'Livin' La Vida Loca'
Overview / Summary
We call this a 'taster' expedition as it has primarily been designed to introduce divers to a variety of diving experiences. Core PADI courses form the basis of the programme whilst specialist areas such as wreck diving, marine ecology and underwater photography enhance the experience and introduce students to other exciting areas of diving.
Individuals who join this programme should want to learn to dive and develop their diving skills. PADI courses up to Rescue Diver are included as standard whilst we also offer the Divemaster internship (as standard) to all existing Rescue Divers.
So if you're looking for a versatile programme with lots of different areas of learning, diving and experiences on a tropical Caribbean island; then read on to experience 'la vida loca'!
We have our 'core package' which should be suitable for most diving abilities. We also offer a range of 'bolt-ons' so that you can make the most of the experience and hone in on areas that interest you most.
Base Price: £2,215
Base Duration: 4 weeks
Suitability: All levels
Module 1: Learn to dive*
The programme starts with the PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses. The Open Water course is the first certifiable PADI course and it is the prerequisite course for any further training – everyone has to do it! It teaches you about the fundamentals of scuba diving through classroom study, confined water training sessions and 4 open water dives.
The Advanced Open Water course is more fun (mainly because you’ve built-up some confidence in the water) and introduces you to core skills such as underwater navigation and buoyancy control. There’s more adventure diving in this course than the Open Water course and it allows students to further-develop their skills over the remainder of the programme.
* If you’re already qualified - don’t worry! We’ll get you on a refresher course (scuba review) and back in the water for some fun dives whilst the others are learning.
Module 2: Advanced recreational diving qualifications*
Now that everyone is trained to Advanced Open Water level you begin to develop diving skills further. Training is focused on first aid (EFR course) and rescue skills (Rescue Diver course) for the first part whilst in the second part you learn about diving with more oxygen – enriched air (Nitrox Diver course). Full details about these courses are available in the handbook.
* If you're already qualified to Rescue Diver then you don't need to worry about modules 1 and 2 as you'll be doing your DM internship!
Please use the chart below to gain an insight into the dive training included / available as part of the expedition:
|Dive Activity||Beginner||Open Water||Advanced||Rescue +|
|First Aid Course|
|Conservation||Marine ecology FOR ALL!|
|Fun Dives||Fun dives for all!|
Module 3: Marine ecology on coral reefs
This module focuses on marine ecology and the marine environment. It is designed increase your awareness when diving but to also introduce you to marine ecology. You may actually like this subject area and decide to progress your diving with a marine conservation / ecology course at a later date.
The course itself will teach you about fringing coral reefs and some of the organisms found in each of the six zones. You will learn how to identify specific coral reef zones and start to understand why some species are more abundant in some areas than others. You will discover some of the most common behaviours observed in coral reef organisms, understand why scientific names of coral reef species are important, and begin to understand the process by which fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls are formed.
It’s designed to be an introductory level course. The skills you acquire can be put to good use on virtually every dive on a reef and it will help you locate certain species whilst diving through your understanding of the different zones.
Module 4: Wreck diving, underwater photography and Enriched Air
These subjects introduce you to two very popular areas of diving – wrecks and photography! Be prepared for some large wrecks and plenty of photo opportunities! Diving on wrecks and taking pictures underwater requires additional skills and in this part of the programme you learn how to penetrate wrecks safely through the PADI Wreck Diver speciality course and take good pictures underwater through the PADI Digital Underwater Photography course.
Module 5: Recreational diving
Around all the learning there is recreational FUN diving! Grab your dive kit, jump on the boat and get out there exploring the reefs and wrecks! Utila offers a wonderful variety of underwater adventures. The reefs are packed with life and the corals are in pristine condition. It is not uncommon for divers to play with manta rays, swim with dolphins and gasp with wonder as the biggest fish in the sea, the incredible whaleshark, goes by!
Download our handbook for more information about the diving around Utila.
Time to chill out
When you're not diving there is plenty of time to relax, chill out, swim or enjoythe vibrant nightlife Utila has to offer.
While the favored location depends on one's mood during the week, Friday night offers live music at the Bundu Cafe and later regularly sees a large crowd at Utila's infamous nightclub, Bar in the Bush, located a ten-minute walk from the centre of town. This spacious nightclub with an attached volleyball court has an unusually loose festive atmosphere, with a mixed variety of people enjoying the grooving music. The rest of the week sees people at Coco Locos, Tranquila Bar and Treetanic the most popular bars in Utila. Tourists and locals alike meet here for sunset drinks after a hard day's diving in Utila, but as the sun goes down the tempo picks up at these bars.
