I loved diving at Alton’s. Everything from the location, to the instructors, to the atmosphere. It was absolutely perfect for what I was looking for.
Alton’s is a really chill dive shop on the edge of the main town-area in Utila, right off the ferry. I got extra lucky because I happened to arrive not only in the off-season, but also when they were undergoing construction so I got a reduced price of $275 (usually $350) for my Open Water certification and I also paid only $275 to get my Advanced as well.
When it came to choosing which dive shop I went with, I really focused more on how I felt about the people I met at the dive shop (the person running it, the instructors, the students who were already there) and the overall vibe I got from the place, more so than the price – although don’t get me wrong, the price was still VERY much a factor.
I wanted a location that wasn’t a crazy party scene like a lot of the other dive shops on the island because I’m not much of a partier, but I also wanted a place where I’d have fun and be able to hang out with a cool group of people.
Plus, Alton’s sister owns Underwater Vision (which has more of a party vibe than Alton’s) and the Alton’s crew was totally welcome to hang out there whenever – I watched the McGregor vs. Mayweather fight at Underwater Vision.
Alton’s does have it’s own cafe/bar where you can breakfast and lunch and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages so you don’t have to worry about running to the store if you’re late for diving but want to grab some food.
Plus, there’s a kitchen that anyone can use, with a refrigerator and a stove, so if you want to keep Utila as budget friendly as possible you’ll be able to make all your own meals.
One of my favorite things about the actual dive shop itself is the dock because at the end of it there’s an incredible spot to just hang out, lay in a hammock, or jump off of into the water!
And the sunsets are phenomenal!
But the absolute best part of Alton’s and the part that made me want to stay and do my advanced was the people.
Alton’s employs a great crew, and everyone from the instructors to the DMTs to the boat captains really helped me enjoy my diving experience – which was no easy feat since I have an insane fear of drowning/not being able to breathe and I’ve been deathly afraid of the ocean since I was a little kid.
So yeah, if these incredible people could not only help me so that I could overcome my fear of drowning and get comfortable enough under the water to pass my Open Water, but also get me interested in continuing on and doing my Advanced, they must be pretty extraordinary.