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.


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.

  • 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)


  • 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