A dive vacation paradise located off the northern coast of Honduras, Utila and the other Bay Islands are home to pristine white-sand beaches, amazing lush tropical hills, a dazzlingly diverse reef system and unique cultures. Utila has perhaps the most diverse diving geography of the Bay Islands. Fringing reefs lead to impressive walls and submerged seamounts that rise from the depths to about 45 feet below the waves, attracting big pelagics. Utila is also one of the best places to see whale sharks, which congregate around the banks north of the island year-round, though sightings of the gentle giants occur most dependably March through May and August through October. These encounters combined with the destination’s affordability make it a must-dive location. Here are our top 5 tips on how to dive Utila.
Swim With Whale Sharks
Whale sharks are protected in Honduras and Utila is on their main migratory path because of its nutrient-rich waters. These amazing creatures can be seen year-round but are most prevalent during February, March and April. During these months, hundreds of divers come to Utila to experience the thrill of a diver's lifetime and swim with these gentle kings of the ocean. There is an average of one sighting per week in Utila and most operators have special techniques to spot them so your chances are pretty good!
Dive The World’s Second Largest Reef
The Mesoamerican barrier reef, which runs past Utila’s laid-back beaches and swaying palms, is the second largest in the world, taking backseat only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Enjoy The Night
Although Utila is barely two miles wide, there is no shortage of lively watering holes when the sun goes down. Check out some of the favorites around Utila Town, including Ranquilla Bar and the Treetanic Bar at The Jade Seahorse.
The uninhabited paradise known as Water Cay is just a 30-minute water taxi ride from the town center. With no development to speak of, you can just enjoy the natural surroundings and fabulous snorkeling the island offers. Water Cay is also home to Sun Jam, a two-day music festival held each August.
Do Your Part
The Utila Centre for Marine Ecology offers an exciting volunteer program that marries the need for more detailed marine ecology research with divers’ passion for their activity. Participants help researchers monitor the populations of migrating whale sharks, keep track of changes in the reefs and log behaviors for several different types of marine life.
Visit our interactive Honduras Dive and Travel guide for more recommendations, travel tips, hot spots, and resort and dive operator information, as well as beautiful photos of this dive destination of a lifetime.
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