I just got back from “The Rock” and happy to share the following Utila Update. I can report that the Utila Dream is working like a charm. The Utila Ferry departs right on schedule and is well maintained. I was lucky in the fact that the sea was calm and we had a smooth passage going and coming.
There were few of us on the ferry, so I was not surprised to find the island with few tourists. This is that time of the year…
As always, I stayed at the Jade Seahorse Nightland Cabins. The rooms are not only unique. They have great orthopedic beds that provide for a great sleep after a day of walking around town. They also have a brand new air conditioning unit. The unit is one of those modern mini splits that are so much more efficient and quiet. This is easily my favorite place to stay in Utila! The result was a great night sleep despite the fact that there was a party going on at the nearby Treetanic Bar.
Upon arrival, I found that the Rehab Bar has moved. They used to be next to Chepe’s Beach, now they are just past the municipal dock. It turns out that the old owner, Lee passed away earlier this year. His local partner ran into trouble with the property rental, and decided to build her own facility. The new Rehab has the same menu as before, and much of the décor has come from the old locale.
I had dinner last night at Rehab and found their chicken wings to be as good as always. The beer was barely on the cold side, so after a couple of sips, it was pretty much luke warm. Also, I found that they will rip you off with the exchange rate. They are offering a 20 lemps per one us dollar versus a 23.5 to one that is the official rate. That is close to 18% less. A true rip off. They do not accept credit cards either, so make sure that you bring in plenty of local currency when you stop there for a warm beer and some lunch.
The old Rehab is now the Relapse Bar, and in true island style, has kept exactly the old menu the Rehab had. The bar is pleasant and service is ok at the Relapse. I did find the beer to be cold, which is certainly a plus on a hot day!
As always, you cannot miss Mango Tango Restaurant. It is in the bright yellow building close to the municipal dock. This is one of my favorite Utila Restaurants. You cannot go wrong here. As with most Utila businesses, they do not accept credit cards, so you will have to have some cash with you. Just below Mango Tango is a brand new French owned restaurant specializing in Crepes.
At Oceane’s Crepes you can enjoy indoor seating, looking out to the ocean, and even a couple of nice outdoor tables under an umbrella. A bit of France on the Caribbean! The Crepes are delicious and affordable. Oceane’s Crepes, is owned by on other that Oceane herself! They are open Monday to Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also offer great natural fruit smoothies that vary depending on what fruits are in season.
I included a stop at The Venue, which is out at Chepe’s Beach. They have evolved from a regular beach bar to a full out Pirates Bar. This means that no beer is for sale here any more. If you are a pirate, you want no beer, you are into rum. The Venue has quite a variety of rums available. In addition, a complete selection of natural fruit juices is available to make the perfect rum cocktail. The folks at The Venue are always innovating and offering new things to do in Utila. You should check them out for the most recent additions to the list!
The Venue offers direct beach access in front and a dock into the Lower Lagoon in the back. They use this dock as the departure point for several tours of Utila, including a trip across the island to the north shore. At night they offer a kayak tour throughout the Lower Lagoon. You will be amazed at the bio luminescence that is present in the lagoon. If you happen to be in Utila for a New Moon, make sure you take this tour. You will be hard pressed to find a body of water with as much bio luminescence in the Caribbean and Central America.
I was surprised to see a sign for BAC Honduras Bank in Utila. This bank is the largest credit card processing bank in Central America. They represent American Express, Diners Club and JVC cards. As soon as I saw the sign, I rushed to find what services they offered. I was disappointed to find that they have done a sort of franchise deal with a couple of businesses in Utila. Thus, the service depends on the good will of the local businesses. It was clear that they were not enthusiastic about their business venture with the bank. I cannot recommend this service because it is not reliable. It works as a backup plan in case the other ATM machines in Utila do not work.
Utila and the Cangrejal River Valley are the Perfect Combination.
Utila is a great destination that you will enjoy thoroughly. Make sure you do not miss it! After a few days in Utila, I was happy to be back at La Villa de Soledad B&B on the Cangrejal River. Believe it or not, it is cooler here in the jungle than it is on the island. I must say that there is no better combination than the tropical jungles of Pico Bonito at the Cangrejal River and the Bay Islands of Honduras. Regardless of whether you are staying in Utila, Roatan or Guanaja, you should plan on spending a couple of days at the Cangrejal River Valley.