Utila is the second most populated island in the Bay Islands. The majority of the 12 Scuba Dive Shops cater to the international backpackers who flock to the small island in search of inexpensive scuba lessons and certifications. There are, however, several all inclusive scuba diving resorts to choose from that rival Roatan.
Laguna Beach Resort
Laguna Beach Resort is located on the west side of the horseshoe shaped harbor of Eastern Harbor. Accessible only by boat, the resort is nestled between the protected lower lagoon on one side, and the fringing reef on the other. This is only resort with individual cabins. They line the sandy palm fringed beach and have private docks off the back lagoon for excellent sunset watching and lounging. The fleet of boats are Newton 36′s with plenty of space and marine toilets. The community area is in front of the boat dock and houses the buffet-style restaurant and lounge with television, for those that need to stay connected or share photo slide shows from the days diving. Also on site are a gift shop and main office and fresh water pool, which is shaped like the whale shark that put Utila on the map of one of the best places to dive in the world. It is accessible only by boat but with the option to come and go to town as you please with prior arrangements. An excellent choice for those looking to get away from it all. Local owners Troy and Edith are seen several times a week at the resort to make sure guests are enjoying their stay.
The first all inclusive dive resort on Utila, and the only one in town. Built over the water, this 8 room lodge accommodates an intimate 16 guests and feels like home away from home. The Engel family has owned and managed the resort for nearly 20 years, along with a small staff whom you will get to know well over the week. Infamous bartender Queen Anne will quickly become your best friend and help with everything from getting your afternoon cocktail to translating your needs to some of the Spanish staff and teaching you some fun new words along the way. The resort has been touted as the closest thing to a liveaboard without sleeping on the boat. Room, boat, and food are all just steps away from each other and local dive guide and captain take care of all gear. Just sit back and relax. The dock extends out over the water into the harbor and provides a great sunset viewing area. Town is a few yards/meters away if you choose to explore. The resort shares dock space with the world class Bay Island College of Diving which accommodates private scuba diving certifications to Lodge guests upon request.
Deep Blue is located on the South Shore of Utila. Two hotel buildings accommodate up to 20 guests with private balconies facing the Caribbean Sea. English expats Shirley and her son, Steve, are your gracious hosts. They can usually be found onsite during mealtimes in the air conditioned restaurant and lounge area. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style, while dinner is a plated and served meal with a special dessert each evening making guests feel a touch of elegance in the rustic oasis. Deep Blue prides itself on the extended efforts to search for whale sharks anytime of year. Captain Swinwick will spend hours with his eyes peeled for the elusive giant. Plenty of snacks are on board just in case lunch time is delayed at the expense of the possibility of a sighting. Owner Steve is actively involved in record keeping on whale shark sightings and reporting to Eco Ocean, the whale shark database organization. Feel free to ask him about it!
Also located on the South Shore, Utopia Village is the newest of the resorts in Utila. Utopia is located the furthest from Utila Town, but closest to the Cays, Utila’s second largest town. Owners are a group of North American expats one of whom is always on site and ready to accommodate your every need and make your stay the best it can be. This is a reason it is number one on Tripadvisor. Rooms are elegantly decorated and the dining is full service with a menu constantly changing and evolving to take advantage of the seasons. The large, custom built Miss U, takes divers to two dive sites each morning. Guests then have the option of shore diving in the afternoons and evenings. Utopia Village also boasts an onsite spa for those that wish to relax and enjoy a massage, facial, or personal yoga session.
The Mango Inn is a garden oasis, located in a quiet neighborhood of Utila. Tucked away in a lush, tropical environment with a restaurant and pool onsite, the Mango offers a variety of accommodations from backpacker dormitories to private cabins. In conjunction with the Utila Dive Centre, the hotel offers all inclusive packages for their private rooms and cabins, using a dedicated dive boat at the shop. A courtesy van will pick up and drop off divers daily for the 2 tank morning dives located at the Dive Centre a few minutes drive away. This bustling shop caters to a variety of scuba enthusiasts. One of the 5 boats in the fleet will be waiting for the Mango Inn’s resort guests with experienced instructors as your guides. This a great option for experiencing the Utila’s unique vibe and interacting with the island community in an all inclusive package!
Caribbean Pearl II
This is the Bay Islands only liveaboard. Owned and operated by local businessman Troy Bodden (also of Laguna Beach Resort), the Caribbean Pearl ll was formerly the Utila Aggressor. This is truly a divers paradise. Eat, Sleep, Dive is exactly what you do on a liveaboard. The Caribbean Pearl visits Utila, Roatan, and Cayos Cuchinos including several seamounts in between islands that are rarely dived by local shops. This luxury yacht is also available for private charters, meaning you set the itinerary. If diving is a passion a liveaboard might be for you. And if you are a connoisseur of liveaboards your stay on the world class Utila, Caribbean Pearl II will not disappoint.