Beachfront Hotel Next to Massive Caribbean Reef on Remote Island
There are no nightclubs, no skyscraper hotels, and just a handful of roads on Utila, a tiny Bay Island in the Caribbean Sea about 11 miles off the coast of Honduras’s mainland. It's on this sliver of land that you'll find Utopia Village. Fitting for a dedicated adventure resort, you can get here only by taking a 20-minute boat ride through a jungle lagoon laden with mangroves. Once you step out of the boat, you essentially have a remote slice of tropical paradise all to yourself, complete with sandy beaches, jungle wildlife, and perhaps the biggest draw of all: a giant coral reef.
Bordering the island of Utila is the Mesoamerican Reef system, which is second in size only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. A mere 100 feet from shore of Utopia Village, the beach gradually descends into a 130-foot drop-off. Here, elkhorn coral and giant pillar corals bolster a diverse ecosystem of colorful marine life and vegetation. Divers, who can become certified at Utopia's PADI dive shop, frequently encounter the whale shark, the ocean's largest fish, which measures in at up to 59 feet in length. Despite its formidable name, the slow-moving whale shark follows a strictly pescatarian diet and is harmless to all humans with the exception of Captain Ahabs.
At the Dulce Vida restaurant, there's an à la carte menu of fresh cuisine with a Latin flair available for three meals daily. You can also stop for a drink at the oceanfront Dive Bar, a thatched-roof spot where bartenders sling beer, wine, and spirits, or head to the Library Lounge, which has an air-conditioned lounge and billiards table. All the rooms are air-conditioned, too, and you can see the jungle, mountains, or the ocean from your window.
Utila, Honduras: Unspoiled Caribbean Beauty and World-Class Scuba Diving
Ocean waters around Utila are naturally heated to an average temperature of 80 degrees. That makes it an ideal spot for diving. In Utopia Village's Diver's package, you'll head out by boat to buoyed dive sites around the island. The Diver's package includes five morning dives and one night dive each day, as well as unlimited shore diving on Utopia's house reef. The underwater terrain is varied, covered with shipwrecks, coral reefs, drop-off walls, and caves. To explore above the surface level, you can rent sea kayaks free of charge, and traverse the briny, mangrove-filled lagoons.
Utopia Village's savvy front-desk staff can also arrange other exotic excursions and events for an additional fee. On kayak tours, paddlers of all levels embark on half- and full-day trips and search for Blackbeard's coveted stash of de-shelled pistachios. Alternatively, the Day at the Cays excursion begins at the fishing village of Pigeon Cay and ends with a beach barbecue at Water Cay, an uninhabited island ideal for snorkeling and PADI open-water courses. The activities aren't limited to just nature tours, either, as there are yoga classes and more.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.