How much does it cost?
Most volunteers find it useful to know how much money they can expect to spend during their time at the station. Expenses are likely to be as follows:
The given fees here are valid for all registrations after after 24th Jan 2013.
Weekly stay costs are € 55 or equivalent in US$ (~75) or Lempira. Volunteers who stay periods less than three months at the Iguana Station have to pay an additional registration fee of € 170 or equivalent in US$ (~235) or in Lempira.
Since the project has limited financial support such funds will be reinvested in local volunteers, improving facilities and cages, supporting environmental campaigns and printing of promotional materials.
Volunteer fee through french agencies
The registration fee above does not apply to volunteers who apply through French agencies that have relationships with the Bay Islands Foundation / Iguana Research & Breeding Station because most of them register for long periods to do their training in Iguanas.
Volunteer fee for local volunteers
Local citizens interested in participating in the project should consult firstname.lastname@example.org directly, stay costs are different.
information for european volunteers: euros can not be easily exchanged in Honduras, and particularly in Utila, therefore it is better to exchange your euros to dollars before coming to Honduras, or if you do it here, be sure to do it in a bank in San Pedro Sula or La Ceiba. Though, dollars can be changed throughout Honduras easily. For information on exchange rates the website http://www.xe.com/ can be used.
It is important to note that this project is grateful for the participation of many volunteers from around the world who have to be recognized for their efforts, dedication, resources and time invested in the conservation of our Swamper.
Researchers have to pay the same amount as volunteers, the equivalent for €55 in LEMPIRAS for each beginning week. If someone needs more private space, we offer single rooms for US$90.
Utila is more expensive than the Honduras mainland, but all in all, it is much cheaper than Europe or the US. Nonetheless, we recommend to bring some things that are very expensive here, for example, sun-cream and some imported goods.
To give an idea of the lifecost, here are some prices:
- Average meal at a restaurant (with a drink and tips included): L.200 ($9.85).
- Beer (Salva Vida, por favor): L.35 ($1.70).
- Snorkel rental (per hour): L. 35 ($1.70).
- Open Water SCUBA diving: L. 4515 ($239) with EcoMarine.
- 10 dives with EcoMarine for L. 3778 ($200), and you can share them between 2 people.
- Entrance to the "Reef Cinema" movie theatre: L.45 ($2.40).
- Bike rental per day: L.100 ($5).
- Kayak rental per day: L.200 ($10).
- Food in the supermarket per week (milk, juice, bread, meat, rice, pasta, veggies, fruit): L.1000 ($53).
- Washing machine at the station: L. 60 ($3).
- Internet per week at the station: L. 100 ($6).
The station provides some basic products, for example: sugar, salt, spices, sauces, vinegar, oil, soap, detergent.
The cost for the flight from Europe to America is subject to strong fluctuations which depend on both the dollar exchange rate and the demand for flights. Flights from the USA to Honduras surprisingly are not much cheaper than flights from Europe. Flights cost between €800 and €1300 for a round-trip. It is not possible to get a last minute flight to an “exotic” country such as Honduras from Europe, so you should compare different prices and book early. Usually, before arriving to Utila and to the station, you have to spend one night in Miami or San Pedro Sula (where we would advise you to land in Honduras). Booking in advance is recomended, to avoid hassles.
If you decide to come to Utila by plane from San Pedro Sula, you have to use a local company, Aerolínea Sosa. The flights are available only on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and they leave early at 2:30 PM. The one way flight from San Pedro Sula to Utila costs around $118 and is about 1h. The return from Utila to San Pedro can be done on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6:00 AM and the round trip cost $213.
Bus, Taxi and Ferry Costs
Concerning the bus to La Ceiba, the Hedman Alas bus company is recommended. Tickets can be bought at the airport, and the bus leaves from there. The trip is approximately 3 hours long, but very comfortable. All buses have air conditioning, a restroom and televisions with the latest hollywood films. The bus cost approximately $21 and it leaves from the Airport of San Pedro Sula at 9h30 am, 2h15 pm, 3h55 pm and 5 pm.
Concerning the ferry to Utila, you need to take a cab from La Ceiba to the ferry terminal, which is called Muelle de Cabotaje. This will cost around $3. The ferry goes to Utila twice daily, leaving at 9:30am and 4pm. You have to be at the terminal 45 minutes before departure. One way with the ferry cost approximately $30.
If your flight arrives late in the day, we recommend you stay in San Pedro Sula for a night. We advise you to stay at the hotel Villa Nuria which is a little pricey for Honduras, but it is safe and they provide a shuttle service to and from the airport or a bus line. Then you can take your plane to Utila or bus to La Ceiba and the ferry to Utila.
If your flight arrives early and you decided to travel to La Ceiba by bus, you can stay at the Hotel Catracho, which is reasonably priced, and take the ferry the day after.
You can pay on Utila with Lempiras and nearly everywhere with US Dollar. However nobody on the Island accepts Travelers Cheques of any kind. Also credit cards are not accepted usually, and if, you have to pay a high fee. You can withdraw both Dollars and Lempiras in the ATMs on Utila. For the journey you should also have some cash with you, about $250 should be enough.
For your safety you might distribute your money on your body, for example put a part in your shoes, your belt and so on, but you should have some in your money bag, too!
Attention: we recommend you bring cash in US Dollars, as Pounds or Euros cannot be changed on the island. Travelers Cheques cannot be changed on the Island and you will have difficulties getting them changed in Honduras as a whole. Instead we recommend debit cards or cash passport (the new card form of Travelers Cheques) Visa backed debit cards are preferential although Mastercard cash passports do work.
European volunteers do not need to obtain a “visa” in advance of coming to Utila. It is suffcient to have a passport valid for at least 6 months longer than your stay here. Most European citizens are allowed to get a visa stamp in their passport with residence permission for 90 days, ask the person at the airport desk for it. US-citizens get only 30 days residence permission. The renewal of your residence permission is possible, but costs about €20 for the next month. If your stay in Honduras is longer than 6 months, you have to leave the country for a few days then you can get a new residence permission.