Utila – “Otherworldly”

The Honduras we think we know is a small Spanish-speaking country wedged somewhere between North and South America, between the First World amenities of its capital and the Third World poverty of its countryside, between an affordable cultural vacation destination and a risky stop in politically unstable terrain.

But there’s a tiny piece of that country, not quite 25 square miles’ worth, that is so rare and different that the few who have been there tend to want to stay forever — and many have.

Utila, the name of this remote island and its main town, is counted among the country’s trio of Bay Islands but refuses to fit into the Honduran stereotype, if there is one. There are Spanish speakers, but there also are German, French and Norwegian speakers as well as variations of Garifuna and Carib and Creole-accented English. It’s easy to understand why “Utila” is pronounced differently depending on who is saying it. It’s anchored in the Caribbean Sea by an ancient volcano that has since retired to a hill, yet it defies comparison to other Caribbean islands, including its Honduran neighbors, Roatan and Guanaja.

It’s neither First World nor Third World; it’s simply otherworldly, secure and peaceful.

Before a weeklong visit, a friend residing there offered what I took to be a fantasy footnote.

“Utila is an island of pirates and runaways,” she teased by email. “Everyone is from somewhere else.”

Arriving in Utila via the Utila Princess Ferry

Arriving in Utila via the Utila Princess Ferry

Continue article on Utila here.

For more on Utila visit our Utila Guide

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