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All reviews whale sharks fish la paz place to stay pacific side snorkel trip mango margarita bottled water unique experience kitchen staff perfect spot took advantage laid back next year last week tim guide
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Reviewed January 6, 2011

I came here for an 8 day stay solo to kitesurf. The guys who run it are fantastic ( they are a family) and bend over backwards to help with arranging all kinds of activities, including swimming with whale sharks in La Paz !! Breakfast and lunch were good ..... they even provide a packed lunch if you are away, how great is that ?

Date of stay: December 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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1  Thank DoctorRox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2010

Palapas Ventana is for those who want to experience Baja. Laid-back and comfortable, casitas are roomy & clean and have AC (a must in August!) with cute shaded front porches to relax in your hammock. We are there for water activities, so went out on pangas for fishing, snorkeling, and diving. When not out in the boats you can check out their great reef right off the beach, kayak, stand-up paddle... so much to do!

The staff is friendly & has patience & understanding with gringo spanish. We liked that our panga captains were local fisherman, proud to set up our dive gear if we wanted, super knowledgeable about the local waters & happy to help our 11-year-old daughter catch her first (& second, & third...) fish!

Even if the delicious on-site restaurant isn't available for dinner, the staff is super knowledgable about good spots in La Ventana & El Sargento, gives you an opportunity to get out and check out the local scene.

Date of stay: August 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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1  Thank mjhallisey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2010

The trip to Palapas Ventana is great. I've been there 2 times and can't wait to get back again. It is an easy flight out of LA or San Diego into La Paz where you are picked up in a nice air conditioned vehicle. About 1.5 hours later, you are dipping your feet into the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez. I mainly dive so and the Sea of Cortez is a great place to see big animals. These are some of the things I have seen diving with Palapas Ventana: Whale Sharks, Orcas, Dolphins, Pilot Whales, Fin Whales, Swordfish or Marlin (couldn't tell what it was), Turtles, and Mantas. Diving with them was easy. In the mornings we cruise out on pangas and hit the water. Some great surprises included have lunch between dives on a deserted beach on one of the islands near his place. The boat drivers were great. Super nice guys who really know what to look for and know there way around. I was amazed when one of the boat drivers told me to look about 20 feet away from the boat...I looked and nothing was there. He threw a baitfish in that direction and a giant dorado shot up from the water and snatched the fish as soon as it hit the water.

The food is amazing. The little town has taco stands and restaurants, all were really good but the best were the meals on site at the restaurant. Cold beers and incredible food! My favorites were the Chilaquiles and the Coconut breaded fish. Tim is an awesome spearfisher so there is always fresh fish at his restaurant. I know some people get worried about food outside of the U.S., but have no fear, the food is well prepared and is wonderful.

The accommodations were great. The truly have good air conditioning. I've been to places that advertised having it but it never really got cold. Their's definitely gets cold, which is great when it is 95 degrees outside. Rooms were clean, bathrooms are really nice, beautfiully tiled.

In all honesty, I've been to many dive trips (Singapore, Catalina, Indonesia, Philippines) and the thing that stands out most to me are the people you meet. Tim, Karon, Jimena, and all the other people who work for Palapas are incredible. They treat you like family, super warm, super friendly. I would go back just to hang out with them. I can't say enough about how inviting and great they are.

Thanks guys!!!!! Hope to see you soon.

-Donny

Date of stay: June 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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Thank Donny K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2010

If you're staying at La Ventana or El Sargento you might be tempted to dive with Tim's operation at Palapas Ventana. Don't waste your time and money doing so.
While on holiday in that area we figured it'd be better for us, two couples with kids traveling together, if we dove with Tim's operation down the beach rather than choosing one of many proven and seasoned dive centers about an hour away. Big mistake.
I'm an experienced dive instructor and have worked in the industry around the world. I can safely say that Palapas Ventana offers the least amount of value for the cost of most dive centers anywhere! For what they charge one can expect, and get elsewhere in Baja and La Paz, high-end service. Unfortunately, this is not the case here. The gear we rented was very poorly maintained, leaky or non-functioning, the access to the boats is uncomfortable, there is very little attention and service from the crew in terms of helping setup, carry or rinse gear, which is something other dive centers do for the same or lesser cost of the dive trip.
After diving with them several days we were even tricked into doing a 'great' shore dive almost an hour away on a reef in front of an abandoned hotel instead of letting us dive closer to our own place. This way Tim felt he could charge us a higher price which included the use of his vehicle, a dilapidated and very uncomfortable 4x4, instead of just letting us just rent some tanks so we could have dove a very nice and convenient reef basically in front of our rental house. This site they took us to was a complete disappointment, full of trash, nothing worth driving an hour for.
We didn't feel there was any attention paid to customer service and instead felt there was an anxious agenda to make a quick buck out of us. The place seems to be in the midst of heavy construction, perhaps that explains much. It seems they need the money that badly.
The Mar of Cortez is an amazing place to dive but for a great overall experience you are much better off diving with other dive centers close to La Paz. We tried Fun Baja and Cortez Club, for example, and that was quite a different adventure.
Don't give away your money to Tim of Palapas Ventana. If you're staying in the area you'll spend your time and money in a much better way if you dive with another operation even if they're further away and not down the beach. You'll be infinitely more satisfied.

Date of stay: August 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
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6  Thank acquavlad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palapas_Ventana, Owner at Palapas Ventana, responded to this reviewResponded September 15, 2010

Hi AquaVlad - Thanks for diving with us at Palapas Ventana - I am sorry you feel that you were overcharged..we did give you a discount which is lower than many dive operators in La Paz....and we did take you to many of our best spots including diving with Giant Mantas.... and you kept coming back to dive with us for more than 4 days, ..Our gear is serviced and inspected and we are constantly striving to upgrade our equipment every year. We offered you a shore dive at the best shore accessible reef in our area as an alternative on a blown out day that would have been very uncomfortable in a panga and did a discover SCUBA experience for one of your uncertified divers. On an earlier day we did rent you SCUBA gear for your own use - this is a service we always provide whenever requested. In 6 years of business, this is the first complaint we have received for a lack of service - I will certainly look into it and apologize that you felt that way. We are a long term operation here and never are looking to make a quick buck off of anyone....for this reason we did not book you on a boat the last day as the conditions were uncomfortable and would have been disappointing (although it is better business for us). Hope you will give us another chance to let us take you diving at the spots the other resorts cant reach.
Tim Hatler
owner Palapas Ventana

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2010

I viisited Palapas La Ventana with my wife the last week of July. We had lifetime experiences with Tim when we swam with bottlenosed dolphins, caught a 5 ft.Humbolt Squid, and played with a sea lion, all on the same excursion!
What really impressed us though was the following:
- They give back to the community via races and tournaments, raising funds and coordinating specific projects for the benefit of local schools and public places.
- They treat their staff well.
- They are environmently conscientious, check out their water reclamation system.
It feels great to support an organization with this kind of integrity.

Date of stay: July 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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Thank Dan239404777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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