Roatan, Utila, Guanaja and 65 other small Caribbean cays comprise Honduras’s Bay Islands. If you’re looking at a map of Central America, you’ll notice that Utila is almost directly South of Key West. Located just 12 to 35 miles off the country's Northern coast, these tropical clusters are the exposed summits of an undersea mountain range known as the Bonacca Ridge. The Bay Islands are the continuation of the second largest reef system in the world, the Great Western Barrier Reef. The smallest and flattest of the three major Bay Islands, Utila, is also the closest (18 miles) to the mainland and measures approximately 3 x 8 miles. There are two hills on the otherwise horizontal landscape, one of which is the hollow shell of an extinct volcano at the East End. The inhabitants or Utila are a mixture of descendants of British, Slaves, Central American Caribs, and more recently, Hispanics from the mainland.

Utila has a unique atmosphere, a Caribbean paradise forgotten by the havoc of modern life. There are practically no cars, everybody moves around by boat or bicycle and nobody is in any particular hurry. Utila is the new kid on the block of diving and island tourism and is growing rapidly. Not too long ago, it was a laid-back island nearly devoid of visitors and devoted almost entirely to fishing. Today, Utila is a thriving community of dive shops, small hotels and lodges by the sea catering to divers and escapists.

Utila has a richly diverse history. There is evidence of early Payan Indians dating back to the Pre-Columbian years according to the pottery and artifacts found. Columbus discovered Utila in 1502 and the Payans were put into slavery 26 years later. Famous buccaneers such as Henry Morgan and pirate occupation by the English, French and Dutch was a colorful part of the history throughout the 1500's. British settlement finally occurred in the early 1800’s. Utila, in many ways, is still more reflective of England and the US than of the Honduran mainland. Thus, it is no surprise that a richly Caribbean version of English is the predominant language.There are several recommended Utila historical books as well as Utila guidebooks.

First and foremost, Utila is a friendly place. Though still a fishing village, the tourism industry is becoming quite healthy. Utila is not a typical "resort" island, nor is it highly developed. On just about any evening one will find men, women, and children walking, talking and generally just enjoying themselves on the main street. The crime rate is very low and mostly of the petty theft variety.

Utila Island is consistently voted THE best value in the Caribbean as well as top ratings for wall & shore diving. It’s also noted as one of the best places in the world to see a whale shark. It is littered with undeveloped deserted beaches and one only needs a mountain bike to get around the island. Most of the islanders use ATV’s, golf carts and mopeds to get about.

The locals are often described as the friendliest people in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for elegant dining, Gucci bags, and disco techs then Utila probably won’t be for you. If you are looking for new and adventurous diving experiences combined with a natural, unstrained hospitality and Old World Caribbean charm, Utila should be on the top of your list.

GETTING THERE & AWAY

ARRIVING BY AIR
Travel to Utila is best accomplished by first flying to San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa in Honduras. These international airports enjoy direct flights from several U.S. cities including Miami, Houston, Dallas, and New Orleans. American, Continental, Iberia, TACA, and Sol Air airlines are among those to choose from. Once arriving in Honduras, you’ll clear customs and choose between one of several domestic airlines that service Utila. The national airlines are Atlantic & Sosa airlines and currently run about $75 one way.

From San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa, you can arrange to fly to Utila in time for a drink and sunset. Most flights to Utila make a short stopover in La Ceiba, the largest coastal city to the Bay Islands. You may need to change planes or stop for additional passengers in La Ceiba before a short 20 minute flight to Utila; just follow the directions of the airline staff. The last flights to Utila from San Pedro Sula leave around 2pm. Sunday schedules are more limited, so it is best to plan on arriving and departing during the week if you want more options. If you are arriving to Utila by air, you will fly directly over Utila Town when coming from La Ceiba so keep an eye out the window. You can also find direct flights into Roatan from Miami, Houston or Dallas on American and TACA airlines. It usually costs more to fly into Roatan then Sula and flights depart at 6am (M-Sa) and 12:30pm on Sundays. You can also take the ferry to Utila, once again, via La Ceiba or catch a flight to Utila. See the “arriving by land & sea” below for further details.

