Anthony's Key Resort
TOP ARRIVAL LODGING DINING DIVING PHOTO
FEATURES ACTIVITIES OTHER SUMMARY BOTTOM
TRIP DATE: April 1994, 2 weeks & September 1996, 1 week
LOCATION: Roatan, Honduras
ACCOMMODATIONS: Anthony's Key Resort, 8 days/7 nights, 1 person (single surcharge applies). Includes 3 meals/day, 3 dives/day, plus 2 night dives. Total cost @ $882.75 with reservations arranged through Bahia Tours, phone 1(800)-227-3483.
TRANSPORTATION: American Airlines between Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and Houston Intercontinental, TACA between Houston and Roatan, Honduras. Total airfare @ $500.
ON THE INTERNET: Anthony's Key Resort Home Page provides the latest news and information on the resort, including prices and special promotional offers.
Often times one is asked "Would you go there again?" when discussing some place they've traveled to. Well, this diver offers an emphatic "Yes!" when it comes to his opinion of the comfortable, rustic Anthony's Key Resort in Roatan, Honduras. In fact, rather than saying I would go back, I should say that I did indeed go back. As for a third trip? Perhaps, but I can't do all my diving in the Bay Islands now can I? No, there are other waters to explore too! For now however, let's just talk about Anthony's Key Resort...AKR, for short.
My first trip to AKR in April 1994 followed a resignation of 10 years employment, on a decision that I was feeling a bit burnt out and ready for an extended break. Knowing no more than what I'd read about AKR, a 2-week vacation of dive, dive, dive seemed the perfect "prescription" for an escape from the rat race of the day-to-day work world. Thoroughly enjoying that trip, I returned for a 1-week vacation in September 1996. Briefly, I'll say that the only difference I really noticed between those two different times of the year was that April was a much busier season. AKR can accommodate perhaps 100-120 guests, and I would estimate seeing perhaps 80 guests in April versus 40 in September. With a fleet of six 40-foot dive boats, each capable of carrying 20 divers and gear, personal attention remains the norm regardless of the travel season.
For both my trips, the only thing missing from the trip was a dive buddy to share the adventure with; nonetheless, I anticipated being amongst the enjoyable company of other others whose primary vacation goal was to dive to the max. And that is exactly who I met...friendly divers from various states and other countries as well. During the second week of my 1994 stay, photographer Florent Carmin, his wife Michelle, and a film crew from France visited AKR to film world class freediver Pipin swimming with dolphins. The dolphins are a major attraction at AKR, and are part of the Dolphin Encounter program offered by the Institute for Marine Sciences, an educational and research facility that is co-located adjacent AKR. I was intrigued to learn that Pipin was swimming with a twin foot pocket, single blade fin! According to Michelle, Pipin was able to swim along with the dolphins on one breath for about 3 minutes, thus allowing ample time for some underwater filming. I must say, Michelle was a quite beautiful woman who could easily steal even a 3-minute breath away! Florent is a man I can envy, as he successfully engages in a professional career in photography that encourages travel to many wonderful dive destinations while enjoying it all with a special lady.
While speaking of guests, let's not forget the staff at AKR either...I found everyone very friendly and helpful. For their particular help during my visits to AKR, a special thanks goes to Mike Sahlen at Photo Roatan, as well as to Eldon Molton, the director at the Institute for Marine Sciences (IMS). When I returned to AKR on my second dive vacation, there were many familiar faces among the staff that readily made me feel welcome to be back. Some of those faces were of the colorful, feathered sort...three scarlet macaws and Paco, a friendly Amazon parrot. Once I made my way to my bungalow, there were also the familiar black iguanas and peacocks on Anthony's Key.
OK, let's get on with this report...As I'm not particularly adept at remembering all the details of my Bay Islands diving and the numerous sites visited, this report will largely focus on my impressions of Anthony's Key Resort itself. Hopefully I can provide details that aren't commonly covered in other travel articles, while allowing some of my underwater photography speak to the quality and health of the reefs and marine life. My comments will be primarily made in reference to my September dive trip, with my 1994 trip filling in a few more details.
TOP DINING DIVING PHOTO FEATURES ACTIVITIES OTHER SUMMARY BOTTOM
Nestled among lush tropical foliage, sitting along the northwest end of Roatan, 30 miles north of mainland Honduras, lies unspoiled Anthony's Key Resort. Upon arrival at Roatan International Airport, you will be greeted by a friendly AKR representative and whisked off to the resort in a comfortable, air-conditioned minibus. Luggage is transported to the resort separately and delivered to the steps of your bungalow, where it awaits you following a welcoming party with a short briefing on the resort, staff introductions, and complimentary drinks. Following the briefing, the office staff with collect your return airline tickets so that they can make all confirmations for you prior to your departure. To further simplify your vacation, all expenses while at the resort may be billed to your room number. Upon checkout, any tips may be left in an envelope at the main desk, for whomever you like (housekeeping, restaurant staff, etc.) with exception of the divemasters. There is no need to carry any cash within the resort. Life here is easy!
Lodging at AKR is in the form of simple but comfortable bungalows, perched atop stilts and arranged in clusters of twins, triplets, and quads. Although a few are scattered hillside, near the main resort clubhouse and others along a waterfront dock, the majority of the bungalows lie on Anthony's Key, an islet barely more than a stone's throw from a boat taxi stand. The taxi drivers are very attentive and watchful for guests needing transportation between the main island and Anthony's Key, but may be summoned by banging on an empty scuba tank should the need arise. The young men operating the taxi boats, like most of the staff at AKR are local islanders, many living in the neighboring village of Sandy Bay. The taxi service is a necessary courtesy, but a gesture of thanks is nonetheless appreciated by the taxi drivers at the end of your stay.
The typical bungalow has two full-size beds and three walls of large, louvered windows with no-see-um screening. The fourth wall partitions off the bathroom and closet area. As no drawers are provided for storage of personal items and/or clothes, the open closet has three or four shelves, about a foot or so wide, and a larger overhead shelf. There are a few wall hooks in the living area to accommodate a few extra hanging items. In general, the room reflects the basic needs of the traveling diver who brings mostly scuba gear with a few T-shirts, shorts, and underwear for good measure. Electricity is the U.S. standard 110-volt variety, and water is purified and safe to drink. For those preferring bottled water, it may be purchased at a small snack shop on the dive dock. I did find it a bit humorous that although fresh water is piped into the bungalows, both the shower and sink drain out simply onto the ground. AKR provides a few uniquely appointed bungalows for their honeymooning guests. These rooms feature a mahogany bedroom set, a canopy-netted queen bed, separate screened sitting area, and an Italian-tiled bath with brass fixtures. Outside, all bungalows provide a shared porch with hammocks and additional tables and seating; some of the quad clusters offer a larger two-level deck, popular for laying out in the sun or just sitting, relaxing and enjoying the tropical views.
So, I would summarize the accommodations as comfortable and clean, but not luxurious. That's not what AKR is about. Rather than luxury, AKR has a special charm all its own, minus some of the conveniences - telephone, television, air-conditioning - that some of us pampered Americans enjoy. Use of a telephone in the resort office can be arranged, but telephones are otherwise unavailable. As for television, who needs it? One's time is better spent diving, meeting other guests and making new friends, visiting the IMS, going horseback riding, kayaking over to Bailey's Key and going for a walk, etc. Once you remember to also leave time for sleeping and eating, who has time left for TV? The only thing I missed was air-conditioning. With the warm, humid, tropical climate being a bit oppressive the first night, I slept atop my bed covers with the ceiling fan running at high speed and the louvered windows open to allow the night breezes to draft through my room. By the end of the second night, I had acclimated to the environment and, coupled with being tired from a busy day of diving, slept soundly under my bedsheets.
