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  • Gemma Fottles

Student Travel Diary: Throwback to Central America’s Best Bar

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Honduras is not necessarily the first choice of the student backpacker, but as the country I was headed to for an editorial internship for a month, I was certainly glad it was. Travelling on assignment to the Caribbean island of Utila for my very first PADI Open Water course, I'm pretty sure I discovered Central America's best bar...
Huuuuge palm tree. With apparent spiritual qualities... by Fottles

Being in my last year of University, my life is probably about as boring as it ever has been, what with looming deadlines whose outcomes will actually affect my life in some way. So I’ve taken to constantly looking back through my various travel photos, desperately wishing to be on that beach/in that bar/with that person.

On a recent one of these wallowing exercises, I found all of my photographs of a bar I went to in Utila – a Honduran island off the North of the country. I had forgotten just how amazing it was.

If you’ve ever been to Honduras, chances are you probably visited one of the three Caribbean islands that make up Roatán, the considerably smaller Guanaja, and of course, Utila. Most people – especially people not on a backpacker budget – tend to visit Roatán. It’s the biggest island, the most commercialised, and is well known as a paradisical escape for tourists. Being on an (almost) disastrously low budget, I opted for the significantly cheaper and smaller island of Utila. And in hindsight, I am unbelievably happy that I did.

This is for a number of reasons. Well, three main reasons. 1) I was writing an article about doing my PADI open water certificate and Utila was the cheapest and therefore most attractive option to my editor. 2) The paradise island of Utila is renowned as a backpackers paradise – which in my opinion, attracts aaaaalllll the best kinds of people. 3) Treetanic.

Treetanic: the best Caribbean bar in Honduras

I had read of Treetanic where I read all of my best travel tips and destination advice: my usual travel bible of the trip, AKA the Lonely Planet guide to Honduras. I was instantly drawn to it and I wanted to go, but any description of one of Honduras' most famous bars does it absolutely no justice. Alas, as words are all we've got here on Fottles Travels, I'll give it a shot regardless. Let's go on a journey...

You enter the stairway to the bar at an unassuming point on a dusty dirt path. Built up by one – slightly erratic – American man with his own bare hands, Treetanic is a bar literally up in the trees. Now, it’s not a treehouse, as I probably very naively imagined it. But it is an open bar area, with surrounding areas to walk and sit and generally have a good time.

Every single wall, piece of floor and the general surface is covered with random bits of…. I want to say ‘junk’ because that is what anyone else would describe bottle caps, empty glass bottles and a variety of shiny pieces of rubbish… But it is so much more than that. The owner has created art out of these pieces of junk - a crazy passion project on a tiny Caribbean island - and transformed a pretty average looking bar into a crazy, eclectic world different to any other bar I have ever visited. And I've visited a lot of bars on my student travel adventures so far.

I spent an easy couple of hours here on my own, getting lost in the weirdness of it all and having a couple of chats with the owner. The owner himself is a treat, and probably exactly what you would expect from my hazy descriptions of him… eccentric, unique and absolutely worth spending time around. A bit like his bar in the treetops.

If you ever go to Honduras, I absolutely recommend a weekend trip or every a couple of weeks in Utila and, of course, a tequila or two in the weird and wonderful world of Treetanic. Most people go to the bar in the nighttime, but if you can, have a wander round in the day. Hey, you might even be lucky enough to meet the owner and his extremely lazy cat.

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