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Roatan On Your Own

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The 10 Top Things to do in Roatan

Havana Beach Club
Courtesy of Steven Hamilton's Discover Roatan

Roatan has become one of the more popular destinations in the Western Caribbean. There's lots to do on this small island, so get out there and explore!

  1. See the undersea world of the Roatan reef. Some of the best scuba diving in the world can be found in Roatan.

  2. Discover the magic beauty of Roatan on a Sail and Snorkel trip. A trip to paradise should be so nice.

  3. Buy a Day Pass at a local resort. Avoid the crowds and get more for your buck at the Mayan Plaza and Fosters resorts.

  4. Enjoy a great seafood meal in Roatan. The lobsters are not only delicious, but pretty cheap too.

  5. Hire a driver for a private tour of the island. See what you want when you want as you explore the island.

  6. Try your hand at Sportfishing in Roatan. Whether you plan to do some deep sea fishing or fly fishing, Roatan's a great place to do some angling.

  7. Discover the magic of swimming with a dolphin. Anthony's Key Resort has been pleasing dolphin lovers for years.

  8. Take to the trails on a horseback ride. It's a great way to get away from the crowds.

  9. Visit one of Roatan's Nature Parks. Encounter some of the beautiful flora and fauna that can be found in Roatan.

  10. Take the water taxi between West End and West Bay. It's an inexpensive trip, but the view is worth every lempira.

What You Need to Bring Ashore


Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and NCL ships dock at the Coxen Hole cruise ship dock and mall complex. Carnival, Princess, Costa, Holland America and Regent ships dock at the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center, which is located in Dixon Cove east of Coxen Hole. If you're traveling far afield on Roatan, it's a big hassle to return to the ship if you've forgotten something.

Here's a list of the essential items you'll want to bring ashore:

  • Room Key Card. You'll need it to re-board your ship.

  • Sunscreen. Don't underestimate the power of the Caribbean sun when gadding about in Roatan.

  • Insect Repellent. Having some handy is always a good thing.

  • Hat. Don't let your head get fried.

  • Sunglasses. The glare off the water can be intense.

  • Money. Most hotels and many gift shops and restaurants accept Credit Cards. Bring Cash, either Lempiras or US dollars, if you plan on taking a taxi, shopping for incidentals or tipping your server in a bar. It's also a good idea to bring your ATM card so you can get cash on the go.

  • Passport. You'll need your passport if you're changing money at a bank.

  • Tablet or Smartphone. There are a few places in the Roatan area where the Wi-Fi is free, so you can spend a little time re-connecting with the real world for a lot less than the internet on board your ship.

  • Camera. Memorialize your time in Roatan. Amazon sells a great feature packed Nikon 13 MP point-and-shoot camera that's waterproof, shockproof and family friendly for less than $100.

What to Wear

Roatan can be very warm and humid, so dress accordingly. Think cotton. In Roatan, casual clothing is the order of the day.

  • Women should wear a skirt, shorts or a sundress. If you plan to hang on the beach, bring along a bag with bathing suit, hat, towel, sunscreen, flip-flops and bathing suit cover-up. Wear athletic shoes until you get to the beach.

  • Men can get by wearing shorts and a T-shirt. If you plan to hang on the beach, bring along a bag with bathing suit, hat, towel, sunscreen and flip-flops. Wear athletic shoes until you get to the beach.
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Getting Around on Roatan


Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and NCL ships dock at the Coxen Hole cruise ship dock and mall complex, opened in late 2008. Here you'll find a bank with an ATM, a large Diamonds International shop, a couple of restaurants and a smattering of other shops, including a pharmacy and a liquor store. (With the success of the initial development, the local authorities are now building a Phase II recreational complex adjacent to the current mall shops.)

Carnival, Princess, Costa, Holland America and Regent ships dock at the new Mahogany Bay Cruise Center, which is located in Dixon Cove east of Coxen Hole. This complex, which officially opened in February 2010, includes a Duty Free store, several jewelers (including a Diamonds International shop and a Tanzanite International shop), several restaurants and bars, snack bars, a pharmacy, and a number of souvenir and other tourist-related shops. Adjacent to the Cruise Center is the white sand 10-acre Mahogany Beach, which can be reached on foot or via the "Magic Flying Beach Chair" (a horizontal ski lift); unlimited rides go for $12 per day.

A paved road connects Roatan's communities and provides access to many of Roatan's beaches and parks.

The principal towns of Roatan are:

West Bay and West End have some of the best beaches on the island, great restaurants, varied activities and many other amenities. On the other hand, it's pretty touristy. There are three ATMs located in the resorts (for locations, see our Currency section in Roatan Basics).

Sandy Bay, just north of West End, is home to the Roatan Institute of Marine Sciences with its dolphin encounter shows, the Roatan Museum, and Carambola Gardens. The area is known for world-class Roatan scuba diving.

Coxen Hole is the largest town and capital of the Bay Islands. The better souvenir shops and several banks are located here.

French Harbour is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the western Caribbean. French Harbour also has several banks and a nearby Iguana Farm.

Oakridge is a small picturesque town connected to the villages of Jonesville and Calabash Cay by a series of canals through mangroves.

Punta Gorda is the only Garifuna community on Roatan and the first Garifuna settlement in Central America. YUBU offers a cultural Garifuna experience Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays from 9 am to 3 pm.

