My favorite place in Central America is Utila. Where the heck is Utila, you ask?
Utila is a small island located north of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea. It is technically a part of Honduras, but feels quite different. It’s a diving mecca for many travelers, but there’s a lot more here than scuba diving.
Why should you, a single, female traveler, make sure to put Utila on top destinations to visit?
1. The island has so many activities to try.
Snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and paddle boarding are all things to do that can be done on your own. All you need to do is find the right spot and sign up to become part of a group. This is also a great way to meet people!
2. Utila is small and relatively safe.
As long as you hold on to your belongings and stay away from shady activity, there is very little chance that you would be robbed, let alone put in a more dangerous situation. Prime example- my camera was stolen on my last trip because I set it down on a bar (totally my fault), but it was returned to me the next day when I asked around.
3. The island is almost always crawling with attractive, single boys!
They come from all over the world to go scuba diving. Even if you are taken but happen to be traveling alone, they are fun to look at, at least!
4. It is extremely easy to meet people.
There are so many backpackers on the island, both traveling alone and within groups, so it is no problem to strike up a conversation and meet some new people. Even the locals are friendly and helpful and love talking to new people.
5. It’s pretty cheap.
Unless you are planning on doing a scuba diving course, Utila is pretty cheap. You can live off of $10 a day if you stay in dorm lodging and eat at cheap local spots. However, you can splurge on a nice room with AC and eat at the “fancy” restaurants if you feel the need. This means that the island has something for everyone.
6. Its FUN!
There are the outdoor activities, which rival most places in the Caribbean. (Hello! Honduras has the second largest barrier reef in the world! The snorkeling is amazing!) On top of these activities, there is an amazing Yoga studio, fun bars, a great restaurants. All of these things can be done alone or with the new friends you meet.
As a note about scuba diving, I should mention that PADI has taken over the island. There are over 20 dive shops that offer all types of certifications, ranging from Open Water to Dive Master/Instructor. Taking one of these courses will run up your tab, but Utila is one of the cheapest places to get certified by a skilled and highly qualified instructor in the world.
There are so many single travelers on the island that it will be hard to feel awkward all alone. And if you are feeling lonely, I’m sure the person at the next table would love to tell you where they have been.
This up and coming travel destination should move to the top of your list. It is easy to get there if you are traveling through Central America and an awesome spot to stop and relax for a week. It is also a destination in and of itself. Spending a week on Utila will definitely recharge your energy and life your spirits.
Now that you have decided to travel to Utila, here are the spots/activities not to miss!
On a budget: Hotel Trudy, linked with Underwater Vision is a great place that offers $5 dorms. They are clean and the surrounding area is great. The property has a bar with great food and a volleyball court for some afternoon fun.
Mid Range: Rubis Inn. Rooms are clean and spacious. It is a nice quite place located in a prime location and the owners are wonderful.
$$$- The Lighthouse: Amazing views, kitchenette included, and very private!
Do not miss RJs! It is a fish restaurant that is only open 3 days a week, because every other day RJ himself is out on the open water catching the fish. They also have amazing sides and will serve chicken, steak, and pork, so everyone can eat happily.
Rio Coco Beans: The best coffee on the island. Hands down!
Paddle boarding– Groups can go out through the dock at Rio Coco Beans, or you can take a private lesson with someone on the island.
Snorkeling at the Public beach. There is amazing coral and really interesting sea life and it is an easy walk to do all by yourself. This is my number one activity to do on the island.
Other options: Swimming at the private beach. There are kayaks to rent and comfortable chairs to use to soak up the sun. Renting a bike and riding around the island (the whole thing can be done in about an hour) is a great way to see everything Utila has to offer.
Going to the Iguana Research Station or the Whale Shark center are great learning experiences as well.
There aren’t many bars, but the ones Utila has to offer are pretty fun. All of the bars are packed each night of the week and there is always a special going on somewhere! The top 4: