A Perfect Caribbean Island Called Utila

Utila Honduras
One of the beaches on Utila

Turquoise waters, clean sand, cheap diving and cheaper tequila.

When one thinks of tropical islands, it’s usually the expensive, luxurious locations that spring to mind.

Places that you have to save hard for the entire working year just to afford a week’s vacation. But there is literally hundreds of amazing islands dotted around the world where backpackers can afford to let loose and relax.

One such place is Utila. Located on the Caribbean side of Honduras, and part of the Bay Islands, Utila is a backpacker’s haven.

While Honduras usually receives a bad rap for its safety concerns, the Bay Islands tend to avoid much of the fear-mongering hype and remain a desirable destination.

Water View Utila Honduras
A perfect tropical island.
Utila Honduras From Dock
One of the docks on Utila.

Utila’s main attraction is scuba diving. In the warm waters of the Caribbean sea, Utila is surrounded by the second largest coral reef in the world. In most parts of the world, diving is an expensive hobby.

But here you can go for an exhilarating dive for the cost of a nice meal in most first world countries. One of the most exciting aspects of the island is the fascinating whale sharks that cruise through the waters, providing the chance to swim with the largest fish in the sea and create memories that will last a lifetime!

A huge amount of dive shops have opened on the island, and this provides not only a diverse range of establishments to choose from, but also helps keep the pricing down.

Utila has turned into somewhat of a “scuba factory”, and many people pick here to become certified divers. For around $250, you can receive your Open Water Certification, 2 free fun dives to use after you are qualified, and accommodation for the duration of your course. An absolute bargain!

Boat Utila Honduras
Relaxing on top of the boat in between dives.

For those who fall in love with the underwater world, Utila is also one of the best places in the world to continue your advancement right through to a professional level, such as dive master or scuba instructor.

Many places offer internships where you can work towards attaining your desired qualification, at little or no monetary cost to yourself.

But besides being a diving Mecca, there is a plethora of other things that attract backpackers from around the globe to this little piece of paradise.

Treetanic Utila Honduras
Treetop walkways in Treetanic Bar

The relaxed, island lifestyle by day is a huge drawcard, but at night, the place really comes to life. Tequila Tuesday at Tranquilla Bar is usually the most debaucherous night of the week.

Everybody rocks a “Skid Row” shirt, which you can only get by downing four shots of guiffiti – a local, alcoholic concoction made with roots from various plants.

Stepping into the Treetanic Bar will instantly have you thinking someone has spiked your drink with acid.

And the annual SunJam Festival is an infamous dance party held on one of the smaller cays close to Utila, that over the years has gained notoriety as one of the best parties ever to grace this Earth.

Treetanic Bar Utila Honduras
A stairway in the Treetanic Bar

When you are too hungover to dive, you can go kayaking and snorkeling, check out some caves, enjoy some horse riding, do some volunteering for a turtle research centre or just relax on the beach.

Food can be as cheap or as expensive as you want, from the $1 empanadas to $20+ for fresh seafood.

Utila is one of those amazing backpacking destinations that has it all in a condensed package.

Come check it out for yourself and experience why thousands of backpackers have been flocking to this haven for years. Only then will you understand the “3 Lies of Utila”:

1) I love you.

2) I’m not drinking tonight.

3) I’m leaving tomorrow.

Slacklining Utila Honduras
Local kids slacklining.
Caribbean Sunset. Utila Honduras
Caribbean sunset.
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Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award-winning writers and professional photographers behind this blog. We have been travelling the world together since 2008, with a passion for adventure travel and sustainable tourism. Through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. As one of the world's leading travel journalists, our content and adventures have been featured by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Washington Post, Yahoo!, BuzzFeed, Channel 7, Channel 10, ABC, The Guardian, and plenty other publications. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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14 thoughts on “A Perfect Caribbean Island Called Utila”

  1. Why not? We found a secret beach and we were the only ones there….

    • That’s great. Definitely keep that one to yourself. Hope you had a great time.

  2. I like to been in Utila whenever i have gala time and activity i like to do there, just loitering around beaches and the market area. I have writing nature so i like to absorb the essence of local atmosphere and convert into the words. In order to finding the information about the Utila i got your blog post, It is very much like as visiting in Utlia itself.

    • Glad we could help Sandra. We hope you get to Utila one day. Happy travels

  3. A very nice blog post on the beautiful island of Utila. Although Utila Town definitely has a reputation as a party mecca, you indeed can go to Utila to relax and also get some peaceful R&R as some of your commenters have mentioned. Away from Utila Town, there are some places to stay where you can dive, relax and even enjoy luxurious accommodations and fantastic dining. Browsing on TripAdvisor will show that there is a wide diversity of resorts that can cater to many different types of guests. The best thing about Utila is that it is the only place in the world where whale sharks have been recorded in the waters every month of the year. Seeing these beautiful creatures is on the bucket list of many divers and the chances are greater on Utila.

    • Thank you for your comment Charlene. We love all your tips. We unfortunately we didn’t get to see the whale sharks….. we will have to return some time. We’ll be on a relaxing holiday next time. 🙂

  4. Very nice! Looks like a terrific little getaway for some peaceful R&R.

    • Indeed it is Stephen 🙂

  5. Utila is special. I just happened to be there just before Sunjam and I can definitely say it was the most unreal party/rave/festival.. whatever you would like to call it, I have ever attended. The sight of all the longboats full of excited party goers heading from Utila to the Water Cay at sunset is just awesome, something I’d never forget. Then stepping on this tiny island, music thumping, just didn’t expect it to be as awesome as it was. So lucky to be there at that time.
    I saw an article on news.com.au on your adventures and it’s great seeing your blog to look back at the places I’ve also travelled. Keep on travelling guys!

    • Damn we’re so bummed we missed out on SunJam! We will have to head back there one day to experience it. Utila is incredible. Thanks so much for stopping by our blog. Happy travels Sam!

  6. Look at that water and those amazing beaches, I’d love to spend some time there to just relax!

    • Haha, unfortunately Utila is not the kind of place you go to ‘relax’.

  7. Is that in December?

    • Most definitely was, mate.

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