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Dive Review of Utila Lodge in
Honduras/Utila

Utila Lodge, Dec, 2005,

by Dean Knudson, MN, USA (Contributor Contributor 15 reports). Report 2249.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Florida, Mexico, Bonaire
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 79 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 4
Water Visibility 30 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions One hour dives, may stay with guide if desired, obey computer, advised to stay out of the caves and to approach whale sharks in the instructed manner.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Dedicated tank on the boat, dry table for set up.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The short and unpredictable flight from Roatan is something of a nuisance, both coming and going. There is a luggage weight restriction for that plane. The Utila aiport consists of a platform with a tin roof.

While waiting in the airport on Roatan it is possible to purchase inexpensive liquor and wine. Bottles of Cabernet from Chile are only three dollars in the region.

The accommodations are comfortable. The hot tub on the front deck is a nice touch. There is no pool. Room 2C has the best Internet connection, although there is supposed to be wireless internet throughout the resort. Our Skype connection worked just fine for international telephone calls on a daily basis, using a laptop and a headset.

The dive boat is large, but is on the slow side, cruising at about 10 mph. There is no fresh water rinse on that boat, a definite minus. The cook is willing to pack a lunch for the entire group, to allow three dives instead of two on the morning trip. It is a good idea to request this, as the better dive sites are on the other side of the island, and it takes an hour to get there.

The sand flies are vicious, bring plenty of DEET, and pray that you are not one of those individuals who reacts to the bites.

Captain Willy is quite sharp, and found a whale shark for us on the fourth day. We had three close encounters with it. The dive guides are competent and friendly. The visibility was somewhat reduced during our trip, but the coral is healthy, and the structure on most of the sites was quite interesting. The entire area is significantly overfished, unfortunately. There is a lot of small marine life, however.

The entire island is a dirt cheap place to entertain one's self. Beers are $.75 to $1.00, and there are plenty of young Europeans, creating a lively bar scene. the two best bars are La Tranquilla and La Champa.

The resort food is above average and plentiful. Meals are timed around the dive boat schedule.

Honduras is a poor country, the average monthly family income is around $110 on the island of Utila, and only $80 on the mainland. A seven day-old baby died of a fever, on the island, during the week we were there. There is little violent crime, but theft is something of a concern. The resort owner insists that the entire resort is secure, and we had no difficulties with our valuables.

There is little for non-diving family members to do here. The sunset view from the Bay Islands College of Diving bar is excellent, and the drinks there are substantially cheaper then in the main lodge bar which is only 60 feet away. Go figure.

There are only two roads on the island which are paved, totaling about 5 miles. Renting a bicycle and spending an afternoon riding around will allow you to see all of the island.

The treehouse bar is definitely worth a happy hour drink. Gunther, the sculptor, is an interesting character, and his shop is worth a visit.

There are, unfortunately, no large interesting wrecks, and if one does not encounter a whale shark during the week the dive vacation becomes somewhat average to slightly above average.

There are both malaria and dengue fever on the island, although they are both quite rare, and it is a good idea to use malaria prophylaxis, and to have the oral typhoid vaccine before departing. Captain Willy can attest that dengue fever is quite an experience, he apparently came close to dying from it.

There are big changes in the planning stages for the island. A Florida style condominium complex is apparently being planned for one of the main lagoons. The island will probably lose its charm in the next decade. The dive guides are very concerned about the possibility that the mangrove swamps will be trained for development. They fear the reefs will decline substantially without abundant healthy mangroves to filter the island water runoff.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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