Review: G&G's Clearwater Paradise Resort
G & G’s Clearwater Paradise Resort is a full-service dive operation that offers exceptional dining, comfortable accommodations, and unique underwater topographies for experienced divers on the island of Guanaja, Honduras.
The Longer Story
Good friends own a boat and take you diving with them. Great friends live on an island, cook gourmet meals, own a boat and a secluded home with eight guest rooms, and take you diving with them. You need to meet these great friends you didn’t know you had on the island of Guanaja.
Guanaja is the lesser traveled* sister island of Roatan and Utila, collectively known as the Bay Islands of Honduras. And your new friends? They await you at G & G’s Clearwater Paradise Resort, located on the island’s sparsely populated north side near Mangrove Bight.
George and Ginger are the “G and G” at Clearwater Paradise Resort (CPR), a custom-built, three-story, 9,000 square foot home with eight guest rooms that is nestled among lush foliage on a slope not far from the dock that moors your only effective method of island transportation.
Our foursome of PADI Pros visited CPR in October 2016. We first learned of this secluded* dive destination during a happenstance meeting with George in 2014 at DEMA, a dive industry trade show. Two years later, our little group arrived without knowing anyone who had visited Guanaja before. Our primary draw to CPR was George himself; an engaging fellow with decades of diving experience who chased his dream to a tiny island where Ginger and he built CPR from scratch. We wanted to go diving with this guy… And dive we certainly did, but the incomparable dive sites around Guanaja is only part of the story.
Our flight to Guanaja originated in Roatan where a larger contingent of divers spent the previous week at CoCo View Resort, a fine dive operation in its own right. After a mainland connecting flight aboard an Aerolínea Lanhsa Jetstream 31 twin-turboprop at La Cieba’s Golosón International Airport, we arrived at the tiny Guanaja Airport and were greeted by George and his boat crew who ferried us to CPR in a well-equipped, multipurpose 43-foot Wellcraft Portofino cabin cruiser that can comfortably accommodate deep sea fishing trips or divers alike.
It is difficult to categorize CPR. It is unlike any other all-inclusive dive operation at top destinations like Grand Cayman, Bonaire, Roatan or Utila. CPR is akin to a bed and breakfast where you share a home with your hosts. Nature is all around you, so if you don’t like "nature" (i.e. humidity and heat and things that fly and crawl and sometimes nibble and bite—none of which are unique to Guanaja), or stair steps, or dogs, or cats, or hummingbirds, or bats, or geckos, or blue crabs—all of which are prevalent on the property—you might consider other options. During our stay, there was no television and Wi-Fi access was sporadic.
The separation between guests, staff and hosts is what you would expect at any B&B. Remember that this place is remote*—there is no pedestrian access to anything, so unless you take up G & G on their offer of a ride into “town” (Mangrove Bight or elsewhere) on a boat to check things out, or commission a waterfall expedition with one of their staff, your universe for the entirety of your stay is the beautifully manicured grounds of CPR… And that was just fine with us!
The food was outstanding and was freshly prepared for each meal. There is no buffet; every meal is plated. Snacks after dives were not uncommon. No meal was repeated the entire week. If you wanted more, you need only ask. Special dietary requirements need to be addressed prior to your arrival as there is no corner grocery store for last minute requests. CPR offers a full bar, which is reasonably priced, but alcohol is only available after the last dive of the day. And the bottomless jar of homemade cookies cannot be ignored. Oh, and then there is the diving…
New and marginal divers beware! Some destinations may not be suitable for you. But if you are dialed-in with deep dives, buoyancy control, and night diving, you are in for a treat.
It is difficult to compare the underwater experiences on Guanaja to its sister islands. While water temperatures mimic Roatan (a steady 84°F in October), Guanaja’s underwater topography is unparalleled with countless canyons, crevices, overhangs, and swim-throughs. Some sites are so convoluted with labyrinths of twists and turns into and out of the reef that you’d swear you were in an endless human-scale maze.
Deep dives are not uncommon and might include a visit to the intentionally scuttled Jado Trader on the more populated south side of the island. Our night dive unveiled some unusual creatures rarely seen during the day and a few never seen before by our group. We agreed it was our best night dive experience anywhere.
On the heels of Hurricane Matthew, water clarity was spotty at times and the scourge of ocean debris raised its ugly head. It is a heartbreaking reality for many of the world’s top island diving destinations. Floating trash sometimes peppered the water’s surface and its presence posed a distraction at times.
The owners and staff are friendly and enjoy doting on guests. Boat crew were right there to help you into and out of the water. They handled tank swaps and gear set-ups. Lunch was served on the boat between two morning dives and an afternoon dive. Food service and bar personnel were great.
If you are looking to get away from all-inclusive dive destinations with marginal buffet food and throngs of divers on cramped boats, give George and Ginger your serious consideration. When we are ready to get away again, we will be returning to our new friend’s place, G & G’s Clearwater Paradise Resort!
Check out our video of diving at Clearwater Paradise Resort on YouTube.
* Lesser traveled, remote and secluded are big terms to experienced travelers and are words thrown around by writers without much regard, so check out Clearwater Paradise Resort on Google Earth and judge for yourself... Lesser traveled, remote, and secluded indeed! It was seldom we encountered another dive boat, or any boat for that matter. Planes flying overhead? Not a single one all week. The underwater din of boat motors was conspicuously absent.
This review is solely the opinion of ATA/BAR DIVERS as a product consumer and is provided without compensation, affiliation or consideration of any kind.