The tropical paradise of the Honduran island Roatán stretches for 77 km in the Caribbean basin. The narrow strip of land, with less than ten kilometres across its widest part, rests on Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
This ancient coral reef is a world’s wonder. It is the largest coral reef in the Caribbean Sea and the second largest in the world. Don’t judge Roatán, Honduras by its size, though. This tiny island has plenty to offer for every taste.
You can choose between active entertainment, the leisurely discovery of local flavours, the quiet of the seashore sunbathing, or everything at once. The warm hospitality of this lush tropical island will create the perfect conditions for a great getaway for you.
Find Your Way To The West Bay Beach In Roatán, Honduras
Once you’ve landed on the island, we recommend heading to West Bay Beach to kick off your vacation. Fine white sand will greet you softly to the charming blue of the Caribbean Sea. This is the place to relax and take in the serenity of the tropics before the upcoming discovery of the thrilling attractions of Roatán. There are also some beach comforts provided by West Bay Beach Club. Grab some refreshments and cocktails at the bar, or have a meal at one of the restaurants there. You can choose from seafood, and other upper scale spots or go for some delicious fast food cooked fresh at the seaside.
For a modest $8 per person, you can rent a beach chair and umbrella. For a higher fee, starting from $55, West Bay Beach offers additional services like meals and drinks, pool pass, massage, etc. If you came to the island with a cruise liner, the beach club can arrange a transfer for you.
West Bay beach is a 10-minute drive from West End village or a half-hour drive from Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport. Alternatively, you might take a water taxi which will cost you $2 and up, depending on the distance. Be careful not to confuse West Bay and West End beaches, which are two separate destinations.
Take A Peek At The Marvellous Mesoamerican Reef
Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is a must-see attraction of Roatán, Honduras. This fascinating natural formation has a total area of over 1000 km. Bay Islands of Honduras lucked out to be the best place to discover the wonders of the reef. The sea bed is covered with 65 different species of stone corals – home to 500 species of fish and 350 types of molluscs.
The most popular way to see the Mesoamerican reef is snorkelling. A boat will get you to the best observation points. Next, an experienced guide will provide you with instructions and keep an eye on you while you enjoy breath-taking marine life. The wealth of colours and variety of underwater fauna will leave a lasting impression on your imagination.
The cost of this attraction tag varies from $40 to $100 per person depending on the package you choose, but the gear and the boat ride both ways are always included. Take into account that the schedule of the trips is tied to the arrival of cruise liners as their passengers constitute the biggest share of island visitors. However, you can always arrange a personal trip for an extra buck.
Relax On Half Moon Bay Beach In Roatán
A great alternative to West Bay beach is Half Moon Bay beach. It will allure you with an abundance of pristine nature and quiet surroundings. This is also a great location for a longer stay on the island. Cosy accommodation under the palm trees will have a beautiful beach for a neighbour. Prices start at $100 for hotel accommodation and $80 for a private room/house rental.
As for other attractions, Half Moon Bay can offer your whole-day unforgettable coastline horse rides, with time set aside for swimming, for about $70. Besides, you can rent a glass-bottom boat to watch the life of the coral reef without getting your feet wet. The rental is about $75, depending on the service provider. And of course, snorkelling and diving are available here, too.
Take A Trip To Little French Key
What once was a private refuge of French pirates nowadays became the most popular place to visit in Honduras. Little French Key is a small island located not far from Isla de Roatán.
Crystal clean water and white sand will be the setting for your full day of top-notch leisure. Three open-air restaurants have a rich menu of local dishes and refreshing cocktails to your taste. For those who enjoy more active entertainment, Little French Key is ready to offer kayaking, zip-lining, jet-skiing, scuba-diving, and much more. We also recommend visiting the museum of Mayan culture on the west side of the island, if your time permits.
Transfer boats to get to the Little French Key from Roatán, Honduras departs from West End from dock Frenchy’s 44. The trip there takes from 5 to 10 minutes. If you choose a water taxi, the roundtrip from West Bay will cost you $20-$30. The price for a package trip, including boat transfer to Little French Key, starts from $60 and depends on the activities you choose.
Cuddle With A Sloth At Daniel Johnson’s Monkey & Sloth Hangout
Once you get tired from lingering under the palm trees, consider doing some sightseeing. The trip we recommend offers more than just fascinating vistas. It also offers a jolly experience of interaction with monkeys and sloths at Daniel Jonson’s Monkey & Sloth Hangout! Dozens of tropical animals are living there, and you get not only to watch them from a distance – you can cuddle with sloths and feed parrots and monkeys.
