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“Roatan Rocked - a "dive" report and then some...”

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Fantasy Island Beach Resort
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in French Harbour
Reviewed 4 March 2007

Fantasy Island - we got there on Feb 3rd, and as I had guessed, just sort of hung around that day and had some drinks (some sort of rum punch welcome drinks - Charlie called them "Panty Removers" - but then, isn't that a generic term for alcoholic drinks?) LOL

Gary & I (and Dylon and Brook) were put into the Beach House. What an awesome room. Sucked to have the kids stuck with us, but they were always out and about anyways, so it wasn't so bad. The Beach House apparantly belongs to the owner of Fantasy Island, and he was kicked out to accommodate us! (It was a FULL resort that week!)

Sunday & Monday we had to do our 4 OW dives (continuation of class - must be done before getting certified as a scuba diver).

On Sunday, class started at 9:00 am. When we went out to the Gazebo for our first dive, I panicked! Everybody else (7 people) jumped in and went down right away. I jumped in, got water in my mask, felt my eyes burning, realized I was not in a nice, safe, confined pool... and just panicked. Got water in my mouth cause I wasn't holding my regulator correctly, because I was in the middle of a... panic!

The instructor came back up, and came over to ask if I was ok and was I coming down? NO! She saw the panic (I assume), and asked if I'd prefer to try again this afternoon. She had another class at 2:00 with only 3 people in it. YES! And I got the heck out of the water just as fast as I could! I know I know... wuss some of you are thinking. Oh well, just couldn't do it. So, waited for Gary to finish his 2 dives, and took pictures.

After his course, we went for lunch, and I worried about 2:00. But no need. 2:00 was much better. Jumped in and went down almost immediately. Had trouble equalizing my ears so had to keep coming up a bit, and down, up and down. But with the smaller class, it wasn't a huge hold back. Everybody waited for me on their knees at the bottom (approx 30' depth). I finally got there, and it was ok from that point on. In fact, my second dive... I had minimal trouble equalizing my ears, and got down much faster. And felt much more confident. It was so cool!

The first dive was mainly demonstrating skills we had learned. The 2nd dive was more of a scenic dive. Actually going to the reef and enjoying the corals and fish and other critters we found. The instructor showed us a flounder fish (what a WEIRD looking fish!) and a HUGE green moray eel. Lots of corals, and reef fishes. Oh, and a purple tip anemone that Gary saw in the morning dive and asked the instructor to point out to me. I even saw 2 cowfish in the distance! I tried to take off to get closer, but was quickly called back to the group. Sigh. See what I mean? Confidence (or stupidity!) LOL

That 2nd dive was probably one of the best dives I had the whole week. Probably because of my confidence levels that had soared that dive, and the small group which allowed less crowding when we were enjoying the tour. The first group (Gary's) didn't get to see the eel, nor the flounder (nor the cowfish for that matter).

The next morning, I was able to join my original group for dives 3 & 4. We were certified! Hurray! :o)

The rest of the week, the usual agenda was 2 boat dives daily (9:00 am and 11:00 am). We also did 2 night dives during the vacation (1 off the Gazebo, and 1 off the boat). I don't like... no, I HATE night dives. It's definitely not for me. And Gary agrees that he wasn't crazy about them either, so it's a great thing that we agree on that point! We also did a shark dive, which was awesome! Another one of my favorite dives!

Above ground, we did the canopy (zip lines) tour, we did a nature tour that took us to the Iguana Farm, Gumbilimba (sp) Park, and the Butterfly Farm and ended in Coxen Hole for shopping. The canopy tour... well, at least I can say I "did it". :o) I am not a fan of heights, and would probably not do it again, but am glad I did it. The nature tour, on the other hand, was AWESOME!

Wildlife on the resort... lots of monkeys (came on our balcony & climbed on us to get to the food), iguanas (shy on the resort grounds, but the ones at the Iguana Farm were friendly), peacocks, a large rodent that we called "Roatan Rats", ducks, bats, birds, and even a black cat whose tail was missing.

Night life - what night life? Gary and I were usually in bed by 9:00 pm. LOL The resort pretty much shuts down at 11:00 pm anyways. There's no disco or anything. It is, after all, a diver's resort. One night Gary & I stumbled across a bon fire on our way from a walk on the beach before bed time, so stayed for that. They had locals dress up in their traditional costumes and dance for us. It was pretty cool. We got in after 10:00 that night! And we did 2 night dives which had us in after 10:00 pm as well (ooohhhh - we're just party animals, the 2 of us! LOL)

Things that I did not enjoy (but would definitely not stop me from going back!):

1. Sand fleas are brutal! I was eaten alive first night when we went for a walk to the Gazebo. Gary got minimal bites. They sure liked me though! My fault for not using repellant the first night (it was fine after that night, but I used repellent constantly). I sure itched the whole week though!

2. Allergic reaction to ? something. My feet (both) broke out into a big red rash that itched as much if not more than the sand flea bites! It was awful. We figured my feet had an allergic reaction to either my new crocs (bought them at the Toronto airport - brand new) or my fins. We brought a pharmacy with us, but no benadryl. DUH Go figure eh? The gift shop was selling benadryl for 0.50 U.S. per pill, but it was worth it! They helped a lot. :o)

3. The back roll off the boat for the shark dive. As much as I loved the shark dive, I HATED the entry into the water. Their boats didn't have the open backs so we could jump off. We had to sit up on the edge of the boat, and roll in backwards. I had a hard time with it, because the equipment that you're wearing when geared up is HEAVY. And the edge was so thin (ok, I got a fat ---). I couldn't sit on that thin ledge with all the weight bearing me down. Gary was helping me, but I was slipping. And then I slipped back on the bench. And of course as soon as that happened, I was told I could go. GRRRR So, had to try and get back up on the edge, and roll. I did it, but very uncomfortable. I've decided I don't like back rolls very much (unless we do it off a boat with a wider edge - might be ok then - I dunno)

That's about it. Can't wait for my next vacation! :o)

Stayed: February 2007
5  Thank MandG1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (862)
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522 - 526 of 862 reviews

Reviewed 20 February 2007

I travelled with 3 others the week of February 12th - 16th, 2007.
Did alot of research, checking Trip Advisor almost daily. I was well prepared for this resort and was so thrilled with how the trip went.
Yes, the fleas were there and some people were covered in bites; we put our sunblock and bug spray on dutifully each day (after emerging from water) and none of us had problems. Yes, the occasional bite, but no welts. Used Off Skintastic from the knees down for sure and all over when laying out.
Food was very pleasant. If you didn't like a dish there was lots of other items to choose. Their italian dishes were excellent. We all found the seafood a bit dissappointing but the lobster and crab legs on Wednesday's made up for it.
Staff was great. We started out in the "diver's" rooms and were bothered by the musty/mold smell (shower was moldy). We were moved to a bungalow at the opposite end of the resort with a private beach (no one else used it because the bar was on the main beach). Found out later that the maids came in and scrubbed the room we left with bleach! It was a walk but it was very quiet and peaceful to sit on the porch in our Muskoka chairs and watch the wildlife (iguand, Heron, fish, etc) and the ocean. The views on the entire resort are beautiful.
The snorkelling was amazing, we seemed to see as much as the divers...compared notes each night when the resort guests could watch the daily dive video in the lobby. We were so enthusiastic that we got one diver to try snorkelling for the first time! He loved it and said it was the most relaxing thing he had ever done.
Met people from Italy, and from towns close by us in Ontario and have e-mail addresses to follow up.
We took a cab to the airport to beat the crowd and found out later that other guests did the same thing and once they checked thier baggage they went back to the resort for 2 hours to enjoy the beach for a bit longer.
If you expect 3 star in comparison to world class vacationing you will be pleasantly surprised.
The only draw back to the entire trip was that I wanted to bring home souvenirs and no one would compromise on their prices...everything in American dollars and VERY overpriced! It just meant that I came home with money in my pocket... ;)
There were no surprises and we found that everything we read on TripAdvisor was fairly accurate especially if you consider that people are different and have different expectations.
We will all be back...

Stayed: February 2007
5  Thank sukhet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 February 2007

We were concerned about this resort after reading some of the reviews. We were pleasantly surprised. While not a 5 star resort, it was a very solid 3 star. I am trying to be honest, I hope it does not sound too negative, as overall we loved it and would go back.

