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, about 11 miles off the coast of Honduras's mainland. But it's on this sliver of land that you'll find Utopia Village, a dedicated adventure resort that can only be reached by taking a 20-minute boat ride through a mangrove-laden jungle lagoon. 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--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. Just 100 feet from Utopia Village, the beach gradually descends into a 130-foot drop-off. Here, elkhorn coral and giant pillar coral are part of 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 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, Latin-inspired cuisine available for three meals daily (included with this getaway). You can also stop for a drink at the oceanfront Dive Bar, a thatched-roof spot where bartenders serve 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 ocean from your window.
Utila, Honduras: Unspoiled Caribbean Beauty and World-Class Scuba Diving
The ocean waters around Utila are naturally heated to an average temperature of 80 degrees, making it ideal for diving. With this getaway, you have the option of taking either a Discover Scuba class to learn the basics of the activity, or two tank dives. During the dive, you'll head out by boat to buoyed dive sites around the island, where the underwater terrain varies from coral reefs and drop-off walls to shipwrecks and caves. To explore above surface level, rent a sea kayak free of charge, and travel across the briny, mangrove-filled lagoons.
Utopia Village's front-desk staff can also arrange other exotic excursions and events for an additional fee. On a kayak tour, you'll embark on a half- or full-day trip 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 spa treatments that incorporate local ingredients like sweet mango and papaya.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.