Op-Ed: As someone who grew up in San Pedro Sula in the 1960’s and 70’s and was sent away to school in the USA later, I have the typical upbringing of what, in those days, was called the mid to upper class lifestyle. Our family was afforded the luxury of being able to have weekend getaways. We spent many weekends and holidays in places like Lago de Yojoa, Puerto Cortes, and Tela. But when it came to vacations such as Easter (Semana Santa), Christmas and summer, it was off to the Bay Island of Utila. I have seen first hand the transformations of the island over the past 50 plus years by visiting Utila on and off the majority of my life.
For anyone to truly say they know Utila, you have to ask “When was the last time you were there?”
Why? Well, because times change and so do places. Utila once was a very peaceful place with less than a handful of vehicles (and yes, we had one of them). In fact, at one point, there were four, when I brought my old Willy’s Jeep over at the ripe old age of 13. Two years after, I had my Honda mini bike racing down the island with no traffic other than the occasional pedestrian. My Jeep became an issue for Mr. Foster Cooper, who promptly came over to our summer home and made sure my Dad understood I was not to run “Fares” from the airport (a landing strip on the “Hill where the current Baseball Field is” eventually moved to the “Point” and now is on the North Eastern side of the island near Pumpkin Hill).
After re-assurance from my Gringo Father, and more importantly, my native Utilian Mother, that it was just for my fun, life was good, and I was free to explore ways of getting that Jeep to Pumpkin Hill without anything wider than a horse trail. By the end of the summer, ALL of the windows on the Jeep had been knocked out by tree limbs. Those were the days, as we old folks say.
There was not much to do but go fishing with my Uncles, and one of them actually grabbed me one day with nothing more than a screwdriver and said, “Let’s go fix that boat!” Into the water we jumped, and I became a “Certified Utila Diver”! LOL
A Preface to the now hit “Coming to Utila” – “Well, let me tell you a story about Utila” Video:
In My Opinion:
Gone are the days of walking peacefully down the streets of Utila without having to keep your eyes open for the countless motorcycles, ATV’s, pickup trucks, golf carts, and now, cars and a few vans. Now there are even dump trucks on the island. Not to mention the way too many Taxis speeding through the narrow streets battling for position (one with a blaring obnoxious set of Boom Boxes playing music as loud as it can #23 Trust me don’t use him for more reasons than one, maybe he will go away – Would someone please do something about that? – There is hope in 2015, someone did do something about the boom boxes). What would Mr. Foster Cooper (R.I.P) say today?
There is not much peaceful about this island anymore. UTILA has become a world wide destination that has led to a flourishing economy for many, thanks to Tourism. Beside its popularity as being one of the, if not THE, most popular places to become Certified as a Diving Instructor, along with Real Estate, that is still to this day a steal by International Standards, there is a “Party” atmosphere that has the Island buzzing everyday! Music at local Bars and Nightclubs goes until 4AM, and tourists out number the locals by more than double. The sign at the “Old Airport” on The Point used to say Population “1501” back in the early 80’s; now it is estimated that the population of the Island is around 6 to 7 thousand. We should know soon as an official census is published (being conducted in preparation for the upcoming November elections* *elections are over, still no word of the actual population on the Rock”). Of course it will not include all the tourists, or should I say, those who “Came to Utila” and “Will Never Ever, LEAVE”.) Point is, if you say you know Utila, and if you have not been here in the past few years, you do not know Utila!
I could go on forever on this subject, but these two guys came to Utila and experienced it like many do these days. They had a good time and took it upon themselves to produce a video, that when published early Sunday morning, the 4th of August 2013, had a few “views”. Today, even the old people on the island are singing the song that honestly, is hard to get out of your head (you have been warned)! As of this morning, 2 1/2 days after publication of the video on YouTube, it has achieved 20,000 and counting, views (over 200 just while I write this). (In May of 2015 the video has now been seen by over 220,000 people and been directly responsible for thousands of tourist “Coming to Utila, Thank you Ginske and Marty)
Without further stories, which I will write as life goes on, about Utila, watch the Video and keep in mind it is probably PG-13; but, heck this is a Pirate Island and when was the last time you and the kids saw a Pirate movie without a bit of “Booze and Fun” in it? Enjoy.
