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“Unsafe for SCUBA Diving”

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Club Hotel Cantamar
Ranked #15 of 39 Hotels in La Paz
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
136 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Unsafe for SCUBA Diving”
Reviewed 28 October 2011

This is a difficult review, as our condo was nice, the food provided our group (Scott Geitler out of LA), was adequate, and the underwater photography (whale sharks & other critters) was outstanding.

That said, we experienced major safety issues on boats and with air. To be specific:

1.) There were no 02 analyzers on any boats, so divers used ones that myself and others brought down.

2.) There were no safety briefings on board regarding where life preservers, o2, and first aid kit were located.

3.) The port engine on one boat (Uno Mas) kept cutting out, and finally died. Water from rinse buckets was used to replace evaporated radiator water. The next day we went out, experienced similar problems, compounded by a small electrical fire. When I went to find a fire extinguisher in the cabin, I could not find one. Fire was extinguished with water.

4.) One day several divers started coughing during their dives. When they surfaced, their air appeared bad. The next day we checked air prior to departing, and there was a nauseatingly strong organic smell and taste. It appeared compressor oil had leaked past the filters into all tanks. Since we had 30 divers, this was a major logistical issue, with dives cancelled and folks hacking for several hours.

My group of Seattle area divers are extremely experienced and have traveled extensively around the globe. We had a fun time, and had excellent photos/videos. This could have been tragic (or fatal) with less experienced divers. Had the engine fire been more severe, it could have been fatal for divers on Uno Mas.

Cannot recommend Cantamar for diving.

Dan Clements

Room Tip: Condos much nicer.
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
25 Thank Dan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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146 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
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English first
Massapequa, NY
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 September 2011

The hotel is a nice hotel that grows on you over the course of the week.
CONS:
The trip from Cabot is a long three hour drive in a van with A/C but fully packed to capacity. Bags go on the roof, which is bad when the winding road goes through the higher mountain passes where it rains.
The hotel is built directly on the main road across from the ferry terminal. This means that all of the rooms in building 3, which has all of the single rooms and possible some doubles, hear the trucks loudly all day and early in the morning. They quiet down during the night. The odor of diesel is also around that area of the hotel. The main office is on the main level of building 3.
Occasionally they have people at the front desk at night who do not speak English very well so it is best to get your important matters taken care of during the day.
The water will take a bit getting used to. It is purified but has a strange taste, they say it's the minerals.
There is no wireless Internet, the computer in the office is old but works for a fee. The network is up and down, mostly down while we were there. Internet cafes are in town.
The ride to town is 30 minutes by free shuttle.

PROS:
The rooms are simple but very functional and comfortable.
The beds are very firm and everyone in the group found them comfortable to sleep on.
The supply a closet with hangars.
There is a tool kit in the bottom of the closet to be used as a place to store your important documents, it is not a safe nor is it bolted down but a lock can be put on it for some security.
The showers are roomy and the pressure is good.
The a/c is good, quiet, and controlled by a remote.
There is a tv in the room and phone.
The staff tried as hard as they could to accommodate all of our needs.
The dive staff was amazing and spoke English perfectly.
The boats are ugly and need a paint job but are some of the best laid out dive boats we have been on, and we have been on a lot. They have a huge dry area below, great bathrooms, plenty of shade, good ladders, very sturdy. Their 45 & 55 foot boats are both roomy.
The food for breakfast and dinner was very good.
The accommodated for non fish eating divers for lunch on the boat.
The diving was spectacular!
The hotel is no too big so it's comfortable to walk from place to place.
The dive lockers are so airy that the gear dries overnight with no odor. They supply you with wetsuit and accessory hangars.
Rinse tanks are well set up and they give you soap at the end of the week for your suits.
Lockers are locked at 8pm for security.
Nice little beach with some good snorkeling around jetties and in front of restaurant.
The ultralight the hotel has finds the whale sharks almost 99.9% of the time. They found them twice on our trip!
We were in building 2 and it was nice an quiet.

Places we ate as a group:
El Patron - In town-excellent food and on the water. Price per person was ~$50
Buffalo BBQ - In town-good food, staff not wonderful if you have a problem with your order. Price per person was ~ $35
Tres Virgines - In town-Great food, beautiful courtyard, great staff. Price per person was ~$45
Bismark (not on water)- In town- food was fantastic. Price per person was ~$35
Luna Bruja- Around the corner from Club Cantamar- great food, pretty ambiance, great service. Price per person was ~$40
Club Cantamar restaurant- need to let them know you will be eating with a group so they are ready. Good food. Price per person ~$15

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank tweetie831
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Paltz, New York
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 January 2011

Well we made it back to Club Cantamar in November 2010 and had a great time. We did 15 dives from their roomy boats and saw whale sharks, hammerheads, sea lions, and massive amounts of fish.

