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Thread: Roatan! Quick Opinions Needed!: Southside (CocoView) vs. West End (CocoLobo)

  1. #1
    TadPole
    Join Date
    07/30/2007
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    Roatan! Quick Opinions Needed!: Southside (CocoView) vs. West End (CocoLobo)

    Folks -

    Help!

    My husband and I are going to Roatan for the first time in late May. We've narrowed it down to two options (based on availability, recommendations etc.)

    We'd like to make our decision tonight or Saturday latest, and am looking for some final ScubaToys Forum input!

    Our two finalists are: Southside: CocoView vs. West End: CocoLobo!

    Here's how I'm stacking up the pros and cons:

    Southside: CocoView

    PROS:
    * True "Divers Resort" -- seem to cater to experienced divers
    * Boats + 24/7 shore diving
    * Quiet
    * All inclusive

    CONS:
    * Heard that Southside diving might not be as good as sites accessible from West End. Less fish and sea life. (Opinions please!)
    * Heard that if the weather is bad, the Southside gets blasted more than West End (?)
    * Accommodations might be on the "tattered" side
    * Bugs

    West End: CocoLoco

    PROS:
    * Hotel looks pretty spiffy
    * Major reef formations seem to be more accessible from West End. (Is this true?)
    * Out of the way from the West End madness, but still in walking distance for a dinner outside the hotel.

    CONS:
    * More likely to have "party divers" on the boats in West End, DMs that want to churn divers in and out of the water, etc. (Any dive shops there that cater to AOWs?)
    * Since West End is more populous, dive sites might be more beat up and tattered.
    * Don't think there is shore diving.

    Anyone have info that might tip the balance??

    THANKS!

  2. #2
    Barracuda
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    I can only speak to CoCo View. I wouldn't consider the accommodations to be "tattered", it's Central America though so it's not like 5-star or anything. If the wind is up then the seas can get a little rough, at least to this land lubber.
    Some people are like a Slinky, not really good for anything but they do make you smile when you push them down stairs.

  3. #3
    You've got some of it right.

    My group was there 3 years ago in late May - I rented a house about a block west from Cocolobo and walked over there one afternoon to check it out as it was on our short list also. It's pretty nice - in a quiet area but there's no way to do any shorediving there - the ironshore is about 4-5' high and solid. Some nice boomers hit the rocks at certain times, soothing to sleep with the window open - as long as you have screens.

    Nearby at Seagrape there is a shore entry point but that dive most likely requires you to drift around the point on the east side of Half Moon Bay point and get out at Half Moon Cabins inside the bay and walk back. I don't recall the site name, but the Aggressor moored there one day to dive it - also to let their people go into the West End at night.

    An option would be to dive with one of the West End ops (Coconut Tree Divers, Native Sons, others) and ask them to drop you on the Half Moon Bay divesite - you could swim back into the bay from there fairly easily - we planned to but our plans changed. People snorkel out on the east side of the bay so there's something to see till it gets pretty shallow.

    You shouldn't really have a problem with weather at either location in May. The south side is actually better more of the year as the West End can get blown out later in fall/winter. A couple of my friends were at Fantasy Island last Oct. diving in calm conditions and when they went over to the West End one day, the waves were breaking up against the road and the small boats weren't going out. The last week of May we had a few showers overnite but nothing much past wetting the road a little. Nothing that affected the diving.

    There's a private road/path from Cocolobo that curves around past HMB cabins and into the West End. It's a little shorter walk that way. It's about 5-10mins. max walk to the West End from there. Close enough that we walked all our gear over the first morning - we left it at Coconut Tree all week.

    The south side is more little stuff. We dove Mary's Place and the Prince Albert one day just to see what it was like. Mary's Place is one of the best but my buddy put it at as more the thrill of the dive than what you saw. But he doesn't like small stuff.

    We saw a lot of turtles, grouper, occasional barracuda off the West End/West Bay most dives. If you like wrecks, El Aquila is a deep one. Odyssey is also supposed to be good. Afaik there's more wrecks north than south - we don't especially dive them so IDK.

    Cocoview/Newman's Wall is one of the better shore dives on Roatan - there's really nothing as accessible on the north side. Between Cocoview and Fantasy Island next door, I'd bet their reef sees a lot more divers than anywhere on the North Side.

    Conversely Overheat Reef is where Anthony's Key takes most of their cruise traffic - with expected results. We dove a site next to it and it was the worst for fishlife and damage that we saw. Texas and Spooky Channel were among the best - Mary's Place south by Barefoot Cay was probably the best dive. Cocoview goes there. Coconut Tree set it up for us one morning with Barefoot Divers.

