The ferry boat in Roatan Honduras

Taking the Roatan to Utila Ferry: Everything You Need to Know

​The two largest of the Bay Islands in Honduras, Roatan and Utila, are both fantastic destinations for their diving, beaches, and laidback vibes.

Roatan is typically people’s first port of call in Honduras, as Roatan has the international airport.

Roatan is the destination for all international flights, as well as domestic flights from the mainland of Honduras (such as San Pedro Sula).

If your final destination is Utila, or if you’re visiting both islands on your trip to Honduras, you’ll likely want to take the ferry service between Roatan and Utila.

A person standing looking out onto the sea as she journeys from Utila to Roatan by ferry
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Luckily, the ferry ride is (generally) a smooth one, especially once you’ve read a guide like this one to know a little more about what to expect on your journey from Roatan to Utila.

This guide will cover how to take the Roatan to Utila ferry, including how to plan your ferry trip, ferry schedules and costs, how to book tickets, and what the ferry crossing is like. 

Let’s get into it!

Planning Your Roatan to Utila Ferry

Walking towards the ferries, two boats on either side of a dock on a sunny day in Honduras

First of all, you’ll want to see when you are flying into Roatan and see how that affects your travel plan.

There is only one ferry per day to Utila from Roatan via the Utila Dream ferry company.

At present, if you are flying from the United States, there are two airlines that have daily arrivals in Roatan: United Airlines and American Airlines.

The United Airlines flight arrives at 11:30 AM, leaving you ample time to arrive at the ferry terminal before 2 PM.

If you are flying on the American Airlines flight, you arrive just before 1 PM, making it a real squeeze to try to get to the ferry terminal by 2 PM.

Sometimes, Delta Airlines will also fly to Roatan, arriving at 12:20 PM. I think that’s just enough time to make it as well, but the American Airlines connection would likely be too tight.

Personally, when I planned my Roatan trip, I took the United flight, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get through customs in Honduras or transfer to the ferry terminal.

The Roatan airport arrival area

I have travel anxiety and don’t like tight travel times, as a small delay can derail quite a bit, so the way I ended up planning my Bay Islands itinerary was a little different.

We arrived in Roatan and spent 3 nights there, took the ferry to Utila and spent 3 nights there, and then returned to Roatan for our final 3 nights enjoying all the fun things to do in Roatan.

However, that wasn’t exactly the most convenient, as we had to move around quite a bit, and because of our travel days, that limited our diving time in Roatan and Utila as well.

Allison Green sitting on dive boat wearing a wetsuit in Utila Honduras

I also missed out on a few of the fun things to do in Utila, like visit Water Cay, because of this.

Knowing what I know now, about how the Roatan airport works and how quickly I can expect to move through it, I would feel comfortable going directly from the airport to the ferry terminal on the 11:30 AM flight.

It only took us about 30 minutes to go through passport control, and while we didn’t check any luggage, we saw that the luggage was already unloaded by the time we got through immigration and customs.

It’s about a 5-10 minute drive from the Roatan Airport to the ferry terminal, since Dixon Cove is right next to Coxen Hole. 

There should be posted taxi fares at the airport, but I wouldn’t imagine a taxi would cost more than $10 USD (250 lempira), as our taxi from the airport to our hotel in the West End cost $30 (750 lempira) via a private transfer.

How to Reach the Roatan Ferry Terminal

Bags being dropped off at the Roatan ferry terminal

The best way and easiest way to arrive at the Roatan ferry terminal is by taxi, whether that’s from the airport or from where you are staying in Roatan if you end up starting your trip in Roatan.

​As mentioned above, we weren’t sure about the transfer times, so we started our trip in Roatan, visited Utila in the middle, and finished in Roatan.

Our taxi between where we stayed in the West End and the Roatan Ferry Terminal cost $35 USD (875 lempira) for a pre-booked private taxi.

You may be able to negotiate a better rate on the ground — or not! 

We personally used the same driver who picked us up at the airport, because we found it less stressful knowing our driver and knowing we’d have someone punctual, waiting for us and ready to go.

Business card that reads Omar Tourists Transportation with the phone number on it

If you’re in need of a driver, we used Dario from Omar’s Transportation company for all of our transportation in Roatan (phone number and email on the card above) and highly recommend him.

He was awesome, always on-time, and friendly, and speaks excellent English since he spent a lot of his youth growing up in NYC!

If you’re traveling from the airport, expect a maximum 10 minute travel time between the airport and the ferry.

If you’re traveling from the West End, expect about a 30-40 minute travel time.

If you’re traveling from the West Bay resort area, expect about a 40-50 minute travel time (and for the price to be about $5 USD /125 lempira more).

Buying Tickets for the Roatan to Utila Ferry

The small Roatan ferry terminal with a ticket booth

It’s very easy to buy tickets online for the Roatan to Utila ferry, so I recommend you do that to make sure you have one less thing to worry about before your ferry ride.

You can also book in person at the ferry terminal, but online is easier.

If you know when you plan to return to Roatan from Utila, you can buy round trip ferry tickest.

However, the prices are the same, so there’s really no need to book round trip unless you are certain of your dates.

It costs 1440 lempira for a roundtrip standard fare (about $58 USD) and 1620 lempira for a VIP fare (about $66 USD).

A one-way ticket costs 720 lempira for a single ticket (about $29 USD) and 810 lempira ($33 USD) for a VIP fare.

Frankly, I’m not sure what the difference is between VIP and regular, except that you get a private indoor area that may be a little roomier because only VIP ticket holders can access it.

Note that there is only one return time from Utila to Roatan, at 10:20 AM, so plan your trip accordingly! 

Many flights from Roatan leave around noon, which will not give you enough travel time to check in at the airport

Checking Bags for the Roatan to Utila Ferry

Holding a green bag tag for my luggage with a number on it

If you have anything larger than a backpack, the ferry staff will request that you check it. 

​While the process of checking bags is monitored, I’d still recommend removing anything valuable, such as a laptop or camera equipment, from your checked luggage to whatever you’re carrying with you.

Checking bags is free, and they give you a slip for your bag.

Don’t lose it, because they do check that it matches your bag when you arrive!

The Roatan to Utila Ferry Journey

Allison Green on the ferry taking a selfie

I get seasickness, so I’m always a little worried about how a ferry journey is going to go… but I’m happy to report that I had no issues on the ride to Utila or the ferry ride back to Roatan!

I did take Dramamine as a preventive measure, as I always do before a ferry ride, but the ride was very smooth and I think I would have been okay without it.

Granted, I traveled in May in the most pleasant part of the dry season, where there are very few storms.

If you are traveling in the rainy season when there are more storms (roughly October to February, though more frequent rains can start as early as August), you may have a rougher journey.

The ferry ride is about 1 hour long and is very comfortable. 

There are air-conditioned indoor seating options even for standard ticket holders, as well as an upper-deck outdoor seating option with fresh air and great views.

Interior view of the ferry boat with orange seats and air conditioned indoor area

Personally, I love the fresh air as it helps reduce my seasickness and also the views are lovely!

As you leave for Utila, you’ll pass along the south side of the island of Roatan, so there’s a lot to see along the way.

​Right at the ferry terminal, you’ll see a partially sunken ship, which is really cool to see from a different angle once you get moving!

partially sunken rusted ship as seen from the roatan to utila ferry

Then, you’ll traverse the coast of Roatan for about 10 minutes, admiring the island views, before you head to the open sea. 

After about 50 minutes, Utila is visible in the distance: you’ve nearly made it!

Some Tips for a Smooth Journey

Keep in holidays and peak travel times in mind.

Person sitting on the boat

We had lots of space, but we were traveling in May (no American holidays where lots of families may be traveling) and not during a high period.

One time to look out for is Semana Santa (the week surrounding Easter), where people from mainland Honduras, Mexico, and Central America tend to travel in higher volumes.

If you are traveling during a high period such as Semana Santa, Christmas, etc. you’ll definitely want to buy your tickets ahead of time, and you may want to pay a few extra dollars for VIP to give yourself a bit more space.

Since there’s only one daily departure… if you don’t get a ticket, you don’t go!

Book your ticket carefully.

The ferry boat in Roatan Honduras

One thing that’s a bit funky about the website is that it will sell you tickets for a departure that has already passed.

​I was buying ferry tickets a bit last minute, tired from diving and not paying close attention to the dates.

Even though I was buying the tickets at night, I was able to buy a ticket for the afternoon departure that had already left.

I had wanted to book a ticket for the next day.

When I arrived at the ferry terminal, a worker there noticed my mistake and told me to talk to the ticket counter.

They were able to change my tickets in their system, but it cost an extra 50 lempira ($2) per ticket to change.