This was my third trip and stay at Club Cantamar and it was great! We had dinner most nights at the resort and the food was excellent. You have to try their tortilla soup. We also had dinner a couple nights in La Paz and at a little restaurant around the corner from the resort. All were great and the people splendid.

We dove all dives from their boat Uno Mas which is a big roomy boat that has nice shaded area and plenty of space.

Two days diving at Los Islotes where we saw and interacted with sealions pups that pulled our fins and just seemed like puppy dogs playing with us. There where also massive amounts of fish here darting around us.

La Reina we saw massive balls of fish that blocked out the sun and surrounded us making it possible to loose sight of your dive buddy just a few feet away.

Salvatierra Wreck was alive with fish shimmering across the deck making it hard to see the deck.

We did a morning trip to see the whale sharks and were not disappointed. The airplane spotted and guided the boat to 6 sharks for us to slide into the water and snorkel with. Lots of great pictures and videos.

The Resort rooms were good, though the showers run a little slow and take time to get use to. The resort was most cooperative when our ac broke they gladly moved us to another room and even sent some one to assist us moving every thing.

At the pool and bar we enjoyed cooling off and drinking margaritas, what a life.

I am looking forward to taking another group to Club Cantamar in the future.

Safe Diving,
Brad

  • Stayed November 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank I'dratherbediving
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 October 2010

This hotel needs some serious upgrades to make it liveable. 1) Our bathroom was disgusting: no vent, the seat had stains, it barely flushed and the seat would fall-off to one side. 2) The shower was a complete joke: the head was so clogged it had maybe 5 small streams of water and hot water was very hard to come by. 3) The beds are very uncomfortable: cheap matress that kills your shoulders and hips after 20 minutes. 4) The remote controls for the AC and TV are on cables, this is soooo annoying after about 1 day. 5) There was NO hallway or stairwell lighting so walk and climb steps at your own risk..... 6) We were on a meal plan where breakfast was included. You choose one item off the menu: do you think 3 small pancakes is enough for breakfast??? Portions are horribly small & cheap!!! Most days it took 20-30 minutes to get a cup of coffee and about another 15 minutes to get a re-fill. The resturant was under-staffed and the quality of service was unbelieveably poor.

Bottom Line: the diving is wonderful but I would NOT recommend staying at this hotel on a diving trip to the Sea of Cortez.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MixmasterM10Denver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these La Paz hotels

Clinton
Level Contributor
111 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2009

Eleven of us from our Pacific Northwest dive club invaded Club Cantamar for 10 days in the latter part of March. We were all thrilled with our experience. The accomodations were great, the food (we were on the full board option) was terrific, the diving pleasurable and the staff was superior. Traveling with a group can be challenging, especially at meal time which is why we chose the full board option and we were all very pleased we did. I actually heard no complaints for any of our members about the food other than there was too much of it and we kept eating anyway! The resort grounds were very well kept up and the diving was nice. Our dive guide for the week, Chuchito was fantastic. He knew the sites well and realized we were experienced cold water divers and after our checkout dives let us do our own thing for the most part. The resort staff treated us like royality. It was a great experience on all accounts!

  • Stayed March 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ClintonWhidbeyGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 February 2009

We went as group comprising of 5 adults (2 seniors) and 4 kids (4 to 13) for a week. I was looking for a nice quiet place that is away from the crowds but with a nice beach, pool, and some diving. I was the only diver in the group so I had to make sure the place can keep the kids happy.

No resort is ever perfect and this one is no exception. However, I was more than pleased with this place as it met all my conditions plus it was relatively inexpensive.

Pluses:
(1) The owners (the entire family) works in the resort and will take your complaints seriously and act on them. I had problems with one of their employees in downtown and about the air conditioning in one of our 3 rooms not working. This was taken care of immediately when I complained to Alex.
(2) The beach, composed entirely of small shells, was not huge but it was clean and uncrowded. You can swim or snorkel in clear and clean water. It is not a reef but you can see lots of fishes. In fact, the fishes (i.e. trigger, angels, etc.) here seems to be the larger version of those you find else where.
(3) The room and pool are nice and clean...no bugs. Food at the restaurant came slowly (which is to be expected in this part of the country) but the service was good and people friendly. We ate at odd hours and the staff was willing to accommodate us even when the restaurant was closed.
(4) They were able to accommodate me when I needed my own dive guide so that I can do my underwater photography my way.
(5) Downtown La Paz is nice with lots of good restaurants and has the look of a traditional Mexican city unlike Cabo or Cancun which is full of tourists. While I didn't know where it is, Englebert Humperdink has a restaurant in downtown and he sometimes shows up there if he's in town.

