Roatan

Things to Do | Water Activites | Places to EatSpecial Events Roatan Info

Underwater Paradise

Roatán is on many travel bucket lists for its exceptional snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. Circled by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest reef system in the world, the coastline of the island boasts over 100 dive sites. The island’s well-rated dive shops provide expert guidance at value-for-money prices, and the proximity to the reef from the beach makes it a snorkeler’s dream. The island’s clear and calm waters, coupled with its diverse marine life, solidify its reputation as a top destination for underwater exploration.

Things to Do

Gumbalimba Park

West Bay

Gumbalimba Park in Roatan is a family-friendly attraction located in West Bay, Honduras. It spans over 20 acres and offers various activities such as walking trails, a suspended bridge over a lagoon, and encounters with animals like iguanas, monkeys, and macaws. The park also features botanical gardens, a beach with lounge chairs, Coxen’s Cave with pirate-themed displays, and a freshwater pool. Visitors can enjoy guided tours, interact with animals, and learn about the island's history and culture. Gumbalimba Park is known for its diverse attractions and educational experiences amidst a natural setting.

Ziplining

Various

Ziplining in Roatan offers an exhilarating experience amidst the tropical jungle, pristine beaches, and wildlife sanctuaries. Visitors can enjoy the largest set of zip lines in Honduras, with 16 zip courses covering over 7,000 ft of lines, including the longest zipline in Roatan. Participants can interact with sloths, monkeys, and birds at a local sanctuary, making it a family-friendly adventure. The tour typically includes free time at one of Roatan's best beaches for relaxation and ocean activities. Popular ziplining options in Roatan include tours offered by Gumbalimba Park, South Shore Adventures, and Mayan Eden Eco Park.

Beaches

Various

Roatan boasts some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, offering a mix of natural beauty and activities for visitors. West Bay Beach stands out with its soft white sand, clear turquoise waters, and a range of amenities like bars, restaurants, and water sports facilities. Another popular choice is Half Moon Bay in the West End, known for its bohemian charm and bounty of bars and restaurants, ideal for relaxation and enjoying the natural surroundings. Camp Bay Beach, with its high rating and picturesque setting, provides a tranquil escape for those seeking a more secluded beach experience. These beaches in Roatan cater to various preferences, from vibrant tourist hubs to quiet retreats, ensuring a memorable beach visit for all.

Water Activities

There is no shortage of great water activities in Roatan. You can do some on your own but there are a great many tour guides and boat excursions that can take you on some really cool adventures. 

SNORKELING/DIVING

Roatan offers exceptional opportunities for snorkeling and diving, with a variety of reputable dive centers and tour operators catering to both beginners and experienced divers. Dive centers like Roatan Dive Center, Clearwater Adventures, Sun Divers Roatan, Roatan Divers, TGI Diving Roatan, Coconut Tree Divers, Scuba Roatan, and SCUBA ADVENTURES ROATAN provide top-notch services, including guided dives, equipment rental, and certification courses. These centers offer access to the diverse marine life around Roatan, including colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, and even shipwrecks like El Aguila. Visitors can enjoy calm and clear waters for snorkeling and diving adventures while exploring the underwater wonders of Roatan’s Caribbean waters.

BOAT EXCURSIONS

Boat excursions in Roatan offer a fantastic way to explore the island from the water, providing stunning views of the beaches and crystal-clear waters. Popular boat tours include glass bottom boat rides for a glimpse into the underwater world, navigating mangrove channels in traditional canoes, and snorkeling adventures at the famous Blue Channel on the south side of Roatan. These excursions offer insights into different aspects of life on the island, from the diverse marine life to cultural experiences. Visitors can also combine boat trips with activities like visiting nature reserves or sampling local rums at a rum cake factory, making boat tours a highlight of their Roatan vacation.

FISHING

Fishing in Roatan is a popular and diverse activity, offering opportunities for both recreational and sport fishing. The island is known for its rich marine life, with common catches including Tuna, Billfish, Barracuda, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi, Grouper, Tarpon, and the prized Blue Marlin. Roatan boasts world-class fishing charters and anglers, making it a premier destination for fishing enthusiasts. From traditional hand-line fishing near the shoreline to deep-sea excursions targeting big game species like Marlin and Sailfish, Roatan provides a variety of fishing experiences for visitors of all levels. The island hosts an annual International Fishing Tournament on September 15th, attracting anglers from around the world to participate in the catch-and-release competition. Whether you prefer bottom fishing for Grouper or spearfishing to control Lionfish populations, Roatan offers a range of fishing techniques and experiences to enjoy its abundant waters.

Places to Eat

Roatan is home to a vibrant restaurant scene. Check out these favourites from past guests! 

Located in the middle of a tropical garden of the ECO resort Tranquilseas,  Sunken Fish has stunning views of Sandy Bay, especially at sunset. Come for the views but stay for the fresh and flavourful food, from Spicy Caribbean Octopus to Homemade Beetroot Pasta, and Homemade Banana Donuts for dessert!

