While traveling through Central America I was looking for a charming oasis in the Caribbean region, with white warm sand and turquoise waves, not glamorous, without tons of tourists. The research brought me to Roatan.
Roatan is one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean area. It is part of Bay Islands, just 50km long and up to 4km wide. It’s territory belongs to Honduras.
HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND
Since initially it was decided to travel by buses, my route to the island looked the following:
From San Pedro Sula to La Ceiba (bus operated by Hedman Alas). A night in La Ceiba. Ferry from La Ceiba to Roatan (by Galaxy Way ferry ). This ferry runs twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. So you are able to catch the second one if your bus arrives not that late.
Direct flights operate from Belize, El Salvador and US (Houston, Texas).
WHERE TO LIVE
If you prefer to stay aside the tourist crowd and don’t mind walking a short distance to the beach, I would recommend you Las Rocas Resort & Dive Center which is located at West Bay area of the island. I was offered a bungalow at the sea front with a terrace and surrounded by beautiful tropical garden. Good American breakfast was included into rate. You can rent snorkel and diving equipment right there at the hotel, as well as book diving lessons.
At West Bay you won’t find great variety of restaurants and bars. Overall in the evening it becomes quiet. If you need music and hang out you should better consider West End. Note that there is no beach path from West Bay to West End. In the day time you can catch a motor boat, but they don’t operate after dark. In the night consider using a taxi.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Climate on Roatan is tropical with quite moderate temperatures as for me. During the week I stayed there in March, there were no showers at all and temperature was around 28 degrees. No wind, no waves, welcoming warm sea. Fantastic warm nights. In summer it makes around 30 degrees and no rains at all, so could be a bit hot.
THINGS TO DO
When (if?) you’ve got tired of exploring Caribbean treasures at the coral reef, there are a few things you can enjoy on the island such as:
- Renting a motorbike and exploring the island. Punta Gorda (Garifuna village), French Harbour, Rum factory are all worth visiting. The prices for motorbike range from 35$ to 50$ per day. I opted to Captain Vans;
- Browsing for some souvenir shops in Anthony’s Key Resort;
- Having a lobster+wine dinner in one of the beach restaurants at West Bay: Argentina Grill or Foster’s.
A TIP: in Honduras all prices on restaurant menus, hotels, rentals do not include tax. So you’ll be added +19% to each bill. Don’t panic, the owners are not trying to fool you, it’s just the way they used to do to get their business going taking into account country’s complicated economic situation. Just keep in mind this figure when you buy or order anything.
As a conclusion I would like to add something in favour of Roatan. This island does not look like, and even does not feel like continental Honduras. All living and working people on the island are English-speaking. You will find good roads there and beautiful private mansions. Crime level is low, so you can feel safe and sound throughout your holiday.
If you still haven’t heard about secret Cuban island available for tourists check out my previous post Secret Cuban Island Cayo Largo.