The itinerary varies according to your dive level. There's no official set format and we like to mix things up a little(!), but as a general guideline you can expect each week to comprise PADI training and recreational diving with the average day starting at 08:00 and ending around 17:00! Unless your very lazy and/or very ill, there is ample time for relaxation, sunbathing and a day off here and there too!
Go Pro and Specialist Areas
Check-out our bolt-ons to extend your stay and to experience more advanced areas of diving. There's a 4-week Divemaster internship, an IYT/PADI Dive Boat Mate (Boat Operations Specialist) course spanning 2 weeks, a Beautiful Oceans Instructor course spanning 2 weeks, a Tech Support Diver course and Instructor training packages can also be arranged subject to your requirements.
These are the bolt-ons for this diving expedition. These can be added to the core package when you confirm a place on the trip. If you have any questions about these trip extensions please call the office to discuss everything in more detail.
Beautiful Oceans Instructor Module
Duration: 1 week
This distinctive Science Instructor rating and certification is designed to provide dive professionals with a detailed understanding in selected topics of marine biology, ecology, species and ecosystems. Science Instructors are authorised to teach coral reef biology to divers and snorkelers whilst at the same time providing them with the tools and the know-how for conducting state-of-the-art dive briefings.
Duration: 4 weeks
The first professional level qualification. Train to become a PADI Divemaster and start working as a dive professional around the world earning money! We highly recommend the IYT Dive Boat Handling course in conjunction with the Divemaster internship.Find out more...
Tech Support Diver
Duration: 1 week
A recreational level 'tec support diver' course to educate recreational divers to safely support technical divers on decompression diving using air, trimix, enriched air mixes pure O2 in accelerated decompression dive profiles. Specialist diving course. Call before booking.Find out more...
IYT/PADI Dive Boat Mate (Boat Operations Specialist)
Duration: 2 weeks
This program incorporates everything that a dive boat operator would be required to know from the moment the boat left the dock until its safe return to port.Find out more...
The standard / base trip is higlighted in green. Components listed below this are optional and can be added-on as desired when booking your trip.
|'Livin' La Vida Loca'||£2,215||4 weeks|
|Divemaster Internship||£1,100||4 weeks|
|Beautiful Oceans Instructor Module||£940||1 week|
|Tec Support Diver||£330||1 week|
|IYT/PADI Dive Boat Mate||£1,365||2 weeks|
A few helpful pointers. We also provide a comprehensive 'travel pack' after you book your place which provides some really good advice.
Flights are not included. The best way to get to Utila is via North America. We suggest flying London to Boston / Atlanta / Houston followed by a flight to San Pedro Sula. From here you will need to book a short flight to Utila which normally goes via La Ceiba. Full details available after you book or call for more details.
Return flights from London Heathrow to Utila via USA and San Pedro Sula typically cost from £800 (low season) to £1,150 (high season). Please call the GYT team on 0844 560 9958 for a quotation.
All customers are met at Utila Airport. Should anyone arrive by boat then we will ensure that someone is at the port to greet them.
British nationals can obtain a 30-day visit (tourist) visa on arrival. These may be extended by 30 days on two further occasions (to a maximum of 90 days in total) if you apply to an Immigration Office. There is no fee payable for this initial arrival visa, nor for the two extensions to this visa. British nationals can also obtain a 30-day work visa in advance at a Honduran Embassy or upon arrival if they are conducting short term internship or voluntary work. This also may then be extended by 30 days on two further occasion by applying to an Immigration Office. Each extension, up to the maximum of 90 days in total, will cost US$20. Should you overstay your visa then you shoud expect to pay a fine either upon departure from the country or at the Immigration Office when you apply to extend you stay.
All customers must complete a PADI medical form before departure. Customers must also have the necessary vaccinations prior to departure and we recommend that you visit www.netdoctor.co.uk for more information or consult with your local GP for professional advice
Housing and Accommodation
All customers are housed in a private apartment near the dive centre and in town. The apartments are generally well equipped with a kitchen, en-suite bathroom, double bed, TV, running water and air-conditioning. We also include an electricity allowance of $100. This may sound a little odd but electricity is often an additional cost!
Food, Drink and Meals
Meals are not included. Eat-in at the apartment or eat-out and support local businesses. There are many restaurants serving a variety of International dishes and supermarkets stock a range of food items.
All courses come with the relevant PADI materials. All PADI materials are included in the programme price and will be delivered to you in the UK before you depart. If you are joining from overseas then we may make the materials available when you get there instead of posting them to you.
Update August 2013: All course fees for this expedition are to be paid electronically direct to PADI Americas. Simply bring your debit/credit card to make the payment. It is $210 for beginners, $180 for Open Water Divers, $150 for Advanced Divers and $219 for Rescue Divers.
It's pretty cheap but we recommend $15 - $20 per day. This will be more than enough for food, refreshments and some beer coupons!