Utila Honduras is one of the cheapest and most beautiful places in the world to learn how to dive. It holds the second largest coral barrier reef, Australia holding first place, and is the largest unbleached coral formation in the world as of April 2017. Open water diving in Honduras is one of the best choices you could ever make.
Thousands of backpackers and travelers of all ages learn open water diving in Honduras. Why? Because the courses are cheap, the island is fun, and the locals are sweethearts. When you go open water diving, the visibility is clear – sometimes up to 30 feet – and most importantly the corals are still alive, unlike in Northern Australia, parts of Thailand, Western Sri Lanka, and most other places I dove in.
Here are the details you need to make an informed decision regarding open water diving in Honduras.
What to ask before choosing your open water diving certification
Because of the hype and high traffic, there are many dive shops to choose from. When choosing a dive shop you should consider using the following criteria:
- How many people are assigned per instructor?
- How much experience does the instructor have?
- Is accommodation included? How many nights in total?
- How many “fun” dives (extra dives) do you get?
- Is the equipment new and in good condition?
- How nice is the accommodation?
- What is the price relative to the other dive centers?
- Most importantly – Will I get along with my instructor?
Getting along with your instructor when taking an open water diving course in Honduras is key. If you don’t enjoy spending time with your instructor, you will always remember how unpleasant your first diving experiences were. To avoid making this mistake, try to speak with your potential instructor ahead of time. J
Bay Island College of Diving
Following these criteria, my girlfriend and I chose to take our course at the Bay Island College of Diving. We had heard amazing things, and looking back on it I can confidently say we wouldn’t have had it any other way!
Our instructor Carole Robert was one of the most passionate, happy and kind people we’ve ever met. Her passion for diving was contagious, and I sincerely hope you are matched with an instructor as passionate as she was.
Learning Open Water Diving in Utila Honduras
Getting our open water diving certification was a piece of cake, with all the cherries on top of the Sunday! We came in with zero expectations, and came out with a new love for the sea world. Never in a million years did I expect to love diving so much.
The Videos – Half Day
The most boring (but probably most important) part of getting your certification involves watching videos. While your friends and neighbours go dive, you are stuck in a room watching videos. But it’s necessary as you will learn all the basics! I suggest you do like we did and watch it at 1.5X speed to make it go faster.
Pool Practice – Half Day
Here we learned how to fall in the water, balance our buoyancy, and feel the beautiful tranquility of breathing under water. For some people this part is the hardest, as breathing under water is not made for everyone it seems!
First Dive – Full Day
Your first dive is nerve racking, but will make for the experience of a lifetime. After checking each others equipment, its time to go down into the open sea!
I will never forget my first dive. I was so excited at one point I forgot to keep breathing! The instructor even told me to stop going all over the place on the next dive, as I was finishing my air tank too quickly!!
Second & Third Dive – Full Day
These dives are great as you get to see a lot more fishies, and practice all the sign language. You also learn how to share air with someone else, which could be useful if anything goes wrong. In my dive someone’s airflow stopped working, and that person had to use my air because our dive master’s second breathing apparatus didn’t work!!
Fourth Dive – Last Day
By the fourth dive you feel very comfortable under water, and get the hang of things. If you are lucky you will get to see a giant turtle, nurse sharks and manta rays like we did!! If not you can always keep hoping with the extra fun dives you still have left. It wasn’t until our very last dive that I saw a turtle.
You can learn more about the course and what to expect when diving here in Utila on the PADI website.
Costs To Expect
Open Water: $240
-Includes 4 nights accommodation, 2 fun dives and the Open Water PADI certification.
Advanced Water: $260
-Includes 6 nights accommodation, 2 fun dives and the Advanced Open Water PADI certification.
What to do when you aren’t open water diving
Utila is a quaint island to visit and explore.
Psychedelic Beauty at Jade Seahorse & Treetanic Bar
Ever been to Barcelona to see Gaudi’s works? There is one of the world’s hidden wonders that exist on the Island of Utila. It’s a hotel/ bar/ museum/ garden/ maze/ world-wonder, conceived by a man who had a dream over 30 years ago. To this day he is working on it, this piece of art, composed of hundreds of thousands of pieces of glass. It’s a mosaic like none other. You can go enjoy a beer or two there, and walk around this psychedelic paradise.
On the other side of the island you will find caves made up of dead coral reefs . Unlike most islands in the world, Utila is getting bigger every year. Thus, as the shore line recedes, the corals are very sharp, so make sure to wear shoes.
Free diving refers to diving without a scuba tank. You take a big breath, and hope for the best. All jokes aside, some people on the island come only to free dive, and can stay under water for 2-5 minutes at a time!! Go learn with them when you aren’t diving.
Enjoy some great baleadas and pastelitos. Honduras has amazing local food, even more so when you get on the main land. It’s a shame that the mainland is so dangerous, as it has some of the most beautiful landscapes and tastiest foods I had in Central and South America. If you are brave enough, it’s totally worth a visit!
Do It Before It’s Too Late!
With ongoing climate change, the temperature of the ocean waters fluctuates enormously. All it takes is one bad year to bleach corals that have taken millions of years to form. Take the Australian Great Barrier Reef for example. It’s an unfortunate reality, so I recommend you go open water diving as soon as possible.
I hope doing so will show you the importance of keeping our oceans clean and doing everything we can to reverse the effects of greenhouse gases. It definitely opened my eyes to the biodiversity that exists right beneath the water, forcing me to become an advocate for change throughout my travels.
Enjoy your open water diving experience and please comment if you have any questions or would like to share your story!
Until Next Time,
The Alternative Ways
Nice read. Never been to an exotic destination for diving, but if I ever get the opportunity, I think I will do Honduras, or Thailand! Nice pictures too.