Work this spring had been unusually slow for Ryan, so about 3 weeks into a no-work break, we were tired of hanging out in 90′ temps with no water in sight and decided we needed to go somewhere. Like tomorrow. So what began as a casual conversation about how we wanted to take a freediving class turned into some quick emailing to see who could accommodate us with such short notice. We reached out to schools in Costa Rica, Bonaire and Trinidad and Tobago, but because the World Cup of Freediving was that next weekend everyone was closing up shop to attend the event. We lucked out when we got word from Freedive Utila in Honduras that they could get us into a class if we were able to get there within two days. So with that news, we booked our tickets with our AAdvantage miles (if you want to travel and are not taking advantage of using a mileage card for your everyday spending, you are missing out!), found a dog boarder and while driving to the airport booked our accommodation. I love the spontaneity of these kind of trips. One day you’re sweating in a RV in California and the next day you’re cruising in the ocean next to string rays and barracuda.
Our flights were from San Francisco to San Pedro Sula via a long 7 hr. overnight layover in DFW. Thats the trade-off with cheap award flights–sometimes you have to sleep on a couch in an airport lounge using your beach towel as blanket.
Once we landed in San Pedro Sula, we didn’t have much time to clear customs and connect to our in-county flight to Utila. Or so we thought. Note for your future travel in Honduras: get there on time, but be prepared that Hondurans really take the ‘on island time’ phrase seriously. After a few hours our puddle jumper was ready to take us to the town of La Ceiba where we would connect with another plane for a 15 minute flight to Utila. If small planes are not your thing there is bus that leaves from San Pedro Sula and drops you off at the Utila ferry in La Ceiba.
Through amazing luck, our booking at the Coral Beach Village was the best choice on the island. Despite having to take a panga provided by the resort to get to and from town via a canal, it was the only place on the island with a private beach and great diving and snorkeling. Since most accommodation on the island is in town and built on docks, Coral Beach Village offers a true tropical location. The cherry on top was that all but one day we were the only guests at the resort.
Our classes were over the course of three days at Freedive Utila. We started in the morning at 6 am, with a combination of classroom instruction and afternoon dives. Our instructor John, was so chill and knowledgable. Any reservation I had about attempting the dives went away quickly upon taking his class. Since we were enrolled in the Freediver I course, our dives were limited to 12 meters (39 ft) and then 20 meters (65.5 ft), which to me seemed astronomically deep. Once we practiced our breathing and used the techniques taught by John, it was the BEST experience ever. After the course Ryan easily met max depth of 20 meters with a over a 2 minute breath hold and I maxed out at 18.5 meters (60 ft.) and a breath hold over 1 minute, 30 sec.
The rest of our time was spent at Coral Beach Village eating Poke and fish tacos and putting our new found skills to use in the water. Spotting a few Squirrel fish and a Sculpin on our last day made for a more than memorable trip. Upon arriving we learned that Honduras is one of the cheapest places in the World to dive. Whether it is Scuba or Freediving, Utila is a great place to spend time in the water.