Utila

17.03.2011

After a long trip from Managua via the three largest cities of Honduras, i.e. Tegucigalpa (capital), San Pedro Sula (SPS) and La Ceiba, we arrived at our next, longer destination, i.e. the island of Utila.

Before getting to the island we also had to take a fast ferry, often described by the locals as the “vomit cabin” Uśmiech. The whole trip took 14 hours between Managua and SPS, spending a night there, and another three hours by bus from SPS to La Ceiba. The ferry from La Ceiba to Utila took another hour going over rough waters of the Caribbean Sea. Luckily all of us survived the bumpy, ferry ride.

ferry video

Our general impression upon entering Honduras has been that it is a much more U.S. Americanized country than Nica and Tica. The US brands are everywhere. They even sell gas in gallons. The climate on the Caribbean coast is very nice. It’s balmy, with some clouds, nice breezes and occassional showers.  As far as the capital, Tegucigalpa, is concerned it does not look appealing at all. Besides, the city is situated high in the mountains and is quite dirty. We had similar impressions there like in Managua.

Back to the Caribbean coast, on the way from SPS to La Ceiba we admired lush vegetation and most of all endless acres of palm forests and pineapple fields. The coast has on its one side beautiful, though a bit dirty, beaches and on the other side a very high mountain range.

IMG_1401IMG_1431

We will be soon living in such an environment when we begin our volunteering project in El Porvenir, near La Ceiba.

The six days we planned to stay on Utila where meant to help us relax a bit and enjoy the beauty of the Bay Islands. There are three major islands there, i.e. Utila, Roatan and Guanaja. Roatan is very commercialized with cruise ships, a lot of hotels. Guanaja is even more upscale and remote. Utila is more for backpackers and diving enthusiasts. It is also the closest island to the mainland. Being on a shoestring budget plus wishing to do some diving we chose Utila for our stop.

The main highlight of Utila are the numerous diving schools and hotels attached to them. We chose one of them called Underwater Vision. Since none of us had done diving before, some of us were interested in doing a diving course. Soon it turned out that Wojtus was still too young (you need to be 10 or older). At the end of the day, I decided to be the only one doing  an open water diving course. Before I started my diving experience we all spent some time snorkeling on the second largest coral reef in the world. The underwater views are just spectacular. Amoung countless corals you can spot barracudas, parrot fish, turtles, rays, snappers, groupers, sharks and many other species. What is also great about snorkeling is that it is completely free. You just go on the same boat with divers  (morning or afteroon), pick up a mask, fins and snorkel and that’s it.

While snorkeling you can also see divers at much greater depths doing excercises or exploring the reef. Though we have done many boat trips, we have never anchored at the same place twice.

Snorkeling video

It is simply a paradise for divers and, based on my internet benchmarking, diving here is very cheap compared to other places in the world.

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