So my Canadian friend asked me today: "Julie Shig, can you talk to us about Honduras? Your chosen nation and the birthplace of your children is catching a ton of flack in American news these days. Please tell us your story!
Well m'dear sit down and let me tell you my side of things:
Honduras is the mainland. Whereas the Bay Islands comprised of Utila, Roatan and Guanaja are quite insulated from that by the beautiful ocean in between. Yes, the Honduran mainland partially deserves the bad rep that it is getting. With high crime rates due to drug trafficking and collateral damage from that business, but consider that North America is similar in some parts as there are places that you STAY AWAY FROM.
Utila is coined as the Cinderella of the Caribbean. This cute little island is so tiny, only 5 miles by 13 miles. And the town is even tinier probably about 4-5 square miles. Everyone knows everyone, so it is hard to get away with crime because there is usually someone sitting out on their stoop enjoying the prevailing east wind.
Theft happens, a lot. But that's a petty crime that drives the island inhabitants crazy. But for violent crimes, it's virtually non-existent when compared with the mainland. On the islands, it's like you're in a completely different country, and actually, it oftens feels like you're not even in Central America. Most people speak english. A number of the stores are spanish speaking only, but that is probably half. And there's Utilian. It's english with a Cajun accent. It's awesome! And I love when my children switch to speaking it when they are around their friends, switch to spanish when talking to their babysitter, and then switch back to talk to me and my husband in english, all without missing a beat.
Although the Honduras mainland is receiving a bad rap, you can't apply that to the Bay Islands. Utila is completely different and has so much to offer, like nature, awesome scuba diving, a great, albeit small and quaint public beach and many other things to just chill. If you're a scuba diver, then you can spend every day in the water and see something new!
If you're a partier, there's that too! There are a few youtube videos that show Utila as being a crazy party town, which is pretty accurate! (well 15 years ago for me): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX-H-zF9PJ4
Utila also hosts the biggest party in Central America called Sunjam, and it's happening a couple of weeks from now on August 2, 2014: http://sunjamutila.com/
Don't let people tell you that if you're not a diver, or a partier, that there is nothing else to do in Utila. Utila is a great place to chill. You can walk or take a bike, or tuk tuk everywhere. If you're not a diver or a partier, you're better off thinking that you're coming to Utila to do more of nothing, than running around crazy like the first world doing something!
I am not an entomologist, but I try to educate my children on respecting nature and the wonderful creatures that comprise it.
Here are some photos of neat moths that pass through Utila and some that are here year-round.
Once a year we have a migration of these moths come through. They are about the size of the palm of your hand! They look like bats!
It is so wonderful to be able to boot down to the beach, or a friend's place on the beach, walk out and be snorkeling in a minute.
Our kids are so confident in the water and are not fazed at all by the depth, roughness or visibility (although visibility is about 30m/100ft most days).
Both children are strong snorkelers who will make super Divemasters one day because they know the names of almost everything under the sea.
Even though it was rough, we decided to go out snorkeling. Within a few minutes we saw an eagle ray swim by and my eldest saw a teeny baby squid. It was the cutest little thing!
Ah! Utila underwater. There is so much to see!
Everyone knows that Utila is an amazing place to dive, to see whale sharks and dolphins, and to party!
What most people don't know, or what most people don't experience are the amazing things on land. Utila has a varied landscape, with fresh water caves, brackish lagoons, and a hill called Pumpkin Hill. Oh, and a 'wanna be' hill called Stuart Hill.
These photos were taking after hiking from Utila town over to the Northside and climbing up Pumpkin Hill. The hike over takes about an hour, and it's a pleasant walk on a road, which turns to dirt, which is spattered with some cliff rock, and mud (if it has rained recently).
From there you can see from the north to the south of the island for some amazing views of the island.
This is the view back to town. The majority of Utila Island is savanna or marshy, and wet most of the year. Wet also equates to green green green.
After living here for 15 years, it's always shocking to me to go visit anywhere in North America and notice the lack of green... there are often lots of shades of brown and the greys of cement.
I prefer green.
Part of the wonderful charm of living on an island is it's remoteness. You can't just drive here and there is some kind of magic to that.
I love flying onto Utila, and must have been on over 100 flights to Utila with the various charter flights and commercials flights available.
You can charter a 5 seater to Utila from La Ceiba or Roatan for about $300-$350. You'll feel like royalty flying on your own schedule.
Here's a shot of me leaving Roatan to Utila on a 9 seater, twin-prop with Island Air.
Email me for more info if you want to fly like a king or queen!
To better serve retirees & those seeking a slower pace of life in the Caribbean, I became the First and Only Accredited Buyer's Representative in the country of Honduras. This means you can be assured of the best representation of your real estate needs, like no one else can.