Saturday, January 07, 2012

Honduras: Utila

Utila is a small island off the coast of Honduras. It is near the southern end of a coral reef that starts along the Yucatan coast, second longest barrier reef in the world.

The island itself is just 11 km long and 4 km wide. Scooters, ATVs, and mini-taxis called tuktuks are the transportation of choice.
We found a great hotel called Margaritaville near one end of the island, which helped us get away from the "traffic." Just $20 a night for a clean, spacious room with a hot shower and a porch with a view of the water.

Most days we walked 15 minutes to go snorkelling right off a dock. (That little blip in the water in this picture is Elizabeth snorkelling.) It was a very short swim to a great outcrop of coral reef that follows the edge of a deep dropoff in the sea floor. In the distance, we could see the mountains on the mainland.

We didn't have an underwater camera so I will share a few pictures from the creative commons that look like some of the things we saw:
spotted eagle ray (マダラトビエイ) #3723 Enough with the Reef Already... Sand maker Roatan 2011
In the evenings we watched the sunset from the small beach near our hotel.
On one day, we rented a kayak and paddled a mangrove-lined canal to the beach on the north side of the island. It was nice to have our own deserted beach, but the piles of trash that had washed up on the beach kept us from taking pictures.

After about a week on Utila we were a little waterlogged and ready to see what the mainland had to offer.