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Review Highlights
Awesome and patient instructors

Johnny, Rachel and Nina are all AMAZING instructors. All three of them really helped me become more... read more

Reviewed 12 August 2021
NikkyWyand
,
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Amazing experience!

My experience with Freedive Utila has been one of my most memorable travel experiences. Over the... read more

Reviewed 5 July 2021
jess3y
via mobile
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Reviewed 13 October 2015

I Hesitated to take the beginner class, didn't for a second for the advanced! Loved every minute of it.

I took the class because I had previously discovered spear fishing which I loved, but I was pretty lousy at.

I came from a childhood of Asthma and allergies and permanent congestion and not being able to breathe through my nose and could barely dive 7 or 8 meters before having to take a shot, well aimed or not and swimming back up to the surface in a panic, feeling like I was drowning.

Well day one we had a goal of 12m. I went through my breathe up as Jon taught me in class and concentrated on reaching the most relaxed state I was capable of and executed his instructions. You can imagine my surprise when I saw the knot at 12m appear before my eyes on my very first dive without even feeling like I had pushed myself.

I spent the next dozen dives, hitting it each time and even counting off 15-20 seconds at the weights at 14m. Mind blown.

Day two free diving was awesome and even more incredible!
I took it very easy warming up and not trying to go too deep too fast, to allow the body to adapt and the dive reflexes to kick in.

My dives without even trying to have an idea how deep I was going, went 14m, 17m, 21m. Several times, even hung out a few seconds.

Then we went to the wreck and I went down to 22m and then swam 15m from the line to cross through the wheel house of the Halliburton before kicking back up! Mind blown again.

Advanced class Day one.

I did the static breath holds and can't believe what I was able to do thanks to them! My first try on land, 3:28. First try in the water 4:00 both without really trying hard. Then I tried to see how far I could go and did 4:31 on my third and last try! Not bad for a kid who had to sit out the running in gym class!

Day two.

Started practicing the exhale diving, kind of sets you back on depth as you are going down with less oxygen, but it helps your body develop the mammalian dive reflex and prepare for deeper dives on your next full breath dives. Managed 16m on an exhale dive and then a new personal best of 24m when returning to full breath dives.

Day three.
Concentrated on practicing form as I had been struggling with a partially clogged ear and didn’t want to risk an injury. Still felt pretty good after a few warm up dives and decided to give an easy go at seeing how far I would get on one last dive without forcing on the ear and staying in a comfort zone. Was shocked to see the weights appear again. 30m! A 6m jump from my personal best reached the day before.

Felt I had gotten more than I had hoped and decided to quit while I was ahead. Practiced safety diving my instructor on his last two dives instead of going deep again myself.

We then stopped by the reed and did a few fun dives in shallow water. Practiced a few exhale dives to keep my efforts light in shallow water and simulate how my next spear fishing run would feel. I can already taste the fresh ceviche! :) I came back to shore thrilled at what I had accomplished.

I can’t recommend enough the talent and professionalism of the crew at Free Dive Utila and how safe and encouraged they made us feel. I had tried watching youtube videos and doing breathe ups before on my own and honestly, you need a pro with you to keep you safe and make you feel safe enough to relax and reach these impressive goals they set for us. Couldn’t have done it without them.
Thanks again for everything Jon, Tex and Lisa. It was truly a pleasure and quite an experience.

See you again somewhere in the deep blue! :)

Date of experience: October 2015
3  Thank AndrewVajda
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 11 October 2015

So here’s the thing - I was actually kind of freaked out to try freediving. I'm a scuba diver, but going to 21 metres on BREATH? Yeah right. Still, I’d heard so many good things about Freedive Utila, and was curious about how the heck a total newbie could go to depths as great as 21 metres. Good ‘ol curiosity won me over, as it does, and I enrolled in the beginner course after putting it off for almost two full months. Guess what? It was fantastic!

Lisa taught my beginner course, and she was a patient, fun, and fabulous instructor. By the end of the fist session, I was super pumped about freediving, and was shocked that it didn’t feel difficult or scary, as I thought it might. As a nice bonus, the dives were conducted at Utila's local wreck, the Halliburton - so you had something cool to look at while going up and down the line. I couldn’t wait to do more. Unfortunately I got sick for the second day and couldn’t equalize at all (sinus congestion), but the owner of the shop generously let me come back for a make-up day when I was feeling better. On the make-up day, I did get to 21 metres, and figured, “OK, I’ve done it; that’s deep enough - check that one off the list.”