Overall, it was just a $4 mistake, but it was a mistake that could be avoided nonetheless!

Keep an eye on your belongings.

Our bags at our feet while waiting for the ferry

In general, the Bay Islands of Honduras are extremely safe. 

That said, if you’re distracted by the beautiful scenery of the Caribbean Sea — you could potentially be an enticing target for petty theft.

Don’t leave your belongings unattended to go admire the view or use the bathroom.

Also, as mentioned above, make sure that any high-value items stay on your person and don’t go in checked luggage.

I found traveling in Roatan and Utila very safe and didn’t worry about theft during my trip, but these are precautions I exercise in every single travel destination in the world.

Arriving in Utila

view when you first arrive in utila with dock and colorful buildings and sea

When you arrive in Utila, you’ll see a line of red tuktuks waiting for you — do yourself a favor and take one! If you are staying in the central part of town, as most hotels are, you will only pay 30 lempira per person, a little over $1 USD.

If you have luggage, I recommend tipping your driver an extra 20 lempira per person (a little under $1) or so if they help you with your bags.

We didn’t realize the tuktuks were so cheap when we arrived and we dragged our luggage down a hot street about 10 minutes to our hotel — which was not pleasant at all.

tuktuks waiting for arrival of tourists in utila

​(I have trust issues from traveling too much in Eastern Europe, where you learn to dodge every taxi driver at your point of arrival because they’ll scam you into oblivion).

Luckily, that’s not a problem on Utila — the signs are clearly posted with fares, and in our entire Utila trip, we never once had a tuktuk driver attempt to upcharge us.

Take the tuktuk, trust me!

Can You Fly from Roatan to Utila?

Walking towards the ferries, two boats on either side of a dock on a sunny day in Honduras

While you can fly from Roatan to Utila, I don’t recommend it — it’s huge waste of carbon emissions for such a short flight, especially when there’s an easy ferry solution.

Plus, with only one daily departure directly between Roatan and Utila, at 8:10 AM, it’s unlikely that it’ll line up conveniently with your flight from another place.

Most American airlines, such as United Airlines, Delta Airlines, etc. tend to land around noon — meaning you’d have to wait for the next day to fly onwards to Utila.


  1. Hi guys….thanks for all the good tips! I am flying to San Pedro Sula and wanted to head directly to Guanaja 1st but I am unsure of the best and less expensive route to get there? There does not seem to be too many ferries going there and the only one I could find was out of Trujillo? Also do you know if The Pearl Princess ferry is still running out of Trujillo? If I make it to Guanaja, I was planning on taking the Utila Dream Ferry or the Galaxy Wave Ferry? Thanks again!

    1. Sorry for the delay, I’m on the road (hi from Panama!) I personally didn’t visit the Honduran mainland but rather flew directly into Roatan, so I don’t have any firsthand answers that would be better than what Google can give you. There are lots of shuttles you can take, which may be a helpful way around. I do know that the Utila Dream Ferry only goes between Roatan – La Ceiba – Utila right now. And I don’;t think Galaxy wave goes to Utila, only between La Ceiba / Roatan. Hope that helps a bit! Sorry I don’t know more.

  2. Panama sounds great too! thanks for the info on the ferry from Roatan to Utila. Good to know these tips. Am looking to go for approx 2-3 months diving in January – any cheap hostels recommended? Also do you know how much the airport departure tax from Roatan is?

    1. Hi Bailey! I didn’t pay any departure tax from Roatan. If you fly into Roatan it should be included in the ticket price. If you are coming in overland and then flying out, you’ll need to look into paying departure tax.

      Re: Cheap hotels, I didn’t stay at one! I stayed at Cocoview in Roatan and then at Manurii Boutique Hotel in Utica, since I was on a mid-range budget (not resort but not budget). If you want to do a lot of diving and stay in a hostel type environment I would check with the dive centers to see if they have any accommodation options — I think Utila Dive Center has their own accommodations 🙂

      1. Thanks so much Allison and apologies for late response! Christmas and all that! Thanks for the departure tax info Phew:))
        All booked in at UDC for 10 nights as thats all they give you and then at Hamacas hostel so fingers crossed for a great 3 month stay :))) Happy Travelling!

  3. Hi,
    Thanks, incredibly useful info. I’m looking to go but was wondering on your opinion of taking a a backpack or a suitcase?


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