By debbieo – (Dothan, Alabama)
We will be spending three weeks snorkeling in Utila, Honduras. This will be a new Bay Islands adventure for us.
We will try to explore every nook and cranny of snorkeling spots that time allows.
If you have been, we are interested in any information about snorkeling spots you can share, and also information about how you traveled from Roatan to Utila.
Wish us luck in spotting a Whale Shark while we are there!
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Dave Clausen – Nov 21, 2016 – Utila Snorkeling
I was in Utila for snorkeling in both 2013 and 2014. Utila has a very limited road system, which hinders the snorkeling options unless you go by boat.
Nearly all the accommodations are in town, where there are no beaches and no snorkeling except perhaps for marginal snorkeling under some piers.
However there is one neighborhood, called Blue Bayou, at the far western end of the road about a mile from the end of town that has excellent snorkeling right offshore. There are some houses and cottages to rent there and one small hotel at the very end of the road. (I can’t remember the name of the hotel; it isn’t fancy.)
We stayed at a place called Slumberland in Blue Bayou that had two “villas” for rent. It was a little expensive by Utila standards and could have used some TLC but was basically fine. We rented bicycles to get back and forth to town.
Besides snorkeling off Blue Bayou, we also hired a fishermen to take us out to Water Cay, a small offshore island that has good snorkeling. However, I thought the snorkeling was better off Blue Bayou.
We also took a kayak trip to the north side of the island where there was interesting but very shallow snorkeling.
In 2014 there was a small boat shuttle that took you along the island’s lagoon to a new fancy vacation home development where there was snorkeling off their beach club. This was nice alternative to Blue Bayou for a day, but again I thought Blue Bayou had better snorkeling.
In general, I would rate Roatan better than Utila for snorkeling, especially West Bay Beach on Roatan which has some spectacular snorkeling. West Bay Beach is also more sheltered from wind than Utila. We were blown out for snorkeling a couple of times on Utila. However, Utila has a completely different slower vibe than Roatan, which is an advantage for Utila. Also, I thought the town on Utila was more attractive than any of the towns on Roatan.
AJ-West Coast – Dec 4, 2016 – Great Spots on Utila
We have been to both Utila and Roatan and we prefer Utila for snorkeling but Roatan for amenities. However, Utila does have its downfalls as it is hard to get around and housing is not as nice as Roatan. Most people do stay in the main town area of Utila that has road access, but I have found the best snorkeling in Utila is on the other side of the island that is only accessible by boat.
On our most recent trip we only went to Utila (flew in from San Pedro Del Sula) and stayed at a house around Treasure Beach. Treasure Beach is basically directly across from the Utila Cays. There are a few different owners that rent their houses out in this area. Would not recommend the house we used so will not mention it here, but we found the shore snorkeling around Treasure Beach to be fantastic. Extremely healthy and much better than many islands throughout the Caribbean.
Houses can be extremely rustic and would not stay in any one location for more than 5-7 days or you may get restless without easy access to car or boat other than the day you are arriving or departing.
There are also a few uninhabited cays around the Utila Cays that have decent snorkeling. Your property manager can hire a boat for you to take you out there.
If I could give a little advice specifically about your planned trip. Three weeks is a very long time to just be on Utila. It is not a large island, extremely undeveloped and very hard to get around the entire island. Also, a lot of the shore snorkeling is really only accessible if you are staying on a property directly in front of the reef due to the lack of roads. Or if you want to see these reefs, you will be chartering a boat everyday at considerable expense.
I love snorkeling Utila, but even I would not go to that island for more than 7-10 days at a time. The next time we go we will likely do five days on Utila and five days on Roatan. There are small planes (12 passengers?) that go from Utila to Roatan a few times a week.
Also, Whale Sharks are generally only found on the non-developed side of the island typically out at sea on a dive boat. I am not aware of any purely snorkeling boats on Utila unless you do a private charter of someone’s boat. So if you go looking for a Whale Shark be aware you will likely be on a dive boat and the snorkeling on that side of the island can be rough as it is deeper water. Also, be prepared to be out there all day (bring a hat, granola bars, extra water, etc.) as Whale Sharks are surprisingly hard to find.
Enjoy your trip!