“If you Come to Utila” – The Truth about Utila by: Marty and Ginski
The three lies about Utila –
I Love you – No you Don’t!
I am leaving tomorrow – No you Won’t!
I will not drink tonight – YES you will!
Enjoy the #1 Utila Video, sure to be a hit for a long time – if not forever!
If you come to Utila
by: Marty and Ginski
Besides wanting to do my job and promote my country through Honduras Tourism (which I do out of Patriotism and as a Volunteer), there is another story here. It just amazes me that it took a couple of fun tourists to come to Utila, and take it amongst themselves to raise over $2,500 in donations to get this video made, which is the most accurate depiction of tourism on Utila I believe has ever been published, considering the millions the Honduran Government spends on the Institute of Tourism.
When was the last time the Minister of Tourism even visited Utila? I don’t know, maybe she has been here…but another truth about Utila is that there is no way to get away with anything on this Island…Word Travels Fast!
I challenge the Honduran Minister of Tourism to produce a video that will( no doubt) increase the tourism of a location as much as this will for years to come.
My hat’s off to you guys, well done!
As a side note to this article; I forwarded this video to the President of the Chamber of Tourism in La Ceiba moments after it was published and the first thing he said was when are they coming to La Ceiba? Send them directly to my office! In my opinion, he gets it!
Nota: Para todos lo que han dejado comentarios a los autores del vídeo y hasta citando La Constitución de Honduras que el Idioma oficial es Español, vale mencionar que este vídeo fue producido al costo de los mismos turistas que lo hicieron mas donaciones obtenidas por ellos. Es mas, la razón que vinieron a Utila es porque sitios como el nuestro les han dado información sobre nuestro país en Ingles.
Es por eso mismo que le he dejado un mensaje al Instituto de Turismo de Honduras en este articulo que deberían tratar un poco mas duro de hacer la producción de vídeos que usan para promover el turismo en Honduras como realmente es – “Divertido”.
Considerando que Honduras tiene el porcentaje mas grande de población bilingüe en América Central de la cual estamos orgullosos; seria apropiado de que tal producciones sean en Ingles y Español.
Este sitio de web en la mayoría es en Ingles porque nos dedicamos a atraer Turistas Internacionales iguales a los que hicieron posible este vídeo a nuestro país. Si tuviéramos mas voluntarios ayudando nos en la sección de español tendríamos mas información en Español. Cualquiera que desea contribuir nos puede contactar por correo electrónico a “firstname.lastname@example.org” y lo acomodamos. Sinceramente estamos agradecidos a todos los que apoyan a nuestra querida patria – Honduras en Ingles o Español. Para mas informacion sobre Honduras.com y nuestras metas pueden ver http://www.honduras.com/about-honduras-com/
Gracias a nuestros amigos de TP (Tele Progreso) han sub-titulado el vídeo “Coming to Utila” en Español
Updated April 2015:
I decided two days ago to actually interview one of the other team volunteers who was here a few years ago, and came back on “special assignment”, and so here is how it went:
What do you think of Utila? Paradise!
You really like to dive don’t you? Yup, almost every day, love it.
Have you had any “issues” while in Utila? Nope! So in other words you are a happy tourist in paradise”? Love my job!
Have you ever run out of water? Nope.
Have you had any “infrastructure” problems get in your way of being a happy tourist? Nope.
Are you having a good time in what you call paradise? Yup!
So as far as “you” are concerned, Utila Tourism is alive and well? OMG, yes!
Do you want to leave? (You do have other assignments throughout the country this year…) Well, so long as I can get back here after those wonderful excursions throughout the country of Honduras, I’m happy here.
Anyway, so there ya go tourists, keep on coming to Utila, “where life is always good”.
The good news is that this proves that the COMMUNITY of Utila cares and welcomes you with open arms. Hope to see you soon!
Editors Note: Honduras.com has assembled a diverse group of Honduran Political Analysts, Reporters, as well as Contributing Authors, and they are not employed or directed by the Honduras.com management team. The views expressed are their own. If you would like to contribute in any way to Honduras.com, please contact us and we will set you right up. Your feedback is important to us.
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