Roatan is a Carribean island, about 65 kilometers north of Honduras. It is the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras. This small hideaway is just 77 kilometers long and less than 8 kilometers wide. When you cruise around the hills with a scooter you can see both coastlines at the same time. The island is not only perfect for floating in the crystal blue Carribean waters, it is also one of the best spots to snorkel and scuba dive. But there’s even more to explore: from various water sports to ATV drives, Ziplines or cuddling wild animals.
This sounds good right? But not all that glitters is gold. Read on to find out if all of this is worth it.
HOW TO GET THERE?
There are two ways to get there: by plane or ferry.
Roatan is serviced by the Juan Manuel Galvez International Airport. Check out Skycanner.com to find the best prices. Make sure to be super early at the airport, as the queue can be insanely long, which made us miss our first flight. From the airport you can get a taxi for 10-15$ to West End. Make sure to walk 2 minutes to the petrol station across the road as the taxis are way cheaper then.
The ferry takes about 1,5 hours from La Ceiba to Roatan. It is operated by Safe Way Maritime and costs around $33 person.
Once you’re on the island you should roam around the island on your own. I‘d recommend to get a scooter. It is 30-35$ a day and will get you anywhere. Don’t expect too much from the scooters though, they are super old and it might take an effort to carry two people up a hill.
Make sure to note down the number of the person who rented the scooter to you, so you can call them in case it beaks down.
WHERE TO STAY?
There‘s a beautiful AirBnB called „Chillies“, which is located in West Bay – directly at the beach. It offers some super cute jungle bungalows, that make you want to stay forever. Just make sure to bring a mosquito net as there are ants at night. The owner is super sweet and the whole atmosphere is super welcoming. They also offer diving trips for 30$ only, which are totally worth it.
TAKE AN ATV TOUR?
There are plenty of options to take an ATV tour- just go out on the streets and you’ll see some dudes with sign that will offer any tour to you. Someone always seems to know someone who can take you on a trip. But is it worth it? …
Well … I do no no think so and that’s why: If you’re up for adventure Roatan might just be a bit too sleepy to get that kind of excitement.
When I booked the tour, which was around 45$, I was expecting a lot of dirt roads, mud between my teeth and some exciting downhill paths, where I am scared to fall off and then be happy to have made it. It did not happen that way. We were basically cruising around normal roads, up a hill, to then went back down a paved road. Meh.
When the trip ended I was even kind of happy it ended 30 minutes early. It was definitely not adventurous, but I had a nice view of the island.
If you’re like me and you like to push your limits, it might not be worth it. If you want to take your granny to an overpriced chilled tour to see the island on a four wheel drive, where you definitely do not need those four wheels, it might be just about right. 😉
TAKE A MANGROVE TOUR AND VISIT „HOLE IN THE WALL“!
Put your bikini on, hop on the scooter and get ready for a mangrove tour. This tour will guide you through some mangrove rivers, where pirates used to hide their boats. There are some little cute spots where you can jump into the crystal clear water and then hop back on the boat. It’s totally worth it. Make sure to bring some water and fruit for the cruise and tip your “captain“ 🙂
„Hole in the Wall“ is a little restaurant run by a super friendly dude who owns a monkey. He once rescued him and is his best friend ever since. Expect some critical talk about the „system“, how vaccinations will kill humanity and expect some good food there.
I bet he has some weed in stock, but we didn’t ask 😉
VISIT ANIMAL SANCTUARIES?
Sloths being my favourite animals on earth I was super excited to get to see some!! I didn’t want to do so in Costa Rica, because the sloth sanctuaries were rated so badly here. But here in Honduras the sloths are kept outside, where they are able to roam around in the trees and where they can even take a swim.
Did you know that they are really really fast when they swim? Hahahahah – one thing I cannot imagine is an animal that goes to the „toilet“ once a week, sleeping all day, can be fast on the water- apparently they can.
So much still to learn about these dorky tree creatures.
Having mentioned all of this I got a lot of criticism on Instagram about these kind of sanctuaries where sloths are passed on from tourist to tourist. And as I hadn’t experienced it that way when we were there (we were the only two people around), I can imagine how stressful it is for a little creature to be forced to „hug“ a lot of people each day.
So right now I am kind of torn between „This was the best experience of my life“ and „was it a good one for the sloth, too“?
I honestly don’t know, as I felt they were taken really good care of. But part of me thinks it is probably something that should not be supported. I mean how can I tell that this little cutie is as happy as I am holding it? I cant. Make sure to consider that before you go or leave me some feedback in he comments if you support sanctuaries and the way they handle sloths. It might not all be gold that glitters.
WATCH A SUNSET!
Roatan is a great island to watch a sunset. Grab a loved one, some beers and hang out at the beach. The crystal blue greenish water and the palm trees above your head will make you want to stay longer. But be warned: you might get caught in the dullness of the island, where you just turn into a sloth yourself. This island has slowed me down so so much to a part where I kind of regret not having done more somewhere else.
For 10$ per day you can rent some snorkeling gear on West End and go snorkeling in Half Moon Bay. There will be plenty of fish and corals around and its totally worth it. Make sure not to dive through some underwater caves as you might get stuck inside and cut all of your legs open 😉
BECOME A CERTIFIED DIVER!
There’s only one place in the world, where it is cheaper. I wrote an article about this place in Malaysia, saying the cheapest place in the world to become a certified PADI diver was on Perhentian Islands in Malaysia. Buuuut … the visibility under water is way better in Honduras.
The Chilis Hotel has generations of experience in diving, some really skilled diving instructors and you can do this for 300$ only. Don’t miss out on the chance!
Did you know that Roatan has the second largest coral reef in the world? Well now you do 😉
Baleadas!! This might be the best kind of food I‘ve ever tried. It’s a speciality in Honduras you shouldn’t miss out on. It’s made of some thin salty crepe filled with anything you like. My favourite one was with scrambles eggs, avocados and cream cheese. Still makes me hungry thinking about it.
You’ll get these anywhere and I bet there good anywhere, as anyone just knows how to do them well. Make sure to leave the cheese out (that might be the only thing that does not taste well in Honduras 😉 ).
When the little kids come in to sell some bracelets, do not engage in that! Get them some cake and teach them some English instead 🙂
WHERE TO EAT?
There‘s plenty of street food in Roatan once the sun sets and let me tell you, if you like meat, you’ll find something cheap on the road. I mean I love camping and being outdoors showering in waterfalls and stuff like that, buuuut from time to time I really do enjoy wifi, plates, proper cutely and an air con, hahaha.
We ended up spending a lot of time in the Crazy cafe. The food is amazing (try the baleadas and he caramel latte), the internet is fast and most importantly the people there are so super friendly and make you feel like home. They called me „Smiles“, which put an even bigger grin on my face.
Long story short: You want a comfy space with good food —> Go „Crazy“ and make sure to tip the waiters 🙂
IS ROATAN WORTH A VISIT?
It definitely is! If you want some romantic hideaway I can totally recommend it, but at the same time,if you’re looking for adrenaline, better head somewhere else instead. Keep your stay short and don’t stay too long! Honduras (especially La Ceiba) has so much more to offer.
I kind of regret being lulled into becoming a lazy sloth. My recommendation is to keep it short and stay 4-5 days and you`ll have a great time 💜