TOP ARRIVAL DIVING PHOTO FEATURES ACTIVITIES OTHER SUMMARY BOTTOM
AKR serves Breakfast from 7 a.m-9 a.m, lunch from Noon-2 p.m., and Dinner from 7 p.m.-9 p.m., in open air dining rooms that are part of the main clubhouse. Plenty of tables are available to accommodate even a throng of hungry guests, and it is often at one of the larger tables that guests will gather to dine together and discuss their diving exploits, while making new friends. Should you choose to enjoy your meals under a canopy of nothing but trees and sky, the dining room has a patio area that extends out toward a viewing deck. The deck provides a nice location for a photograph of a tropical sunset in the west, as the sun dips seems to dip through pink-orange clouds and settle into the cooling, sapphire blues and emerald greens of the waters surrounding Roatan.
Special dining activities at AKR include a Monday night barbecue dinner and a Thursday lunch picnic, both at the pavilion on Anthony's Key. Additionally, a picnic lunch at Tabiyana Beach on Wednesday is enjoyed as an intermission between two of the scheduled dives. Although the dive/picnic day results in only two scheduled dives, guests often take advantage of some good snorkeling at Tabiyana Beach. Then, the evening often brings a good opportunity for a scheduled night dive, followed by dinner, and - if there's any energy left - some mingling at the Frangipani Bar while sipping on a choice of beverages, such as the namesake drink or a Monkey Lala, another tasty house favorite.
What about the food itself? Good, but with limited choices. I believe this is more the rule than the exception among Roatan dive resorts. The exception is most likely Fantasy Island, where I understand a full menu is offered, from which several choices of entrees are available. AKR typically offers two choices of dinner entrees, usually a seafood entree and a chicken or beef entree. Breakfasts offer a breakfast bar with cereal, fruit, and breads, with additional items (bacon, ham, or sausage and eggs) to order. Also pancakes or French toast. I don't recall for certain, but I believe breakfast limitations at worst might have been just 2 of 3 meats available, and perhaps only pancakes or French toast on a given day, but not both. Lunch was maybe less varied...sometimes I thought perhaps lunch just provided the chef with a way of utilizing leftovers from the prior evening's dinner. Overall, I was pleased with the food and the quality, but don't expect gourmet. I love milk, but never drank any as I think AKR only had whole milk...if even that. Breakfast offered coffee or orange juice to drink, while coffee, tea, and water were the norm for lunch and dinner. While meals and the provided drinks are part of the all-inclusive price of an AKR vacation, sodas and alcoholic beverages are available only at an added cost, from the bar.
That pretty well wraps up my impressions on my AKR dining experience. Now, ignoring the buffet style breakfast, here's a summary of what I chose to eat from the entrees offered at lunch (L) and dinner (D):
- Saturday (afternoon arrival)
D: Coconut Grouper, minestrone soup, rice, cauliflower, pecan pie
L: BBQ (beef? didn't note down) w/red beans & rice, steamed cabbage
D: Salad, baked potato, Shrimp Dianne, chocolate cheesecake
L: Beef turnover, conch salad, banana chips
D: On Anthony's Key...BBQ pork ribs and snapper, red beans & rice
L: Conch soup, tossed salad, snapper casserole, chocolate chip cookies
D: Blackened grouper, fettuccini, split pea soup, green beans, apple pie.
L: Tabiyana beach...BBQ chicken, grouper, macaroni, cole slaw, brownie
D: Broiled kingfish, salad, rice, steamed carrots, coconut cream pie
L: "Picnic" on Anthony's Key...Cheeseburger, potato salad, basic trimmings
D: Steamed grouper, onion soup, red pasta, steamed cauliflower, carrot cake
L: Mexican buffet...chicken fajitas, rice, mixed vegetables, mixed fruit
D: Baked snapper, shrimp cocktail, mixed vegetables, conch balls, potatoes au gratin, key lime pie
TOP ARRIVAL LODGING PHOTO FEATURES ACTIVITIES OTHER SUMMARY BOTTOM
The Diving, What About the DIVING??
OK, the details on the other stuff was pretty easy. When you're diving in an area that is so healthy and rich with an abundance of corals and sponges, the details are more than can be readily absorbed, much less described adequately. So, I'll repeat that I plan to let a few photos serve testimony to the quality of diving, while elaborating on the dive operation, identifying the sites I dove, and naming a few favorites among them.
