The snorkeling and diving along this hemisphere’s largest barrier reef is among the best in the world, and here you avoid the crowds that regularly invade Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Barbados, and the rest. The Bay Islands are the continuation of the second largest reef system in the world, the Great Western Barrier Reef, so it’s no surprise that the ocean takes center stage. The diving and snorkeling are superb, very accessible and extremely inexpensive. Sailing and sea kayaking are popular pastimes here. There is so much to discover around the island; fish packed lagoons, unspoiled beaches, desert islands, fresh water caves and mangrove swamps full of iguanas and birds. You can visit secret beaches and swim in the ocean with the feeling that you are the first person ever to set foot in your own little corner of paradise.

Utila Dive Sites Map
Utila offers world class diving with miles of pristine barrier reefs, beautiful coral & drop offs that go from 20 feet to over 3000 feet deep at the best rates in the world. Both beginners & advanced divers will enjoy crystal clear waters, cave & night dives, over 400 species of fish & 70 types of coral and an endless array of dive sights. Utila and the Bay Islands are the continuation of the largest reef system in the northern hemisphere and Utila is the only one of the Bay Islands that butts up to the continental shelf.

Close to shore and at the east end of the island are a series of shallow coral gardens, great for snorkeling and night dives. On the north side of the island, the undersea landscape becomes grandiose, with huge coral heads separated by deep sand fissures lining the drop-off. Another well-known feature of the abyss side of the island is a mini drop-off and cavern, actually an ancient wave cut running parallel to shore. The ceiling above is riddled with openings pierced by bands of sunlight. And this is just one of almost 73 maintained dive sights found around the island of Utila. You can check out more of the island’s dive sights at A
bout Utila’s website with a great reef and dive sight map.

Utila is famous for being repeatedly voted the #1 “Best Value” in the Caribbean and highly ranked in just about every other category by popular dive magazines. Dive instructors from all over the world come here to be trained in Utila with more than a dozen dive shops to choose from. Dive the reefs, walls, and caves for $15-$20 per dive and includes absolutely everything. If you don’t have your diving license yet, get certified from some of the best instruction in the world in 4 days for approximately $150-$220. Contact PADI for additional offers and discounts off instructional courses. Utila offers more than 10 full service dive shops, speaking multiple languages. Utila Dive Center & Bay Island College of Diving are our favorite choices due to their quality, value, experience and multilingual staff. They also have the best web sight on the island with valuable information about Utila, Diving, and all sorts of need to know info. Cross Creek Dive Center & Captain Morgan’s Dive Shop & Deep Blue Diver’s are just a few more of the excellent array of dive shops on Utila. Check out our dive package deals to save more money.

Recommended Utila Dive Books

The dive destination considered the most affordable place in the world to get certified and fun dive just got cheaper. We’ve set up a deal for our diving guests with the top 2 dive centers in the Bay Islands and one of the few in the Caribbean to achieve status as a PADI career development centers; the Bay Island College of Diving & the Utila Dive Center. The Bay Island College of Diving is a little closer to our home. Check their websites directly to confirm prices and your discount. Please email them ahead of time to inform them of your arrival date, diving plans and let them know you’re a guest at the Sandy Bay Beach House. There is also a $3 reef fee for each day of diving. Make sure to contact PADI for any additional offers & discounts off instructional courses.

If you want to make the most out of your fun in the water then we have a few recommendations. We have a list of recommended Utila Dive Books that you can read or, at least, look at the pictures. There are some great books describing the dives around Utila or for identifying fish, coral & little creatures are great for any trip to the Caribbean or Florida. I love traveling with these books for informational purposes and they’re great at boosting your anticipation of the upcoming trip to the sun and sand. Our other suggestion to help take the worry out of organizing some of your activities is to look into Ramón's Services. He provides a wide range of services for very affordable prices from trips to Water Cay, island tours by water & land, snorkel/mask/fin rentals, whale shark spotting, sport fishing, horse back riding and the list goes on. Check out his website for a list of current rates.

