Information for Volunteers


Travel to & from Utila

There are a variety of different ways to reach this wonderful little island.  Flying into neighboring island Roatan is one recommended option, which you can reach from major airports in the States such as Miami, Houston, Atlanta etc.  From Roatan you can either take the ferry over to La Ceiba (the port on the mainland Honduras) and then the ferry from La Ceiba to Utila.  Approximate price of ferry transportation from Roatan to Utila would be $60 usd if you catch both ferries.

Another option is to take a smaller boat from Roatan directly to Utila, such as the Lady Julia, which costs approximately $50 usd.  There are often various private charter boats also available transporting from Roatan to Utila and vice versa.  Travelling through Roatan, you would also need to factor in transport from airport to dock in Roatan, taxis are always available, costs vary, but expect to pay between $10 ad $20 usd.

Alternatively, you can take a smaller flight from Roatan to Utila, which will cost approximately $100 USD.  If you are interested in this option, we can put you in touch with the travel agents who are responsible for making these inter-island flight bookings and they work closely with us on all our travel arrangements.  These are small aircrafts, normally 6 – 12 seater planes.  It is a great way to see the island on arrival from a birds eye view.  Also it only takes approximately 15 minutes to get to Utila from Roatan using this method of transportation.  Please email mark@wsorc.org for more information.

Alternatively, if you decide to fly into mainland Honduras, you will fly into San Pedro Sula (SAP).  From SAP you can either fly to Utila which will cost approximately $130 USD, and these flights go on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays at 2:30pm with SOSA Airlines and have a quick stop off in La Ceiba airport before coming to Utila.  Or there is another flight on Saturdays at 3pm with CM Airlines that goes direct to Utila from SAP.  Again we can put you in touch with the travel agents for these flights.

If you would rather take the bus from SAP to La Ceiba and then the ferry to Utila from La Ceiba, you can reach La Ceiba from SAP by bus, there are various carriers, and I recommend travelling with one of the better companies as these are safer, less stops, only slightly more expensive.  Recommended are Hedman Alas and Vienna bus carriers.  Once you reach the bus station in La Ceiba, there are always taxi drivers waiting to take you to the ferry, expect to pay between $5-$10 usd taxi fare.

The ferry from La Ceiba to Utila goes twice daily, around 9am and 4pm departure, check this on the links below.

www.aboututila.com

www.utilaguide.com

 

WHAT TO BRING…

We know that packing for such an exciting trip can be difficult, so we had a brainstorm between staff and volunteers and we’ve put together a list of items that we think might help you.  When travelling to an island it is of utmost importance to bare in mind the impact we will have on our surrounding environment.  As on many other islands throughout the world, waste disposal is a real problem here and recycling is extremely limited, therefore we ask you to be aware of this when you are deciding what to bring and try to bring only reusable items.  Check out the list below, and if you have any questions please feel free to drop us an email.

Documentation

Passport and all necessary travel documents (visas if applicable).  It is advisable to make a photocopy of your passport and insurance documents prior to your trip and keep these separate from originals.  We also ask you please send us a copy of your insurance documents via email prior to your arrival.

Clothing
  • Shorts and T-shirts
  • Casual clothing for leisure activities
  • Swimwear. (Note for girls – bikinis are socially acceptable, but please bare in mind that activities involving ocean swimming require rigorous movements so secure swimwear is essential).
  • Rash vest
  • A pair of lightweight longer trousers and shirt for sun protection and evening insect protection
  • Jumper or cardigan for the occasional chilly evening
  • Light waterproof during rainy season (October-February)
  • Sunhat (with a secure strap as boats can get windy) this is essential!
  • Sunglasses (you may want polarised sunglasses to reduce glare when out on the water) – Sunglasses available on the island do not always have UV protection therefore it is advisable to buy these prior to your trip).
  • Flipflops or sandals
  • Trainers or other substantial footwear (for beach clean ups or walking leisure activities)

 

Toiletries
  • Ecofriendly sunscreen (eg. Green people available at www.soorganic.com )
  • Aftersun
  • Insect repellent (without DEET eg. Avon, Johnsons)
  • Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel etc. – readily available on the island but more expensive and no eco-friendly brands available
  • Other toiletries such as contact lense solutions, razors, tampons etc. are less available and more expensive on the island, so you may want to bring supplies with you.

