Will the Bay Island Ferry to Roatan and Utila Operate or not? What to do if it Doesn’t!
Most travelers arriving to the Bay Islands do so crossing from the mainland on the local Bay Island ferry boats. These are services by private companies, and offer competitive services and comply with local safety standards. The entrance to the port facility in La Ceiba can be tricky, especially in bad weather. This is because there is a flaw in the design that causes a sandbar to form at the entrance to the port. Although the solution is simple: dredging the entrance to port every so often, the mechanics of this is usually complicated by bureaucracy. The bottom line is that when the surf gets a bit bigger due to stormy conditions, the port authorities are forced to close the port.
Find Out if the Trips are Cancelled:
The results in many travelers stranded on both ends of the trip. Those that are on the island and are going home cannot board the ferry, and those on the mainland, headed out to the Bay Islands are stuck in the mainland. Getting up to date information on whether the ferry is operating is not easy. Check the facebook page for the different Bay Island Ferry companies. They usually post useful information regarding changes in schedules and trip cancellations. The local port facility in La Ceiba seldom has someone that will answer the phone. If you are lucky to get an aswer, they do not speak a word of English.
My experience is that the best way to know if the ferry is going or not is to call the Roatan Ferry directly at (504) 2445 1795 and find out if it is operating. If they are, then chances are there will be a ferry to Utila also. The advantage of calling Roatan is the 9 out of 10 times; the person answering the phone speaks English, plus the fact that they usually do indeed answer the phone. I have also found that the Utila Dream is very good about answering their facebook page. If you need to find out if there is or isn’t service, try sending the Utila Dream a message! Expect an answer in a few minutes!
Use the Airport as an Alternative!
If you are stranded, and need to travel, go to the airport if you are in La Ceiba or Roatan. There are many flights departing throughout the day. The airlines always provide extra departures when the demand increases due to the closing of the port. The airlines that usually offer the extra flights are Aerolineas Sosa, CM Airlines, LANHSA and Aerocaribe de Honduras.
Aerolineas Sosa also offers service to the island of Utila. If in Utila, check out with their local reps on the Island: Morgan Travel. They are at the entrance to the municipal dock in Utila to see if there will indeed be extra flights. In Utila you can also contact Island Air at Telephone (504) 9558 8683. They have a plane stationed in Utila and can set up an extra flight in minutes if necessary!
If you get stuck in La Ceiba, take advantage and visit the Cangrejal River Valley. There, you will find many different activities that you can enjoy. You will find hotels that have awards from prestigious travel authorities, such as Tripadvisor. One of them, La Villa de Soledad B&B has been awarded the travelers choice award for three years in a row, and is rated as the number one bed and breakfast in Honduras!