Getting Around

Public minibuses run regularly between towns Monday through Saturday, with limited service on Sundays. The minibuses stop running at 6:00 pm. The minibuses are either dark blue, red or white.

Public minibuses are really only available for passengers who are disembarking at the Coxen Hole Cruise Ship dock.

To get them to stop, you have to wave at them. You can catch the bus in the center of Coxen Hole at a staging area next to the Super Mercado, just past the post office.

To get to the West End, it costs 40 Lempiras--and you have to pay in Lempiras. Just so you know, you pay the fare when you get off the minibus. If you don't have change, buy something in town with a $5 bill; your change will be in Lempiras; you can use some of the change for the fare. When returning from the West End, the Ruta 2 bus uses Thickett Road; ask the driver to stop at the Coxen Hole intersecting road, and it's a short walk back to the Cruise Ship dock.

Taxis. There are hundreds of taxis in Roatan and they expect you to bargain for the rate. They don't expect tips either.

A little bit of negotiation is involved when using a taxi. You need to confirm the rate, and whether the quote is in US dollars or Lempiras, before entering a taxi. (Both US dollars and Lempiras are accepted.) You also need to determine if the fare is per passenger or for the taxi. Lastly, you need to determine if the price is for a one way ride or round-trip, as the taxi will wait for you even though you are going to the beach!

Expect to pay around $15.00 per person for a one way trip to West End from the Coxen Hole Cruise Ship dock, and West Bay is $20 per person. You may be able to negotiate a better rate with multiple people in the taxi.

If you're traveling from the Mahogany Bay Cruise Terminal, taxi fares to the West End and West Bay are $15 per person, with a minimum of 2 passengers. You can use this Mahogany Bay taxi fare map to see how much your trip will cost to other locations on the island.

If you want to hire a taxi for the day for an island tour, expect to pay around $100--which is for the taxi, not per person.

If you have a dispute with your taxi driver, seek out the assistance of the Tourist Police; they wear green uniforms.

Water Taxi

If you're going between West End and West Bay, you can use the water taxi service. The fare is 60 Lempiras, but confirm the fare before you board. Look for the dock at Foster's Bar and Restaurant or Crystal Beach Cabins in West End. The return trip from West Bay has two pickup spots, including the Bite On The Beach Bar & Restaurant.

Mountain Bike, Scooter & Motorcycle Rentals


Captain Van's rents Mountain Bikes, Scooters and Motorcycles from their shops in West Bay and West End. Prices include helmets. It's recommended that you make a reservation online. Minimum age to rent a vehicle is 18. They've got two locations: in West End, on the main road across from the Baptist Church (Phone: (504) 2245-4076), and in the West Bay Mall (Phone: (504) 2245-5040).

Tipping in Roatan

General Guidelines


In Honduras, tipping is customary, but in most situations, not required. Tips can be paid in either dollars (bills, no US coins) or in Lempiras, but tipping in Lempiras saves the recipient a trip to the Casa de Cambio (foreign exchange shop).


It is customary to offer your waiter or waitress a tip of 10% of the bill (la cuenta) if you feel that you have received good service. Some restaurants will add a 10% service charge to your bill, so check before automatically adding your tip.


An appropriate tip in a bar is 10% of the total bar tab.

Taxi Cabs

It isn't customary to provide a tip to taxi drivers.

Tour Guides

If you are happy with your tour guide, a tip of 10% to 20% of the total cost of the tour is appropriate.

Steven Hamilton Discover Roatan


What's Special in Roatan

Local handicrafts abound and can be had for very little money. Look for brightly-painted pottery, wood carvings (notably wooden instruments), embroidery, textile arts and leather crafts. If the wood carvings are highly polished, they're not from Roatan.

Remember that the asking price should only be considered a jumping-off point for some haggling. It's expected, and if you are good at it, you'll likely end up with a final price somewhere around 40-50% lower.

Roatan Shopping Map

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See our Roatan Shopping Map for the locations of the recommended shops listed below.

Recommended Shops in Roatan

Dufry Shop
Located at the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center in Mahogany Bay. Here you'll find an assortment of great gifts, liquors and high-end products from the world's best duty free stores. Major Credit Cards accepted. Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.


Yaba Ding Ding
Bonilla Building, Coxen Hole, adjacent to Eldon's grocery, just a short walk from the Cruise Ship dock. This shop carries Roatan's oldest and largest selection of Central American arts and crafts, plus cigars (Cuban and Honduran), souvenirs, Honduran coffees and clothing. It's very popular with the cruise ship crowd. On the other hand, it's air conditioned, taking the sting out of the Roatan heat and humidity. Major Credit Cards accepted. Open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.
Phone: (504) 2445-1683

Waves of Art Gallery & Gifts
Located in West End Village, across from the Baptist church. Unique and affordable gifts including a variety of folk art and handmade items that support fair trade organizations and local artisan co-ops.
Phone: (504) 2445-4093

Penelope's Island Emporium
Located in the West Bay Mall, Penelope's Island Emporium offers fine, tropical, one-of-a-kind jewelry, specializing in gold, sterling silver and unique gemstones, home decor, personal accessories and "that perfect gift."
Phone: (504) 2445-5039

Roatan Cuisine

Traditional Roatan cooking includes pan-fried fish, rice, fried or boiled plantains, tortillas and black beans. When the locals refer to something as "fried," they mean sauteed, not deep fried. The locals use mutton peppers in their cooking, giving the rice and chicken a distinctive flavor.