A short walk from the beach in West Bay, Totally Taco is a small joint (with a couple picnic tables  for eating) but delivers big flavours with its hard and soft tacos, from Firecracker Shrimp to the Wasabi Taco! Served with a side of nacho and salsa.  

Their sticky cinnamon buns are famous on the island!  Located in West End, Sandy Buns & Bakery also serves up delicious coffee and smoothies, and is open for breakfast and lunch. 

Beachers has two locations, one in the West End but our favourite is in West Bay just a short walk from the house. Their happy hour is from 3-6pm where you can get 2-for-1 drinks like Roatan’s famous Monkey LaLa. The lobster special is on Mondays. 

This is a favourite spot for Canadians as the owner is from Canada so you’ll always be able to catch a hockey game here. Food is really satisfying after a long day of play!

Special Events

Garifuna Festival

April

The Garifuna Festival in Roatán is a vibrant celebration of the Garifuna culture. Each year, the Garifuna people commemorate their first arrival into Punta Gorda, Roatán, with animated theatrical performances that reenact the reception of the first Garifuna group from Yurime in 1797. This festival showcases traditional dances, drumming, and colorful attire, along with the chanting of traditional songs in the native Garifuna language. Attendees can enjoy a feast of local dishes such as Machuca (mashed plantain or plantain soup) and traditional coconut bread, as well as the local favorite "Gifity," a strong alcoholic brew made from rum, mixed herbs, and roots. The event is a lively display of the rich Garifuna heritage, recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage of Humanity in Honduras.

Freediving Event

Late Summer

Roatán hosts prestigious freediving events, such as the Caribbean Cup, making it a premier destination for freediving competitions. The island's ideal diving conditions, including great depths close to shore, warm crystal-clear waters, and minimal currents, attract freedivers from around the world. The Caribbean Cup, established in 2013, has become one of the most significant freediving competitions globally, where athletes compete in disciplines like Immersion (FIM), Constant Weight with Fins (CWT), and Constant Weight Without Fins (CNF) to test their limits and reach new depths on a single breath of air. Roatán's Freediving School & Training Center plays a vital role in organizing these events and promoting the sport of freediving on the island.

Fishing Tournament

September

In September, Roatán hosts the Annual International Fishing Tournament, a significant event that has become the largest annual gathering in the West End community. This tournament, recognized as the first established catch and release fishing competition in Honduras, attracts both locals and expats to celebrate Independence Day with a lively Baccanal (Carnival) atmosphere. Supported by The International Game Fish Association, the tournament draws fishing enthusiasts to compete and enjoy the vibrant island culture. The event showcases Roatán's rich fishing tradition and provides a great opportunity for participants to engage in friendly competition while experiencing the island's festive spirit.

Semana Santa

Spring

Semana Santa in Roatán, the week leading up to Easter, is a significant holiday in Central America and a busy time on the island. Tourists flock to the beaches, and the atmosphere is filled with music and festivities. As a traveler during Semana Santa, it is crucial to book accommodations well in advance as prices increase, minimum stays may be required, and accommodations get booked up quickly. Transportation schedules may also be affected, so arriving earlier than usual is advisable. Stocking up on groceries early in the week is recommended due to increased crowds and limited supplies. While West Bay can get crowded, other areas of the island offer a more relaxed atmosphere during this festive week.

Roatan Info

Weather
5-Day Forecast – West Bay, Honduras

$/ATM
US$ are accepted everywhere (provided the bills are in good condition, US coins are not accepted). Small denominations are best. Most ATMs distribute local currency (lempira), and generally in 500 notes. Honduran coins are not used on the island, figures are rounded to the nearest lempira. There are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 , 100 and 500 lempira notes. Other currencies such as the Canadian dollar, Belize dollar and Guatemalan quetzals cannot be exchanged. 500LMP = $20US
Please note that some places do not accept credit cards, and that their internet is unreliable and can render electronic payments moot. Some places will accept Paypal in lieu of credit cards.

Grocery
Eldon’s Supermarket is the main grocery store on the island. Note: they have a produce section, but it’s not super extensive, as fruit and vegetables are also sold at small stands along the road.

A Roa Market recently opened on West Bay Beach near Beacher’s Bar & Grill. They carry liquor, snacks, sunscreen, milk, eggs, deli meats, condiments, canned goods, bread and more. Prices are typically more expensive than Eldon’s, but it is within easy walking distance to our place.

Transportation
Driving – Hondurans drive on the right side of the road. There are no traffic lights and very few stop signs. Roads are narrow compared to North America and very winding. In addition to the curves, watch out for the motorbikes, as they frequently weave in and out of lanes and almost all streets have only one lane each way, so passing happens often.

Taxi – Official taxis are white four-door cars with a yellow box. On West Bay Beach, there are water taxis to take you to the West End. It costs $5 per person each way. It is a lovely boat ride, about 5 to 8 minutes (depending on how fast the boat is going).

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