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Utila Town is backpacker central among the Bay Islands, where dreadlocked divemasters are just as common a sight as Garifuna locals. The town retains a certain laid-back charm, especially compared to the over-development of nearby Roatan. Unfortunately, this purity is unmistakably ebbing away with every shipment of golf carts, and every new wave of jostling divemasters to join the horde that congregates daily just off of the docks.

The island's economy is overwhelmingly centered on tourism and, in particular, around diving. The vast majority of visitors come for this, and will find an abundance of dive shops to cater to their needs. The ownership of and relationship between these various outfits plays out in a complicated soap opera, shuttling back and forth between local and foreign ownership and with various shifting alliances. If you're ever feeling bored ask a local divemaster to relate the story of the feud that played out between the owners of Underwater Vision and Alton's, involving a decade of animosity between a father and son that only ended when the younger abandoned his shop to become the island's mayor.

Utila's tourism explosion has left the island's utilities scrambling to keep up, resulting in regular brownouts and a permanent, island-wide water shortage. It is locally claimed that Utila's energy prices are the highest in the world. Although this is not confirmed, it's not difficult to believe when one considers that the entire power supply is generated from expensively-imported diesel fuel. If you plan on renting an apartment, be sure to check into whether water and electricity are included in the price, as these could potentially be substantial add-ons.

Neighborhoods in Utila: Point,

Other places nearby Utila: Guanaja and Roatán.

By Mike Karanicolas

Michael Karanicolas is awesome.

16 Jun 2008

Things to do in Utila

Blue Bayou

106774 This is a good spot for a half day trip to the beach and a snorkelling site. The road heads out of the main part of town for about five-to-ten minutes to a small sandy beach, which can become busy ...
Diving, Beach, Adventure Tour
Utila, Honduras

Old Airport Beach

106775 This is probably the nicest beach near town and is only a 10 minute walk away. You can either pay to get into the resort and enjoy a nice sandy beach with natural straw shade umberellas or walk ...
Diving, Beach, Adventure Tour
Utila, Honduras

Whale Shark Spotting

106777 Whale sharks are resident in Utila all year round, but are most prevalent in March and April, when as many as 30 can be around in the area. WSORC works on conserving these creatures, plotting ...
Eco-Tour, Diving, Boating, Adventure Tour
Utila, Honduras

Snorkel or Dive trip

106778 The main reason to come to Utila for most people is to dive, but even if you are only snorkelling the island has plenty to offer. To snorkel the best sites it is best to take a boat, to dive it ...
Utila, Honduras

Run to the Sun

106779 This once-weekly trip offers a bit of everything Utila has to offer. The boat first heads out to the North side, to Turtle Harbour, for the first dive or snorkel then spends time looking for ...
Diving, Island, Adventure Tour
Utila, Honduras

Iguana Research and Breeding Station

Built to protect the spiny-tailed iguana (a creature unique to Utila), the Iguana Research station makes an interesting half-day trip for wildlife enthusiasts. You can watch the critters in their ...
Other Activity
Point, Utila, Honduras


Visiting some of the island's freshwater caves is one of the most pleasant activities on Utila, especially after several days of saltwater diving. There are two sets of caves, one located on Pumpkin ...
Utila, Honduras

Chepas Beach

About 15 minutes from the crossroads, Chepas Beach is probably the most accessible beach for sunbathing. The sand is nice. And, the waters here are relatively free of boat traffic, not including ...
Utila, Honduras


Kayaking is another popular water sport around Utila. Many dive shops will offer free kayaks to divers who have signed up for a course. It's best to look into this, if you're keen on both activities. ...
Utila, Honduras

Stand Up Paddleboards (sup)

143618Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) have made their way to Utila! If you haven\'t tried Stand up paddleboarding, think of it like kayaking standing up- or \"walking on water\" is what a lot of people say. ...
Utila, Honduras
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