We were in the new section and had a great room with an amazing view of the beach. Ask for rooms in the 100 or 200 block. Away from the noise, your own private beach, and spacious and well kept rooms.

The island is small but good for nice walks. The grounds are kept clean, there is lots of shady spots to sit and dream and the views are great no matter where you go. The sunsets are wonderful, and although I tried each day, I never actually got up in time for a sunrise, lol.

Most of the staff was great, although we did find some of them tended to be looking for tips. Service definately depended upon how much you gave them. But, overall most were friendly.

The manager, Peter, tries to talk to all of guests and make sure things are going well. Kudos!

There was only ONE bar, which got a little crowded. But the bartenders really tried hard to keep up. There is a swim-up bar, but no one tends it so it is rather redundent.

Entertainment was not the best, but I heard management is trying to improve and add new shows. We made our own fun and had a great time. It is a dive resort, so most people are not looking to party. Fortunately for us, there was a group of 10 travelling together that adopted us, so we had fun where ever we went.

The hotel tries to vary the food, and overall it was okay. Beats Cuba. Lobster night was amazing, the fresh red snapper was awesome, and most nights they featured something tasty. The only thing I really missed was a variety of veggies and the makings of a good salad.

And yes, sad to say, there are sand fleas. I got bitten but my husband did not. They sure itch. Take lots of deet products!

The fridge in the room is also rather a waste of space...they do not provide beer, pop, or bottled water...only a jug of water. What's with that? You have to buy bottled water!! Come on Peter, put some in the rooms!

And the wine is horrible. But the beer is great!

Would I go back? In a minute!

One other thing of note. there is NO DUTY FREE AT THE AIRPORT. If you want to take home any booze or cigs, buy them when you go to town.

Enjoy your stay!

  • Stayed: February 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank GramB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2007

We visited Fantasy Island with 2 other family members and 3 other divers during the week of January 27 to February 3, 2007. My boyfriend and I went down with pretty low expectations of the resort given that it’s only a 3 star, and we read some pretty negative reviews. It ended up being a great vacation, and we did some great diving. There were some plus’s and minus’s though, so you can decide if this is the right place for you.

Our room ended up being at the VERY far end of the resort away from the dive shop. We were in what appeared to be a little cottage that had been converted into 3 separate rooms. The best room was 508 and this had a full size fridge and what appeared to be a kitchen just without means of cooking, king bed (2 pushed together), sofa and a larger bathroom with a good sized shower stall. We had 504... still very clean with a working air conditioner, but only a Double bed and although the bathroom wasn’t too small the shower head was in the centre of my boyfriends chest so he had to bend over from the waist to wash his head/hair.

The good thing was we had our own “private” beach and full deck. It was nice and quiet since there were not people walking past our rooms, but it was a good 8-10 minute walk to the dive shop.

We left small gifts for the maid service each day and our rooms were always cleaned nicely. If you want extra towels you just need to ask. They didn’t have extra hangers though so if you need more than 6 bring your own.

The main restaurant for Breakfast and Dinner is indoors with an outside balcony. Food is buffet style... breakfast is good... real scrambled eggs or there is a omelet cook if you would like your eggs done differently, breakfast meat, cereal, fruit, pancakes and french toast. For dinner always at least one type of fish and sometimes other seafood (Wednesday is seafood night with lobster tails), pasta, a vegetable, some kind of meat or two (some decent, some not edible). A salad bar with fixings for a garden salad, fresh (usually) bread and buns, and fresh fruit. The dessert table has 3 deserts along with homemade ice-cream (2 or 3 varieties – cookies and cream was my fave!) For lunch there is a beach restaurant, again buffet style, same type of food but always has hamburgers too.

The drinks are not all included, so beware of this before you order if you don’t want to pay. They include the local beer, most rum drinks and some other limited liquors, and the house wine at dinner. The house wine is beyond terrible... if you enjoy wine with your meal pick up some at the duty free or you can get some decent Californian or Chilean wine in the supermarket in Coxen Hole. The local beer is good, and the frozen daiquiris are great especially in the hot sun! (only some are included so again check before you order) Most of the fruit juice mix is fresh squeezed, and if you like pineapple juice the rum(white) and pineapple is great! All bartenders are not created equal, but DonDvina was very good and always got our order right.

