The bottle looked innocent enough, merely herbs floating in a clear liquid. Taking four shots in a row should be as easy. Not easy when the four shots are part of the Guifiti Challenge at the Skid Row Bar. Guifiti is a local moonshine primarily made on the northern coast of Honduras. It is not innocent. It is potent. Although recipes vary from town to town and even bar to bar, Guifiti is essentially aguardiente (local cheap booze) infused with a variety of herbs and spices. It is rumored to have aphrodisiac and medicinal properties as well as a very high alcohol content. During our two weeks on the Bay Island of Utila, we were able to closely study the effects of Guifiti on young European tourists, and although we cannot speak to the aphrodisiac effects, we can attest to its ability to enhance, impair, and otherwise debilitate and based on our observations recommend that no one in a normal state of mind should take four shots in a row.
Because we are older and wiser, we chose to only sample Guifiti once; our challenge while in Utila was to dive as much as possible. Utila, Roatan, and Guanaja compose the Bay Islands about 50 km of the north coast of Honduras. The second largest reef in the world coupled with some of the cheapest diving prices results in Utila, a budget traveler’s dream island. Although food and hotel prices are higher then mainland Honduras, the affordable diving makes it a worthwhile stop. Initially we had only intended on staying for a week while Ken completed his PADI Open-Water diving course. We ended up staying for almost two weeks as we both completed our PADI Advanced Open-Water course. We can now dive anywhere in the world to depths of 30 meters/100 feet.
During our Advanced course we dove our first ship wreck. Dubbed the Halliburton Wreck by the dive companies who had paid for it to be scuttled onto a sand patch, it was incredible to glide along the open deck and through the wheelhouse observing the plethora of marine life that now called the wreck home. We also were required to do a certifying night dive. I was frankly terrified of the thought of the complete blackness I knew would be the ocean at night, only pierced by our small torches, unknown sea creatures surrounding us. My fears were confirmed, but the coral that came to life at night blooming with vibrant color and the bioluminescence flashing in the corner of my vision turned the dive into a surreal experience. It felt as if we were floating through space surrounded by stars. For our final two “fun” dives we were taken to the west side of Utila and dove its famous Black Coral Wall. Here the reef stretches out from the shore to plunge 130 feet to the ocean floor. Swimming along the wall was beautiful black, purple, green, and blue coral with hundreds of large and small brightly colored fish interspersed among them.
After two weeks, our challenge had been completed and we are now seriously hooked on diving and Utila. For any future travelers headed to Utila, we recommend diving with Parrots Dive Center.
This is a locally owned and operated dive center with top-caliber instructors and dive masters, decent equipment, and an amazing dock bar from where we watched two weeks worth of gorgeous Caribbean sunsets. It is hard to tear ourselves away, but the road is calling and our CA-4 will expire in a month and we still have Nicaragua to discover!