Utila Island: The Best Place in the World to Get Scuba Certified!
The smallest of the three main Bay Islands of Honduras, Utila Island is a divers Paradise. It has carved its name as the most affordable spot on Planet Earth to get scuba certified! One of the reasons why Utila Island is considered so affordable to dive in is the cost of staying there. You can find many different backpacker hostels and small family owned hotels that are very affordable; in addition the dive shops compete with each other by offering complimentary accommodations with their scuba certification course! There are many affordable Utila Restaurants to choose from also!
Utila Island has a total population of about 5000 persons. The islands population is split between two different communities, the town of Utila and The Cays. This last one is a small fishing community located in the western end of this island on two small cays. These cays have a bridge between them, which makes it easy to walk around town. Utila Town is the municipal seat and largest population center in the island. I first visited Utila 25 years ago, and can say that although the island has undergone many changes, it still retains its Caribbean charm.
Although Utila Island does have an airplane runway on its north shore, it has a limited connectivity, and does not receive any international flights. There are several small local airlines, some of them from Utila. They offer charter services from Utila to Roatan, La Ceiba, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. The easiest way to get to Utila is taking the ferry that departs from La Ceiba. As of June 2016, there is now only one ferry service providing passenger passage between La Ceiba and Utila. We are sorry to inform that the Utila Princess has discontinued its services! The Utila Dream Ferry is now operating twice a day between La Ceiba and Utila. They are also offering daily service between Utila and West Bay, Roatan! The trip is only 50 minutes, and is certainly the easiest, fastest way to travel between both islands.
Utila is small community, and the local community is quite conservative. Yet the truth is that there is very much a party atmosphere on the island. Utila has made a name for itself as a destination for young party animals. A group of travelers who visited the island became so enchanted with it that they even put together a video titled “If you come to Utila” which went viral on the net. You will find the architecture in Utila to be charming. A trip to Utila is always a fun adventure! Utilians claim that their community is the happiest place in Honduras. They are probably right!
Although it is true that you can always find a good party Utila Island; it is also true that there are some very nice, upscale diving resorts on the island. These resorts are quiet and far from the party atmosphere. If I had to describe Utila Island in four words I would use the following: friendly, authentic, charming and Caribbean… Utilians, believe that their island is the happiest place in Honduras. Who knows, they may be right! In any case, we all agree that Utila is one of the top 5 destinations in Honduras that you should not miss!
Perhaps one of the best things about this lovely island is the way it combines perfectly with La Ceiba, on the mainland, and very specifically with the Cangrejal River Valley, a truly beautiful location where you will find peace and quiet in the tropical rain forests of Central America, or have the adventure of your lifetime doing white water rafting, flying through the forest canopy in a zip line, rappelling down a secluded waterfall of hiking to a magnificent 200 foot waterfall.