Bando Beach in Utila ! How to get there & what to expect.

Are you in Utila, wondering how to get to Bando Beach ? Look no further, I’m writing from this
sandy, tranquil paradise now. Another sunny day and the salty water is delightful! You
can see the privately owned Bando Beach from any dock along the main road, but the directions to get there
aren’t clear, even if it is extremely easy to find.  The only information I was able to find online was the time and price listings from several years ago, though they remain the same. Open daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm island time,  there’s an entry fee of 65L ($3usd).  bando-beach-chairs_marked

Uncertain of directions I had been given by locals, I hopped a tuk­tuk from the town center by the ferry port for 30L ($1.50 ­ tuk tuk pricing is per person, throw in a 10L tip and feel like a baller). A quick ride up the main road (15-20 minute walk by foot) heading North, over the bridge, continue straight until you come to a ‘Y’ in the dirt road (actually it’s a round-about). Stay Right!

Look for this sign:

Heading to Bando Beach ? Turn right at this sign.

Heading to Bando Beach ? Turn right just before this sign, down the road behind this excited traveler.

The Bando Beach sign isn’t visible until you’re in front of it. Bando-Beach-directions_marked

Once in, a cute retired gentleman who speaks no English collects the entry fee. The property is quiet today with
only a few people around, a stark contrast from last weeks Semana Santa festivities of Techno dance parties by moonlight, or last months Utila Live concert. Low visitor numbers mean the three-story restaurant is no longer open to the public outside of special events; the bar may appear closed, but if you ask the gate attendant, he will happily find someone to open up the cooler to sell Salva Vida for 25L ($1.25) or Fresco 15L ($0.75). With no concession stand demanding business, you are free to: BYOB & picnic!

Cold beer on a hot day at Bando Beach, Utila.  Plan ahead and pack a picnic to stay all day.

Cold beer on a hot day at Bando Beach, Utila. Plan ahead and pack a picnic to stay all day.

The Bando Beach point itself is man-­made, strategically placed in an area where a natural reef offers some protection from the North tide. Utila is the third largest land mass of the Bay Islands eight islands (53 cays), and it is a Caribbean tropical paradise, but lacks dense sandy beaches. Over the years storms have worn away at the beaches that do exist – a frequent occurrence in seaside towns.

A crane dredges sand to build up Bando Beach, Utila.

A crane dredges sand to build up Bando Beach, Utila.

So, the owners of this property decided to build one up themselves, by dredging sands off the coast. It’s an ongoing project and the crane has been in constant motion since I arrived. If it weren’t for the movement though, I’d have no idea! I’m amazed that it’s not a noisier piece of equipment. Five guys are sweating it out under the hot sun, hauling wheel barrows of sandbags to build the temporary retaining wall. No question what the entry fees go towards.

Bando Beach point offers a 180 degree view of the water. To the west is the sunset over bay, the best vantage point to view the entire main street strip along the waters edge. To the East, only water as far as the eye can see. The grounds are clean. There’s a volleyball net set up, ready to go. Plenty of benches, shaded seating areas below picnic stands and palm trees. Adirondack chairs and a few wooden sunbathing lounge chairs, one 20ft by 20ft gazebo picnic shelter, and one fairly large structurally shaded stage for events. There’s a communal bathroom, with three enclosed toilet rooms (2 of the 3 were not maintained), additional facilities are opened around the back during busy days. A private shower room, and a large communal change room.


Picnic shades at Bando Beach, Utila

Picnic shades at Bando Beach, Utila

The water depths vary at different entry points: shallower to the east, deeper to the west. And the snorkeling is only average, but ideal for children just learning about the creatures of the deep blue.

There may be few guests today, but the ones that are here are chatty! I’ve now found myself caught up in a conversation about treasure hunting in the jungles of Honduras’ mainland.

Quiet day at the beach or fun in the sun ? Head down to Bando Beach! Or they might just give up on replenishing the sand…

To contact the owners of Bando Beach for more information or to schedule an event, visit their facebook page.

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