    Coconut Tree caters to a mix of divers. Not especially AOW but we all are (or better) and no one thought we did any "easy" dives. The reef on the north side gets deep fast in some areas so you can do a profile at 100'+, 60'+ etc. They train DM's/Instructors in the afternoon so sometimes there's several in the water with you. We were 7, most of the time Coconut Tree Divers gave us our own boat. A couple of times we had 4 ladies from TX join us. None of us really qualify as "party divers" - not sure what that is.

    But you won't get the same # of dives in off the West End as at Cocoview - 4 would be the max and sometimes 3. Coconut Tree runs a 2 tank morning, a 1PM and a 2:30 - if they have the people. Also just a couple night dives per week. May seemed to be a slow time in the West End - no crowds anywhere. The West End "madness" really only happens Thurs/Fri night. Several nights we were about the only people walking around after 10PM.

    You might also look at Native Sons, they're the other diveshop closest to Cocolobo (not counting the diveop at SeaGrape) and get good reviews.

    For food, snacks/etc. there's a small store in the Coconut Tree Divers building. 1/2 block east is Woody's - think Roatan version of a big 7-11 - but they seemed closed most nights. Argentinean Grille was good for steaks and Oolonthoo is one of the best on Roatan. The Thai place gets high marks also from my friends. If you want to go to West Bay - or anywhere else, the taxi stand is by Coconut Tree's dock. There's also some good restaurants farther east. Rotisserie Chicken was good and inexpensive. If you dive with Coconut Tree ask Gay (owner) for restaurant or other suggestions, she knows everybody. Their restaurant (Bertie's?) I could've skipped. Ok for lunch.

    There's bugs everywhere...bring Deet or an equivalent. Dusk is bad, under tablecloths at night is bad, walking through the jungle from the West End to Cocolobo, on the beach - there's Sand Fleas in addition to Sand Flies - plus Mosquitoes. At our house we stayed inside around dusk - later on the upper decks it was fine with a breeze. We even had outdoor fans to help move the air (and bugs) around.

  4. #4
    Shark Founding Member
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    I can also only speak to CocoView and thought the room we had was fantastic!! All local hardwoods on the floors, walls, and ceilings, comfortable beds, clean bathroom, and absolutely AMAZING covered porch overlooking the water. We literally never closed our curtains ever.

    As to bugs, it depends on when you go, but I've heard they're treating the walkways to keep the bugs down. We were there at the beginning of April last year and other than about 3 no-see-ums bites on each of us, we never saw a mosquito and stopped using our bug spray mid-week.

    We loved the whole CocoView experience and the ease of diving and staying there. I have to say we weren't overly impressed with the amount of marine life we saw during the dives, but we saw quite a few pipe fish and seahorses, which is what we really wanted, and were treated to hunting octopus and squid during our night dives. And we LOVED how easy it was to do 4 boat dives per day and a night dive (if desired) in the front yard after dinner.
    ScubaToys and Zeagle....it just doesn't get better than that!

  5. #5
    Guppy
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    Another vote for CocoView. The convenience of shore diving is incredible. As mentioned above our rooms were plenty comfortable and had awesome hammocks!!! Also the Cokes and Monkey LaLa's are fantastic. I was able to get 27 dives in one week and had an incredible time. The food is also good dive food that gives plenty of energy and while not extraordinarily fancy, it is very tasty. The bugs also weren't to bad when we went in June at CoCoView, however we stopped for Ice Cream for a surface interval at another portion of the island and I believe the No-seeums bit me every bit of a trillion dozen times under a cabana shade. Also the staff was very friendly and you got to know a lot of cool people from other boats at dinner every night. One last thing too, was they had a couple of pups that are residents of the area, so they helped soothe the lack of puppy love for a week while we were away from our dogs.
    He is your friend,your partner, your defender, your dog.
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  6. #6
    TadPole
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    Hi Folks!

    Thanks so much for your quick feedback! And especially to Diver Steve for your lengthy reply!

    After going back and forth about 100 times... we decided on CocoLobo in the West End.

    Why?

    * Last trip we took was at an AI (Little Cayman Beach Resort -- Excellent place!! 100% recommended.), so we thought we'd go for a change

    * We did Bloody Bay Wall our last trip, which sounds similar to Southside's underwater typology. So again, went for a change.

    * Based on Diver Steve's note, it seems that we can get a dive operation to set us up on a trip to the Southside if we want to get over there.

    Thanks much! We'll let you know how it goes!

    Best,
    Karen

  7. #7
    Shark Founding Member
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    Have a GREAT time!!
    ScubaToys and Zeagle....it just doesn't get better than that!

  8. #8
    Guppy
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    Those are the best type of hard decisions!!! Either way you going to have an awesome and memorable time!! Have Fun!!
    He is your friend,your partner, your defender, your dog.
    You are his life, his love, his leader

  9. #9
    Grouper
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    I will be down there at the end of May also. Staying at Fantasy Island with a group from Oklahoma City.
    I have dis... disleck... dyslec... I give up... I can't spell!

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