‘What are you doing today?’ asked a skinny, over-tanned man wearing a bright orange singlet emerging from the door next to mine. I was sat on the deck outside of the room that I shared with a fellow Swedish backpacker and it was barely 10 am.
‘Some work,’ I replied. ‘You?’
‘Getting drunk,’ he said in a Canadian drawl. ‘Meeting some mates and getting on it.’
Then he swaggered off to fulfil his mission.
This is Utila, a small island in Honduras located in the Bay of Islands and unless you are come here to dive, there really isn’t much else to do except sample the local rum punch and get ‘on it.’
Famously known as one of the cheapest places to learn to dive, the majority of backpackers flock here instead of its sister island Roatan (more known for its resorts and sandy beaches and is pricer than Utila).
Nearly everyone who arrives here is here for the marine life and leave certified in their open water, advanced or Dive Master course. I am in the minority and so it seems is my neighbour.
But the island has such a magnetism about it that it attracts all sorts and I’ve already met people who only intended to stay a short while and got sucked in by its laid-back lifestyle and party vibe, that they stay for weeks, even months and hire one of the island’s very cheap apartments.
Utila is not the place to come for beaches although there are a couple of small stretches on the island, there are mainly docks that you can swim off and everything else is within the main strip: restaurants, bars and supermarkets but it’s not commercialised, everything is still local and people even speak English. You can learn to free dive and spearfish plus they have little seahorses in the surrounding waters.
It’s reachable by plane from Roatan or ferry from La Ceiba on the Honduran mainland. You can also island hop and arrive here from Roatan and if you’re like me, you’ll be lucky enough to step onto the wrong boat and take the 1-hour speedboat for $65 instead of the nauseating 3 hour $50 boat ride on a chartered boat (it’s worth the $15 extra honestly).
So what did I do for the rest of that day? Well as I didn't come here to dive and it was the weekend, there was only one thing for it; if you can't beat them, you just have to join them…
Check out About Utilla.com for more details of this wicked little island.