We were there to dive and were not disappointed. You get assigned to a boat at the beginning of the week and you just show up for the dives you want to go out on. We were on the Little Kashi with Pedro and Mark... great captain and dive master! The dives are set up for 9 am, 11am, and 230pm with night dives on Tues, Wed and Thurs weather permitting. You go out for a dive and then the boat returns to pick up and drop off, but each dive site is minutes away from the resort so it isn’t bad at all. They have “lockers” for your equipment, but they are open so you cannot lock them up. But you don’t have to lug stuff back and forth to your room, for us that was a big bonus, and nobody messed with anyone else’s gear that we are aware of.

The current in spots is nearly that of a drift dive and sometimes you are swimming against it (Mary’s Place)... so not all dives are leisurely. The soft coral, sponges, fans, tubes etc were in colourful abundance here... all dives are wall dives, some deeper than others but on most even the max depth was within recreational diving limits... only a few exceeded these. The top of the wall was generally between 15 and 40 feet so there was always a lot to see at the end of your dive, and during your safety stop. There were a couple wrecks, and two of those are right near the resort that you can access via the Gazebo. Unfortunately I ended up with some ear trouble after a few days of diving so I didn’t get to dive the plane or the other wreck as I had put it off until later in our trip. They would have made a great night dive though.

We didn’t see any sharks, and other places we have been seem to have more abundance of the larger marine life. That being said we saw 7 Green Moray eels, a large spotted Moray, one smaller sea turtle who was very approachable and patient as we all took our pictures, a 3ft eagle ray, a 2-3 ft southern ray and then numerous varieties of fish. The visibility was about 70-90 feet on most dives, but once the tide started to come in it decreased to about 60 feet. Water temp was always 81 degrees though!

There are a couple very nice sandy beaches which are cleaned every morning of the garbage and seaweed. Loungers aren’t hard to get, but one with a cushion is. The main beach by the pool is the nicest as you can walk right in, but it is also the most crowded and the noisiest. The beach over near the gazebo is more quiet, but you have to get past the little bit of seaweed close shore if you want to cool off in the water. I snorkeled around in the bay here and you should watch where you step too... I saw several sea urchins which you wouldn’t want to step on. The beach at the far end in front of our rooms was small and very quiet, but you couldn’t swim here at all.

You will want to bring a good bug repellant. We used the Active Off which is water resistant and has an effective deet of 25%. The sand fleas are bad especially as it nears dusk. We didn’t have too much trouble but there were some who looked like they had been fed on and were covered in large red welts.

It is a madhouse is all I can say... very disorganized but somehow you end up getting through it all. Make sure you get to the airport early on your way home as each bag is manually inspected and the line ups were staggering. You will need $32.32 US cash each person to leave the country and this is not paid by your travel agent. We flew with WestJet and they are very strict on their baggage allowances for the checked luggage, and with safety for the carry on. The weight and size limits for carry-on did not appear to be enforced though.

Little extras

To get a towel you have to leave $20 cash deposit, and then you can get one towel per person. The only problem with this is that they don’t always have clean ones for you in the morning.
Safety deposit boxes are available for $1 per day.
TV remotes are also available with a deposit of $20 cash
All divers are asked to donate $2/day to the Hyperbaric Chamber to assist with costs.

Petting zoo is definitely worth a visit but make sure you are wearing a t-shirt and shorts with bug spray. One of our traveling companions got bit by some type of bug in there and required antibiotics. The doctor is very helpful if you require assistance or medication.

There were a mixture of Canadians, Americans and Italians primarily when we went. Usually it is the Americans who get a bad rap but unfortunately this time it was a group of fellow Canucks who were led by a particularly loud and obnoxious individual.

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
12  Thank Tang0&Cash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2007

Jan 20-27
I must defer to reviews by Nica , Steve /Mark and Steve from London who were also there the same week as us.

West Jet and Nolitours are a great duo. Flight there and back was terrific with jovial staff that really know what customer service is all about and food is edible. Some of the flight attendants had been up since 4am on the 27th to get to the airport for the 7am departure. Freezing rain and snow required de icing and caused a several hour of delay on the outward bound flight. they were still smiling on the return trip having now been on their feet for in excess of 12 hrs. The Nolitours rep at Fantasy Island was humerous knowledgable and extremley helpful. He showed a genuine interest in everybodies concerns/inquiries.

