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Kanahau - Utila Research and Conservation Facility

Kanahau - Utila Research and Conservation Facility Logo

Caption 1
All smiles after a day
in the swamps of Rock Harbor
Caption 2
Eumorpha vitis One of Utila’s Hawk moths

Kanahau is a dedicated field research station situated on the north side of Utila. We are primarily biology based but welcome researchers from all study areas to join us.

The facility is located about two miles outside the only town. It is surrounded by tropical broad leaf forest, just a few hundred feet from the Caribbean sea and situated at the bottom of 'Pumpkin Hill' which affords unparalleled views of this small island.

Students and researchers stay with us from one month to one year. We are conducting several studies at the facility and host visiting research scientists with their own studies.

For more details of our projects please visit our website www.Kanahau.com).

Kanahau - Research and Conservation Tours

We also offer visitors to the island the chance to join the scientists on field trips. These nature tours will truly immerse you into the wildlife of this island and offer you a very unique experience. At the moment there are four nature tours available;

Tour 1 - Pumpkin Hill Tour
Hiking to the highest point of Utila on Pumpkin Hill, you will have a fantastic view of the entire island! You will be immersed in hardwood forest as you sight all of the different creatures in this biodiversity hot spot. You could see the endemic anole lizard (Norops bicaorum), curly haired tarantulas, leaf cutter ants, snakes, a variety of birds, and much more wildlife. We will pass a cave where many bats roost and then end the tour with a visit to the fresh water caves, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim.

Tour 2 - Rock Harbour Hiking Tour
This is a great tour for adventurous people! You will hike through the mangroves from the south to the north side of the island passing the Dead Lagoon, which has a variety of birds, orchids, and many different species of plants, to get to The Rock Harbour Beach. After some snorkeling and relaxing, you will cross Jack’s Bight through 0.8-1 meter water with your backpack on your head! Finally you will reach Iron Bound where you might see the Spotted Moray Eel (Gymnothorax moringa).

Tour 3 - Kayak Tour
This is the best route to kayak on the island! You will cross the channel from Oyster Bed Lagoon on the South side of the island (near Laguna Beach Resort). This water channel passes through the savannah and the mangroves of Turtle Harbour, an ecological reserve of Utila. You will have the opportunity to see green iguanas, our endemic spiny-tailed iguanas, and many mangrove bird species. Once you have arrived at Rock Harbour beach, you can jump in the water and snorkel or simply relax on the white sandy beach.

Tour 4 - Scientist for a day
Join one of Kanahau’s biologists in the field on any of our current studies! Ask for details about our endemic iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri) catch-and-release population study, our bat surveys (done in/outside the cave right next to the Kanahau facility!), and our invertebrate population studies. All of our biologists provide a friendly and professional service to inquiring minds of all ages, giving you a once in-a-lifetime experience!

Note: All tours are priced at $US 25.00 per person.
Tours must be booked 3 days in advance of required tour date.
Sorry about the advance notice requirement, but we do have some organizing to get done.
(Prices correct at 1-Jan-2017, but subject to change without notice)
For all tours, larger groups can be catered for by special arrangement.
Contact us for details.

Note: We also can offer specially tailored bird watching tours from one day to one month, for groups of up to eight people.

For these we need advance notice because we arrange for your accommodation at different hotels around the island (there are some areas you can camp if you wish) transportation to the best sites around the island, a professional ornithologist to accompany you and an island guide.

Due to the variable logistics, these tour costs vary greatly, please contact us for more details.

Volunteer Opportunities at Kanahau - Research and Conservation

Would you like to join us and help out with one or more of our projects? You can volunteer as an assistant field researcher, join as a student on an internship or industrial year, or visit and conduct your own independent research (or as part of your masters or doctorate course). If you are interested in joining our friendly team and want to help further our understanding of this little Caribbean island please complete our application form.

Location : We are located at the bottom of Pumpkin Hill on the North side of the island.
Hold down your mouse left button to drag the map below and see more of Utila.
Use the '+' and '-' displayed on the map to zoom.

View View Kanahau Research & Conservation Facility in a larger map
Contact Information
Name: Andrea Albergoni - Facility Manager (speaksEnglish & Spanish)


+(504) 9503-2690 (Honduras Cell)


Name: Steven Clayson - Facility Director (speaks English only)


+(504) 8737-5334 (Honduras Cell), +(504) 9661-9556 (Honduras Cell)



Andrea Martinez - Research Director (speaks English & Spanish)


+(504) 8737-5332 (Honduras Cell)


General Email:

Web Site:



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Click on any photo to view full-size
Deep in the red mangroves
Deep in the red mangroves
Crossing Turtle Harbor
Crossing Turtle Harbor the easy way
Utila Humming Bird
One of Utila’s humming birds drying its feathers after rain
Bats roosting in a coconut leaf
Bats roosting in a coconut leaf 'tent'
Resting at the edge of the Dead Lagoon
Resting at the edge of the 'Dead Lagoon'
Marmosa mexicana - A banana possum
Marmosa mexicana A banana possum
Pumpkin Hill beach from the top of Pumpkin Hill
Pumpkin Hill beach from the top of Pumpkin Hill
Bats leaving the Bat Cave
Bats leaving the 'Bat Cave'
Utila Savannah
Crossing Utila's Savannah
Utila town in the distance from the top of Pumpkin Hill
Utila town in the distance from the top of Pumpkin Hill
Steve and Andrea at the bottom of the Bat Cave
Steve and Andrea at the bottom of the 'Bat Cave'
Andrea escorting two young explorers on the Swamper tour
Andrea escorting two young explorers on the Swamper tour
Ctenosaura bakeri - Utila Swamper Iguana
Ctenosaura bakeri - Utila 'Swamper' Iguana - critically endangered
Utila 'tent making' bat
One of the islands 'tent making' bats
Ctenosaura bakeri - Utila Swamper Iguana
Ctenosaura bakeri - Utila 'Swamper' Iguana - only found on the island of Utila

Copyright © 2005-2012 Mark C Smith  All rights reserved.

The Webmaster (who lives here in Utila) tries to keep this information accurate and up-to-date.

If you are aware of any errors or inaccuracies, please email details to me at