Regional Specialties of Roatan


Expect to find the following dishes in traditional Bay Islands cuisine:

  • Shellfish: In Roatan you'll find some of the freshest shrimp, sea crabs and lobster you've ever eaten.

  • Conch: The conch soup here is delicious.

  • Iguana: Served in a stew. Tastes like chicken!

  • Blue Crabs: These are land crabs that burrow in the ground during the day and climb the fruit trees to dine at night. The locals swear by them.

  • Fresh tropical fruit: bananas, oranges, limes, mangos, pineapples and coconuts. The oranges are delicious in season. Bananas and oranges are very inexpensive. Coconuts and cashews both grow on the island. The fresh pineapples are much sweeter than those found in North American markets. You can buy the fruit from one of the many open air stands.

Honduran Beer

Honduran beers

The best selling beer brands in Honduras are brewed by Cervecena Hondurena S.A., which is owned by international beer giant SABMiller. These brands include Salva Vida, Port Royal, Imperial and Barena.

  • Salva Vida. This lager is Honduras' leading brand, and delivers a slightly sweet malt taste, with mild hop notes and crisp carbonation. Salva Vida is the perfect thirst quencher to accompany your time on the beach in Roatan.

  • Port Royal. This pilsner is the leading premium beer brand in Central America. It's a well balanced brew that delivers a clean, crisp and light taste with a mild finish.

  • Imperial. This is a pilsner style beer with a little more intense flavor. This classic formula has been brewed since 1930. It's a Honduran analog to Holland's Heineken.

  • Barena. This is a light pilsner sold in a clear, transparent bottle with a light flavor and very easy to drink. It's a Honduran analog to Mexico's Corona.


Dining in Roatan

Roatan's restaurants run the gamut from sandwich shops to "Resort food" to steak and seafood places. Most of the restaurants in town are pretty casual, with a laid-back atmosphere.

Roatan Restaurant Map

Map icon

See our Roatan Restaurant Map for the approximate location of the recommended restaurants listed below.

Recommended Restaurants: West Bay


Bite on the Beach
Great Wahoo fish sandwiches, Thai lobster, sates. A good place to relax and down a cold one. Full bar. The water taxi to West End docks at the restaurant. Open noon to late night; they're closed Sunday, Monday and the month of September.
Phone: (504) 9736-2556

Thirsty Turtle Beach Bar & Restaurant
Located on the beach at the Bananarama Dive & Beach Resort, the Thirsty Turtle is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. They serve up excellent drinks, cold beer and good food in a place that has great atmosphere. Open for both lunch and dinner.
Phone: (504) 2445-5005

Mangiamo! Restaurant & Deli
In addition to offering sandwiches, wraps, salads, burgers and their famous rotisserie chicken with a variety of delicious sides, Mangiamo! is a small town grocery offering an international selection of foods. You can stock up here for things you want to take back to your ship. They're located in the West Bay Mall.
Phone: (504) 2445-5035

Recommended Restaurants: West End

Creole's Rotisserie Chicken
This place offers inexpensive and hearty meals featuring their delicious rotisserie-cooked chicken. They also have a bevy of tasty sides, including fries, red beans and rice, potato salad, local veggies, cold pasta salad and Cole Slaw.
Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Phone: (504) 2445-4275

C Level Cafe & Bar
Sharing a building with the Reef Gliders Dive shop, this beachside restaurant serves yummy burgers, nachos, sandwiches and wraps. Both their coffee and turkey burgers are a treat, and their beer on tap is refreshingly icy. They've also got free Wi-Fi. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Phone: (504) 8876-9313

The Landing Bar
Located on the second floor of the Beach House hotel, the Landing offers an eclectic menu, good and friendly service, a good selection of beverages from their bar and great views over Half Moon Bay. It's a fairly small space, however. They've also got free Wi-Fi with purchase. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Phone: (504) 9971-7146

Sundowner Bar & Restaurant
Located in the heart of Half Moon Bay, West End Village, Sundowners is a happening place that is the favorite haunt of expat locals and thirsty tourists. It's more a bar than a restaurant, but they do cook up good burgers, fries and nachos. They're right on the beach, and they've got a great view of the bay. They've also got free Wi-Fi with purchase. Cash only.
Phone: (504) 9907-7700

Recommended Restaurants: Coxen Hole


Fonsie's Bar
Seafood & Sandwiches
Fonsie's serves up excellent fresh seafood dishes, appetizers and sandwiches from their seaside bar and restaurant located just a two minute walk from the Coxen Hole cruise terminal. You can stop by before or after your day in Roatan for a snack, a meal or a cold beverage and meet the American owner's mascot Fonsie, a 5 year old Havanese dog. Fonsie's has a full bar, and also features free Wi-Fi. Open all day during the cruise season.
Phone: (504) 9738-1965

Recommended Restaurants: French Harbour

While best known for its King Crab platter drenched in garlic and butter, it also has a "Charlie's Big Fish" platter, containing king crab, shrimp, lobster, calamari and lots of vegetables grilled to perfection. Gio's platters will easily feed two big appetites. Accepts Visa & MasterCard. Open for lunch from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Phone: (504) 2455-5214

Activities & Attractions

Tour Providers


Steven Hamilton's Discover Roatan is a highly-rated, locally-run tour company that focuses on providing great service. After all, your overall experience and memorable moments are what count. Guests rave about the quality of the guides, their local knowledge, and their willingness to accommodate changes in itinerary to satisfy every customer.