 

Dive Equipment

All dive equipment will be provided by WSORC, however please note this is a shared resource, so if you have your own equipment it would be best for you to bring it.  If you have them, it is highly recommended you bring your own mask, snorkel and fins which will give you the freedom to participate in leisure snorkeling activities at your own leisure and not be reliant on availability of spare resources.

First Aid Kit
  • Antibiotic Ear Drops- Ear infections are relatively common where diving and seawater are involved. However ear drops are readily available on the island and freshwater rinsing of ears after diving and snorkeling helps to prevent infection.
  • Plasters, Bandages, Blister plasters, scissors etc.
  • Non-drowsy sea sickness tablets if you are prone to seasickness-the only sea sickness tablets available on the island have drowsy side effects which are not recommended for diving activities.
  • Antihistamine cream for insect bites (you may also want tablets)
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Painkillers

 

Vaccinations, Medication & General Health

No vaccinations are required for entry into Utila, with the exception of Yellow Fever if you are arriving from a Yellow Fever infected country.  However, Typhiod and Hepatitis A and B are recommended and it’s a good idea to make sure you are current on your routine vaccinations such as Tetanus and MMR.  Although there are mosquitoes on Utila and it is possible to contract malaria or dengue fever, the likelihood of doing so in Utila is VERY LOW and most people DO NOT take anti-malarial medication whilst here.  We do recommend that you visit a health clinic that specializes in travel medicine before you depart your home country; they will have the most current information.  If you have any medical issues whilst on the island, there are several medical clinics and medicine such as antibiotics are readily available.  There is also the hyperbaric chamber which is located in the same building as WSORC.

 

Electronic items

PLEASE NOTE – if you are bringing battery powered electronic items we ask you ONLY bring rechargeable batteries and the charger as there is no disposal system for used batteries on the island and as we want to minimise our impact on the amount of waste being produced here in Utila.

  • Plug adaptor (essential)
  • Torch/Headtorch (rechargable batteries)
  • Laptop (We advise volunteers/interns/visiting researchers to bring their own laptops as access to computers is limited in the center, however this is not an essential item).
  • Camera (with underwater housing/GoPro etc.)
  • Ipod/MP3 Player
  • Speakers (nothing with a base that’s going to bring the roof down, but having something to play music on at home is always nice!) 

 

Other Items
  • Refillable water bottle (essential)
  • Reusable bag for shopping (essential)
  • Towel (essential)
  • Drybag for use on the boats
  • Books – There is a library and book exchange on the island available for a minimal fee
  • Favourite food items- A wide variety of food is available on the island however imported foods eg. Nutella, Peanut butter etc. and sauces are more expensive and less varied. Any little comfort products such as Marmite or PG Tips Teabags, bring them with you (according to Customs regulations)
  • Penknife
  • You may also want to consider bringing a credit card for emergencies
Average prices for food and beverages on Utila

 

Fruit & Veg

 

Item Dollars
Avocado 0.75
Banana 0.25
Bell Pepper 0.40
Cabbage 2
Garlic (head) 0.30
Lettuce 1.20
Lime 0.30
Mango 0.75
Melon 2.5
Onion 0.30
Pineapple 1.25
Tomato 0.25
Watermelon 3.5

 

 

Other foods
Beans (300g) 0.70
Bread (loaf) 1.75
Cheddar cheese (400g) 4.50
Crisps (150g) 1.25
Granola (500g) 3
Ground Beef (500g) 3
Pasta (200g) 0.70
Peanut butter 5.00
Rice (300g) 0.70
Salad Dressing (437ml) 2.50
Sweetcorn (432g tin) 1.30
Yoghurt (500g) 2

 

Drinks
Fruit Juice (1 litre) 1.50
Milk (1 litre) 1.50
Soft drink (500ml) eg. Coke, Sprite 1.00
Water (5 gallons) 1.50 (+$5 deposit for bottle)

 

Alcohol
Beer – Imperial/Salva Vida (350ml bottle) 1.50
Beer – Barena/Port Royal (350ml bottle) 1.75
Rum – Flor de Caña (1 litre) 9
Rum + Mix drink (in bar)

1.50