CoCo View Resort: CabanasRoatan's CoCo View Resort has 26 rooms, 12 of them in overwater cabanas in three separate buildings. (cocoviewresort.com)
Coco View Resort, French Bay
Nobody has ever met a stranger at CoCo View, the legendary dive resort on Roatan’s south-central coast. I hadn’t been there 10 minutes when a woman passed me on the dock at sunset. “Isn’t it great?” she asked. “I’ve been here six times; it’s one of the few places I come back to.”
CoCo View is the kind of place that stays booked with repeat customers, where the number-one guest comment is: “Don’t change anything while we’re gone,” says Deb Karlson, who with her husband, Mitch, manages the resort. The reasons for the near-fanatical loyalty are many: While CoCo View’s substantial boats can get you anywhere around the island in comfort — check out their trademark “moon well” bottom-side entry — the 24/7 unlimited shore diving here makes you wonder why you really need a boat at all. Guests can choose the “drop-off” — boat out, swim back — a favorite with divers like Harold Owens, “the king of the long drop-off,” Mitch says. How long was it? “Three and a half hours,” says Owens — who was making a record-setting 94th visit — with a small smile.
Heavy on the Texans who can get to Roatan so easily from Houston, the all-inclusive resort offers a Texas-size welcome to anybody who just wants to dive, dive, dive. “We call this place Adult Dive Camp,” Mitch says, and the charmingly rustic, exposed-wood construction of the main buildings and over-water ca- banas and bungalows does put one in mind of a summer camp, minus the kids — children under 10 are not accepted — and plus one terrific bartender. (Don’t leave without trying the signature Monkey LaLa — a mix of Baileys, Kahlua, dark rum and coconut cream.)
Before you dive into the house concoction, consider what beckons just off the end of the dock. An orientation dip required of all divers — you’ll be glad of this when you try to find your way home from that first drop-off — introduces you to CoCo View’s front yard: two spectacular walls, a DC-3 and the 140-foot Prince Albert, its stern festooned like a departing luxury liner with gaily waving life lined up at the rails.
As legendary underwater filmmaker Stan Waterman — an annual guest at the resort — has been heard to say, CoCo View is the closest you can get to a live-aboard on land. “It’s all about hard-core diving here,” Mitch says.
CoCo View Resort
» PADI Five Star Center with retail, rentals and instruction by the on-site, independently owned Dockside Dive Center to divemaster internship
» Boats Five boats, each with 16 divers max
» Guided Dives one divemaster per boat; custom guided dives can be arranged
» Max Dive Time no limit
» Gas Mix nitrox support; rebreather support can be arranged in advance
» Rentals dive gear, computers, cameras and photo gear available
» Storage on-site overnight storage available for guests
» Accommodations sixteen over-water and 10 oceanfront rooms, all air-conditioned with private balcony or porch; eight beach houses also available for rental
» Amenities restaurant and bar with free WiFi; full meal plan included in all packages; on-site spa; photo instruction and full range of photo services available at Dockside Dive Center
» Reservations 800-510-8164, 352-588-4131
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