Travel between Roatan and Utila used to be nuisance. With no regular service scheduled between the islands, you had to travel to La Ceiba and then backtrack to the other island. Fortunately, that is all part of the past in the case of travel between Roatan and Utila. The Utila Dream Ferry Service now operates daily between both islands. The schedule is such that you can even take advantage of the airlift between the US and Roatan and catch the ferry to Utila!
That makes getting to Utila a whole lot easier than ever before! The Utila Dream Ferry is a state of the art water jet catamaran that takes under one hour to do the trip. The departure from Utila every morning takes place at 10:15 putting you in Roatan at around 11:15 a.m. The ferry terminal is in Coxen Hole, which means that you are a short five minute cab ride from the Roatan International Airport. Best of all, you can pay for your ticket with a credit card, which means that you do not have to run and change currency to pay for your ticket. Talk about convenient.
Last week I took advantage of this service when traveling between Roatan and Utila. There were few passengers on the trip, and we departed right on time at 2:00 p.m. The day was a bit windy, and I was afraid we might have a rough ride due to choppy seas. I was surprised that the trip was actually very smooth! The trip was also quite scenic! We sailed just off the coast of Roatan, towards the West End of the island. I was not quite aware of the amount of iron shore along this south coast of Roatan. Iron shore is the result of volcanic rock reaching the ocean. Although beautiful, you do not want to try walking on it barefoot! It provides solid protection to the island from stormy waves, limiting erosion to the minimum.
There is no doubt that the West End of Roatan is where most of the development has taken place. There are many beautiful homes above the iron shore that have spectacular views. Not long after we left the protection of Roatan, I could see the small lump of Pumpkin Hill on the horizon directly in front of us. Pumpkin Hill is the highest point in Utila, and is an extinct volcano. It only reaches a height of 84 meters above sea level. The whole southeast shore of Utila is also iron shore. Perhaps the biggest difference between Roatan and Utila is that the first is hilly and affords great views. Utila is quite flat, and thus you do not have an ocean view if you are not on the water.
As we neared Utila Town, clearing the south east point of the island, we could see half a dozen diving boats anchored off the coast. Utila is one of the most popular dive spots in the Western Caribbean. There are many different dive shops in Utila. The Utila Municipal dock serves as the arrival dock for the Utila Dream Ferry. Upon arrival, the sun was in full splendor lighting up the shore of this lovely small island.
On the dock, you could see locals waiting to greet the arriving passengers. Those that had already booked a diving package were welcome with a sigh bearing their name. Others, got off and hired a “Tuk tuk” or motorcycle Taxi to take them the hotel where they planned to stay. Still, others, like myself, got off and walked a short distance in town to their hotel.
I walked directly to the Nightline Cabins at the Jade Seahorse. This is my favorite spot on the island. Rooms are funky, clean, and comfortable. The price is right and the service very friendly. At Nightline Cabins in Utila, fantasy is a fact of life!