The big question: Roatan? Or Utila? Which is best?
While I don’t think that one is better than the other, and that you will definitely get to see plenty of sealife, it really depends on one principal thing:
We were definitely on a tighter budget. Generally, we also prefer smaller islands than bigger ones. So we opted for Utila: which we ended up LOVING. The island has a population of 6000 people (whereas Roatan is much bigger) and there is one main street, many restaurants and bars, and also an abundance of dive shops.
So how to choose one over another?
Tips on choosing a dive shop in Utila:
I do not think that one is particularly better than the other, but here are a few things that could influence your choice of who to dive with for the week (or month, or more!)
- Visit more than one dive shop, walk in and chat with the staff. Ask them your questions and see how they answer. Feel the vibe and see if you like it and feel like you would fit in.
- Ask for their prices for what you plan on doing (fun dives, course, specialty dives etc.)
- Some dive shops will offer you accommodation for free if you are taking a course with them (Or you can negotiate this!)
- Get a tour of their facilities: see what activities they organize during the week. I even saw a dive shop that included a free yoga class or beach volleyball/soccer tournaments
- Check out their diving gear and make sure it is safe and in good shape
- Last but not least: Have fun!