You can book any one of several set tours or excursions, or design your own tour of the island. Discover Roatan's tours include visits to Carambola Gardens, Gumbalimba Nature Park or the Mayan Eden Eco Park, while their eight set Excursions range from Dolphin Encounters to a Mangrove Tunnels cruise to a Catamaran Sail & Snorkel expedition. Their well-maintained vehicles feature air conditioning, Wifi and Captains chairs, and they happily accomodate disabled individuals with their mobilization units.

All this service and personal attention comes at very reasonable prices; when compared to the prices charged by the Cruise Lines, you can save from 40% to 70%.

All tours include a "meet and greet" at either the Mahogany Bay or Coxen Hole cruise centers. You can book a Discover Roatan adventure through their website's comprehensive booking system; it's just one click away. Each booking includes a confirmation with printable tickets. And if you've got questions, just give them a call on their Toll Free line.
Phone: (504) 9885-6554; Toll Free (from the US & Canada): 1-844-576-2826

Bodden Tours comes highly recommended, and offers a variety of tours of Roatan at reasonable prices. They offer five basic private "tours" that can be customized to your individual requirements. These tours include The "Best of Roatan" Tour, an Offshore Reef Snorkeling Tour, a Roatan Fishing Experience tour, a Tropical Spa Treatment at Spa Baan Suerte, and a "Zip-N-Dip" excursion combining a zipline experience and the beach. You'll need to book in advance through their website, and pay in cash at the conclusion of your Bodden Tours trip.
Phone: (504) 9910-5217

Captain Van's offers a couple of tours of the island. You can also create your own tour. They offer online reservations. They've got two locations:
West End, across from the Baptist Church: Phone: (504) 2245-4076
West Bay Mall: Phone: (504) 2245-5040.

Roatan Shore Excursions offers quite a few tours of the island. They've got offices in the West Bay Mall and in Sandy Bay. You can make a reservation online, or give them a call.
Phone: (504) 2445-3130; in the US, call (305) 600-0644.

Beach Resort Day Passes

Mahogany Bay

Mahogany Beach
For passengers sailing on Carnival, Princess, Costa, Holland America, MSC or P&O Cruises, a complimentary day pass to Mahogany Beach is included. It's located adjacent to the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center in Dixon's Cove, and the beach is a short walk or ride on the Magical Flying Beach Chair (the cost is $12 per day for unlimited rides) from the Cruise Center. They've got rows of beach loungers or mats for use by their guests. Additional amenities, such as snorkeling gear, kayaks, water floats and clamshell shades are available at an extra charge. Mahogany Beach also features a large food and beverage center and massage facilities, and of course you can shop at the bevy of retail outlets at the Cruise Center.

Foster's West Bay Resort
This is a nice place to hang out for the day. The resort's idyllic beachfront setting provides you with a relaxing environment perfect for swimming, snorkeling or just lying in the sun. The reef in front of the resort is perfect for guests who like to snorkel. The resort's restaurant sells snacks and cold beverages. There are also rest rooms and outside showers for resort guests, as well as hammocks and palapas for those who want to hang out in the shade. If you want to see the beautiful reef without getting wet, you can take a ride on the Coral Reef Explorer right off their dock. Snorkel gear rental is available. They also offer horseback riding trips, and can arrange fishing, diving and other tours.

The Foster's West Bay Resort day passes come in three flavors:

  • A Day Use Only Pass includes full access to Foster's West Bay Resort including palapas and guest bathrooms/showers. The cost is $5.00 per adult or child, with kids under 5 are free. Beach chair rental is available at an additional $5.00 each. No reservations are necessary.

  • A Day Use Pass with Roundtrip Transportation from either the Coxen Hole Cruise Ship dock or Mahogany Bay includes transportation and full access to Foster's West Bay resort including beach chairs, palapas and guest bathrooms and showers. There's a minimum of 4 persons to qualify for this pass, and reservations are necessary. The cost for adults is either $35 per person (from the Coxen Hole Cruise Ship Dock) or $40 per person (from the Mahogany Bay Cruise Ship Dock); kids 12 and under are $10 less, while kids under 5 are free. Reservations are required.

  • A Day Use Pass with Special Lobster Lunch includes round trip transfer to/from the Cruise Ship docks, a lobster (or other choice) lunch and full access to Foster's West Bay resort including beach chairs, palapas and guest bathrooms and showers. There's a minimum of 4 persons to qualify for this pass, and reservations are necessary. The cost for adults is either $50 per person (from the Coxen Hole Cruise Ship Dock) or $55 per person (from the Mahogany Bay Cruise Ship Dock); kids 12 and under are $10 less, while kids under 5 are free. Reservations are required.

A 50% deposit is required to confirm all reservations. Balance is not due until you arrive in Roatan. A full refund of your deposit is made if your cruise ship does not dock as scheduled.

For reservations, contact Foster's through their website, or call them toll free from the US and Canada.
Phone: (504) 9646-4075; toll free from US or Canada: (877) 245-5907.

