The smallest of the Bay Islands, Utila has managed to evade full-scale development. It is small, especially compared to Roatán, and some visitors complain that there isn't much to do. On the other hand, more than a few travelers have planned to drop in for a weekend and ended up staying for a month or more, seduced by the island's easy-going atmosphere and carefree living. Locals, with their penchant for storytelling, make visitors feel right at home.

Known for its affordable diving classes, Utila is very popular with backpackers. This does not mean, however, that you'll be roughing it. The resorts here are small but inviting, like the island itself. Life on the island centers mostly around Utila Town, and dive hotels, restaurants, and bars spread out from either side of the municipal dock. A number of mansions that are available for short-term rentals have gone up on the northern coast of Utila, adding a more luxurious option for big groups or high-end travelers. Hundreds of Utila natives live on the Utila Cays, a quick boat ride from the mainland but culturally a world away.

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