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Where to dive in Utila (or Roatan) Honduras? Accommodations?

Discussion in 'Bay Islands' started by d33pdiv3, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. d33pdiv3

    d33pdiv3 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: USA
    Hi everyone!

    Basically, I'm looking for a great place to relax for a few weeks and go diving, and I was hoping to get some suggestions or recommendations. :)

    I'm planning on heading to Honduras around July 23 and staying until mid-August (15th or 16th), but I don't know anything about the area. I'll be traveling by myself and I'd like to make sure I'm getting a good deal and staying in a safe place. The main thing I want to do is dive, and I've heard that some places offer certification courses plus free accommodations. That sounds great to me, but I already have my Advanced Open Water (PADI) cert, so I don't know how/if they will benefit me. Also, I MUST have internet access 24/7 b/c I'm a grad student and I'll be taking online classes. I'd like to be as close to the ocean as possible, really close to a great dive shop, and have a decent, clean room for a reasonable price. I figure the island is so small, whatever nightlife there is should be pretty close by? So...easy to meet people/make friends. Any ideas?

    I'm also wondering if it would be worth staying at an all-inclusive location (dives/meals/gear/etc. included) rather than paying for everything separately. Also, I don't know if Roatan might have better diving. I want to do as much diving as possible, in the best location. I'd rather pay a bit more to have fewer "GREAT" dives than a bunch of "okay" dives. I don't really have the time I need to do this research so I'm hoping someone might be able to help. :)

    Thank you so much for any replies!!!! :)
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  2. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year with
    Honduras is a country, the Bay Islands are on a different planet- each of them in a different wobbly orbit.

    As I look at each of your very specific needs... I would send you to an all inclusive on Roatan's South shore, CoCoView has long been my favorite. The internet access is always available- and that is not a given on Roatan (or on the Bay Islands)~ but if anyone has it up and running, it's CCV. Dive access? You can literally fall out of your room and get 5 a day. Safety- you're on a small separate islet. A long standing and well regarded PADI training center- the rental gear has always been perfect.

    (It is located in the physical middle of the 8 mile shoreline that offers the most unique diving in the Caribbean~ no small statement)

    Everything is there that you wanted....except for...

    ...Nightlife pretty close by...

    To achieve that, you begin to lose some of the stuff you listed. The best nightlife (party scene) on Roatan is certainly in the West End, the zone of guest houses and day dive ops... not AI's. (The AI resort of AKR is fairly close to the West End, but you'll be shaving other points off of your list there)

    Although your post only made a glancing reference through the title- I think you are considering Utila as well. There, you can have your cake and eat it, too. (as long as you consider really reliable internet access as frosting, not cake)

    If you want bulk diving, AI is the only way that makes sense if you really want any more than 2 dives a day. Mathematics of economy alone will tell you that, then factor in the time spent in acquiring food. AI makes a lot of sense for the real dive hards out there. IF that's what you were really saying, and it sounds like it was.

    I would send you to look at Utila.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  3. laurenceh

    laurenceh Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: utila & chicago
    i'd recommend utila town if you're traveling alone and want to do lots of diving and have fun evenings. utila attracts a younger, more international crowd than roatan and many are traveling alone.
    utila' north side has fantastic deep walls and a good chance of seeing whale sharks, dolphins and/or pilot whales, most dive operations visit the north side every morning for two dives. afternoon dives are usually on the south side in more shallow coral garden sites.
    deep blue divers are a great outfit in utila town, serious but fun and they offer decent budget rooms. plus you will be in town so your evenings can be social and there's always a party when you're in the mood.
    if you're looking for all inclusive and very relaxed the best hotel on utila is utopia resort which is out of town and they're running some incredible deals this summer that are about 40% off their normal pricing, this includes three meals a day, morning boat dives and unlimited shore dives in the afternoon. utopia has the nicest rooms and best food on utila, check out their website.
    pitdvr likes this.
  4. georoc01

    georoc01 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Denver, Colorado
    As far as Roatan goes, I'd contact BayIslandDiver over at Coconut Tree Divers on the west end. They have a wide variety of accomodations and packages that will get you down to $25-30 a dive. Tigo is the main cellular wireless company people use and I think it was $10 a week for connectivity assuming you have a cellular wireless card.

    Please realize that no matter where you stay, this is a 3rd world country, and while the internet is better than it was a few years ago, its still not as reliable as at least I have here in the US.

    Really easy from the make friends category. They have a constant influx of Dive Master Candidates (lately between 7-14) that will certainly provide that. And they can provide any classes you want to take, from specialties to Rescue, through master instructor as well as tech classes that will take you down to 200 feet.
  5. Stout

    Stout Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Victoria BC Canada
    So then, how much money do you want to spend ?

    When all is said and done ( tax, tips), I find I can't get away with being a single in an all inclusive resort spending less than $225/night.