Bananarama Dive Resort
Located in the middle of West Bay Beach, Bananarama is a PADI 5 Star Dive Resort that offers three flavors of day passes:

  • For just $30 per person, you get round trip transportation from either the Coxen Hole or Mahogany Bay cruise docks, use of their facilities, a beach chair and a welcome drink (choice of soda, local beer or well drink);

  • For $35 per person, you get all of the above plus 2 hours of snorkel rental;

  • For $45 per person, you get all of the above plus 1 hour of kayak rental; and

  • For $50 per person, you get a beach chair and welcome drink, plus a short island tour, do the zipline and pay a visit to the monkey park.

Other amenities include rest rooms, fresh water showers, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking, paddle boarding and relaxing on the beach. When you get hungry, you can walk a few steps to the Thirsty Turtle Bar & Grill for a meal, snack or cold refreshment. Plus they've got a gift shop where you can buy sunscreen, towels and souvenirs.

Little French Key

Little French Key
Little French Key is an idyllic private island resort that caters solely to day visitors. Located on the south shore of the island, the resort's amenities include white sand beaches, numerous bars (including a beachside swim-up bar), three restaurants (two on the water and one on the beach), two jump platforms and a private zoo populated by rescued exotic animals.

The resort's ambiance is one of blissful calmness and comfort. Here you can a swim in the warm clear waters, explore the surrounding reef, take a fun snorkeling tour or just relax in a hammock while sipping your favorite drink in Roatan's ideal climate.

Little French Key offers six day pass packages:

  • Their Island Discovery Package includes entrance to the private island with use of the facility and a visit to the private zoo, plus round trip transportation between the cruise ship piers and Little French Key. This package runs $55 per person for adults, and $27.50 for kids ages 10 and under.

  • The Full Island Package includes entrance to the resort, a fresh Island-style lunch that includes lobster, fillet mignon, shrimp, chicken and more, plus two drinks of your choice, use of all non-motorized equipment (snorkeling gear, kayaks, water beds, water chairs, chaise lounges, etc.), a guided tour of their private zoo and round trip transportation between the cruise ship piers and Little French Key. The package runs $88 per person for adults, $44 per person for kids ages 10 and under.

  • Their Full Island Package PLUS includes all of the activities in the Full Island Package, plus a guided snorkel tour of the adjacent reef with a personal guide. This package runs $98 per person for adults, and $49 for kids ages 10 and under.

  • Their Fun Day Package includes all of the activities in the Full Island Package, plus either a zipline adventure or a one tank Scuba dive (for certified divers only). The package runs $148 per person for those choosing the zipline option, and $171 per person for those choosing the one tank dive option; kids ages 10 and under are $74 and $85, respectively.

  • Their Relaxed and Pampered Package includes all of the activities in the Full Island Package, plus an additional two drinks of your choice, a 30-minute massage and a deluxe manicure and pedicure on the beach. This package runs $158 per person for adults, and $79 for kids ages 10 and under.

  • Their VIP Package includes all of the activities in the Full Island Package, plus an additional four drinks of your choice, a guided snorkel tour of the adjacent reef, horseback swimming with a guide, your own VIP area, a swim with the jaguar or feeding a lion, personal interaction with rescued animals and a 20 minute massage. This tour runs $198 per person for adults, and $99 for kids ages 10 and under.

The island is open to guests from Tuesday through Sunday, from early to 6:00 pm, and on Mondays when cruise ships arrive. They accept Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Discover, but they put a 15% surcharge on these transactions.
Phone: (504) 9688-4248

Beaches in Roatan

Roatan is an island that features a number of nice beaches. The best beaches can be found in West End and West Bay; they consist of white sand, the snorkeling reefs are relatively close to shore, there are a number of amenities nearby, including restaurants, bars and stores, and they can be accessed by taxis or public transportation from Coxen Hole and Mahogany Bay.

More secluded beaches can be found along the north shore of the island, but more often than not they have no amenities, and they are hard to get to unless you rent a taxi for the day. If you take this option, bring all of your provisions with you, and make sure to clean up after yourselves when you leave.

It's recommended to bring some insect repellent with you when you go to a beach in Roatan, as it's not uncommon to find sand flies also hanging out on the beach.

While all beaches on Roatan are nominally free to use, the beaches in West End are fronted by resorts which have taken over the beaches. In most cases, you must pay a $10 to $15 access fee to get to the beach, and to use their rest rooms and showers. To avoid the fee, take the water taxi from West End (near Fosters West End Bar & Grill or Crystal Beach Cabins; the fare is 60 Lempiras) to West Bay; it'll let you off on the public beach at Bite on the Beach restaurant.

Tabyana Beach. Located on West Bay Beach, Tabyana is where the cruise passengers are taken to soak up the Roatan sun. Said to be the best beach on the island, Tabyana offers a self-led, relaxing day at the beach, complete with live Caribbean music, fresh beach fare, tropical drinks, snorkeling and other aquatic pursuits. Tabyana's white sand continues out for about 400 feet into the water, so the water appears "clearer" than at other West Bay and West End beaches. Aquatic activities that you can do here include snorkeling (gear rental is available), and kayaking, parasailing, Snuba and Sea Trek helmet diving are available for an extra charge. Lounge chairs, rest rooms and fresh water showers are available. On cruise days, the beach is really crowded. To spend time here, you need to buy an excursion from your cruise line.

