Utila


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Published: April 27th 2014
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Our Arrival

The ferry docked on the East side of town. Turn left to walk into town. The ferry is met by a lot of dive schools trying to get you to sign up with them.



Where We Stayed

Hotel Sea Side Rooms - from the ferry walk along the main street until the far end of town near the beach. $15 for a room downstairs, $17 for a room upstairs next to the balcony. Room 201 upstairs is bigger however was missing a fly net on the window so we stayed in room 204 opposite which has 2 double beds and a tiny bathroom. Wifi, kitchen, water view and next to the beach. Towels provided and nice balcony albeit with several broken chairs. Owned and run by Minny who lives next door. The kitchen gets locked at night.

For a cheaper place to stay there is a hotel next to Hotel Bavaria which is on the road inland (turn by Captain Morgan Dive Shop). I can't remember the name but it was L170 for a double down a dim corridor with shared bathroom.



What We Did

Went on a snorkel trip and snorkelled with whale sharks - when we came to Utila we really wanted to see whale sharks. We enquired at the whale shark research centre who said the trip was going to be $60 each with a rubbish $1=L21 exchange rate. We didn't have enough money on us for a deposit so decided to ask around to see if we could get a better deal as it was a lot of money when whale shark sightings weren't guaranteed. We asked at a few places but Captain Morgan's dive shop offered us the cheapest trip. L150 to tag along on the dive boat for 2 stops, snorkel gear and a possible whale shark sighting. The first (dive) snorkel sight was really good and we saw an eagle ray - which the divers didn't see. On the way to the second site the dive instructors asked if we wanted to go and see if we could find a whale shark. Or course everyone agreed. If we saw and swum with a whale shark it was customary to tip the captain L200 each as he is going out of his way to find them. So we started the hunt looking for 'boils' which are swarms of tuna fish eating the plankton the whale sharks drive up. We saw some in the distance and headed towards them. As we got closer we put on all our snorkel gear and sat with our fins dangling off the end of the boat waiting for the Captain's command to jump. It was exciting and I actually felt really nervous as this is what I was waiting for. Unfortunately there were other boats around and it amounted to nothing. We continued on and turned towards the next dive site giving up on the chance of a sighting. Just as we had taken off our fins the captain spotted another 'boil' so back on with our gear we sat on the back of the boat. This time we had left the other boats behind. We got into position and the shout "go, go, go" was heard. Off we jumped into the sea. It was chaos. People were banging into each other, the snorkels filled with sea water and you couldn't see anything apart from splashes. You had no idea where the whale shark was and this was a once in a lifetime, few second long chance to see them. All of a sudden the splashing died down and directly below was a massive whale shark. It was so good. It only lasted about 15 seconds before swimming away to the depths. Everyone then got back on the boat buzzing from the encounter. We carried on for a few minutes and the Captain told us to get into position again, we were going to try for another sighting. Again more confusion following the jump in but this time the encounter was much longer. All I can say is that whale sharks are amazing! I don't know how the Captain managed to ensure when we jumped off the moving boat we were directly above the whale shark each time but it was a well deserved $10 tip. The second dive site we visited was not great as it was a bit deeper so wasn't so good for snorkelling but we didn't care. I definately reccomend taking a trip with Captain Morgan's. Even though we weren't diving we weren't ignored and were informed about the best direction for snorkelling. Also for $17(including the tip) for a snorkel trip and whale shark encounter you can't go wrong. We saved $86 between the 2 of us. Also the trip we were going to go on with the whale shark research centre left in the afternoon and it turns out they didn't see any whale sharks. We felt extremely lucky.

Went to the beach which was a few mins walk from the hotel and walked to the West side of the island to the lagoon.




Where We Ate

Hugo's store - we picked up a 5 gallon bottle of water for L35 with a L100 deposit. Brilliant value was we paid L20 for a 2 litre bottle on the island. Opposite the whale shark research centre.

Babalu - bar near the dock end of town. L32 beer and you can watch the sunset and there is a hole through to the sea to watch the fish.

Skid Row Bar - next to the Hotel Sea Side. L35 for a beer. Lots of expats hang out there.



Views On Utila

There is way too much traffic on the island. It is really noisy and everyone goes way too fast through the town.

Sandflies and mosquitoes are not as big a problem as I thought. However wear repellant at sunset to deter the sandflies.



Where We Went Next

The ferry to La Ceiba was due to leave at 6:20am. It cost L517.50 cash only. Boarding was at 6:15am, some people were scanned with a metal detector and the boat left at 6:30am. It arrived in La Ceiba at 7:30am.

After collecting our bags we were ushered into a share taxi which was L50 each. We asked to go to the bus station for buses to San Pedro and they dropped us off at the Diana Express office at 7:50am. There was a bus leaving at 8:15am which cost L115 to San Pedro Sula. This gave us enough time to get some baleadas for breakfast, L17-22 for a large one, just to the right as you exit the office.

The bus was getting ready to leave and we were the only people aboard so I was getting a bit worried. However 2 taxis then pulled up with more passengers and the bus actually left at 8:30am. There was a 10 min break and we go into San Pedro Sula at 12:20pm.

We were heading to the Guatemalan border however we didn't think we had enough time to get to Livingston so decided to stay in Omoa just before the border. From San Pedro Sula we caught a minibus to Puerto Cortes. Enter the terminal from where the La Ceiba bus drops you of and walk through the food court and downstairs. There is a corridor on the left where Impala buses to Puerto Cortes leave. They are frequent buses and you pay on board. Our cramped bus left at 12:40pm cost L52 and arrived into Puerto Cortes at 2:15.

The bus drops you off on the side of the road. To catch a bus to the Guatemalan border or Omoa walk towards the supermarket Superbarato and turn left on that corner. Walk up the street and turn left. The buses leave from the road parallel to where you were dropped off. On the way we were met by someone rounding people up for the bus and 1 was just leaving. We ran to catch it at 2:20pm. It was really busy and cost L19 to Omoa.

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