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“Very interesting - but the risk is yours!”
Review of Stanley Submarines

Stanley Submarines
Ranked #14 of 35 Tours in West End
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Stanley Submarines is the premier location in the world for the public to have access to the deep sea. It is the longest operating and deepest diving operation of it's kind. We have been in business since 1998 and take tours as deep as 2000 feet.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Lockers / storage
Fairfax, Virginia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Very interesting - but the risk is yours!”
Reviewed August 4, 2011

When I looked at the web site I thought this is a marine biology station that earns some money on the side. Turns out, it is a one man operation, who has built the submersible himself - not licensed, not inspected, not certified. There is no way he would be allowed to operate in the U.S. Admittedly, the vessel looks highly professional and technologically advanced, but I do not know nothing about how reliable and safe it is - and when you go down, nobody even knows that you are there, and if you do not come up, nobody would notice.
This said, the adventure itself is very worthy. Not that you would see something extraordinary - you probably will see more fish snorkeling at the adjacent beach. But the feeling of being 1000 feet underwater, with all these tons of seawater above, gliding over the coral reef shelf - this is some experience, indeed.

One tip: Karl kindly provides the passengers with an SLR camera synchronized with an outside flash. However, if the camera is set to autofocus, it does not, because it has to focus before the flash flashes. So, if you do not want to have all your shots blurred, do switch to the manual focus.

Speaking of minor issues, it is somewhat annoying that you do not learn the real price of the tour until you start paying. The quoted price does not include the Honduras tax and the paypal fees (which I still do not understand, why these are charged, if I am paying paypal with a bank transfer; paypal only charges extra fee for credit cards transactions).

Visited August 2011
8 Thank mdinai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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87 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
171 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
“WOW - once in a lifetime experience”
Reviewed August 2, 2011

If you can afford to do the deep deep 2500ft dive with Karl, I would suggest you just do it because it will be a once in a lifetime experience. I thought it was amazing. Karl is very knowledgeable and I really enjoyed his commentary about all the things we were seeing. As a scuba diver, I decided to do the 2500ft dive. The entire experience took about 1hr & 45mins. Its just one of those things that few people have done, and you will total value it for ever.

Visited March 2011
1 Thank Petal090
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Once in a lifetime trip down to awesomeness”
Reviewed July 17, 2011

Whilst most backpackers head the the Bay Island of Utila we headed Roatan with this being the main attraction. When trying to travel on such a strict and tiny budget we are happy to sacrifice some things such as food, alcohol and accommodation that doesn't make you cringe when you lay down at night but we do this to maximise the money available for activities. Karl Stanley and his submarine has to be the pinnacle of such activities! Whilst an experience of this nature will naturally have a big price tag attached to it - we have to say that it was worth every penny. (it was a lot of pennies so don't take that comment lightly)


Will give you all the information you need to know but we would recommend doing the deepest dive possible in your budget as then you get to experience pitch black darkness in the middle of the day as the light cannot penetrate those depths. Just being in the dark is an experience in itself but there is so much more to it - you will see creatures that most other people can barely imagine and at best will only see on TV.

Meeting Karl and learning about how he build the sub is another aspect of the adventure that adds value in as much as he is an excellent guide and a fascinating person to speak to.

Our only negative comment on the whole experience was that the prices quoted on the website did not include the 12% Honduras sales tax - add that to the 2.9% extra to pay via Paypal and its quite a leap for anyone who is already on on tight budget. That said if you bear this in mind when your booking the adventure we promise you won't regret it...

Visited July 2011
Thank DangeMattSuperShell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eustace, Texas
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Exquisite visit to another universe”
Reviewed July 7, 2011

Karl's submarine and his knowledge of the undersea environment are rare treasures. He took us down 2,000'. While exploring underwater cliffs on both descent and ascent, we saw a world teeming with life. No single life form was Disneyland spectacular, but taken as a whole, the environment was breathtaking. Karl's explanations of the marine life and their habitats added tremendously to the experience. He has been submarine exploring in various parts of the world and his stories alone are worth the price of the tour. We would highly recommend this tour - if you can't find a trip to outer space - try this trip.

Visited June 2011
Thank Pretty-Rough-Ranch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Thanks Karl!”
Reviewed June 17, 2011

Karl Stanley is an amazing individual who has made this kind of experience possible for the general public. A modern-day Jacques Cousteau!

Visited March 2011
Thank JeffCad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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