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!
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.