Minuses:
(1) This place is far from Cabo. Its 3 to 4 hours by car from Cabo airport. I didn't mind as I got to see the desert part of Mexico and other small towns that we passed. However, the van transportation arranged via the hotel was not cheap. If you fly directly to La Paz, the ticket cost substantially more than flying into Cabo. There's really no cheap or easy way to get here. You can drive, but with the way people drive around here and the numerous blind curves on the highway...I don't think it will be safe.
(2) While most of the employees are friendly and service oriented, you do meet a few lazy ones who are not willing to do anything. This usually happen at night when the owners have left the property. They became more attentive after they realized that I would make a stink in the morning with the owners.
(3) The food in the restaurant was just okay and there are no other restaurant close by and downtown is 30 minutes away. So if you are prone to getting hungry or thirsty at the middle of the night, make sure you buy some snacks before. You're not able to get a taxi unless you pay both ways...for them to get to the hotel and then to downtown. The facility has a free shuttle but it runs on a fixed schedule which is leave for downtown in the morning and come back at night. When they say pick you up at 7:30PM it really means between 7PM and 8PM.
(4) The hotel itself is not 4 or 5 star as it looks more like Best Western than a Marriot. However, that is fine with me as I don't mind staying at a Best Western if it's clean, decent, and inexpensive.

I don't know what the other reviewer was talking about when they were complaining of noise from the nearby truck yard as it wasn't that noticeable. There were a few trucks going in every now and then but you can't hear them from the room with the A/C on and windows closed. If you go diving, make sure you ask the DM about the current conditions as it can be pretty strong.

My photos of the trip are here: http://www.pbase.com/gummyb/la_paz

  • Liked — Uncrowded.
  • Disliked — Too far from downtown La Paz.
  • Stayed August 2007, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank gummyb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cambridge
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 November 2008

This is the worst dive resort and hotel we have ever had the misfortune of visiting. The main problems were:

The Hotel is next to a very busy truck marshalling yard for a ferry port so don't expect any sleep at all.

The whole site stinks of diesel, dust and fumes from the ferry port -this affected the quality of the diving air.

Safety on board the dive boats is apalling, we had 3 head injuries in 2 days, one very serious with a ladder smashing into a divers skull. We encountered a reckless disregard for safety. Someone needs to take a serious look at their safety performance as no records of reported injuries are kept.

Boats break down as a matter of course, so don't expect to actually get to the dive sites.

The dive guides are inexperienced and take unaccpetable risks with deploying divers in unsafe conditions e.g. insiting we dive a wreck whes the sea is so rough that the boat can't even stay anchored on the wreck.

Don't expect any money back, they insist you sign all credit card receipts on arrival, before you have time to work out how attrociuos the place is.

The beach at the resort is contaminated with petroleum, we had to get showered and were sick after trying to swim off their beach.

The boats are disgusting with no hand washing facilities, so the lunches are made on board is disgusting conditions.

The food was abismal, don't book on a package they give you a choice of their cheapest reheated oily mush.

The staff are extremely rude, arrogant and totally unprofessional as a result of this being a family business, they don't care -no customer care/satisfaction.

The room air conditioning broke down and was not fixed
The ceiling fan was then used and the glass light shade wasn't fastened on properly so fell off, narrowly missing us and smashed on the floor. We picked up the large pieces of broken glass and the staff couldn't find a vacuum cleaner, so we had to keep our shoes on in the room, or get our feet cut open.

The diving was very very disapointing, nothing at all like what was advertised. After doing over 1,800 dives we don't expect performing sea creatures at all locations, but we did the same boring, lifeless, low viz dives again and agian and again.....

We abandoned this resort and went to stay in Loreto and then Cabo Pulmo and enjoyed a few excellent days in beautiful Mexico and enjoyed ourselves.

No chance of a refund and a leaving argument with the owners petulent immature daughter over the bill for the dives we didn't do, the food we didn't eat and the nights we didn't stay.

AVOID THIS RESORT AT ALL COST.......

  • Liked — nothing
  • Disliked — no sleep as trucks were reversing outside the room all night
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank tetleycat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Club Hotel Cantamar

Property: Club Hotel Cantamar
Address: Manzana F Lote 1 | Puerto Comercial de Pichilingue, La Paz 23208, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Sur > La Paz
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in La Paz
#6 On the Beach Hotel in La Paz
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Club Hotel Cantamar 3*
Number of rooms: 41
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in Pichilingue bay, in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Cantamar Hotel provides a nice, quiet stay in a great family atmosphere, with full restaurant service at our VistaChula Café, a freshwater pool and a beautiful sunset beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cantamar Hotel La Paz
Cantamar Resort La Paz

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