Well, I just returned from a week at the Laguna Beach Resort in Utila. Here is the deal:
This was my second trip to Laguna Beach Resort. the food was much better than it was two years ago. Since the place only has 36 guests, there will not be a lot of choices on the buffet, but what they had was usually very good. The baked snapper was the best dish followed closely by barbecued chicken. My only food gripe was that breakfast was not set up for eggs to order for everyone. You could get it as a special order. In fact, they will do special orders at any meal for picky eaters, but it will be something simple like plain grilled fish or chicken. By mid week I had a bad stomach, and so did a few other guests and one of our DiveMasters got sick on the last day. Laguna Beach Resort gets its ice from town and the town had been experiencing electricity outages. A few of thought the water used to make the ice may not have been completely pure due to the power problems. On Tuesday there was no ice until dinner.
The rooms are in good shape. They are bungalows with one of two rooms to a bungalow, private baths and wood floors. All face out on the lagoon with a porch and a tiny dock. If anything broke they fixed it as fast as they can. However, on Tuesday the diesel engine on the main generator overheated big time. We had electric, but could not run the AC until Friday afternoon when they installed a rented generator brought in from the mainland. For Utila, this was an unusually rapid fix. On Wednesday evening the weather turned rainy and cold. The next morning no one was too concerned about the AC and 80% of the guests passed up the morning dives. Fortunately my bad stomach and the bad weather coincided. I managed the afternoon dive that day with no more of a problem than slightly greater air consumption than usual.
Diving? The North side of Utila has spectacular diving. Not a lot of big fish, but many small ones, scorpionfish, occasional turtles and nurse sharks. Reef formations are interesting. The South side east of town is very good with a few small wrecks and the South side West of town had poor visibility due to drainage from the lagoon and the prevailing current moving large snot-like particles into the water. This trip the first day we got the baby dive close to the resort to "check your weights". Unfortunately, the resort is located in the Southwest area of the island so the first day of diving was just average. On other days we got the first dive on the North side and the remainder on the south side. After a few bad dives to the Southwest they shifted the diving to the Southeast which was better.
There is some decent shore diving right in front of the resort. Pretty interesting things like squid and scorpionfish in the shallow water.
We did not see any of the famous whale sharks this trip, but saw bunches of dolphins from the boat on the way to town one afternoon. Too bad we did not have any gear with us that time.
Last trip to Laguna Beach Resort I did both morning dives on the North side every day. When I brought this up with the DiveMasters they said they could not do two North side dives because the boat would get back for lunch too late. I was there to dive, not eat lunch on time. When I brought this up with the manager, it was obvious that she had thought this plan up and was not interested in my views on the subject.
Frankly, the diving on the South side of Roatan is as good or better than the South side of Utila. It is harder to get to Utila because it requires a $112 flight from San Pedro Sula. I can fly to Roatan direct from Houston, where I happen to live and TACA has been selling the tickets cheap this year. I don't think I will be returning to Laguna Beach Resort until someone tells me there has been a change in policy to where diving takes precedence over when lunch gets served.