I would like to clarify two things. The signing for drinks in the dining room and the bars was for sure a bit annoying however, I did witness several incidents that I believe lead to this requirement.. Some divers come with a package that includes diving, hotel, transfers from airport and food. NO ALCOHOL. Unlike the Nolitours package that includes rum and local brands and wine with meals.

It is quite a small resort and everyone gets to know one and other by the 2nd 3rd day, especially the divers they love to share their experiences over food and drink and if one or several of the parties does't have a package ......well whats wrong with getting them a couple of drinks no skin off our nose right!. We were cautioned by the tour rep that this would be problematic.

A situation arose one evening when a party of 4 who didn't have an all inclusive package bought two wrist bracelets for alcohol @ $25 USDA/day. I believe one of the parties was leaving earlier than the rest and there seems to have been some accusations by bar staff about who was getting what! Got quite embarrassing for the parties involved.

Cruise ships avert these situations by simply having rules that if 4 people share a room everyone must buy the beverage package, no exceptions!. Seems reasonable to me after all these resorts would not stay in business if they couldn't turn a profit!.

Moving on to the Sand flies. I had great reservations about going to this area as we had been in Cayo Largo, Cuba, in November and my husband was eaten alive by sand flies. So much so that he required medical attention upon our return and required cortisone injections in multple bites 30-35 on his back, oral antihistamines and cortisone cream topically.

We came armed with Deet 10% foam and moist wipes containing deet and applied it religiously to no avail. We had Benedryl cortisone cream and avoided scented creams.

The days and evenings with no wind are the ones to be particularly vigilent.

You do not feel anything at the time of the bite! You will see a red mark with a tiny red dot in the middle and 12-24 hours later they raise up and become intensly itchy. Some react more so than otheres to the bite and amazingly some people didn't get bitten at all.

Some mistake them as bed bugs because the itching and raising of the bites doesn't happen immediatly and the itch intensifies at night especially if the body temperature rises.

Talcom powder really soothed the itch along with all the other stuff we brought along. But oh yes we both got bitten up pretty bad and know exactly where and when it was. Extreme measures should be taken on no wind days. although they are the most beautiful as the landscapes are magnificenty calm.

Do visit the farm and go see the doc at the hyperbaric chambers (the only one on Roatan) he is very friendly and you will often run into him in the dining room. He had a resident Falcon with a broken wing that he was taking care of while we were there. He said Dec and January were good months no need to use the chambers. November was a busy month for him.

We fell in love with the place and will return again. The snorkelling, tranquility, safety and friendly ambiance was noteable.

I agree it would be pretting boring for the younger crowd as there wasn't much going on at night but they did try providing some local entertainment. There were always the videos of the daily dives to view in the lobby as well as the lobby bar, internet, board games, photo albums of the resort, tour desk with information of the many many excursions and the friendly and helpful front desk staff.

Most of us were pretty wiped out after dinner because snorkeling, kayaking, diving, paddle boating and eating whacked us out.

I plan on doing a whole lot more research on sandflies before our next visit. though.

PS We found the food to be very good. Fillet Mignon and mash one night roast pork tenderloin another night Lobster tails, crab, shrimp and conch fritters another night. Hot homemade soups not overly salty and loaded with vegetables.

The best homemade coconut ice cream I have ever tasted and I am not an ice cream fan normally. How bad is that?

Also be sure to visit the under rated east end the scenery is magnificent and totally different to the affluent commercialized west end.

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
18  Thank ufo_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Fantasy Island Beach Resort

Address: Carretera Pavimentada Ppal, French Harbour, French Harbour, Roatan IB3110, Honduras
Region: Honduras > Bay Islands > Roatan > French Harbour
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in French Harbour
Price Range: ₹ 10,613 - ₹ 18,687 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Fantasy Island Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 115
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy the best of the Caribbean at Fantasy Island Beach Resort, Dive and Marina! Our Roatan, Honduras resort is located on its own 21 acre private island. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fantasy Island Beach Hotel Roatan
Fantasy Island Beach Roatan
Fantasy Island Roatan

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