If you are arriving to Utila by air, you will fly directly over Utila Town when coming from La Ceiba so keep an eye out the window. You can also find direct flights into Roatan from Miami, Houston or Dallas on American and TACA airlines. From here you can take a ferry to Utila, once again, via La Ceiba. See the “arriving by land & sea” below for further details.

When you arrive at the airport there is always a taxi ready to take you to your destination. The going rate is Lps 20.00 (about a $1) per person for any destination on the island. If you arrive by ferry at the main dock you might have to ask for a taxi after taking the short walk off the dock into town center. Once you’re settled in the taxi tell him you’re going to the home called the “Sandy Bay Beach House” in Sandy Bay close to Blue Bayou. Some of the Spanish driver’s refer to it as the “house with the rope fence”. If you still aren’t getting through, you can mention the names of some of our neighbors; Sue & Carol.

To make things much easier on your end, I would highly suggest you contact Frankie at Morgan's Travel and have them help you with the reservation process. He is a well-respected islander and can help you with plane, bus and/or ferry reservations ˆ especially since SOSA and Atlantic airlines seem to always be changing their schedule! Other companies to assist you with your travel plans are Intratours, Exito Travel, World Wide Travel Agency or good old Orbitz for the competitive air fares. There are travel services available in La Ceiba, Utila & Roatan that can help you get in or out of Utila and there always seems to be a spot available for those that prefer to buy their tickets upon arrival. The departure tax is $27 when you are leaving the country.



ARRIVING BY LAND AND SEA
  
If you wish to stay off the planes, you can take the inexpensive bus ride from San Pedro Sula to the coastal town of La Ceiba. It takes just under 3 hours and costs less than $8 per person. First, you’ll need to hire a $10 taxi from the airport to the Hedman Alas bus station (504-237-7143) where tickets can be purchased. Within Honduras, this reliable bus company services Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, the Copan Ruins and La Ceiba. The executive bus service is very clean, accommodates lots of luggage, shows movies and the seats recline nicely; not a bad way to travel. The buses depart for La Ceiba at 6 AM, 10:20 AM, 2:20 PM and 6 PM.

There are now two ferries traveling between La Ceiba & Utila/Roatan. The ferry cost about $10 per ticket, takes about 45 minutes to travel the 18 miles of sea. The ferry schedules run consistently throughout the day and keep good time unless the ocean’s rough. Arrival in Utila is at the municipal dock, conveniently located in the central area of East Harbor. The Princess Ferry services Utila and La Ceiba. Arrival in Utila is at the municipal dock, conveniently located in the central area of East Harbor. The Galaxy II Ferry services the Roatan and La Ceiba route. We’ve included the most recent schedules below, however, the schedules seem to change too frequently for our website to keep up so please make sure to check for accuracy.

FERRY SCHEDULES
THE GALAXY II ITINERARY
Ferry Route
Roatan - La Ceiba
La Ceiba - Roatan
Roatan - La Ceiba
La Ceiba - Roatan
Departure Time
7:00 A.M.
10 A.M.
1:00 P.M.
4:00 P.M.
THE NEW PRINCESS ITINERARY
Ferry Route
Utila - La Ceiba
La Ceiba - Utila
Utila - La Ceiba
La Ceiba - Utila
Departure Time
6:20 A.M.
9:30 A.M.
2:00 P.M.
4:00 P.M.

When arriving by ferry at the main dock you might have to ask for a taxi after walking 100 yards to the town center. Once you’re settled in the taxi tell him you’re going to the home called the “Sandy Bay Beach House” in Sandy Bay close to Blue Bayou. Some of the Spanish driver’s know it as the “house with the rope fence”. If you still aren’t getting through, you can mention the names of some of our neighbors; Sue & Carol.

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