Nobody goes to the island of Utila just to hang around, spend time on the beach or who knows what else. Unless you’re somehow related to the diving business there’s not much to do there. This being said, expect to see all sorts of people talking about their last dives on the island, or their dives in Asia, or love. Wait, what? Well, the hippie trend is strong, even if the average age on the island is around 25. Yet strange how most can afford the dives and the more expensive food everywhere there. At first I considered looking for a place to volunteer, or even work for some cash, but then I got overwhelmed by the heat and the almost complete lack of wind.
I went there to dive, or at least try to. Given that my swimming skills are just a bit over the level “axe sinking”, I expected to have some difficulties. However, bravely swimming 100m in less than 1h, I proved myself worthy of trying the scuba gear. Following various recommendations along the way, I chose Alton’s diving center. Can’t talk about other places, but I also wasn’t 100% satisfied with this one. Sure, if I could take one single dive with every company, I probably would, just to find the best mix of people, equipment and facilities. People come and go to the island, in a continuous flow, but most spend more time than planned. In a fortunate turn of events I completed the PADI Open Water course on my birthday but due to the wounds I got from the bad fins, I couldn’t even take my fun dives (still valid for another year).
Course complete, time for party. Another great coincidence – the guys at the dive center booked a whole island for themselves and asked everyone if they wanted to join. A party on a remote island, with only one house and all for ourselves, few crates of rum and about 10 of beet – hell yeah, count me in! I’m definitely not a party animal so I was perfectly fine with chilling with soft music, enjoying the ocean breeze or even swim around. However, the locals (instructors and/or long-term divers) stuck to themselves, and when all the superficial topics were exhausted, the white powder made its way to the scene, to complete the 60s spirit. It was a wild night which I happily slept, most of it. The Utila experience is definitely unforgettable and a lot more suitable for the teen – just bring plenty of money. And if you ever go there, don’t miss the Skid Row Bar – and do the challenge for the Tee – thanks Jasmijn for the tip.
The other island nearby, Roatan, was very expensive to get to. I couldn’t see the point of spending 120USD to take a boat there and back, when that money is enough to feed you for a week in Honduras. Yes, both islands are touristic (therefore at least twice as expensive as the mainland Honduras), but one is for the young and free spirits, while the other is more chill and full of cruise ship tourists. A wild boat ride back to the shore, and a few hours bus ride later I ended up in the jungle by the lake Yojoa, in an oasis with good beer, great food, swimming pool and prices in USD – D&D Brewery.
Whole journey map