Review of UDC open water course in Honduras: Learn to dive in Utila

Nov 22, 2021 BY Patrick Tulloch

Do you want to learn to scuba dive? Looking for the right dive center to complete your open water course? Or seeking a new adventure in Utila, Honduras? Then read this review of UDC open water course in Honduras to find out why you should learn to dive in Utila.

Review of UDC open water course in Honduras

Review of UDC open water course in Honduras

I had always thought it would be cool to learn to scuba dive but I had never imagined how amazing it would be. From the moment I first descended I was in awe! Watching the underwater world on tv doesn’t compare to experiencing it. I found the sense of weightlessness magical, like you’re flying and it felt like I was in a whole new world.

Utila’s waters are clear, often calm and have little current so they are an easy environment to learn in. Plus Honduras is renowned for being one of the cheapest places to dive in the world.

There are a lot of dive shops on the tiny island of Utila. I chose Utila Dive Center (UDC). My review of UDC open water course in Honduras details why I would recommend learning to scuba dive with them.

Coral while scuba diving in Utila Honduras

Small group and great instructors

UDC open water courses are run with a maximum of four students per instructor, and usually have qualified interns assisting. This is one of the reasons I picked UDC to learn to dive in Utila.

There were just two of us on my PADI open water course. Mathieu was our instructor with Cody (a UDC intern who just finished his master scuba dive trainer) supporting. Mat made me very comfortable, he has a great sense of humor and clearly laid out what we would be doing over the four and a half day course.

The course started with classroom studies including knowledge review. I haven’t done this type of study for years but Mat reassured us that we would repeat any concepts we struggled with to ensure our understanding.

My OW group as I Learn to scuba dive in Utila

I really liked Mat’s teaching style, he was very relaxed and went through everything step by step. And Cody was super friendly too. Having him assist throughout made it even easier to ask questions, develop knowledge and skills.

We were joined by trainee dive masters Diego and Alex for our confined water sessions. They helped make certain we were comfortable with the equipment and in the water. Before we completed practical activities Mat provided simple in-depth instructions. Then we practiced the skills step by step. I received excellent constructive feedback throughout the course.

Teaching style on UDC open water course

You’ll find the UDC open water course has a good pace. On the second day we were ready to enter the water. We started with equipment set-up and safety checks. I felt reassured by this process and it provided me with the courage to begin diving underwater. Also it felt good to be applying the theory I’d learnt.

Giant step entry during Review of UDC open water course in Honduras

I appreciated that every new experience was introduced gradually. For example the first time we entered the water it was via the pontoon steps not using the giant stride. Then once in the water we practiced getting used to putting our faces in and breathing using the regulator.

During the five confined water sessions we practiced numerous skills unique to scuba diving. Many of them were taught as phased progressions. Like; clearing a partially filled mask, clearing a full mask, and removing & replacing a mask underwater.

Each of these sounded a bit scary when I started, but the UDC staff made me feel secure and comfortable. It felt great challenging myself in this safe atmosphere and successfully learning to complete each skill.

Barbuda diving in Utila, Honduras with UDC

Entering the open water for the first time was very exciting. I wasn’t sure how I would feel at a deeper depth. Still I knew with the UDC team it would be a positive and fun experience. On that first dive a great barracuda swam close by, it was incredible! By then I was already hooked on scuba.

What is Utila Dive Center like?

Utila Dive Centre feels professional from the moment you enter the office. I was immediately welcomed by Eugenia. There was lots of activity going on, making for an energetic atmosphere.

Eugenia was efficient and knowledgeable which was reassuring for me having never scuba dived before. The paperwork was clear and easy to complete.

Compass work during Review of UDC open water course in Honduras

The Dive center has an open layout which feels friendly and sociable. I liked that the classrooms are air conditioned, clean and comfortable. Plus the equipment room seemed immaculate.

Their bar serves breakfast, lunch and drinks and there is plenty of seating. Also there is a pool table, foosball and dart board and UDC host regular social activities.

I had a great time playing on their inflatables and at the Halloween party. A big bonus for me was the free accommodation at the lovely Mango Inn while on a UTC course.

Inflatables at Utila Dive Centre Honduras

Why learn to dive in Utila, Honduras?

To dive on Utila is kind on your budget. But you still get a first rate experience as detailed in this review of UDC open water course in Honduras. Utila is one of the Bay Islands located on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. This is the second largest in Earth’s oceans and known as the Jewel Of The Caribbean and some of the best diving o the planet.

I found diving in Utila to be beautiful beyond my imagination. All my dives were on the Southside of the island but I heard the Northside is even more pristine. The sites I dived were underwater landscapes of large boulders and sea mounts covered in soft and hard coral with sections of sand.

For me this made for interesting diving and I especially liked swimming through the gaps between the walls of coral at Labyrinth dive site. And I only got to try 7 of the 49 sites. I am so pleased I chose to learn to dive in Utila.

Spinner Dolphin in Honduras. Diving with UDC photo by Ashley Kirkham

I was drawn to Utila because of the chance to see big fauna, especially as it is one of the best destinations to dive with whale sharks year round. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see them on this trip but I did get to see a huge pod of spinner dolphins.

Pilot whales also visit the island’s waters. The boat captains are in communication with each other to try to give you the opportunity to snorkel with all these amazing creatures.

Conclusion: Choose UDC for dive courses in Utila

The staff were fantastic, which for me is the biggest draw to doing the course with UDC. They were so friendly, professional, knowledgeable and made the experience fun. UDC is a dive training school so the courses are assisted by trained and trainee professionals. This means you get plenty of personal attention and support.

Learn to scuba dive in Utila

UDC is the only dive center on Utila that provide dive computers for use during open water courses. I think the experience of using a dive computer is invaluable. Plus you get two free fun dives with the open water course.

It was great that I got to do my confined water sessions off the end of the pier in the ocean. This gave me a safe experience in the sea, including encountering wildlife. Which helped build my confidence ready for the open water and deeper dives. It was really cool when a puffer fish arrived to observe us. I also liked that everything was close so you didn’t have to carry your gear very far.

In conclusion I really enjoyed completing my dive training with UDC. They have a very welcoming and social atmosphere which was a lot of fun. I found their facilities and equipment clean and well maintained.

Compass work during Review of UDC open water course in Honduras

I would recommend to learn to dive in Utila because of it’s calm waters and beautiful location plus plenty of interesting dive sites. To summarize this review of UDC open water course in Honduras my six words would be; amazing, professional, friendly, comprehensive and good-value.

Want to dive in Honduras? Then I hope you found this review of UDC open water course in Honduras useful! Utila Dive Centre are a great option for a variety of scuba diving courses and fun dives. Find out more at: www.utiladivecenter.com

 
Bay Islands, Caribbean Sea, Central America, Honduras, Mesoamerican Reef, Utila
Scuba Diving

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