The Honduran island of Roatán is world-famous for its scuba diving. It is the largest of the Bay Islands, located around 50 kilometers from the northern coast of the Honduran mainland.
There is something compelling about Roatán, it draws you in and before you know it you won´t want to leave. People call it the Roatán vortex – people come back time and time again or simply stop leaving and settle here for good.
The island is 50 kilometers long and on average just 3km wide. Surrounded by its own reef and close to the Caribbean´s largest barrier reef, Roatán is the perfect place to come for a bevy of marine adventures.
Things to see and do in Roatán
There are two main villages on Roatán, West End-West Bay and French Harbour, joined together by a system of paved roads that link the various communities that dot its shores and interior.
West End-West Bay is the liveliest place to stay on the island and the most popular choice for travelers. There are several large resorts that have been built on the beach in recent years but they have not detracted from its overall charm. Here you will find bars, restaurants and live music right on the beach, along with the best sunsets. The reef is a short swim away and has excellent snorkeling.
Most of the activity takes place on the beaches and in the water out of town. Snorkeling, diving and fishing are all major attractions in Roatán. Dive attractions include sea walls, shipwrecks and night dives, all in the peaceful company of sea turtles, dolphins and whales.
The fishing is equally good with the waters well stocked with Marlin, Barracuda, Tuna and all manner of other exotic species.
There are plenty of operators offering daily diving, fishing and sightseeing trips out to the reef as well as night diving excursions several nights a week.
For something a bit different take a trip in one of Karl Stanley´s Submarines to depths of up to 2000 feet. These don´t come cheap but they do come cheaper than any other submersible tourist operation in the world so if this is on your list of things to do before you die, this is the place to do it.
There are a good number of restaurants located at West End and French Harbour. Seafood abounds here and food in general is of a very high standard. Fill your boots (or your flip flops) and head out to sample Roatán´s night life. Since several cruise lines included Roatán on their itineraries prices have risen somewhat and many bars have evolved to cater for the North American and European tourist brigade, however there is still something for every budget. Try a pub crawl in the West End to figure out which is your favorite, and if you are looking for something a little more low key, head down to French Harbour.
Language communication is easy in Roatán as English is widely spoken along with Spanish and Garifuna. Most individuals who live on the island are bilingual English/Spanish.
Safety, Accommodation & Internet in Roatán
There are excellent accommodation options here ranging from US$4 to $400 per night in condos, hotels and beach cabanas as well as camping options.
Roatán is well policed by a tourist service and busy areas are safe 24 hours a day but stay away from Coxen Hole after dark. Theft is common here and has increased since the arrival of the cruise traffic so keep your valuables under wraps and try not to stay anywhere too remote. Keep these safety tips in mind and your time on Roatán should be idyllic and trouble free.
Roatán is served by high-speed Internet making it a great and affordable option for a long term escape just a few hours of flight from the US.