Generally, there are two "waves" of guests that arrive at AKR, with Thursday and Sunday arrivals as I recall. The Sunday crowd, which I was part of, begins their first dive Monday morning, following a briefing from the dive operations director, introductions to the dive dock and photo shop staff, and a quick skills/buoyancy checkout. Once this morning familiarization activity is complete, you will be assigned a tank number; this also corresponds to a hook number in the wet storage room, where you can leave your gear all week long.
The first dive, and the boat you are assigned to, are usually governed by which boat your tank is initially loaded onto. You will have some choice of where you dive, but not a great deal. The way dives are scheduled at AKR, the choice is largely dictated by whether or not you choose to dive all three sites being visited that day. Each boat captain/divemaster will have chosen 3 sites (or 4 on night dive days) that will be visited. Divers mark their tank number on a chalk board to indicate which dives they will participate in. Based upon the sign-up, your tanks will be filled and put on your boat. You then arrive at the dive dock, retrieve your gear from the wet storage room, and get on the boat.
Although you could probably change boats if you wanted to visit a particular dive site, or return to it again, the first day's dive briefing discusses that this practice is discouraged. You will not likely be given a hard time about it should you do so. The idea here is that the divemasters and divers become familiar with one another, promoting possibly a better overall experience as the divemaster might be able to tailor the dives a bit, should he find the majority of divers are at a similar skill level. Also, when you depart the resort, tipping the divemaster is a pretty common courtesy. By staying with the same boat all week, it simplifies tipping.
The daily dive schedule provides for two morning dives and one afternoon dive with one or two additional night dives scheduled during the week. The boat trips to a dive site are usually fifteen to thirty minutes, with morning dives putting you in the water around 9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., and afternoon dives at about 2:45 p.m. Night dives are typically around 6:30 p.m. Also available is a "swim-back" dive, where a small group of divers are taken out in one of the taxi boats to a location near Bailey's Key. The divers then enter the water and progress back toward the dive dock at their leisure. I did this particular dive during my 1994 trip and, if I remember correctly, the start of the dive was at the wreck of a small plane.
As to the quality of the diving experience, it was very good and for me, very different. With all of my other dive trips having been to Cozumel, there were several aspects of the diving that I could compare. Most notable is that the majority of Bay Islands diving is at moored dive sites, with only a few drift dives. With less current to fight, there is a great deal of opportunity to explore all the reef crevasses, grooves, and swim-throughs that define the underwater jungle of Roatan. Photography was considerably easier and opportunities more available since I wasn't constantly fighting the current to hold my position. Visibility at most sites seemed to be in the 100-foot range and the water temperature during both trips was a pretty constant 83-84º F.
The variety and health of corals and sponges is readily apparent, testifying to the fact that the Bay Islands are home to perhaps 95% of all varieties of Caribbean corals and sponges. On the whole, fish life seemed a bit smaller and less abundant than I had observed in Cozumel, perhaps attributed to the gentler currents not providing as high a flow of nutrients throughout the reef system. On the other hand, some of the larger fish in Cozumel - particularly varieties of grouper - may simply be getting too many free handouts from the sluggish, strange looking, bubble-blowing creatures sharing their marine domain!
New for me during my first trip to Roatan were sightings of spotted eagle rays, reef squid, and sea turtles. Encountering a trio of squid during my snorkeling at Tabiyana Beach, I was fascinated by these graceful, beautiful animals. With one squid swimming head-first at the apex of triangular formation and the other two swimming tail-first, I wondered if this might be some kind of defensive posture. Certainly this trio could easily break off into three separate directions should they encounter a threatening predator. Keeping a distance so as not to startle them, I observed all three squid occasionally reverse their orientation while continuing to swim in one direction. I concluded that they can swim equally well head-first or tail-first and suspected they were just taunting me with a "Hey, can you do this?". Never with such grace, no.
Now, what sites are a a "must-see"? Comparing the brief notes in my logs from my '94 and '96 trips, I see some sites that I noted favorable on one occasion and less so on the other. Here are some of the sites that garnered positive comments on both trips, with some brief notes from my dive log.
