Almost all Utilians live in East Harbour, on the south side of the island. Universally known simply as Utila, the town wraps around a large harbor that’s protected from the open ocean by an arm of reef. The town is divided into four parts: the Point, between the old airport and downtown; Sandy Bay, between the center and the Chepes Beach; the Center, near the main intersection and the municipal dock; and Cola de Mico (meaning Monkey Tail) Road, which cuts inland perpendicular to the shore and leads to the current airstrip. Connecting the old airport, downtown, and Sandy Bay is Main Street. Mamey Lane Road, leaving Main Street in Sandy Bay, also heads inland to the north, roughly parallel to Cola de Mico Road.
Although not a large town in total population, Utila’s collection of wooden houses, dive shops, hotels, and restaurants is spread across a largish area. While it’s easy enough to walk, renting a bike, golf cart, or scooter can be a fun way to cover the ground between your hotel, dive shop, and favorite restaurants and bars.
While the booming dive industry has brought a lot of money to Utila, native Utilians continue to struggle, especially as all-inclusive dive shops crowd out family-owned hotels and restaurants. Travelers can be sensitive to this situation by making sure to frequent some locally owned businesses during their visit.
Visitors may notice that, unlike everywhere else in Honduras, baseball, not soccer, is the sport of choice on Utila. If you want one of those bonding sports conversations, a pertinent comment on the major leagues will help kick things off.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition