In recent years the Bay Islands have become important to Honduras. The government now pays more attention to us as we are the number one source of revenue for taxes collected from tourists. Each of the Bay Islands is unique in their own way. Utila is not as main stream as Roatan, and we are building our reputation around our unique qualities. The little things that the rest of the world take for granted keep us unique.
I tell the tourists I talk with who express an interest in returning to live on Utila to be mentally prepared for the slow pace. Do not come with the idea that things get done on time or when they’re promised. Once this new lifestyle is accepted, the stress of the fast paced lifestyle slowly fades into memory. We walk the streets at a slower pace, and should we not be able to complete our projects today, there is always tomorrow.
Our tourists are not the fast paced demanding type, but rather the basic backpacker living on a budget. They have a certain portion set aside for everything and must remain within that budget or cut their vacation short. They too enjoy our slow pace even if it means not being able to catch a scheduled flight due to transportation problems brought on by our unconventional weather trends. In this respect as we plan for our special tourists, we need to make sure Utila has everything they want for their stay with us, including a better understanding of our ecosystem.
We are no longer in the 60s or 70s when the ocean took care of all our waste. We have a delicate ecosystem that we have been destroying in many ways. We must take care of the island in order for it to take care of us, and we must make all of Honduras sensitive to our ecological problem.
Utila’s mangrove system, which can be considered as nature’s filter or her natural barrier, is slowly being destroyed. Our lagoon system is stagnating and becoming too unhealthy to swim in, not to mention how it is negatively affecting the wildlife. I can remember being able to look down through the root system of the mangroves to see a white sandy bottom. All one has to do is look at an aerial photo of the island, zero in on the problem areas and see that stagnation is a major problem within the mangroves.