The animal centre is also a home for rare jungle inhabitants such as a cute little Agouti, known as Roatán Island rabbit, Spider monkeys, South African raccoons, and iguanas. It will be an unforgettable experience, especially if you are travelling with kids. The price tag for a whole adventure is $45, including a roundtrip and entrance fee to Daniel Jonson’s Monkey & Sloth Hangout.
Taste The Local Flavours Of Roatán, Honduras
Diving and snorkelling are energy-intensive activities and sure can make your belly rumble. Luckily, Roatán, Honduras has plenty to offer to quench your hunger. Our tip is to look for smaller places owned by local families. Although bigger restaurants will also have a wonderful selection of dishes, there is something very special about trying traditional food that locals eat and cook daily themselves in a cosier setting.
Follow your gut and find a place where you can taste baleada. It is a traditional Honduran dish, made with mashed fried red beans folded in a thick flour tortilla. It may also contain cream, cheese, scrambled eggs and meat (chicken, beef or sausage), depending on the recipe. This peasant-style dish is a great source of nutrients that can keep your energy levels up for active leisure. Alternatively, you can try a rotisserie chicken tossed in local spices, which is often served with coconut rice, beans, potato salad, and coleslaw.
To cap it all, especially if you are a coffee person, we advise you to try banana pancakes with some Honduran coffee.
Enjoy A Boat Tour Around Roatán, Honduras
To make your experience more diverse we advise you to change the point of view from the coastline to the board of a boat. Look at the island from a different angle and visit places that are difficult to get to on foot. The kaleidoscope of colours of Blue Channel is a sight to remember, and gliding to the east of the island through mangrove channels offers a wonderful view of untouched nature.
The final destination of the boat ride is the village of Crawfish Rock, where you can experience some traditional activities with local guides and shop for knick-knacks. The whole trip is $90 a person, and the tour lasts approx 5 hours and starts from West Bay.
Visit Roatán Gumbalimba Park & Nature Preserve
If you can’t get enough wild nature vibes, head to Roatán’s Gumbalimba Park. Located in the rain forest of West Bay, it is a gateway to exploring fascinating flora and fauna of the island. Take a wild nature trail to see the waterfalls surrounded by more than 200 plant and tree species. More than 2500 species of insects from all over the world can be seen in air-conditioned insectariums there, too.
Wander around, enjoying the sight of colourful flowers, lizards, butterflies and other inhabitants of the park. You will also see capuchin monkeys there, like the one that Captain Jack Sparrow had. In addition, visit a pirate’s cave which is built as a museum exhibition featuring weapons, old maps, and artwork describing the tumultuous history of bay islands. The cost of a ticket is $64 for an adult and $49 for a child. The whole duration of the trip with the transfer is about three and a half hours.
Go Kayaking And Tame The Caribbean Sea In Roatán, Honduras
The sapphire-blue waters of Roatán, Honduras are perfect for kayaking. Rent a kayak and create your own exploration route. Steady island waters are not very challenging so it will be a great opportunity to enjoy the view of the jungle island at your own pace. Consider this option if you want to explore the island with more flexibility and fewer tourists.
Our advice is to go kayaking in the second half of the day and catch the sun lazily descending into the glistening waters of the Caribbean Sea. You can rent kayaks either at West Bay Beach or in West End. The rentals start at $12/per hour and $30 for a whole day.
Investigate Local Flora At Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum
The 160 acres of Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum is a true gem of the island. Take a guided tour through the conservatory, botanic gardens and orchards to learn more about the natural world of the island and bird watching. Here you can also see a hydroponic farm which is a flagman in water conservation and sustainable farming practices in the region.
The whole place is a preserve serving to conserve Roatán, Honduras nature and promote an eco-friendly lifestyle. As a part of your tour, you may participate in local farming practices and take a class on healing herbs. For more active tourists, the arboretum offers outdoor activities such as mud runs and obstacle courses. If you are in for catching your breath and enjoying exotic nature, there is the “Tropical Eden” relaxation site just for you. From time to time, Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum also hosts private events, live music shows, and performances.
Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum is located near Roatán International Airport. You can choose from a variety of quick and longer tours at the Arboretum, the prices range from $8 for hiking trails to $22 for bird watching. For additional activities, transfers and exact opening hours check their official website.
Isla de Roatán is a place where losing the count of days is very easy. Snow-white sands and sky-blue water will catch your breath and make you want to stay on this island forever. The richness of nature on Roatán, Honduras offers a perfect setting for a relaxing vacation with a plethora of options for exploring the marine life of coral reefs and the tropical jungle. Take in the beauty of the island from the beach or go underwater – Roatán, Honduras is an ideal place for a Caribbean getaway.
If you’re in the Caribbean, you should probably check out Belize!