Roatán – The Caribbean's Best Kept Secret

Beyond the tropical mountains’ green canopies and whitewashed colonial villages of mainland Honduras lies the largest of the Bay Islands, Roatán. Often called the Caribbean’s best kept secret, Roatán is home to pristine white sandy beaches, amazing tropical jungle covered hills, a diverse reef system and authentic Caribbean charm. A long island, measuring almost 40 miles in length with a mountainous backbone, Roatán is surrounded by coral reefs, offering superb diving and excellent fishing. Blue skies, turquoise water and a warm sun will welcome you to Roatan, an island with such wonderful beaches you feel like you are in an enormous, natural swimming pool.

Known around the world for its scuba diving, the reef surrounding the island attracts beautiful tropical fish and snorkelers alike. Dive attractions include sea walls, shipwrecks, and night diving. Sea turtles, dolphins, and whales can all be seen in the waters of Roatán. Fishing charters offer trolling or bottom fishing and are available from 2 hours to a full day. Fishing options include barracuda and tuna all year round, plus wahoo and dorado from September to February.

The area known as the West End is a must see with its beautiful beaches, restaurants and numerous activities. Take a tour on the glass bottom boat, ride in a mini-submarine, scuba-dive, or rent an ocean kayak. At night, the West End turns into the liveliest area on the island where you can have fun until late at night. Gumbalimba Nature Park, located in West Bay, offers a variety of activities. The Canopy Tour includes a 300 foot hanging bridge over a lagoon that provides a brilliant adventure to all who cross it. Beach activities include snorkeling, snuba and a variety of boating options, such as wave runners. The largest group of horses on the island call this park home which makes for great horseback riding. The highlight of the park is an extensive bird collection that includes two different species of macaws native to Honduras and several different species of parrots. The birds are trained to be free and interact with the visitors to the park. Sandy Bay is the cultural center of Roatán. It is here where the Institute of Marine Sciences, The Roatán Museum, the Carambola Gardens and Marine Reserve are located. Parrots, iguana, and monkeys live in the wild on this tropical island.  An iguana farm east of French Harbor provides a refuge for thousands of iguanas and is also open to tourists.

A trip to Roatán will satisfy the most active and adventurous travelers.

10 thoughts on “Roatán – The Caribbean's Best Kept Secret

  • I personally would not recommend Roatan. I went there a couple of years ago and if you hang out near the beach,there is a major bug problem – “no see ums” I was bitten from head to toe and the insect repellants did not work for me — not fun.

  • Yikes. I think that regardless of where you are in the Caribbean, chances are you’ll get a few bites. They’re a problem nearly everywhere in the Caribbean and can also be found in Alaska, Florida, the southern states, and the California coast. “No see ums” wake up when the sun goes down and are most active at dawn and dusk. The most effective way to fend off “no see ums” is to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt during their active times of the day. Typically, mosquito repellents are also labeled for use against “no see ums”.

  • Absolute best product to avoid the sand fleas: Burt’s Bees Lemon Grass Oil. In the U.S., you can buy it at Cracker Barrel, among other places. The oil drowns the sand flies.

  • I didn’t have too much of a problem with the bugs.But in such a beautiful and pristine place you will have to share some of your space with mother nature! It is an amazing place, I am planning on going in a few weeks, I try to make it a couple times a year.

  • Hi. My husband and I are thinking of Roatan next year for our 30th anniversary. I have found a few places to consider staying at. However this bug situation is still concerning me. I have read so many different views. Is there a time of year that they are not as bad? And is there a part of the island re north shore vs south shore where they are not as nasty? Any info from anyone that has visited there within the last year would be very much appreciated.

  • This is the best place in the world to visit. There is a little shop that just opened on the strip called Island Massage. Those ladies really know how to relax your cares away…especially with the view. I highly recommend this island. Drink the Monkey Lala!

  • Roatan – and especially West End – is amazing. I’ve been twice and definitely plan on going back. I’m a diver, but actually enjoyed snorkling West End more than the diving. You can float out for about a mile and still see straight down… have to watch out for reef – it rises and falls just beneath the surface in that area, which is part of what makes the snorkeling so spectacular. Bring your own snorkel & mask, though. Although there are numerous places to rent them, you won’t want to gamble on getting poor equipment; especially since you’ll have to take a water taxi to get to the best area. If you get there and find your rented equipment isn’t great, you’re stuck…. 🙂

  • You’re going to let a few bugs ruin your time in Roatan?!?!?! It was my husband and my favorite place on our honeymoon cruise. We are planning a trip back soon.

    We used Victor Bodden Tours to get acquainted to the island and had a wonderful time.

    I agree that Roatan is one of the best kept secrets!

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