Yesterday I was in Utila, and I made sure I stopped by the local bakery for some cinnamon rolls. So this morning, I am having a Utila flashback as I sip a cup of delightful San Rafael Coffee from Copan Ruinas, and bite on a one of the Utila cinnamon rolls, my mind takes me back to my first trip to Utila. I am talking about late 1994 or early 1995… Utila was only just beginning as tourist destination, but it was already a favorite diving destination. Many things have changed in Utila, but disgustingly rich and delicious Cinnamon Rolls that I first purchased at Thompsons Bakery are still out of this world! The porch at La Villa de Soledad B&B is an ideal setting to relax and remeber!
I Remember old Mr. Dempsey Thompson dispatching from behind his desk and collecting the due funds from all the backpackers and divers. The bakery was open from 6:00 am, and thus, was a great breakfast option before a day of outstanding diving around the island.
Getting to Utila was somewhat complicated. There were no ferry boats to the island. This left only two options: you could take the cargo boat or you could fly. I choose the second. Sosa Airlines was the main carrier to the island. The runway was an impossibly short strip at “The Point” where Bando Beach is today. The landing strip was tucked between the Caribbean Sea. It started and ended next to the water! It was a dirt strip, and it was common for the small airplanes to get a flat tire on the sharp coral bits that studded the runway.
There were no cars in Utila, other the power utility truck. Back then, there was no 24 hour power. The exception were Tuesday and Friday nights. This was because the cargo boats came on those days it was necessary to freeze the perishables to avoid them going to waste. Friday was the party day, and you could even get ice cold beer because the power was on all day! The only iconic hotel in town was the Utila Lodge. However, other smaller family owned properties, such as Trudy´s were also in full swing.
As I ponder on this Utila flashback, I must agree that many good things have happened since. Yet, I am sorry to find the island full of motorcycles, four wheeler’s and tuk-tuks. I have fond memories of the days you would either walk or rent a bicycle to get around the island. But I have to admit that having 24 hour power, internet and cell phone service is a must we should be grateful for!