Utila Ferry Service: which one do I take?
When I first visited Utila back in the early 1990’s there was no ferry service. Getting to the island was limited to taking the 7 or 8 hour cargo ship, or a 5 minute flight from La Ceiba. Most tourists would arrive by air, but the locals took the cargo ship, unless they could afford to fly.
Things have certainly changed in Utila! Today the question is not how to get there, you can always fly, but most people arrive by ferry. The issue is that there are now two different ferry boats serving the island with exactly the same departures, so today the issue is about which is the best ferry to take? Hence my title: Utila: The tale of two ferries to one little island.
As with all things, each has its pro’s and con’s. The Utila Princess has been around for many years, and they have the advantage of having two different vessels that they use, thus, there is always at least one in good seaworthy condition. They have also reduced their prices to a ridiculous Lps. 199 per person one way! This is approximately $9 US Dollars! The Utila Princess takes an hour to make the passage between the mainland and Utila. The cabin has air conditioning, however one of the two boats has small windows. So if you are lucky you get the “newer boat” with larger windows and avoid the claustrophobic feeling of being locked in.
On the other hand, The Utila Dream is a larger vessel, with a capacity of just over 200 passengers. The ferry is a state of the art waterjet catamaran. The vessel offers two different settings, an air conditioned room as well as an open air deck. In the latter, you can feel the cool marine breeze blowing in your face as you make the voyage. The travel time is a tad bit shorter, only 45 minutes, however the fare is 350 lempiras one way or 600 round trip. Although it is 250% more that the Princess, it is only a bit over $15US dollars!
I would say that if you are on a budget, or traveling as a family, you will certainly save some money by using the Utila Princess. If you are one that tends to get sea sick, sitting in the open air usually makes a BIG difference. Therefore you will be better off in the Utila Dream. If you want to experience travel like the locals do, then the Utila Princess is for you. If you prefer a more classy and comfortable trip, go for the Dream!
Whichever your choice, you will find the Utila Ferry Service to be fast and affordable. Soon be enjoying a nice cold beer in one of the most unique and beautiful islands in the Caribbean: Utila!