I took the ferry from Utila to Roatan, which runs Friday-Sunday. After the 90 minute ride, I was happy to set my feet on land and let my stomach settle! I took a taxi from the port to the West End village, where my hotel/diveshop was located. This is the best area for diving, which is world-class and quite reasonable. I stayed at Hotel Chillies, which is affiliated with Native Sons Diving. This is a very laid back spot with great divemasters. You just walk across the street and climb into the boat for your dives!
The reefs off Roatan are absolutely stunning. They are very healthy, massive, and contain all kinds of marine life. Check out the night dive where you can see bioluminescence – the plankton glows when you make movement. If it’s really dark without any moonlight, you can see the strings of pearl, which are silk-like beads that glow all around you! It’s such a cool experience to swim through these! From the West End most of the dives are within a 10 minute boat ride, which makes diving more convenient and less expensive. I paid $30US/dive.
If you’re into chilling at the beach, you can check out the West End beach (right across the street), or hop the water taxi to West Bay beach. Both have beautiful, clear, and warm water that are perfect for swimming or snorkeling.
Overall I’d say that the diving is better in Roatan than Utila. The reefs are gorgeous and there’s more life. It is a little more expensive than Utila, roughly about 20% more. I’d definitely recommend travellers making a trip over to Roatan. Note that the ferries between Utila and Roatan run only Friday-Sunday. Otherwise you’d have to go back to La Ceiba and catch another ferry from there.
My time in Honduras is coming to an end. I will catch the ferry to the mainland, and take a 15 hour van/shuttle to Leon, Nicaragua. The journey continues!
My scuba diving adventures in the Bay Islands of Honduras begin! I hung out at Parrots Dive Center and completed my Advanced Open Water PADI certification. Parrots was a blast with professional instructors, fun divemasters, and amazing dives. If you make it to Utila, check them out!
After this I checked out the local reefs, walls, and sea wildlife for 5 days. All kinds of cool sea creatures, including: nurse sharks, lobster, octopus, squid, crabs, beautiful coral, and so many different fish! There are some great wall dives around Utila where you can see the ocean bottom fall before you. Very cool!
In the afternoons, I made many sweet kayaking journeys. There is a little canal that runs through the island, and you can kayak from one side to the other. You have shade for most of the way through the mangroves, where you can see many bird species, weird-looking crab, and have a chance to snorkel at the east end of the island. This is a very unique and beautiful trip. A hostel/bar called The Venue rents quality kayaks and is well situated to start your kayaking adventure.
Utila was a lot of fun for both the activities and the people. I made a lot of friends during my time here, and am rather sad to leave. But the journey continues to the largest of the Bay Islands – Roatan!
P.S. Note that I am NOT sponsored by the companies that I mention in my blog. I recommend them because I had great experiences there, and want to share these with my fellow travellers.
The ruins of Copan have the most exquisite detail of any Mayan site I’ve visited! While it’s not as large as Chichen Itza or Tikal, the site is packed full of beautiful, and sometimes frightening, sculptures and stelae. Many of these represent various Mayan gods and former rulers. Copan was one of the most southern Mayan cities, and makes for a fascinating day of sightseeing!
A center point of the ruins is the massive staircase, full of hieroglyphs, statues, and carvings. While the site is clearly Mayan, the detail and style is very distinct from other Mayan sites. I definitely recommend a visit, especially as it’s on the main travellers’ route from Guatemala to Honduras!
You can wander around several paths in the archeological site, and walk along the tops of several temples. As you’re walking from the ticket booth to the site entrance, there is a wilderness walking trail that takes you through the surrounding jungle where you can see various wildlife, birds, and flora. It takes about 30 minutes, and is worth the time.
I really enjoyed my time in Copan, and am ready to head on to my next destination – the little mountain town of Gracias!
I spent Christmas in the chill beach town of Monterrico, my last stop in Guatemala. This was my second beach Christmas, as last year I was in the beach town of Mui Ne, Vietnam! How time flies!
Near Monterrico is a wildlife reserve, where you can see all kinds of birds, fish, and funny 4-eyed amphibians that hop along the water. I hired a boat to tour me around the reserve for sunrise. It made for some beautiful scenery! Aside from this, I really didn’t do too much in Monterrico other than chill, relax, and drink some beer!
From Monterrico I headed into Honduras, and stopped in the town of Copan. This is another relaxed town, with quite a few cool things to check out. First are the famous Mayan ruins right close to the town. I’ll be writing a separate post for these ruins. Second there’s a Bird Sanctuary that takes in abused or unwanted birds with the hopes of rehabilitating them for release into the wild. It has a great jungle location, and has a vast array of birds, including: toucans, parrots, macaws, pheasant like birds, etc.
The third site is a butterfly hatchery, where many species of butterflies are bred for release into the wild. There’s a good variety of butterflies, but one especially caught my attention. On its wing there’s what looks like a giant owl eye. Check out the photo of these butterflies mowing down on some fruit! Pretty weird-looking!
Stay tuned for the next posting about the beautiful Mayan ruins near Copan, including photos of the many statues an stellae!