No trip to the Bay Islands is complete without a stop on tiny Utila! Located only a quick ferry ride from Roatán, Utila is famous for its great diving, lower prices and party culture. With the lower cost of living, it’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway and change of scenery. I set out on a Friday, intent on spending the weekend in Utila. With the low cost of living and laid-back vibe, those two days quickly turned into a full week. Keep reading for your ultimate trip itinerary for Utila, Honduras!
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how to get to utila, honduras
If you’re already in Roatán, getting to Utila couldn’t be any easier. Simply make your way into Coxen Hole (a 50 HNL taxi ride from West End), and purchase a ticket for the Utila Dream Ferry. Ticket prices vary but you can expect to pay $25-30 each way. You can buy tickets on-site, but I always prefer to purchase them ahead of time in case prices rise. The trip from Roatán to Utila takes about an hour and it’s a good idea to stock up on nausea medication if you’re prone to sea sickness!
If you’re visiting Utila from the States or another country, you’ll most likely have a layover on the mainland in San Pedro Sula (SAP).
protect your trip to utila, honduras
If you’re planning a visit to Utila, it’s important to protect yourself and your wallet with trip insurance. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 is an incredibly uncertain year to travel and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. When it comes to trip insurance, I swear by World Nomads. On my trip to Thailand in 2019, I had an unfortunate ankle-spraining incident that turned into a hospital visit with X-Rays, crutches and physical therapy. When I submitted my claim to World Nomads, I was reimbursed within weeks, no questions asked.
World Nomads has changed their policy in the light of the pandemic and have guaranteed reimbursement for any travelers that find their trips cancelled or delayed due to contracting the Coronavirus. Enter your dates and information below to receive a quote for World Nomads travel insurance!
For more information on traveling safely during the pandemic, head to my recent post How to Travel Safely Amidst Coronavirus Travel Restrictions.
where to stay on utila, honduras
There are plenty of accommodation options on Utila, but I highly recommend staying at Hotel Trudy. The hotel offers accommodation options for every budget! If you’re traveling with your significant other or looking for your own space, Hotel Trudy offers private rooms with air conditioning for $50/night. If you’re a solo traveler or just looking to visit Utila on a budget, you can book a bed in a 6-bed dorm room for only $6/night. Since bookings have been down due to the pandemic, I paid only $6/night for my own private hostel dorm room!
Hotel Trudy has an on-site, full-service restaurant that offers a variety of yummy dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also host fun themed nights every week, such as wings on Wednesday and karaoke nights!
Currently it’s not possible to reserve a stay on their website, but you can send a message to their Facebook page to reserve your stay.
what to do on utila, honduras
Underwater Vision is Hotel Trudy’s on-site dive shop! If you plan on diving during your time in Utila, I highly suggest booking dive packages with Underwater Vision. If you’re staying at the hotel, you’ll receive a discount on your accommodation with the purchase of dive packages. Better yet, if you plan on completing a certification with Underwater Vision your accommodation is completely FREE!
TAKE TUK TUKS EVERYWHERE
Utila is a unique island in the sense that no cars are allowed for transportation. You may be wondering…”how do people get around?” The answer is simple, tuk tuks! Tuk tuks are essentially automated rickshaws. The colorful ones on the streets of Utila function like taxis and are very easy to flag down. If you’re going anywhere on the island’s main street, you shouldn’t need to pay more than 25-50 HNL ($1-2).
It’s less common for the residents of Utila to own Tuk Tuks for their private transportation, but not unheard of. Most people that live full-time on the island will own a motorbike, scooter or ATV to get around.
TAKE THE FREE FERRY TO CORAL BEACH VILLAGE
Taking the ferry to Coral Beach Village is the perfect excuse for a tuk tuk ride! If you’re staying on Utila’s main street, you can hop in any tuk tuk and ask the driver to take you to the “Coral Beach ferry.” They’ll know exactly where to go. Since the ferry port is a further drive, you may be asked to pay 75-100 HNL for the ride. The free ferries run each hour on the hour, so make sure to time your visit right.
Coral Beach is the perfect spot for a relaxing beach day on Utila! It includes a 300+ acre resort community with a white sand beach, restaurant, water sports rentals and more. There’s plenty of free beach chairs and the beach restaurant, Neptune’s, serves all the yummy food and cold beer you could drink.
HIKE PUMPKIN HILL
Since most of Utila is completely flat, Pumpkin Hill is impossible to miss. If you’re in the mood for some light physical exercise, grab a tuk tuk, pay 100 HNL and hike the 20 minutes to the highest point on the island. Regrettably, the trail is overgrown at the top so the views aren’t as great as they could be. However, the views on the way up aren’t bad and, if you’re like me, you probably need a chance to work off some baleada calories.