1994 (two weeks, thus some repeated sites)
- Pillar Coral - Large fish variety, healthy coral
- Fish Den - Baby spotted moray, squid
- Melissa's Reef - Very nice coral reefs/crevasses to explore
- Peter's Place - Green moray, gray angelfish. Nice dive site.
- Herbie's Fantasy - Green moray, anemone, good for photo dive
- Fish Den - Very nice abundance and variety of fish
- Herbie's Fantasy - Return for photo dive. Yellow spotted eel.
- Canyon Reef - Very nice variety/abundance of corals. Fish so-so.
NOTE: I think I was in the last group of people to dive Herbie's Fantasy before it was closed down to protect the further degradation of the environment from being over-dove. I don't recall if it was open for my 1996 trip.
- Four Sponges - Small moray, eagle ray, many grouper/smaller fish.
- Melissa's Reef - Nice reef with good mix of fish. Also a moray.
- Wrasse Hole - Great dive. Southern stingray @ 125ft., sea turtle, 2 green morays, others reported seeing a nurse shark.
- Canyon Reef - Still very nice site to explore with a very photo-friendly grouper at the dive's end. Also barracuda.
- Peter's Place - Also remains a good photo site. Green and spotted morays, trumpetfish, bristleworm.
- Green Outhouse Wall - 3 sea turtles, barracuda.
I suppose I would pick Peter's Place, Wrasse Hole, Fish Den, and Canyon Reef as among my favorite sites. It is a tough call as all sites were enjoyable, but I generally like it more when I see the bigger critters...eels, turtles, rays, etc.
Beyond the diving, snorkeling is also an option, but one I wouldn't write home about. Although I enjoyed the snorkeling at Tabiyana Beach which is a boat trip away from AKR, the snorkeling at the resort is pretty much limited to the west side of Bailey's Key. From what I've heard from other divers, better snorkeling is available on the southern side of Roatan, especially at CoCo View Resort.
Finally, for divers wishing to further advance their skills, AKR is a PADI 5-star dive training facility and offers PADI Instructor Development Courses. Video photography instruction is available through Photo Roatan. New to AKR are additional deep sea fishing and remote dive options to the outer islands of Barbareta, Cayos Cochinos and Utila. Lastly, the newest dive feature at AKR is the the "AKR Aguila" wreck dive, formerly known as "El Aguila" (The Eagle). This 230-foot freighter was salvaged from an area around the Utila Keys, brought to Roatan by AKR, and sunk at a new location that is but two minutes away by boat. This wreck dive is new since my last trip, but I'll bet it will be a great dive after a few years of getting established as a new artificial reef.
TOP ARRIVAL LODGING DINING DIVING ACTIVITIES OTHER SUMMARY BOTTOM
As If Breathing Underwater Isn't Enough!
Shall we complicate your diving a bit? For those individuals interested in underwater photography, one aspect of AKR that strongly influenced my choice to return there for a second visit was the quality of service I received on my first trip from AKR's photo shop, Photo Roatan. Plus, with perhaps 15 or so photo dives in one week, I really like knowing that I can get quick turnaround on slide processing to learn if there are any mistakes I've made. Having to refer my processing needs to a lab outside the resort, as with next-day print processing, only slows the learning process and opens me up to the risk of ruining a few more rolls of film until I've learned of my errors.
Mike (I wish I could recall his last name), the photo pro and operator of Photo Roatan, is supported by a staff of experienced individuals who help in all aspects of the business. From providing equipment rentals, instruction, same-day E6 slide processing, next-day print processing, and film to capturing selected dives on video, these folks can handle virtually all of your photographic needs. Videos taken during the dolphin dive and snorkel sessions and at dives to various sites during the week are individually edited, with music added, and can be previewed either in the photo shop or at the Frangipani Bar. Video duplicates may be purchased, with a discount applying to the purchase of multiple videos.
Did You Say Dolphins?
Anyone who visits Anthony's Key Resort will rarely leave without somehow finding an opportunity to get acquainted with the standout attraction, the wonderful dolphins that are part of the Dolphin Encounter program. This program, offered through the Institute for Marine Sciences, provides AKR guests and visitors with the chance to participate in both a Dolphin Swim (snorkeling) and a Dolphin Dive. These two activities are provided at an added cost of $65 and $75, respectively, with AKR visitors from other resorts paying slightly higher fees.
The Dolphin Swim takes place at the large enclosure at Bailey's Key and is conducted by staff from the IMS. After a dockside, hands-on introduction to the dolphins, guests don their snorkeling gear and enter the water. This activity usually involves two or three dolphins who, given the expanse of the enclosure, may take their time before approaching the snorkeling guests. The experience is promoted not as entertainment for the guests, but rather as an interactive, educational event. Guests are directed not to attempt to ride, chase, or otherwise harass the dolphins. In turn, the dolphins become comfortable with, and approach the snorkelers more frequently. With instruction from the IMS staff, the guests are also led through a series of "games" that further heighten the overall experience. Spending about 30 minutes in the water, I was only disappointed that I couldn't share more time with these marvelous animals.
The Dolphin Dive takes place on a sandy flat, in open water, at a depth of around 40-50 feet. For this activity, divers are first taken by boat to the dive location, receiving a briefing along the way. Upon arrival the divers enter the water, swimming down to take a kneeling position on the ocean floor. Meanwhile a pair of dolphins are led out to the site by a separate boat, and then guided by a diver from the IMS staff to the location of the waiting guest divers. Well, at least they are led there if that's where they want to go! Again, in similar fashion to the Dolphin Swim, the dolphins are free to interact as their whims dictate. Guests are informed in advance that a "good show" isn't guaranteed; the cost of the dive is not refundable (maybe in the rare case of a "no show"). With my first dolphin dive in 1994, I left a bit disappointed, as the dolphins seemed to stay more on the outskirts of the circle of divers. Conversely, I enjoyed an excellent dive in 1996, with the dolphins actively swimming about the divers, close enough to touch. Touching is discouraged by the IMS staff however, as the dolphins can get excited and might accidentally nip at a diver or otherwise become a bit too rambunctious. The total dive time usually averages about 45-50 minutes.
TOP ARRIVAL LODGING DINING DIVING PHOTO OTHER SUMMARY BOTTOM
If you're not diving, dining, sleeping, chatting with other guests, or relaxing in your bungalow, then what else might you be doing? If you happen to be short on ideas for those long surface intervals, the staff of AKR is there to help. In conjunction with the Monday night cookout on Anthony's key, there is a limbo contest and crab races, as well as live music and dancing for those who still have a reserve of energy. On Tuesday afternoons, volleyball is the name of the game. The aforementioned picnic at Tabiyana Beach also provides landlubbers an opportunity to ride to the beach on horseback, if they passed on the day's dive plans. AKR has a horse stable and horseback rides can be arranged through the main desk at no added cost.
In addition to the nature trail on Bailey's Key, there is also a longer nature trail and tropical garden that is within walking distance of AKR. As this trail is not affiliated with AKR, there is a small entry fee of about $5 or so. The trail is an enjoyable hike through large towering tropical ferns (well, that's what I call them at least), up a hill that provides some wonderful ocean views. Photographers can seize this opportunity for some nice shots looking out over AKR and Bailey's and Anthony's Keys.
Back at the resort, the Institute for Marine Sciences provides educational exhibits on the fish, coral reef life, reptiles, birds, and geology of the Bay Islands. Also in the IMS building is the Roatan Museum, providing additional exhibits on the Bay Islands culture. Another featured attraction is the Dolphin Training Demonstration, conducted by Teri Molton, Eldon's wife and the resident marine biologist at the IMS. The demonstration is not provided so much for entertainment as to educate guests and visitors on dolphins. Various "tricks" are performed by the dolphins as Teri talks about the physiology of dolphins, their echolocation abilities, and more. For those with a hunger for ice cream or hamburgers, Anthony's Fast Food is a small grill located adjacent the IMS observation deck that provides these and other food/drink items at an added cost. So, go sip a cool one while you watch the interesting dolphin demonstration. Combining this activity with the opportunity to dive and snorkel with the dolphins, AKR guests leave the resort with a greater admiration and appreciation of these intelligent mammals.
