Whale sharks, island vibes and new friends from around the world are just a few reasons to visit Utila. This small, Caribbean island off the coast of Honduras is completely off-the-radar for most travelers. While others flock to more expensive destinations, divers and backpackers in the know hop a ferry from the Honduran mainland to soak up Utila’s chill vibes and natural beauty.
Utila is a Paradise for Divers and Budget Travelers
Scuba diving in Utila is relatively inexpensive, making the island an affordable choice for divers looking to hone their photo/video skills or become a PADI Divemaster or Instructor. Water temps range from 25°C/78°F in winter to 29°C/84°F in summer, and visibility is generally 24-45 metres/80-150 feet. The local marine life includes gorgeous sea fans, massive sponges, schools of colorful fish, eagle and manta rays… and oh yeah, whale sharks.
Year-round whale sharks
Utila is one of the world’s top destinations for whale sharks. The best times for an encounter are mid-February through April and August-September, but they can be seen year-round. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a juvenile whale shark.
Topside Adventures and Cultural Heritage
Kayak through mangroves, hike through the jungle or get completely off the beaten path by taking a sailboat to Cayos Cochinos. The tiny islands are home to the Garifuna, whose language, dance and music were declared “a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.”
There’s more to Utila than Tequila Tuesday and Monkey La-Las. Treetanic, located above the Jade Seahorse restaurant, is an elaborately-decorated treetop oasis. At Utila Lodge you can relax and watch the sunset, or some friendly spotted eagle rays.
Utila’s Commitment to Conservation
Utila recently hosted a symposium of conservationists and dive operators interested in sustainable business practices and how to further environmental initiatives. “We understand the key role scuba diving plays not only in our local economy, but also in restoring and preserving our marine environments,” said Troy Bodden, Mayor of Útila.
The event kicked off with a Dive Against Debris® but conservation efforts in Utila are ongoing. Visitors to Utila can:
- Participate in Coral Restoration
- Enroll in a Marine Conservation Internship at the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center
- Earn the Dive Against Debris® Specialty.
By choosing Utila for your next diving holiday, you help sustain the local economy and ocean health.