Palm-fringed, white-sand beaches stretch for 40 miles (64 kilometers) along the coast of Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands. Roatan is located 30 miles (48 kilometers) off the coast of Honduras and is surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. The island’s economy is based primarily on tourism and Roatan is dotted with small towns, resorts and gated communities. The Bay Islands are located along part of the world’s second-largest barrier reef system and Roatan is one of the top scuba diving destinations in the Caribbean.
How to Get to Roatan
Roatan’s cruise port is located on the south side of the island just outside Coxen Hole, the capital and largest city on the Bay Islands. You’ll find a variety of shopping and dining options within the cruise port complex, although there aren’t many attractions for visitors in Coxen Hole. Taxis and minibuses wait just outside the cruise port to shuttle visitors into town and around the island.
One Day in Roatan
Many of the best beaches and attractions in Roatan are located on the west end of the island and arguably the best way to visit these attractions is on shore excursions. West Bay Beach and Half Moon Bay are two of the most popular destinations for visitors to Roatan and offer excellent diving and snorkeling, as well as sport fishing and a variety of watersports including sea kayaking and sailing.
Experienced divers can visit some of the more secluded dive spots along the island’s central coast including the Valley of the Kings, French Cay Bank and Mary’s Place. Families will enjoy visits to the island’s iguana farm, the botanical gardens in Sandy Bay and the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences.
Spanish is the official language in Honduras, although you’ll find that many people in Roatan speak English. The official currency is the lempira and it’s fixed to the U.S. dollar. U.S. dollars are widely accepted all over the island but you’ll often receive change in the local currency. It’s a good idea to carry small bills and change for things like taxi rides and tips.