    If we use that as a benchmark and work with the fact that dives in Utila cost $25 each, that leaves $125/dollars a night to feed and house yourself. On Utila a high end hotel room goes for about $60/night.

    An apartment OTOH, goes for $300-$500 a month, and since you're staying three weeks it might be worth renting one and leaving it vacant for the last week. On a cost per night basis, you'll get way more bang for your buck that way.

    Meals on Utila go for $5-$7 a plate and the food is good, not like it was say, 10 years ago and you'll have a variety of restaurants to choose from rather than having to eat at the same one, breakfast, lunch and dinner, like you would at an AI.

    laurench is spot on with the deep blue, the one in town, recommendation however, if you stay there ($8/night) you MAY not get much studying in. ;)
    d33pdiv3 likes this.
  6. d33pdiv3

    d33pdiv3 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: USA
    Thank you so much to all that replied, I really appreciate it! :)

    From what I've read, it definitely sounds like Utila is where I want to be. I would absolutely sacrifice nightlife for diving in a heartbeat. I've looked at a few dive spots like the Deep Blue, which seems amazing, and I'll look into Utopia now. I also checked out a few of the vacation rentals, which do make sense. I think I saw a nice one for $450 (give or take) a month, which makes a lot of sense, but like you guys said, I'd have to find my own food (I don't cook...lol) and diving. Plus, I think if I stay at all all inclusive, I'll be around more people.

    I'm still waiting for the books I ordered in the mail to come before I decide 100% on where to stay, but I'm booking my flight in the next couple of days. So this is my last question...for now, sorry. :) How to get to Utila? I'm coming from Washington, DC, but do I fly into Roatan or La Ceiba? This is what I know so far, but I might be wrong. If I fly into Ceiba, I can either take a small plane or a ferry (the Princess) to Utila, however, if I fly into Roatan and if I want to take the ferry, I can't get to Utila directly, but I can fly? I'm a little confused about that. I don't mind taking a ferry, especially if it's cheaper, but I just want to get there without making a bunch of stops. Suggestions?

    Thank you again for all of your responses!!! :) I so appreciate it!
  7. GoProHonduras

    GoProHonduras Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Bay Islands, Honduras
    For reaching Utila once in the mainland this file may help 'Getting to Utila'. The internet is fairly reliable, I recently did my Masters thesis research online from the island, and found early am and late pm had the best connection speeds.
    d33pdiv3 likes this.
  8. freshorangina

    freshorangina Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Toronto, Ontario
    Hi Heather! I am also in the D.C. area (Rockville, at least for this summer...) and I am going down to Utila for close to the same dates. I leave on July 19th, coming back Aug. 30th, but I am going to be with a research group for the first 4 weeks. I am spending half of my time in Utila and the other half in Cayos Cochinos. I will be completely on my own for the final week and am strongly considering staying at Plantation Beach Resort on Cayos Cochinos for the last week. They charge $150/night with 4 dives, unlimited shore and 3 meals and have wifi in the common areas. Sounds pretty good to me. Doesn't have a big party scene I would imagine, lol, but seems like a laid back downtempo personal atmosphere. The week before that I will be in Utila Town, so I am sure I will get my fill of that scene.

    I am flying into San Pedro Sula on the way in and getting transport to the island with the research group, but on the way back, I am taking a flight from Uitla to SAP for my connecting flight back home. I am still trying to figure out if I can take an excursion boat between Utila and Cayos, or maybe charter someone so I don't have to spend a day going back and forth from La Ceiba.

  9. RetMTFE

    RetMTFE Barracuda

    This question will probably generate more responses/opinions than your original question.
    We fly into San Pedro Sula simply because we can get tickets considerably cheaper than flying into Roatan.
    From the airport, you can take the Hedman Alas bus to LaCieba to catch the ferry. The problem is, most "US" flights, American, Continental, etc arrive around noon so you would be hard pressed to get there in time to catch the last ferry.
    I can't comment on the commuter airline (Aerolineas SOSA) simply because we've never used it.
    The place we stay will arrange a private charter. The price is comparable to the commuter and is well worth the convenience.
    Once you decide where to stay, ask if they can make arrangements for you.
  10. laurenceh

    laurenceh Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: utila & chicago
    I am still trying to figure out if I can take an excursion boat between Utila and Cayos, or maybe charter someone so I don't have to spend a day going back and forth from La Ceiba.


    there is a daily catamaran service between roatan and utila with capt. vern. he leaves roatan at 1pm every afternoon and leaves utila at 6.30am each morning. the voyage takes about 3hrs and costs $55.
    if you want to sail to and around the cayos, capt. rusty will take you to the cayos for 3 days (minimum) from utila for $250 pp, with a minimum of two people. he provides food (usually fish that he catches along the way and a private cabin for sleeping, rusty knows the cayos really well and can take you to great dives and snorkeling spots.

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