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Utila Review and Travel Report

Diving Utila with Utila Lodge

Author: Marla Brin

Report Date: 20-Mar-2005

Utila trip report

Is it worth it to pay 500 USD extra for diving on Utila in order to stay at Utila Lodge?
I just came back from a trip to Utila. I stayed at Utila Lodge despite a couple of misgivings, and I wanted to report that I was quite happily surprised. My first misgiving was the price. Utila is known for cheap lodging and cheap diving, and Utila Lodge was one of the most expensive places on the island for both, excepting a couple of "resorts" which one must take a boat to reach. My next misgiving was that, given the expense, it would be a little slice of American chain hotel in the Bay Islands.
I am happy to say that the expense was completely worth it, as far as I am concerned. I am glad I stayed there and did my diving with them in spite of the expense. It was in no way an American Chain hotel experience... it was homey, small, family run, and quite local feeling even though it is owned by Americans. And I checked out the other places on the island. As far as I could tell, Utila Lodge was the only place in town (that you could walk to town and not take a boat) where you could get on the dive boat right from your hotel. Other places seem to offer lodging that was quite a walk from the dive boat. (the places that don't offer lodging or a discount on related lodging also were far enough from available hotels that I was quite glad I had stayed at the lodge.) I like to walk around and check out town, but at 7am, I like to be able to just get my gear together, get a bite to eat, and get on the boat without having to haul my gear 3/4 mile down the road.
The staff was also helpful and very kind, and being able to nap in a hammock on the water's edge was definitely a plus over staying inland where it was hotter. Not to mention the cool openings in the walkways where after a day of diving, one can stand and observe chained morays and other sea life without adding to one's nitrogen levels. And the nightly eagle ray show off the dock was fabulous.
And, even though I have taken pains to say this was definitely not a chain hotel experience, I think Marley, the office manager, could run the Plaza in New York without blinking an eye. He was fabulous at keeping an eye out for the needs of 16 divers while running the lodging aspect as well.
The only criticism I would have is that their little hotel gift shop sold black coral items.
All in all, I have to say that for me, Utila Lodge was the place to be for diving on Utila

This report was originally posted on www.scubadiving.com
Re-published with the permission of the Author