Although whale sharks are around Utila all year long, they can only be "spotted" when there isn't any wind. When there isn't any wind, the sea calms quite a bit. When the whale shark feeds, birds will swarm around the area. This is how the boats find the whale sharks. The best time of year to see a whale shark is January-February, however one was...more
We heard great things about Alton's Dive Shop, however we didn't dive with them because they did not have a covered area on their boats where we could be in the shade. They speak many languages - including Dutch! The people there seemed very nice and were accomodating regarding dive sites.more
Diving is an absolute must in Utila! The best place we dove with was Utila Dive Center. Beware of confusing it with Utila "Watersports" Dive Center. They are two separate places that are very close to one another. Utila Dive Center has more dive instructors and dive masters. They have a beautiful facility! Very hip! :-)You can also get a discount...more
The food was good. They have a vegetable soup that was a good break from baleadas, however it was a little bland for my taste. Although the place looks like a fast food place, we had to wait almost an hour for our food (there were only 7 other people there at the time). The place appears to be run by a wife/husband team. Their English wasn't very...more
The food was alright (I had a past alfredo dish that was very filling and tasty), however the highlight of this place is the view! You walk out on a pier over the water. The restaurant is at the end of the pier and has seating in shade and outside. They even have a second story that is fun! Don't go for the food - Go for the view! :-)more
Nearly everyone in Honduras uses both Honduran lempiras and U.S. dollars. You can literally pay the hotel in dollars, they will figure out the exchange rate for lempiras, and give you change in lempiras. Check the exchange rate beforehand - we found that some places gave us 17 lmps for $1US, and others gave us 18 lmps. We didn't exchange money once...more
Sun Jam is a HUGE party that is organized by the local dive shops on Utila. It is held in August every year on Water Cay. It is a lot of fun if you are young and in that "partying mode," however for us "old folks," it became an annoyance. Hotel prices went up, hotel rooms were few and far between, and many of the dive shops closed completely for...more
If you are planning to complete a PADI certification while you are in Utila, work on getting your photo on your first day. You can get a photo at a reasonable price at Howell's Internet, however it takes several hours for them to process the photos (we are accustomed to 1-hour service at max.). Beware of wearing your sunglasses when you have the...more
Many people complain about the sand fleas (commonly known as "no-see-ums!"). You can avoid the sand fleas by visiting Utila during July or August when there is a nice breeze. The insects aren't around when there is wind. If you are there during a time when it isn't windy, you can douse yourself with Deet....more
This was AWESOME! If you like iguanas, and appreciate conservation, this is the place for you! "Swampers" are a "new" species of iguana that was identified in the late 1990s by a German group. Utila is the only place in the world that has Swamper Iguanas. Swampers live in the Mangroves and eat crabs. The Iguana Research and Breeding Station is conducting research regarding the breeding and release of iguanas into the wild. Although it is quite a walk from Utila Town (East Harbor), it is worth it if you appreciate nature! It was very organized and informational. The tour was free, however the facility is only open to the public on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 2-5 p.m. (which can conflict with diving, especially if you are working on a certification). Make the time to check this place out, though! Simply follow the signs posted around Utila Town (East Harbour). The 20-30 minute walk is mostly shaded and quite enjoyable.
I took a Padi Open Water Certificate on Utila. A freind of mine recomended Underwater Vision to me, so I took the course at their place.
The dive shop is located at the hostel Trudy?s, and here you get 3 nights for free, if you take the course at Underwater Vision. I paid US$ 159 for the Open Water Course (year 2000 prices).
Equipment: The staff was great and equipment was fine. I had a german instruktor, and he seemed very confident and experienced.