Gumbalimba Park. The beach at Gumbalimba Park features spectacular untouched reefs that can be found just 100 feet from the beach. If you've bought an excursion to Gumbalimba, just hang on the beach in the lounge chairs or hammocks is included, as are rest rooms and fresh water showers. The snorkeling here is quite good. On cruise days, the beach can become very crowded.

Half Moon Bay. The beach on Half Moon Bay is free to use, and there are a number of nice amenities in the area. The only problem is that it gets very crowded on cruise days; it's the second most popular destination for cruise ship passengers after Tabyana Beach.

Beach Club San Simon. This beach club, located in West Bay, offers you time on the beach with similar amenities to Tabyana, but without the crowds. The restaurant is excellent, serving freshly caught fish and seafood, and you can try the Honduran specialties as well. Their full bar serves cocktails and local and imported beers.

Mahogany Beach. Once a pleasant beach known as Coral Cay, Mahogany Beach provides a convenient spot for passengers who are sailing on Carnival, Princess, Costa, Holland America, MSC or P&O Cruises. Patrons do get bar service and food at their beck and call, and the complimentary beach lounge chairs and extras make it a good, inexpensive way to spend some time on a Roatan beach.

Butterfly Garden


Roatan Tropical Butterfly Garden. Just a 5 minute walk from the main entrance to West End Village stands the Roatan Tropical Butterfly Garden. Here you'll see and learn about some of Honduras' most colorful butterflies, and see some beautiful flowers, plants and trees that are native to Honduras. You can join their hour-long guided tour or explore the park on your own. They've also got a gift shop. Admission is $7.00 per person for adults and $5.00 per person for children 9 years of age and under. Open Sunday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; closed on Saturdays.

Canopy Tours

There are five zipline canopy attractions on Roatan. While three of the five zipline courses feature double cables and double pulleys for your safety (Gumbalimba Park and Clip 'N" Zip use triple cables), that doesn't mean that they can't be dangerous. One visitor was killed while plying a zipline in 2008.

Gumbalimba canopy

Monkey Trail Canopy at Gumbalimba Park
The Monkey Trail Canopy will take you from Creation Rock, the highest point in Gumbalimba Park, down to the sea. It features 13 zip lines and one suspension bridge on a 1.9 mile long course. As a rule, you'll be zipping at the treeline, giving you the opportunity to get in touch with the flora and fauna of the Roatan rain forest. The highest zipline is 135 feet, and the longest is 813 feet. The zipline will take anywhere between 45 minutes and 1½ hours to complete, depending on the size of your group. The The Monkey Trail Canopy is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily; the last tour starts at 4:00.

While cruise ship passengers are encouraged to book this canopy tour through their cruise ship, you can do the canopy through independent tour operators. Gumbalimba Park is located between the West End and West Bay.

pirates of the caribbean canopy

Pirates of the Caribbean Canopy
Located on the eastern side of French Harbour, the Pirates of the Caribbean Canopy two "extreme" zipline adventures that are not for the faint of heart.

The Pirate's Extreme Zipline tour features 14 ziplines, several bridges and ladders. The mile-long course will take you as high as 145 feet off the ground, and the longest zipline is 627 feet. The price is $45 per person, and will take between 45 minutes to just over an hour.

For true zipline aficionados, the Extremely Extreme Zipline tour reaches heights of 328 feet off the ground. While there are only 8 ziplines on this course, most of the ziplines are really long, with the first 6 ziplines running from 780 feet to 1,980 feet--the longest in the Americas. The overall length of the course is around 2 miles. This tour costs $65 per person, and expect to spend between 45 minutes to 1¼ hours to complete all eight traverses. Both ziplines feature auto braking, wherein you'll be slowed by gravity. Canopy tours have a weight limit of 375 pounds with harnesses that fit up to size 66-inch waist and 44-inch thighs.

All tours include round trip transportation to and from your cruise ship dock. You can pay for the tours with either cash or Visa or MasterCard.
Phone: (504) 9459-5290

South Shore Canopy

South Shore Canopy Tours
Located in the West End, South Shore Canopy is situated on 25 acres of lush vegetation filled with tropical wildlife and gracious island trees. They offer four tours:

Their Zip Line Tour consists of 16 platforms and 13 zipline cables plus a suspension bridge. The longest zipline is 802 feet, and the highest you'll get will be 100 feet off the ground. The zipline will take anywhere between 45 minutes and 1½ hours to complete, depending on the size of your group, and costs $40 for adults, and $35 for kids 10 and under.

The Zip and Dip Tour combines the Zip Line Tour with time to spend at the Beach Club San Simon in West Bay; it costs $55 per person for adults, and $50 per person for kids 10 and under, and takes about 4 to 5 hours.

Their Eco Walkway tour is designed for people who are not so sure about doing the zipline thing, but still want to see Roatan's rain forest up close and personal, The guided (or self-guided) 45-minute long tour takes you through the jungle on a pathway featuring a series of well-engineered suspension bridges, concrete walkways and wooden steps. The suspension bridges vary in length from 150 to 200 feet. Along the way, you'll see tropical flowers, liana vines, birds, lizards, iguanas, fruit and nut trees and enjoy the area's spectacular views. This one-of-a-kind tour costs $25 per person.

Their Eco Walkway and Beach Tour combines the Eco Walkway tour with a few hours at the beach, and costs $40 per person.