For guests seeking a different kind of exercise, canoes, kayaks, windsurfing boards, and paddle boats are available on Anthony's Key. Windsurfing lessons at $10/hr. may be arranged through a taxi boat driver.
So, what good is a vacation without a few souvenirs? Although photographs and memories are often quite enough, how many divers leave behind their recent travel destination without at least one T-shirt? Whether it be T-shirts, swimwear, or other clothing, handicrafts, or jewelry, the Gift Shop provides a reasonable selection to choose from. Again, the Snack Shop on the dive dock offers chips, candy, sodas, and bottled water, in addition to a small variety of dive related clothing and equipment.
For the daredevil diver and other divers who suffer the misfortune of decompression sickness, Cornerstone Recompression Chamber (CRC) will be their first visit upon returning to the resort. With the only chamber on Roatan, this facility at AKR is staffed by a doctor and two emergency medical technicians, on call 24 hours for emergency services. Otherwise, the office is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m, for basic medical attention. The fee is $5 plus supplies, with a required one-time nominal insurance charge for diving related illnesses requiring chamber treatment.
While on the topic of medicine, I was never troubled by any kind of illness during either trip to AKR. By sticking to the food, water, and drinks offered at the resort, I was able to fully enjoy my stay and maximize my diving. The only problem I am aware of, was encountered by one of the guests on my last trip. If I remember correctly, he came down with an illness that was accompanied by some nausea and fever. Per the symptoms observed by the doctor at CRC, the guest had apparently had a reaction to some kind of bacteria in the sand. Although relatively rare, the story as I heard it is that most travelers to Roatan are not affected by this bacteria; with a few individuals however - and particularly if they have been laying in the sand - this particular infection may occur. My only recommendation here, is to bring along some antibiotics if you have any reason to suspect you might be prone to becoming ill easily. Still, the best advice may be to just go enjoy your trip and don't expect to visit the CRC doctor. Just "get high on going down", and don't push the dive limits.
Finally, don't forget to take also an insect repellent. For the poorly prepared individual, finding oneself with scattered red dots about their body is a common sight. Roatan has an abundance of "no-see-ums", or sand fleas. Although their bites do not itch and usually disappear within 24 hours, they can certainly be an annoyance from a cosmetic perspective. These critters are effectively thwarted by the use of any good insect repellent or, a less costly alternative, Avon Skin-So-Soft Bath Oil. Skin-So-Soft works very well and, if you don't mind a somewhat floral scent, it does smell better than most insect repellents. I know that Avon now also has added a Skin-So-Soft Bug-Guard insect repellent in their product line; although the scent is more acceptable to men and women alike, it is more costly than the bath oil.
So, Did I Enjoy AKR?
In summary, this report may sound like never-ending praise of Anthony's Key Resort. For the most part, it is. I have enjoyed my two visits to this unique resort and I have observed consistency in the services provided as well as the helpfulness and friendliness of the staff. With a well-run dive operation, six well-maintained boats, knowledgeable divemasters, and some excellent diving conditions, there was nothing to take away from the enjoyment of my underwater adventures. As a solo travelling diver, I was also comfortable with the skills of the guests who would pair or triple up with me as a dive buddies. In that regard, I suspect resorts that offer a full week or more of diving will most likely attract individuals who have a fair amount of dives logged and whose skills are such that most would make a suitable dive buddy.
My only caution about AKR is that a person should not go there if they are wanting a vacation of luxury and pampering. This is not a bad thing about AKR. Theirs is a style of rustic charm and relaxed but attentive, friendly service. If a person seeks air-conditioning, full dining menus, and other accoutrements, including higher price, of a more luxurious vacation, then that is likely best provided on Roatan by Fantasy Island Resort. I expect to someday visit Fantasy Island Resort, as I have heard good things about them and I am also interested in diving the leeward side of Roatan, which is more their home turf.
For now, I'll just remember all that I enjoyed at Anthony's Key Resort as I start giving thought to where I'll find myself diving next.
TOP ARRIVAL LODGING DINING DIVING
PHOTO FEATURES ACTIVITIES OTHER