Yeah right. The experience stewed in the back of my mind, and almost on a whim, I enrolled in the advanced course about a week later.

This time, my instructor was Jon, and he was super knowledgeable and encouraging. The course included static apnea, exhale diving, and then dives up to 40 metres. (Sounds crazy, right? It isn’t! You’ll see...)

Static ended up being really interesting - after two attempts, I managed a 4:15 breath hold - and I’m a girl with wussy lungs, from the freaking prairies in Canada, who has never tried holding her breath before. If you asked me before how long I thought I could hold my breath, I would’ve guessed about 45 seconds max... ha! Static will probably smash your assumptions about yourself.

Exhale diving sounded petrifying, but I ended up enjoying it a ton (free-falling down the line is pretty sweet), and did see lots of improvement in full lung dives after a series of exhale dives.

Overall, I thought that both courses and both instructors were fantastic. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Freedive Utila to anyone curious about freediving; it was one of the best things I did while in Utila. Seeing the underwater world with no reg and no tank feels simply amazing. I will definitely go back for more next time I’m there!

Date of experience: September 2015
3  Thank sheenaneedscoffee
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 10 October 2015

I arrived on Utila looking to do the entry level freediver course with the possibility of the advanced course in mind after hearing how a fellow traveller was able to reach a depth of 35m after just 5 days with Freedive Utila. The idea was to improve my time and depth so I could better explore shallow reefs for the remainder of my trip and for the future. After just 1 hour in the water I knew I was going to complete the Advanced Course and shortly after the Advanced Course I changed the rest of my travel plans to stay on to do the Master course. My goal went from simply wanting to be better on the reef to needing to improve my freediving abilities. For me, this change was partly due to the simple fact that freediving is a fantastic sport however, the enjoyment of the sport and my time here as a whole was in no small part due to the people.

Tex, Jon and Lisa are fantastic instructors who's passion for freediving translates into everything they do both in and out of the water. While in the classroom they know the in's and out's of the sport and are able to dispel any concerns, its when you hit the water that their instruction really shines. They manage to make you feel at ease the whole time in the water, accompanying every student on every dive (that can be more than 40 dives in a session) and still make it look easy.

Staying at Freedive Utila is a blast. The place has hammocks, a well stocked kitchen, TV area, good wifi and most of all great company. There's even sunset yoga on the dock with Yoga Utila (small donation required) almost everyday. It really does feel like a home away from home.

If you're even slightly considering taking a course here, do it - you won't regret it.

A big thanks to Tex, Marie, Lisa and Jon for making my time there and absolutely unforgettable experience!

Date of experience: September 2015
3  Thank Zach O
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 28 September 2015

I can recommend the course to anyone who ever had the slightest interest in free-diving. I love the water and always wanted to try free-diving and experience a different kind of being under water. I couldn't have wished for a better place to learn than Freedive Utila.

The crew at Deep Blue Divers is very friendly, the location is really nice, the place and people are very relaxed and easy-going and most importantly they know their stuff, take their time and deliver quality (can definitely recommend them for scuba-diving, too).

The course was taught by Tex, which was a bliss. It is rare that someone teaches you with so much passion. It becomes immediately clear that he knows what he is talking about and he has a very clear way of communicating and explaining things. After the first afternoon in the classroom, we hit the water on day 2 and 3. There is no problem feeling comfortable on and under water having Tex around, taking his time and making you feel at ease.

I'll easily grand them 5 stars and thank Tex for sharing and showing his passion!

Date of experience: October 2014
2  Thank Joel_vd_Hoven
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 27 September 2015 via mobile

Utila was a last minute change of plans for us, after hearing such rave reviews from fellow travellers and we are so happy we decided to go to Free Dive Utila. Our time here has definitely been one of our highlights, with skills we will take away and use forever.

We did both the beginners and advanced free divers courses and stayed in the rooms on site.
Free Dive Utila was a home away from home. We felt like we were living with mates in flat. The course was professional with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Thanks to Tex, Lisa and John for all their guidance, helping us push (what we thought were) our limits, and making us feel so welcome. We wish we could have stayed longer, and would love to go back.

Date of experience: September 2015
2  Thank AlexVil86
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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