Utila, Honduras: Experiences

I hope you all enjoyed my previous post about the food in Utila and Roatan. In this post I’d like to talk more about what we did and all that we saw.
Because we were showed around the island by a local (and my grandpa and great aunt are from there), we really got to see it in a more personal light.

Places to Go:

Utila is a very small island, only 17 square miles. There’s a good portion of the island that you can’t access without a boat.

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This map shows the different diving spots on the island, but where we stayed and went was mostly on the eastern part of the island– this is labeled by “Utila Town.” We also visited the Utila Cays and saw the Big Key and Water Key.

Sandy Bay:

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Sandy Bay is the public beach on the island, of two beaches. Along the beach there are many places to eat, and in the water there is some pretty decent snorkeling. We went there about three times and loved it each time.

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One really cool part of the beach was you could see the mainland of Honduras. If you looked closely you could even see the outlines of trees on the mainland. In the picture above, you can see the outline of the mountain range and Pico Bonito.

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The further you go down the beach, the more you can see the reefs along the island shore. Around the area shown above is where a lot of the diving boats go, or further down (to the right of this picture).

While there are only two beaches on the island, there are plenty of places to snorkel. However, if you only go to the beach, I would still recommend taking some snorkeling gear, especially to Sandy Bay. There is some really awesome snorkeling and a lot of cool fish and sea life!

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All of these pictures were taken at Sandy Bay, but on different days and in different areas of the water. There are all sorts of fish you can see.
As I said earlier, we went three different times, and each time we went we made three fish friends.

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Here is one of the three fish friends. They all looked the same, but they were all very sociable and came and swam around us every time we went to the beach!

Bando Beach:

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Bando beach is the private beach on the island. You pay a little less than 2 dollars to get in (40 lempiras) and it’s such a quiet little beach. They have a bar where you can buy food or drinks and they have plenty of chairs to sit or lay out on.

One weird thing about the beach was that you could see all these little holes, where the fish would burrow.

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I wasn’t able to snorkel at this beach, unfortunately, but we did see a ton of little fish and a few big fish.
This beach is definitely more of a lounging beach than anything, which is nice depending on what you’re in the mood for.

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Utila Cays:

We also went to the Water Key and Big Key while in Utila. These two islands are part of the Utila Cays. We went to the Water Key two times and the Big Key only once.

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The Water Key was absolutely beautiful. The water was clear and gorgeous, there was great snorkeling, and the beach itself was really nice and shaded.

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We briefly walked around the Big Key, but there wasn’t really much to do. It was also a really hot day, so we were ready to get into the water at Water Key.

Pumpkin Hill

Pumpkin Hill is the highest point on the island of Utila. There isn’t much to do on the top of the hill but overlook the ocean, but getting to the top was an adventure.

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I drove a six seater golf cart to the top of the hill. While it seems like no big deal, when you’re carrying six people on unpaved, rough terrain, it’s extremely difficult. Especially when most of them are backseat drivers, but that’s another story.

Once you get to the top, you get a beautiful view of the ocean and it helps you forget about the insanely bumpy ride to the top.

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Of course, none of these pictures are even remotely close to the real thing, but hopefully they can give you a decent idea.

On the way down the hill, you end up at a secluded beach area:

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It was so quiet and gorgeous, I could have stayed all day.

There was coral in the water, pomous on the ground, and unfortunately, a ton of trash. The biggest downside of being on Utila was the amount of garbage throughout the island on the beaches.

Otherwise, it’s absolutely gorgeous, and it’s easy to forget where you are in all the beauty it holds.

Cultural Experiences:

Baseball

Because my grandpa grew up on the island, we were able to experience a lot of events that took place that also meant a lot to my family.

One in particular was the inauguration of the island’s baseball field. Back in the day, my grandpa used to play baseball for the island’s team. They would travel all around Honduras to play. The baseball field used to not be much, but a California-based company called Plex donated $30,000 to rebuild that baseball field.

The company flew down to Utila for the day and saw the inauguration of the new field, and we were able to participate in that event as well.

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This is my grandpa standing on the baseball field for the first time in over 20 years.

Honduras Independence

One other large event we got to witness was the Honduras Independence Day Parade.

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Honduras celebrates its independence from Spain on September 15th. On Utila, all the islanders have a huge parade to celebrate. All the students, workers, etc. join in and celebrate, not only Honduras, but all of what makes Honduras whole.
There are also four other countries who share the same independence day, so they are celebrated in the parade as well (Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and El Salvador).

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They also have a hog fry to celebrate, as well. It’s basically a giant party with food, music, and alcohol to celebrate. The food we ate was chicharron, breadfruit, plantains, cabbage with vinegar, and alcohol! They played all sorts of music, from Reggaeton, to old rock, to country music.

***

This pretty much sums up what our trip to Utila looked like. Because there was a lot of personal ties to this visit, we didn’t do many recreational activities like tours, diving, etc. All in all, it was a beautiful experience and I’m glad that I had to chance to experience my culture and see where my family is from. And hopefully we’ll be heading back soon enough.

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