So after our travels through Belize and our heart pounding boat ride from Honduras, we finally were able to settle down and relax on the Island of Utila.
Neighbor to Roatan, the larger, more developed and popular with tourists island of Honduras, Utila is known on the backpacker circuit as a cheap place to get your divers certification, people come to Utila for one thing and one thing only.
To Dive.
Dave and I were no exception.  We had been diving for a year in Canada.  And were already certified rescue divers.  We had logged our hours and were ready to finish our Dive Masters in the warm clear waters of Honduras.

Relaxing in the Hammock at Freddy's

Relaxing in the Hammock at Freddy’s

We settled in at Freddy’s Place, a fabulous place to relax.  Located right on the water, hammocks hang on the veranda and it is far away from the main area, so it is quiet and relaxing. For less than $20 you can have a clean room with fan, hot water and shared kitchen.  Perfect for long-term stay.
Utila is cheap and you can stay for as little as a couple of dollars per night.  A word of advice, bring a lot of bug spray with you to Utila, you will need it.  The island is infested with Sand Fleas and beach time was not an option for us.

Poor Dave, the sand fleas just loved his blood, but he wasn’t as bad as some of the other people we had seen.  From the knees down, we saw people covered in welts and big red bites all over their calves and ankles.   At least at Freddy’s we had a breeze off of the water, so they weren’t too bad there.
When searching for a dive shop, you have to be very careful.  Your life is in their hands and you want to make sure that they are safe, established and reliable.  A good way to find one is through guidebook recommendations, travel forums and word of mouth.

Our Dive Shop

Our Dive Shop

We had read warnings about some of the dive shops on the island, so we wanted to make sure to dive with a safe and reputable company.  We talked to other divers and had done some research before leaving Canada.  We ended up diving with Deep Blue Divers and they were a fantastic shop.
The next two weeks were filled with stress free diving enjoying the reefs around the Bay Islands.  We saw everything you can think of wanting to see while diving. But nothing compared to the day that we spotted a whale shark.
One minute we were relaxing on the boat heading to the next location for our second dive and the next, the captain was turning the boat around yelling at us to get ready because he spotted a whale shark.  There wasn’t any time think and we jumped in with our masks and snorkels witnessing this rare and spectacular moment.

Dave Loves the Water

Dave Loves the Water

That was more than enough to give us great stories when we returned home, but during another dive, we spotted a pod of dolphins.  We jumped in the water and swam with them in the middle of the sea. They swam under Dave’s legs, and gave him a little nudge.
It was magical.  After all that, we really felt that we had seen it all.  Seahorses, Barracuda’s, sea turtles, nurse sharks, trumpet fish, starfish, and stingrays. We really saw it all when it came to marine life in Central America.

Going out for a Dive

Going out for a Dive

We ended up not pursuing our Dive Masters.  I was not feeling well during our time in Central America and found out that I had an overactive thyroid upon our return home.  It explained my reasons for sucking back a lot of oxygen during dives and for anxiety that built up each time I got in the water.
I have since been cured and am no longer on thyroid medication or have any symptoms whatsoever, so maybe one day soon we will get back in the water and fulfill another of our lifelong dreams, to dive the Great Barrier Reef.
To end this post I have to say that I am the luckiest woman in the world.  I was at an emotional breaking point during our time in Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Guatemala.  I didn’t realize I was ill, so it was even more baffling to understand why my moods were up and down so much, why I was losing weight and why I was constantly exhausted.  Dave took everything is stride and in his laidback, chillaxin’ way, he put up with me.
When I was finally diagnosed, he said, “I knew there had to be some reason.”  I am a lucky lady.

One of our dive boats

One of our dive boats

If you would like to find out more about diving the Bay Islands in Honduras, this is a great book from Lonely Planet to use as a reference D & S Honduras Bay Islands

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15 Comments

  1. Trisha

    I’m envious!! I have dived many places around the Caribbean but have not yet made it to Honduras – I know, I know, one of the greatest places to go….but I plan to try to make it to Roatan some time in 2010 – I know the folks that do all the booking for Anthony’s Key Resort and they can get me a really good deal, so that’s where I plan to start exploring Honduras…

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  3. Dave Simmons

    I must agree,Utila is a great place to dive. I have only been there like 6 times. But if you really want a quiet place with less people visit the very next island over, Guanaja. Still Honduras and also very cheap and nothing to do except dive.

    Honduras has yet another set of islands call Cayos Cachinos, Plantantion Beach resort is the only hontel/resort on the Island. But it great if you are taking a non diver. The rooms are a little prices but the food is great and the rooms over look the ocean with private balcons.

    I loved it.

  4. Dave Simmons

    Anthonys Keys, Henry Morgan and the Mayan Pricess are all great places to stay. But we stay at Luna Beach or Las Paradise. Then walk to Anthonys Keys for the entertainment, dolphin encounter. Same trip just dollars cheaper.

    Did I say I live here, hahaha
    diving for penny’s on the dollar

    Dave

  5. Warren

    Hey

    Am in Honduras next Autumn 2010 (Fall to you people ha ha) and came across your site…I’ll check some of these places out. I’m planning to get to Instructor in Utila, as it’s very cheap. The islands certainly sound like a great place to hang out and just dive…I could be there a while, improving my Spanish as I go.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Warren. That is fantastic! It really is one of the cheapest places to become certified. Have a great trip and keep in touch so that we can follow your progress, however, I will check out your blog anyway:)

  6. Barracuda

    I never ever dive in my life; however, i wish to do it once. This place looks cool and cheaper to have one time holiday there. I would love to be a part of this diving expedition.

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  9. Dina

    Hi Dave and Deb! We are currently in Roatan and going to take PADI certification. Earlier we considered Utila, but then we heard that to reach Utila, it will take more money and time (we thought it was closer/cheaper to go between Roatan and Utila). Do you guys happen to know the comparison between diving in Utila versus Roatan?

    Nice photos btw, the hammock looks so good!

    1. davendeb

      Hi Dina, sorry to take so long to reply. Roatan and Utilla use a lot of the same dive sites so you are fine going to Roatan. We have a friend that goes every year and while he started diving in Utilla, he now goes regularly to Roatan. Have fun!

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