Utila for Scuba Diving
Only a short jaunt from La Ceiba by air or by sea, Utila is a budding haven for divers and budget travelers alike. The smallest of the three major Bay Islands (Utila, Guanaja and Roatan), Utila is the most budget friendly and the closest to the Honduran mainland. Throughout it’s past, the island had been coveted by Spaniards and English alike, passing from the hands of one to the other until finally coming under the control of the Honduran government. The island’s history is rich and exciting and legends from the past persist even today. On the nearby mountain named Pumpkin Hill, about three miles outside of East Harbor (also called simply Utila) there are many caves and hiding places where legend says that pirates would secret away their treasures until it was time to cash them in. But myths and legends of treasure aren’t the only temptations that draw tourists in from miles and miles away.
Scuba Diving in Utila
The island of Utila has become a Mecca of sorts for divers and budget travelers. But, divers seem to outnumber all other enthusiasts. And it isn’t all that hard to see why. Diving is cheaper here than anywhere else in all of Honduras – you can purchase a dive for about $15.00 a go, if you sign up for them in batches of ten. If you don’t know anything about diving, that’s okay too. Full open water diving certification can be yours for between $150 and $160, a fee which includes all materials and equipment. When it comes to budget diving, Utila can’t be beat. But that isn’t the only reason divers flock here from all across the globe. Utila is also famous for its whale shark encounters, which are virtually guaranteed towards the end of February on throughout March. If you’re planning on visiting during the whale shark season, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll have the chance to see the oceans largest fish, up close and personal!
What Other Adventures Await?
If diving isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of other activities to help you while away the time. If you don’t dive, but still love the ocean, you might wish to do a little snorkeling or fishing. Elsewhere along the island you can explore freshwater caves, cays or even the Conservation Project Utila Iguana, the last resort for the endangered Utila Iguana (Ctenosaura Bakeri). Or, if you’d prefer, you can simply stretch a hammock between two palms, sip on a cocktail and read a book, soaking in the sunlight and rejuvenating your soul. Then, when you’re ready to set out to explore the rest of the island, simply hop on a bike, rent an ATV or hail a taxi. The island is small, with a population of roughly 8,000, so you aren’t far from anywhere you might wish to explore.
Posh or Prudent, You Won’t Be Disappointed…
Utila has been widely recognized as a hot spot for the frugal traveler, but offers accommodations for just about any kind of budget you might be on. Popular amongst backpackers from across the globe, there are plenty of low-cost hostels and hotels happy to cater to the penny-pinching tourist. Many head to the Blue Bayou, a popular backpacker’s destination with one of Utila’s few actual “beaches”. There are some accommodations to be found for under $5.00US per night! However, the island is growing, and so are its luxuries. New hotels and resorts are springing up everywhere, as well as the popularity of renting out small, privately owned islands and seaside homes. Whether you’ve got less than $10.00 or more than $300.00 to spend each night, you’ll be sure to find access to a place to comfortably rest your head.
A World Away From Ordinary
No matter whom you are or what adventures you seek, Utila is sure to satisfy your longing for languid days in the sea and sun. Getting here is easy, but mustering the strength to leave it behind may prove quite difficult. With friendly faces and lots of fun, Utila’s easygoing nature is sure to captivate you, heart, soul and spirit.