Utila – The Bay Islands

Utila is part of a small group of islands in the western Caribbean known as the Bay Islands. This group of islands consists of Roatan, Guanaja and Utila as well as several dozen smaller cays (keys).  The Island is just 11 km long, 4 km at its widest point and is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world running along its coast. The reef is home to over 500 species of fish, 1000 manatees and amazing dolphins. The research centre is dedicated to studying the largest local population of whale sharks in the world. Most of the approximately 3,500 – 5,000 population of the island live on and around Eastern Harbor. Coconut Cove Marina and Beach abuts the town.  At the south-west end of the Island are the Cays (or Caylitos), a small collection of tiny islands. The 2 main Cays, Suc-Suc (Pigeon) and Jewel Cay, are inhabited by local fisherman and the descendants of the original settlers who arrived here from the Cayman Islands in 1836.

 

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Utila

Always Sought After

As early as the beginning of the sixteenth century, two of the then dominant world empires sought to control this island paradise. The first people to populate the islands were the Paya Indians, a simple people who kept to themselves.

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Unique

Culture & Charm

Utila is a very special place! Visitors to Utila describe the inhabitants as welcoming, friendly, hospitable and uniquely charming. Over the last 300 years, Utila has hosted a wonderful mix of visitors; fishermen, marooned Carib slaves, adventure seekers, turtle hunters, log cutters and pirates.

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Although they all came initially to take advantage of the island’s rich resources, many succumbed to the island’s charms and stayed on to call Utila home. As a result of this, the modern day Bay Islanders have the most colorful of ancestries. From the papaya Indians, through the years spent as a British colony, to the present day, Utila provides a rich and diverse cultural experience with its unique blend of British, American and Spanish heritages making this an authentic Caribbean Island – Still a largely undiscovered and unspoiled tropical Island paradise. To this day the locals speak a sing-song English and carry names such as Morgan, Cooper and Jackson.

 

Today’s Visitors

Poised For Growth

Today’s Visitors Enjoy A Key West of Twenty Years Ago, a quaint and unspoiled Caribbean Island experience with no chain stores or fast food outlets. Utila is perfect for safely exploring the neighbourhoods and surrounding areas on bike or on foot.

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People who visit the number of friendly bars, restaurants, and local stores meet visitors from all over the world. Given its proximity to the reef, it is not surprising that dive enthusiasts come from all over the world to the over 17 dive shops and resorts on Utila. Visitors also enjoy sandy beaches that host a variety of water sports activities such as sailing, kayaking, kite boarding, and snorkeling. For others, climbing Pumpkin Hill, exploring the freshwater caves, visiting the Iguana Station or taking a guided natural history hike makes for a great adventure. A day trip to the Cays with a picture-postcard island beach along with a stop at a local fishing village is a must for all visitors as well as a Whale Shark spotting trip. The breathless sunsets at one of the many dockside bars, followed by local dining at one of the unique restaurants. Music-filled open-air venues offer dance nights where the islanders gather to celebrate life. Lobster, fish and conch are truly the “catch of the day”. Diners can enjoy local specialties like “bando”, a delicious coconut fish soup. While local chefs work their magic with the bounty that the sea provides, there are also a number of international chefs now living and working on Utila. They too have found and now create something special. It is not surprising that visitors return to this island paradise again and again!