Utila’s whale sharks are now world famous. Renown as THE best place in the Caribbean to experience an encounter with the largest fish in the sea, growing to over 55 feet in length! But don’t worry, they eat plankton not people! Whale sharks are spotted year round but for the best chance of seeing one, plan your visit during the most active months of March/April/May and August/Sept/Oct. Swimming with one is a memory for life! For more information or to organize this activity, check out Ramón's Services.

For those of you that do not wish to dawn a tank on your back, snorkeling and free diving are a must, especially right in front of the Sandy Bay Beach House. The southern side of the island boasts miles of reefs lining the shores. The reef here is often only 100 feet from shore, and the wall drops rapidly to moderate depths below. You can spend hours counting the thousands of fish and coral or looking for sand dollars but don’t forget to put lotion on the back! For more information or to organize this activity, check out Ramón's Services.

If you prefer to stay above water, than windsurfing, water skiing or sailing might be just what you’re looking for. The prevailing easterly winds not only keep you cool and bug free, but they also provide ideal conditions for the wind & water sporting enthusiast. Patrick Water Sports now provides Jet Ski rentals, a water banana and parasailing is soon to come. Patrick himself can be found at the public beach just down the road from the house on the way to town. You can rent a jet ski for $40-$55 per hour and ride around the sail boats of Utila bay, through the lagoon behind the house or even visit the Utila Cays on the west side of the island.

The closest pool on the island is found at the close by Colibri Hill Resort. A few bucks will grant you splashing rights to their quaint pool for a day. The pool at the Mango Inn is farther but another good choice.

Most of the beaches on Utila are accessible by boat only and as a result have remained untouched and unspoiled. You can hire a local boat and captain to take you fishing or for a ride around the island. Visit the many secluded bays and beaches, have a picnic under a coconut canopy, swim with the dolphin and go snorkeling with no one in sight.

A popular trip is to the famous Water Cay on the West End of the island where you’ll take postcard quality pictures on the beaches or wade in the sand bars. A visit to Pigeon Cay fishing village is a must-do cultural excursion. Ancestors of the first settlers still live here, and Sue’s fish burgers and banana cake (best I’ve ever had by far) are a must! Hal Whitefield can be hired for Utila Cays trips: 400 Limpira ($22) for up to 4 people, boating trip around the island: $60 for a day trip, and deep sea fishing: $100 for 5 hrs. There are many boats for hire that can be found just about everywhere in town.

You can rent kayaks, paddle boats, and small sail boats from our neighbor right next door. From here, you can explore the lagoons behind the house, circumnavigate the island (if it’s calm & you’re in shape), or paddle up the mangrove canal behind the house to the deserted private beaches of beautiful Rock Harbor on the north shore.This is a great trip, but try to go during high tide.

You can also charter sailing yachts for trips to Cayos Cochinos, Roatan or Belize. Sunyata Charters is a great place to start your search for a great boating experience. You may charter Sunyata and Captain Hank from four days to two weeks, depending on your schedule. You'll be surprised how economical a luxury charter can be! For reservations, contact Ocean Voyages, attn: Mary Crowley, Tel: 001-415-332-4681 or FAX: 001-415-332-7460. For more information or to organize this activity, check out Ramón's Services. For trips to Water Cay or even Roatan, see Utila Bay Islands Water Taxi.

The fishing possibilities are endless in Utila. The deep waters of the continental shelf offer many sea mounds and banks rising up from depths of 2000-5000 feet. Offshore trolling will bring in Blue Marlin, Wahoo, Yellow-fin Tuna & Dorado. Utila Lodge Resort offers world class fishing opportunities or you can hire one of many local fishermen to take you to their favorite spots. A local, Hal Whitefield, will take you and 3 others out for a day for $100. He is reputed as one of the best fisherman on the island with every trick in the book to help you hook the big one. You can bottom fish the reefs for Grouper, Snook & Snapper or fly fish the lagoons, flats & shallows for Permit, Tarpon or the elusive Bonefish. For more information or to organize this activity, check out Ramón's Services. For trips to Water Cay or even Roatan, see Utila Bay Islands Water Taxi.