Whale Shark & Oceanic Research Center


This center studies whale sharks and monitors the coral reef. It offers regular snorkeling trips to track down whale sharks and spear invasive lion fish. If the whale sharks are found, everyone dons snorkeling gear and jumps into the ocean with them – an unforgettable experience. The idea is not to disturb the animals and to promote sustainable whale shark encounters.

Those diving with College of Diving next door get a 30 percent discount.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Utila attractions

1. Iguana Research & Breeding Station

0.42 MILES

Up the hill from the town center, this great place studies and protects the highly endangered Utila iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri), which is known locally as …

2. Bando Beach

0.68 MILES

Utila Town's privately run beach is a small strip of white sand, a few lounge chairs, some shady palms and a lively bar. You can take a dip here, but the…

3. Parque Swinford

22.63 MILES

Parque Swinford is a lush, tropical botanical oasis in the heart of La Ceiba, complete with a restored train carriage from the area’s railway heyday.

4. Catedral de San Isidro

22.73 MILES

The city's most recognizable building, this imposing structure on the Parque Central dates from the early 20th century.

5. Carambola Botanical Gardens

26.71 MILES

These wonderful botanical gardens have well-maintained trails through 40 acres of protected forest, extending up a hillside known as Carambola Mountain…

6. Cascada Zacate

29.31 MILES

The park’s first trail is still a favorite, with a moderately difficult three-hour hike to Cascada Zacate. You’ll hear the falls before you see them; they…