Bandu beach is just a two minutes walk away from our house and is our preferable spot to watch sunset. Like everywhere in the tropics, sunset is proceeding fast: between dusk and the moment the sun disappears behind the horizon there lies an approximative 30 minutes timespan. That is however compensated by the fact that it’s a spectacular view.
Every Thursday night they have a burrito night and thus one of the multiple weekly occasions when Utila’s expat community is congregating. It’s also one of the few places where they serve imported German wheat beer, which is my preferable European poison, narrowly followed by the merlot wine. Both come here at triple price of what I’m used to pay in Europe. The local alcoholic drinks consist of two locally mass produced pilsner brands (Salva Vida and Imperial) or some mixers with a nicaraguan rum called Flor de Caña. There is also some British guy who started a micro brewery with its own beer garden, but he opens only once a week and his weekly produce is sold out about two hours after opening time.
Dusk and dawn are also the moments that trigger a feeding frenzy among Utila’s sand fleas. The most common and least dangerous of all the organisms that people call “sand fleas” are actually crustaceans. So, they aren’t fleas or even insects. They’re in the same family as crabs and lobsters. People only call them “fleas” because they hop and jump. You might also hear them referred to as sand hoppers, beach fleas or beach hoppers. These creatures might cause red, itchy bumps on your skin, but the irritation usually goes away in a couple of days. The effect looks like this:
I personally recommend
- Using insect repellants on your skin. You can use products that contain DEET, or natural products such as coconut oil or certain essential oils.
- Washing your feet thoroughly after going barefoot.
- Wearing closed-toed shoes, socks, and shirts with long sleeves, especially when going out at sunset.
Most expats are so used to it that the histamine level of their body adapted. They get bitten as much as everyone else, but their skin doesn’t display the heavy reaction to the irritation that most newcomers to the island experience. They got used to it as long they’re not submitted to a massive attack of a swarm of those critters. The only remedy against that is to run.
As a final remark about Bandu Beach I might add that the sand fleas aren’t that virulent at this location because its owner is raking the sand everyday. When you regularly rake a beach, you expose the eggs of the sand fleas to the sun and that somehow destroys them. It’s also the best maintained beach of the Island and the only one that charges a 2 $ entrance fee, but you can recoup that fee when you order something at the beach bar.