South Shore Canopy will pick you up at either the Coxen Hole or Mahogany Bay cruise ship docks in their air conditioned vans, and return you to the docks at the conclusion of your tour. The transportation is included in the price of the tours. You can make a reservation on their website, or make the arrangements when you arrive in Roatan. You can pay for the tours with either cash, or a Visa or MasterCard.
Phone: (504) 9967-1381

Mayan Jungle Canopy

Mayan Jungle Canopy
The Mayan Jungle Canopy is Roatan's newest zipline, and is owned by local tourism entrepreneur Victor Bodden.

Located adjacent to Victor Bodden's Monkey Business, a monkey refuge, the 1½ mile long course features 12 ziplines and 2 suspension bridges. The highest you'll get is 45 feet off the ground, and the longest traverse is 509 feet. Like what you'll find at Pirates of the Caribbean Canopy, above, the ziplines feature auto braking, wherein you'll be slowed by gravity. It'll take about 45 minutes to one hour to complete the course. After your visit, you get free entrance to the Monkey Business refuge. If you're taking a tour with Bodden Tours, this is a good and fun add-on to your visit to Roatan.
Phone: (504) 9910-5217

Clip n zip

Clip 'N' Zip: Located adjacent to the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center, the Clip 'N' Zip zipline is situated in a 150 acre nature preserve where customers enjoy an up close experience with Roatan's unique flora and fauna. This course was built with 3 cables instead of the usual two; 1 safety line and 2 traveling lines make the Clip 'N' Zip zipline one of the safest on the island.

The 1.1 mile course features 13 platforms and 11 ziplines that range in length between 150 to 900 feet. You'll soar through the hundred year old oak trees and tropical rain forest at heights ranging from 16 to 65 feet off the ground, and end up on the beach. In addition to the stunning ocean and island views, you may be able to see the birds, deer, hawks, iguanas, agoutis and other wildlife that live in the nature preserve. Access to the Clip 'N' Zip zipline is by a short walk up the hill from the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center. Expect to spend about an hour on the zipline; it'll cost you $60 per person.
Phone: (504) 9965-2135

Scuba Diving


Scuba diving is one of the main attractions of Roatan. To participate, you must bring your certification card. Frankly, reservations are a must. There are dozens of independent dive operators offering trips on Roatan; here is a partial list:

Bananarama: is a PADI 5 Star dive and beach resort located on West Bay Beach. Catering to small groups, beginners and experienced divers, they offer a number of dive packages. They also offer a 2 tank dive for $95, and their dive boat will pick you up at your cruise ship dock.
Phone: (504) 2445-5005; from the US or Canada call (727) 564-9058

Coconut Tree Divers: Based in Half Moon Bay, right in the heart of West End, Coconut Tree Divers is Roatan's #1 PADI training center. They offer something for every diver, whether a beginner, certified or an experienced diver eager to take on the challenge of Tec Diving.
Phone: (813) 964-7214

Native Son Divers: With custom made boats and first rate gear, Native Son Divers are serious about diving. They offer a number of dive packages. Located in the West End.
Phone: (504) 2445-4003

Ocean Connections is a PADI 5 Star Dive Center and Divers Alert Network Center located right on the water in the heart of West End. With a 15 year history of providing quality diving adventures, the dive center is owned and run by young, experienced diving professionals who value quality instruction and are very knowledgeable about Roatan's reef system.
Phone: (504) 9901-3646; from the US or Canada: (713) 370-2450

Tyll's Dive Shop: Located in the heart of West End, Tyll's Dive Shop offers three dives a day starting at 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 2:00 pm six days a week. Their highly trained PADI Pro Staff are ready to provide you with the very best Scuba experience available.
Phone: (504) 9698-0416


Golf clubs

The Black Pearl Golf Course at Pristine Bay is Roatan's first and only golf course. This 18-hole, par-72, 7200 yard championship golf course was created by world famous golf course architect Pete Dye. The course starts at the ocean's doorstep, rises into the island's rolling foothills, then takes golfers on a wild ride back to the seaside clubhouse. It features one of Dye's signature island greens, and 14 holes offer stunning vistas of the ocean and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Reservations are required.

Prices for clubs are $40 for Standard, $50 for Deluxe and $60 for Pro sets. One caddie is required per foursome as a minimum; their fees must be paid directly to them at the course in cash. Caddie fee structure is as follows: 1 player, $20; 2 and 3 players, $24; 4 players, $32. These prices are subject to change at any time without prior notice. Golf attire and etiquette is required. Golf shoes are not available for rent but sneakers are allowed.
Phone: (504) 2455-5220



Fishing in Roatan is a great adventure. This is a partial list of the fishing operators on Roatan:

Pescado Roatan: Pescado Roatan will custom-design a guided fishing trip to fit your dream fishing vacation, with experienced fishing guides for flats, deep sea, wreck, light tackle or fly fishing. If you're an avid fisherman, or even a newbie, owner Conner Henry and his crew will make your vacation.
Phone: (504) 9930-6139

Caribbean Rent A Car: Don't be deceived; Caribbean Rent A Car not only rents cars, but also offers a variety of charters with a selection of boats. Select from deep sea sports fishing, live bait fishing, water skiing, family oriented charters, mangrove channel tours and more!
Phone: (504) 9995-2827

One Fish Two Fish Charters: One Fish Two Fish will take you on a fishing charter or sightseeing tour that you'll never forget! They also do combination fishing charters and sightseeing/snorkeling tours. You design the fishing charter you want. Located on the East End of the Island in Punta Blanca.
Phone: (504) 3309-9479

Glass Bottom Boat


The Coral Reef Explorer: The Coral Reef Explorer is a semi-submersible boat that was custom built to show off Roatan's incredible underwater eco-system without ever having to get wet.

