Day 57: Copán Ruinas - San Pedro Sula - La Ceiba – Utila (2)
Utila Travel Blog› entry 79 of 120 › view all entries
At the airport I could board immediately and less than half an hour later I found myself standing on Utila - a full two days ahead of schedule. Now that made everything much better again, and I had forgotten all about the issues in La Ceiba instantly.
Utila is not really famed for its beaches, nor is it really a party island. If that is what you're after, you'll have to go to the next island, the much larger Roatán. On Utila it is all about scuba diving, and that was exactly the reason for my visit here. When I was in Australia I had wanted to do my diving certification there, but because of poor planning from my end it never really happened during my 10-month stay there.
Before I embarked on this trip I had never heard of Utila, but this island is pretty much the cheapest place on earth to get your diving certification at a professional, official PADI certified diving school. This made it all the more interesting to spend a few days here of course, especially since you can do a full PADI open water course in 3 days here, whereas it would have taken 6 days to do it in Australia.
I visited several of the diving schools on the island to do some comparison research. The standard price for a beginner's course is 159 dollars. However, the entire Caribbean has had a very bad season so far (25 days of rain in January alone), and Utila is also suffering from the broken ferry which causes less people to visit the island.
That said, I had also been warned about these sensational offers. After all, they need to save costs somewhere, and besides, of the 15 or so dive shops on the island only 3 are fully endorsed by the international diving organisation PADI. That is not saying the others are worse (you still receive a PADI certification), but apparently there is a difference. In the end I chose quality over price and signed up at the school which is said to be the best on the island, the Bay Islands College of Diving.
I registered to start my course the next morning, and was introduced to my English instructor Zoe. Earlier today she had started a new course with an Irish guy named Ken, and because diving is supposed to be done in pairs, it is just as easy to do a diving course with two people as well. So that was a nice bonus.
I was given a theory book with the homework assignment to read the first chapter (80 pages in total) and do the first examination.
Gheez, I am on holiday and all of a sudden I have to study and do homework??