we received! To start off with, Sarah (manning the front office) was very patient in answering many emails prior to our arrival and did so with lightening quick speed. She even arranged for snorkeling gear to be delivered to the house we were staying at down the road since we arrived on Christmas Eve when they were closed! Coral View is very well organized, runs a very smooth operation, and is totally committed to their customers.
Chris was our instructor and ran an excellent class. For each segment of the theory part of the course, we would watch a video while filling out a questionnaire hitting on the key points and then when the video was complete, he'd go over the questionnaire with us ensuring we understood the material. Then, we'd take a quiz for that segment (results don't count for anything) and we'd talk through any questions that anyone got wrong. This lead to a thorough understanding of the material and made the final exam a breeze to pass. Chris taught in a manner that lead to an easy understanding of everything we needed to know.
The pool sessions were great and the small class size (just us) made it easy to learn the correct techniques so that when we hit the open water on the boat, everything was a breeze. We received our certification and dove several more times with Coral View before our trip ended. Unlike other dive shops, Coral View doesn't cram as many people as they can onto their boats. On one of our extra post-certification dives we got our own divemaster even though there was another group of 5 on the boat with another divemaster. On our last day we had the boat, a divemaster, and the boat captain all to ourselves! All the divemasters are great and Bel was especially good at finding all the amazing small critters in the water.
Coral View is situated away from the hustle and bustle of the main town in a quiet area with probably the best access to the reef on the entire island! They have a long pier that extends out to the reef where you can step down into the water to shore dive or snorkel. There's even a bar right there for refreshments afterwards. Shore dives are very cheap ($20 when we were there) and that includes all equipment rental. Our seventh dive was a solo dive by ourselves (no training wheels)! There's also the Coral View Beach Resort between the pier and the dive shop that has affordable accommodations and an excellent restaurant.
We will be diving at Coral View during all future trips to Utila and will hopefully be back very soon to get Advanced Open Water certified.