Located at West Bay Beach on the dock in front of Foster's Resort. Trips run three times daily at 11:00 am, 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm from West Bay Beach. Tour price is $30 per person for adults and $25 per person for children ages 3 to 12. Children under 3 are free.
Phone: (504) 9549-2865; Toll free: (877) 245-5907 from US or Canada

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding

Anthony's Key Resort: Fully-guided horseback riding is offered daily (except Thursday) at Anthony's Key Resort. You'll ride along a lazy stretch of beach in the town of Sandy Bay in Roatan, Honduras. Wave to the locals and you pass through the town and then gallop along the beach. The ride is ideal for first time rider or mature riders looking to get back in the saddle! While on the beach, you will have the opportunity to try a few trots, but is more about enjoying the scenery and being in the saddle. The rides take place in the morning or in the afternoon. The cost is $25 per person per ride.
Phone toll free: (800) 227-3483 from the US or Canada

El Rancho Barrio Dorcas: Senor Shirkie Bodden offers three riding options for cruise ship passengers. They'll pick you up at either the Coxen Hole or Mahogany Bay Cruise Ship docks and return you to the docks after your ride. It is recommended that you book your trip prior to your arrival in Roatan.
Phone: (504) 9555-4880

Iguana Farm


Sherman Arch's Iguana Farm
I don't know if Roatan is either the first or last place you'd expect to find an iguana farm, but here it is. The iguanas on Roatan are supposed to be a protected species, but the locals look upon iguanas as a delicacy, and eat them in a stew.

Located just outside of French Harbour, the iguana farm is where you'll find over 2,500 of the creatures. The best time to visit the iguana farm is in the early afternoon, when they're being fed, and that's also the time when you can most easily handle the reptiles. The worst time to visit is when it's raining. The admission is $8 per person. Open daily from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Phone: (504) 2445-7743

Nature Parks & Gardens


Gumbalimba Park: Located in West End, just north of West Bay, Gumbalimba Park is a 20-acre beachside botanical garden featuring a number of attractions. Admission to the park gives you the opportunity to visit its monkey refuge, where you'll find friendly capuchin monkeys who like to jump on the shoulder of visitors; guided tours of the botanical garden, home to over 200 species of Honduran plants, trees and flowers; a "pirate" cave that gives you a little history of Honduras; plus a fresh water pool and a stretch of white sand beach featuring beach loungers and hammocks. Showers and rest rooms are also available. If you or your kids are hungry, the Gecko Cafe adjacent to the pool serves burgers, hot dogs and chicken snacks.

For the adventurous, and for an additional charge, visitors can take the park's Monkey Trail Canopy tour, which is comprised of 13 zip lines strung along 17 platforms ranging in height from 18 to 60 feet off the ground. It takes about an hour from start to finish.

Other attractions include visiting the Insectarium at Fort Gumba, and a number of beach-related activities, including Snuba diving, kayaking, power snorkeling and Sea Trek helmet diving. The Snuba Diving and Clear Kayak tours do not include general admission to Gumbalimba Park; participants may enter into the Park by paying an additional fee.

The Park encourages all visitors who are coming to Roatan by cruise ship to book their tours through their cruise line.

Gumbalimba Park is open daily from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. General admission costs around $20; the Park and Zip Line package costs around $60.

Carambola Botanical Gardens: Located in Sandy Bay, across the road from Anthony's Key Resort, the gardens and jungle trails of Carambola Botanical Gardens offer a perfect place for hiking, wildlife and scenic photography, eco tours, bird watching, nature studies and relaxation.

Plan to spend about an hour at the 30-acre Gardens, then enjoy another attraction or activity on Roatan. Whether you're taking a guided tour of the facility (cost: $15 per person for guests ages 8 and above) or doing your own thing (cost of admission is $10 per person for guests ages 8 and above), visiting the gardens is a very pleasant experience. Be forewarned: the Gardens will be crowded on cruise ship days, due to its popularity. Open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Phone: (504) 9961-5760

Sailing & Snorkel Trips


There are a number of operators who offer sailing and snorkeling adventures in Roatan. Here is a partial list:

The Upachaya Resort offers a 4½-hour snorkel tour that will take you snorkeling in two areas, with a mangrove and flats tour taken in between locations. The tour includes a meal with beverages (beer, soda and water) on your return to Upachaya. The tours are limited to a maximum of 10 guests. Their tour costs $68 per person, and includes all equipment and round trip transportation from either the Coxen Hole or Mahogany Bay cruise ship docks. Reservations should be made in advance of your arrival in Roatan.
Phone: (504) 9744-8705

Spa Experience


Spa Baan Suerte: Located in Sandy Bay, the Spa Baan Suerte is a boutique day spa that offers a variety of personal spa services, including massage, facials, body treatment wraps, pedicures, manicures and waxing. Hour long massages run from $80 to $120. If you're heading to the beach in West End, you may want to drop by, as it's only a few minutes away.

A credit card guarantee is required to secure an appointment, and full payment is required prior to the treatment. They're open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Phone: (504) 2445-3059; from the US, call (347) 687-5636

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