After your hike, head down the other side of Pumpkin Hill and stop for an ice-cold Salva Vida at Rockies bar! You’ll meet some nice locals and there’s no better way to end a hike than with a cold beer.
VISIT THE TREETANIC BAR
Voted 4th best bar in the world by Lonely Planet Magazine, Treetanic Bar the perfect place to take some Insta-worthy shots in Utila. The garden is decorated in all sorts of stones and mosaic tiles that make for gorgeous photographs. The property is also home to B-Leaf, an entirely Vegetarian restaurant. If you just plan to walk around and enjoy the scenery, you’ll be charged a small fee of 25 HNL ($1).
Fair warning, if you have arachnophobic tendencies, like myself, you may want to steer clear of Treetanic Bar. I realized about five minutes too late that I was completely surrounded by 4-inch spiders. Let’s just say I’ve never finished a photo shoot faster in my life.
TASTE THE LOCAL BREWS AT THE UTILA BREWING COMPANY
Trying out the local brews is a great way to get a sense of the culture in a new destination. Utila Brewing Company serves tasty brewskies five days a week (they’re closed on Tues/Thurs) and is the best place to be on Fridays when they host their famous burger night! The beer is delicious, reasonably priced and the cute location on the main street is the perfect spot to sit for some people watching.
where to eat in utila, honduras
Like Roatán, Utila has lots of amazing local eats to choose from. But also like Roatán, some places are better than others so it’s best to do your research if you have limited meals on the island.
As one of the most famous restaurants on the island, Mango Tango is a must-visit on your foodie tour of Utila. Although it’s one of the most well-known, it’s also one of the island’s most expensive dining options. Thankfully, Utila is so affordable that it’s still not very expensive (roughly $20 for a beer, appetizer and entrée).
When I visited, I was thrilled to find lionfish ceviche as the nightly special! Since lionfish are invasive to the Caribbean and are often caught by spearfishing, most restaurants only serve lionfish by availability. If you’re lucky enough to find it on the menu, I highly suggest ordering it and trying it out for yourself.
For more information on spearing lionfish in the Caribbean, head to my recent post The Best Things to Do in Roatán, Honduras.
Camilla’s Bakery is located along the main street in Utila. Since it was so close to where I was staying at Hotel Trudy, it was my favorite place to stop for a quite bite during my week on Utila. The little bakery bakes all the bread daily, and you can definitely taste the difference! My favorite were the homemade bagels with ham, cream cheese, avocado and fresh tomato.
Camilla’s closes at 2PM daily and at 5PM, reopens as “Pizza Nut.” Although I didn’t get a chance to try the pizza myself, I’ve heard it’s the best on the island.
La Casita is my favorite place for baleadas on Utila! This tiny, family-run establishment makes traditional Honduran baleadas with every filling you could imagine. I always went for my favorite combination: avocado, scrambed egg, mantequilla (Honduran sour cream) and lots of hot sauce.
BALEADAS MAMA ROSA
Another great spot for baleadas, Baleadas Mama Rosa is an affordable and quick option for a tasty meal. They offer a large menu that includes plenty of baleadas, pupsas, burgers, fries, bbq and more, all at amazing prices.
I need sushi at least once a month or I can’t function as a human. So when I heard about an amazing sushi place on Utila, I had to give it a try. Mister Buddha definitely served the best sushi I’ve had in Honduras. Although I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s up to U.S. standards, it had a great atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed my Filadelphia and Spicy Lionfish rolls! It’s a bit on the pricier side for Utila and, if you do make it there for dinner, budget for extra time. I think I waited an hour and a half for my two sushi rolls.
RJ’s Barbeque is the place to be for a Sunday dinner in Utila. The prices are reasonable and you get an obscene amount of food for what you pay for. On a recommendation from the waitress, I decided to order the roast pork with all the yummy sides: rice, roasted veggies, salad, garlic bread and mashed potatoes and gravy.
where to go out in utila, honduras
Utila is well-known for its lively nightlife scene, so take full advantage of it during your visit. The most popular spots to visit are Tranquila Bar and La Cueva, but the Utila Brewing Company is the place to be on Fridays for burger night. During the pandemic, all bars in Honduras are legally required to serve food, so you can easily turn dinner into a night out!
Utila wasn’t on my radar until I moved to Roatán back in January, but after spending a week on this little island paradise I couldn’t recommend visiting enough! The locals are friendly, the eats are yummy and there’s plenty of beautiful beaches to explore. Hopefully this post convinced you to add Utila, Honduras to your travel bucket list.
If you enjoyed my itinerary for Utila, Honduras, you may enjoy my related posts linked below. Don’t forget to follow along with the adventure on Instagram, @madisonsfootsteps, and, if you’re looking to plan some epic trips, make sure to snag my FREE guide, “How to Plan Epic Trips.”