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“If you GoPro you go to UDC! (Especially if you want a job)” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Utila Dive Center

Utila Dive Center
| Mango-Inn, 34201, Honduras
+504 2425-3326
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Owner description: The Utila Dive Center is an established dive operation and hotel, offering all levels of scuba instruction from beginner to PADI Scuba Instructor, including technical and rebreather diving, guided dives, on our beautiful coral reefs with resident whale sharks!
Honduras
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“If you GoPro you go to UDC! (Especially if you want a job)”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

Aside from the proven fact that UDC has an amazing IDC program, there are far many benefits that you may not realize. Here are some: Dive centers around the world will be more likely to hire you if you have UDC on your resume and likely did some professional training there themselves! I can count 4 interviews that I had, where the interviewer had trained AT UDC! That means that high level dive professionals in the dive industry come from UDC background. I can also count 3 more interviews that after being sent my resume and saw my UDC IDC qualification, they said, "Oh wow, UDC has a great reputation, best pro training in the Americas" and "Any friend of UDC and Andy is a friend of mine." Now what more could you want when choosing a school to GoPro. It really feels like I did graduate from the Harvard of scuba schools! No joke.

Now, another thing that you may realize is that before arriving while you book you will get great customer service and attention. This does not change. During your time at UDC you be surrounded by high ranking instructors that will continually guide you through your courses, help you be the best pro you can be, and give you the best training there is to offer. BUT, here is the real highlight! AFTER you leave and are on the job hunt, Andy and the staff will go out of their way to put you in touch with people they know in the the region of your interest, set you up meetings with some pros in the area, and continue to offer you advice and guidance until you land that dream job! I don't know if you are aware, but this is a very rare thing (even with other IDCs and CDCs) and the pinnacle of professionalism in the dive industry and everything that an IDC or CDC should be. If you go to UDC, you reap these immense benefits. A lot more than I can say from some other of the "Best CDCs" in the business.

UDC is a crew of true professionals. I learned this, fortunately, after going to UDC and having things done right and not the other way around. I am glad I made the right decision as a pro and saw all the imitations and false promises that others promise just to sell you the course.

Truly and honestly, if you want to be a pro, have some of the worlds best training, (and most importantly while landing that first dream job) have a solid name on a resume that carries a lot of weight in the dive industry AND have a ton of support from UDC wherever you are in the world; it is a no brainer. Choose UDC. Good people that won't sell you gimmicks, won't cut corners, and continue to be a source of support throughout your career. Totally worth every penny I paid.

Best training, best people, best support for your career as a PADI PRO.
I will be back for my MSDT (Don't be dumb and plan to do it before you leave. I know its more money but it's worth it. Trust me here. It will make it 100% easier to land a job especially for doing it at UDC. Trust me).

Sincerely,

A happy and employed UDC IDC graduate,

Riley Hunter
PADI OWSI # 321742

Visited November 2012
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Bocas Town, Panama
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Still the Best!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

This was my second time going back to UDC to do my Staff Instructor course in April 2012 with Andy and Suzy! I was there in November 2010 when I did my IDC with them as well.

As always Andy and Suzy and the UDC crew greeted me like family and even helped me gain some freelance jobs on the island.(Thanks guys!) The IDC Staff course was an amzing learning experience going from instructor to teaching instructors. Becasue the IDCs at UDC has a great student to teacher ratio I felt that I got the best training and value from the IDCS course and I really learned from the course director persperctive leading up to the IE. Everyone has choice when it comes to scuba diving education and I never regret choosing UDC for any of my continuing education training. I recommend UDC to any aspiring scuba divers!

Although I am back in the industrialized world and making a new mark in life I will always cherish the great times and memories Utila and UDC gave to me! I know I will go back someday to breathe and feel the trade winds in the afternoon and of course to enjoy some great diving with UDC! See you soon!!

Visited August 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Amazing staff, amazing diving”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2013

I dragged my husband to Utila kicking and screaming, but once we got there he changed his tune in a hurry. The dive shop was impressive in size, equipment and staffing. The equipment part was important since our gear got lost in transit and we needed rental gear in a hurry (which they very courteously did not charge us for). The boats and their captains are bar none - especially when it comes to dropping you in the path of a dolphin pod - Ryan rocks! And please people, if you're reading this, when you get dropped in front of a pod of dolphins don't splash or flail your arms. Just kick or lay in the water quietly. That way, the dolphins don't swim away.

Tip: If you're flying from Toronto, don't go through San Pedro if you can avoid it. Go direct to Roatan - there's alot more flight options from Roatan to Utila than from San Pedro. If you do go through San Pedro and have a long layover, check out the Intercontinental Hotel. $99 day rate, cushy king sized bed, pool and only a $20 cab ride. Also, if you have to make a connecting flight in the states, don't check your bags all the way through. Pick them up at your connection and re-check them. We checked ours all the way through and they got left behind in JFK even though we had a 5 hour layover. We arrived in Utila on Saturday and didn't get our bags until Thursday evening. Fortunately, I packed all my clothes in my carry on along with my cameras and regs. My husband on the other hand wasn't that smart.

Anyway, we had an absolutely AMAZING team of instructors - Suzanne & Brian on "Old Tom". They really knew the terrain and exactly where to find the seahorses. :) We took three specialties there: wreck, deep & photo and it was well worth it. They really knew their stuff. Kudos to Brian who helped me keep it together during the wreck course (I had a bad experience in Cuba where I got trapped in a silt out inside a wreck) when the panic almost took over... But then I got to swim with a friendly pod of dolphins and forgot all about my stress, that and Brian's calm, reassuring demeanor helped me re-gain my confidence and penetrate the wreck without any problems. Felt like I could conquer the world after that dive - thank you.

The diving was fantastic. The reef is very healthy and filled with life. Everywhere we looked was like a little nursery filled - and I mean filled - with juvenile fish. Really big Snapper and Grouper which is a good sign of a healthy reef system as well. Unfortunately we only saw one nurse shark, but hey, it's another shark sighting to add to the list. Visibility could have been better, but the weather was a little rough and a few storms had recently moved through so it was understandable. Still at least 50' - 75' vis and relatively calm seas, but keep in mind I dive in BC, so everyone may not have the same interpretation of "calm" as I do. There was very little current or surge so that made the diving that much more enjoyable - it was sooo easy!

We usually have a no-repeat-resort rule, but we would go to Utila and dive UDC again. That is, if we can get Suzanne & Brian on Old Tom. We loved them, the shop and the diving. Thank you UDC!

Visited January 2013
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New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Beware of scam when you pay your bill”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

This is the first review of anything I've ever written. I was sufficiently annoyed by this practice by UDC that I thought it was worth letting other people know about it.

When my girlfriend and I finished diving with UDC they quoted me $464 in US dollars. They said that if I used a credit card there would be an 8% surcharge. I decided to pay the 8%, so the total should have been $501.12. When I checked my credit card bill online a couple days later, UDC had charged me $518.05. The difference is due to their practice of taking the US amount that they quote and put on your invoice and multiplying it by an exchange rate that is higher than the real exchange rate. Then they run the credit card in the inflated total in Lempiras, and when your credit card company converts the total back into US dollars UDC gets about 3% more than they quote. Granted it's only $17 dollars in our case, but it is stealing, and if they are doing it to everyone they are likely making a decent amount over what they are quoting.

Now the most revealing detail. I emailed UDC three separate times over the last 10 days to get an explanation from them and they have not gotten back to me. There is someone at their desk at a computer every day and I have no question in my mind that they have seen my emails and ignored them. A pretty dumb move in my view as we will likely travel to Utila again (this trip was our second) and we would never dive with them again. Then there is this review and our word of mouth to everyone we know who might travel there. All for $17. Nice move UDC.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UDC_MarketingManager, Public Relations Manager at Utila Dive Center, responded to this review, March 20, 2013
Hello efsugar,
We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you and hope that you enjoyed your diving experience with us.

We explain to every customer about the 8% charge that is applied when using a credit card, this is not illegal, and most businesses on the island charge it because of the policies & conditions the banks gives us. We also offer other methods of payment so customers can choose what is most convenient for them, like Paypal, cash and wire-transfers.

We charge the credit card in Lempiras because is our local currency and its the only way it can be processed using the same current exchange rate the local bank does. When your credit card company processes this payment it has to convert it back to your currency, contact your bank and ask what is there ongoing rates and policies for these international conversion rates, which apply differently in every country, company and type of plan that you have with them.

We DO NOT inflate or make money out of these conversion rates your bank applies.

We do check every email and message we receive and did not get anything regarding this inquiry, you can also write and Inbox to us in our Facebook page when theres problems with an email and we are happy to help any way we can.

Once again we apologize for any inconvenience this may have cause you and hope that your diving experience with us was pleasant.
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amorefirenze
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great deal”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

All the staff were great, very fun and knew what they were talking about. Safety was important, and price was great. I was getting my open water cert and wanted to make sure it was at a legit place. A dorm bed at Mango Inn was included in the price with the diving and most people diving stay there. It is great to meet people if you are a solo traveler. You could stay somewhere closer to town like Rubi's but there is a more social atmosphere at Mango. Mike, Fernando, Suzanne, Harley, and Ben were all great. I went on a night dive with Suzanne and it was SO much fun! One of my favorite dives. Mike and Fernando are basically your entertainment. Abby a DMT was so sweet, she remembered all my sizes and specific equipment I used the day before and had it all lined and ready for me the next day.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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