I Went to Visit Utila This Week!
This week I had a chance to make a short visit to Utila. Living in La Ceiba means that it takes me less than one hour to make the trip once I am at the La Ceiba dock. Travel time from the home, at the lovely La Villa de Soledad B&B is only 1 ½ hours! Talk about the perfect combination for a vacation!
Getting to Utila
Since the Utila Princess is no longer in service, the only ferry available is the Utila Dream. This is fine, because this is a lovely vessel with state of the art technology. The trip is under one hour. Choose between sitting in the comfort of air-conditioning, and enjoying the open deck. This last option offers two alternatives! You can sit in the upper deck, under the shade of a canopy, or on the bow deck in the open sun. The later of course offers more contact with nature and makes the trip more enjoyable if you don’t mind the sun.
I found that the arrival in Utila was more orderly this time. The tuk tuk three wheel motorcycles that act as local taxis where parked orderly on the dock. The dive shops had their reps just off the dock. From there they cast their nets to see which travelers they can attract. The dive shops in Utila offer lodging facilities. These are usually dorms, for tourists looking to get scuba certified. This is one of the reasons that Utila has such a good reputation as an affordable diving destination!
Diverse Diving Certification Alternatives
Often, the scuba certification course includes not only the classes, but also the lodging. There are a total of 12 dive shops in Utila. Before you commit to one of them, make sure you find the one that is most suitable for you! Some good news for those trying to get scuba certified! You can choose between the traditional PADI Certification and the SSI Scuba Certification!
Both are valid worldwide. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the SSI Certification is that you can take the course on line. This means that you can actually take classes before you arrive in Utila. This way you will be ready for your first dive sooner than if you wait to start the course once you arrive. Not all the dive shops are currently offering the SSI certification. But 5 Utila Dive Shops are currently offering this course.
Visit Utila and Love Every Bit of it!
But getting back to my trip, I chose to stay at the Nightline Cabins at the Jade Seahorse. This is one of the most unique, artsy, boutique hotels in Central America! Getting there is a short walk from the dock, so I did not take the taxi and walked. As I walked up Cola de Mico Road, I passed by the old Thomsons Bakery. It is no longer Thomsons, but they continue to make some of the best cinnamon rolls I have ever tried. Best of all, they are usually just out of the oven when the ferry arrives.
Keep an eye on the right side of the street, about 120 yards past the Banco Atlantida office. You will see a green building on the right. It is now the Cafeteria Rosa de Oro, and has a sign on the wall that is visible from the street. The rolls are worth Lps 12, just over .50 US and are delightful!
Neptune Restaurant and Coral Beach Village
One of my missions was to visit the Neptune Restaurant at the Coral Beach Village Resort. You need to take a boat to get there. I thought is would be a complicated operation, but is really simple! Take a taxi to Blue Bayou. At the end of the road, on the right side you will see a sign that marks the departure dock. Trips leave every hour at the hour from here to the Restaurant. The transfer is complimentary, but of course, you they expect you to buy food and drinks once there! The return is every hour at the half hour. Please note that no outside food or beverages are allowed!
The boat trip will take you along the lower lagoon, through some mangrove canals to the main dock. This is a high end residential development called Coral Beach Village. The property offers a unique Caribbean setting. The Neptune Restaurant offers, an outdoor thatched roof setting. If you prefer, there is also an air-conditioned room. Beach chairs, hammocks and a great dock line the beach.
Neptune is a Destination in Itself!
More than a restaurant, Neptune is a destination in itself. Come relax in a remote Caribbean Beach setting. Enjoy a great meal, and outstanding tropical cocktails. Wow! I had planned for a quick trip but ended up having a great lunch. After, I could not resist the temptation and relaxed on one of the hammocks on the beach for a few minutes.
The Coral Beach Village have some nice rooms. They have four units they call the “Casitas” each a free standing room with its own private bath. They have all the amenities you would wish in paradise. Wifi, air conditioning, private bath with hot water, a small fridge full of goodies that are all for sale. A big door that opens up the lovely Caribbean beaches of Utila. They also manage a couple of nice private homes that are for rent and have fully equipped kitchens.
A dock on the beach allows you to do great beach snorkeling in reef. Next time I am have a few days in Utila, I will spend a few days in this little piece of paradise!
About Utila’s Beaches
On the opposite end of the island, the area called “The Point” has a lovely beach called Bando Beach. The facility has a set of chaise lounges and beach chairs. A nice beach offers great views of Utila Town. The area offers outstanding beach access to reefs that are great to snorkel. This, together with “Chepe’s” Beach on the opposite end of town are the best beaches in Utila.
In the old days, the area next to the Utila Lodge and the Hotel Utila offered another great beach. Unfortunately, this area became prime real estate and was built on right over the beach. You can still see the sandy beach as you walk into the Utila Lodge, the nicest diving lodge within the city.
La Piccola has Moved!
Last but not least, La Piccola, Utila’s Italian restaurant has just moved to a new location. They are now within the Sea Eye Hotel which is near “The Point”. They offer the same menu and schedule, but now have a nicer location. One benefit of the new location is that after dinner you will walk the food off on your way back to the hotel. I hope that this update about my brief trip to Utila has been useful to you!
It is a pleasure to travel around Honduras, especially if it involves a short trip to Utila or Roatan. I will keep you posted! Hasta pronto!