What to do on Utila besides SCUBA Diving

The Island of Utila is often described as a ‘Scuba Diving Factory’ – with amongst the cheapest diving in the world – the place absolutely pumps out diving certificates. Cheap diving is certainly what drew us there, but as it turns out the place offers a bunch of other fantastic activities. Back on the main land it wasn’t SCUBA Diving stories we were telling,  but stories about all the other great things we did.

So here’s a list of other great things to do on Utila to help dismiss the idea it is just a place for pumping out Scuba Diving certifications (which it is).

Whaleshark

Swimming with Whalesharks, pretty easy to do in the waters off Utila

1. Swim with a Whaleshark

A 20 minute boat ride from downtown Utila and you are in suitable Whaleshark watching waters.It is said that Utila is luckily enough to be one of the only places on earth where Whalesharks can be spotted all year around. There are definite main seasons though, between the months of March-April and August-September. But even during these seasons there is no guarantee you will spot a Whaleshark. For US$20 you can hope on a boat with one of the dive centres for a chance to go snorkelling with these fish (plus a $20 ‘tip’ if you get in the water with a Whaleshark). Tours normally last for about 3-4 hours.

Learn to Freedive

Learn to Freedive

2. Learn to Freedive

The art of holding your breath for an extended period whilst swimming deep underwater. Sounds like fun no? Freediver is a fast growing sport and a fantastic beginner course is run on Utila (as well as advanced and master courses).  Much less intimidating than you might think, they will get you diving deep and enjoying a little bottom time.

Once you have the basics down-pat and for the even more adventurous, head over to Captain Morgans dive shop and ask for a go on their ‘Sub-Wing‘. For $15 they will drive you behind the back of a small motorised boat for an hour as you hold onto a small board 10m behind the boat and 10m underwater. You will fly past all your favourite SCUBA diving spots within the bay.

3. Snorkelling

Utila is home to some amazing snorkelling. In fact many of the sites which are used as dive sites are equally accessible for snorkelling (and snorkelling them means not having to worry about much gear, time constraints or fronting up money). Even just jumping off the docks into the main bay in Utila provides some interesting little creatures. But for a better snorkelling experience head to the beaches to the south of the main town on Utila. How to get there: From the ferry terminal head south towards Utila Dive Centre. If you keep walking for 5-10 minutes you will get there. Pretty much you head over a bridge just passed Utila Dive Centre, turn left at the little roundabout and then turn right down the path which is just before the pink house. You can swim back to town from here and visit 3 or 4 different underwater environments along the way.

Little-Cay-Utila

Little Cay, Utila

 

4. Kayak to the Cayes

To the south of Utila are a whole bunch of inviting Cayes (pristine little tropical island – some inhabited, most not). You can hire a Kayak and paddle out yourself, or there is a guy in town that organises tours.

5. Visit the Crash Site of a Drug Smuggling Plane

In 2009 a plane running cocaine to the US crashed  on the eastern side of Utila. Today you can find the wreckage of this drug smuggling plane lying amongst thick jungle – ready for you to explore if you wish.  How to get there: Head to the eastern end of the Airport runway, the site is approximately 250m directly north. If you wish to cheat, it lies at the coordinates 16.117345°, -86.874931°.

6. Shut Down Your Senses

Utila makes claim to being home to the world’s largest flotation tank. Whilst you lay suspended in a solution of Epsom salts visual and auditory stimulation are removed, with the aim of physical and mental relaxation. Find out more here.

Sunset over Utila

Sunset over Utila

It is not quite an activity but..

One of our favourite things about Utila was that most of the accommodation on the Island lies directly on the water. And nearly all lodgings have piers that extend out into the bay – these piers are just made for sitting back, socialising, having a beer and watching the amazing sunsets, or snorkelling and jumping off the pier if you prefer.

 

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3 Responses

  1. Lecia says:

    Hi there, I’m thinking about going to Utila for my SCUBA cert, your page is really helpful for ways to entertain my partner while I’m in class. Can you recommend a shop for SCUBA certification?
    Also, I’ve heard you can just show up and book, but I’m a little hesitant to do so with a limited window for travel, thoughts about reserving in advance?

  1. April 4, 2014

    […] What to do on Utila besides SCUBA Diving […]

  2. January 15, 2015

    […] What to do on Utila besides SCUBA Diving […]

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