A newer cruising destination, Roatan is an island in Honduras known for stunning views, pristine beaches and a lack of the commercialism common in most Caribbean ports. Roatan offers some unique animal adventures, world-famous snorkeling and diving, endless sandy white beaches and fresh seafood for the foodie in you. Check out the top 5 things to do on your next visit to this island.
Roatan is located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest in the world behind Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Stretching along the countries of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, this reef is home to more than 65 species of stony coral, 500 species of fish, sea turtles, the West Indian Manatee and more. This means Roatan has endless opportunities to explore the marine life. If you’re going to be diving, be sure to bring your certification card. If you’re not a certified diver, there are plenty of snorkeling opportunities for you to explore this reef as well.
Located on the West Bay Beach, this is widely thought to be the most beautiful beach on the island. There’s live Caribbean music, tropical drinks, snorkeling and other water activities, even a cute gift shop. The beach continues out for 400 feet into the water, creating the appearance of crystal-clear water. Basically, when you’re dreaming of a beach in the Caribbean – it’s this one. Lounge chairs are provided, and the beach provides freshwater showers to rinse off. This is almost always booked through the cruise lines directly. It’s worth noting that this beach can get a little busy on days when there are multiple ships in port.
Don’t let the name fool you – this is way more than just a park. A one-stop destination, Gumbalimba Park features canopy tours (zip lining), an animal preserve (where monkeys and exotic birds interact with you – including jumping directly on your shoulders and stealing your soda), botanical gardens, a pristine beach (complete with hammocks, lounge chairs, showers and bathrooms), water activities, a pirate’s cave and a freshwater pool. The name of the park comes from one of the native tree species in Honduras – the Gumbalimba tree – and is located on the West Bay. Adventures and tours of this park can be booked privately or through your cruise ship directly.
Swim with Dolphins
While there are several places in the Caribbean where you can do this activity, Roatan is consistently one of the top places to swim with these friendly mammals. Anthony’s Key Resort offers several dolphin encounters – including one in the open ocean. Anthony’s lets you use your personal cameras as well during some of the encounters (something most locations don’t allow). While you can check directly with Anthony’s, they often prefer you to book directly with your cruise ship.
Roatan is widely known for some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever eat, especially shellfish such as shrimp, lobsters and crabs. You also can try local delicacies such as iguana (usually served in stew) and conch. In the French Harbour, check out Gio’s Seafood; in the West End, Linga Longa is pricier but comes with breathtaking views to accompany your delicious meal. Oh, and if you’re brave enough to try the iguana, let us know how it tastes!
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