The Bay Islands form a chain that runs more or less parallel to mainland Honduras’s northern coast. The westernmost Bay Island of note is Utila, the smallest of the main three islands. In the middle is Roatán, found 30 miles from the coast, and to the northeast is Guanaja, also roughly 30 miles from the nearest mainland point. The world’s second-largest coral reef envelops the islands and makes for top-notch diving and snorkeling. On shore, deep green tropical forests and waterfalls offer great hiking and panoramic views of the Caribbean. The Cayos Cochinos are closest to the coast and due south of Roatán; the archipelago is a protected reserve with restricted tourism and welcoming Garífuna villages.
Roatán is the largest and most developed of the Bay Islands. Roatán is 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, a submerged airplane, and night diving. Sea turtles, dolphins, and whales swim in the waters of Roatán. 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 open for tourists. During crab season, island blue crabs come out at night by the thousands. The crabs climb trees to eat fruit. West End and West Bay have pristine beaches; canopy tours; and the island’s best restaurants, resorts, and nightlife options. Sandy Bay has dolphin dives and breezy pine forests, and the best shopping is in Coxen Hole.
Why visit Roatan?
- Scuba Diving And Snorkeling The colorful coral surrounding the Bay Islands has been attracting divers for decades. There’s no need to take a boat out to see the spectacular underwater world—in many places the reef begins only a few yards from shore. Farther out you’ll find shipwrecks waiting to be explored. There are plenty of packages for novices and seasoned divers alike.
- Pristine Beaches A rainbow of deep blue, turquoise, and translucent waters lap against the wide white beaches that ring the islands and cays. At night, the ocean glitters with the bright light of phosphorescence.
- Vibrant Nightlife Beachfront pubs, laid-back cigar shops, upscale lounges and open-air bars with live music define the nightlife in Roatán’s West End and Utila Town. Everything’s within walking distance, and an evening spent here makes for a lively yet safe place to socialize with islanders, expats, and fellow travelers alike. The party starts on Thursday and carries on all weekend long.
If you have a vacation planned to Roatan in the near future, you are in for a great time! Read our Roatan Honduras Travel Guide, get all the information you need, and start planning your vacation to Roatan Honduras today!
Nothing can have more of an impact over your vacation enjoyment than the environment—especially on a tropical getaway. After all, for most, vacation time is precious and rare, so you want to make the absolute most of it. Before you make your travel arrangements to Roatan, there are a couple of keys aspects you want to take into consideration: the weather, crowds and the cost of the trip. And, like many travelers seeking a tropical getaway, you may be looking for a vacation that can offer low prices, beautiful weather and limited crowds. Fortunately, a vacation to Roatan can provide all of that and more.
As you would expect from any Caribbean island, Roatan is well-known for its tropical climate and abundant sunshine. Temperatures only vary by 8 degrees on average throughout the year, and 15 degrees separates average highs from average lows. So as you can see, anytime is a good time to visit Roatan—from a temperature perspective, of course. The main thing to consider is the rainy season. If dry weather is what you’re after, the months with the lowest chance of significant precipitation in Roatan are April, May, and then March. October and November can also be a great time to vacation to Roatan, but a higher travel cost.
It is hot and humid in Roatan so bring light clothing such as shorts, tank tops, sandals. Everyone dresses like they are going to the beach everyday which is one of the things I love about Roatan! It is very relaxed. If you are going in the rainy season, bring a light rain jacket, poncho and something to keep you dry and warm in case it cools down in the evenings. And make sure you take two things: bug repellent and sunscreen.
Getting To Roatan
The most popular (and affordable) way to get to Roatán and Utila is by ferry. Boats head out twice daily from the Muelle de Cabotaje in La Ceiba, with two return trips from the islands. The MV Galaxy Wave makes the trip to the Roatán ferry terminal in Dixon Bay in 90 minutes and has comfortable seats, a snack bar, and a first-class level upstairs. The Utila Princess II takes an hour to make the voyage and is a smaller boat with wood benches and powerful air-conditioning. The Utila Dream is a large catamaran ferry with regular daily service from La Ceiba to Utila and back, plus a convenient direct Roatán to Utila route operating only on weekends. This high-speed ferry is designed to handle the choppy waters, offers a first-class section, and cuts the travel time nearly in half.
Several major airlines fly nonstop from major U.S. cities like Houston, Miami, Atlanta, and Dallas to Roatán. Charter flights on IBC Air are available Wednesdays and Sundays direct from Fort Lauderdale to Roatan. but be aware the airline has been known to cancel flights if there are not enough passengers and it is not under regular airline rules regarding passenger compensation for delayed flights.
The passport expiration date should be checked before you purchase your tickets. If your passport expires in less than 3 months from the planned travel date, you may be denied entry into the country. Airlines may turn away passengers in their countries of origin, preventing them from departing for Honduras if the passports are too close to the expiration date. Visas are automatically granted upon arrival to travelers that do not have legal residency in Honduras. Most travelers will enter under a tourist / business visa.
Generally speaking, there are plenty of taxis and buses in Roatan so that you can easily get around without needing your own vehicle. The buses are 16-passenger vans that run regular routes between Coxen Hole and West End, and between Coxen Hole and French Harbor. Taxis can be privado or colectivo – if you ask for a private cab, you will pay extra. But if you take a colectivo, you might pick up and drop off other people along your way. It’s a great way to chat with local residents. If you are staying at a resort in Roatan, your resort will likely arrange your transport to and from the airport. Once you arrive at your resort, everything you’ll need will be right on-site. If you wish to see more of the island, you could rent a car for a day, but it’s usually better to arrange an island tour so you see more without needing to worry about driving yourself.
Where you stay while in Roatan will determine whether or not you need a rental vehicle during your vacation. If you stay at a resort in West Bay, you will likely not need one at all – you can arrange your airport pick-up and drop-off with the resort, plus any island tours will be easily arranged with the concierge.
If you’re staying in Sandy Bay, you can decide how often you’ll be heading out. If you plan to only go out a few times, taxis will suffice. But if your dive shop isn’t nearby, or if you want to try multiple different restaurants, or if you want to go to West Bay Beach a few times, then a rental car would make your stay more convenient.
If you’re staying on the East End, unless you’re at a resort, you will likely require a vehicle. Check with the property manager when you book your accommodation to see if a vehicle is included or available for rent. Otherwise, be sure to check what style you will require to ensure you won’t have any issues upon arrival.
There are a multitude of options for rental cars in Roatan, including some international companies based at the airport and many local companies who will offer to drive the vehicle to you for extra convenience. If you decide you need a vehicle during your stay, be sure to check what type of vehicle will be necessary for your neighborhood. Some vacation rentals require 4-wheel-drive vehicles because of hilly or unpaved roads leading to them. Others will be fine with a small economy rental. Just be sure to check in advance of your booking.
West of French Harbor you’ll find Arch’s Iguana & Marine Park, an unusual attraction that has been around for three decades. Drop in around noon to see the stern-faced lizards have lunch. An estimated 3,500 sleepy creatures roam around the reserve, which also has turtles, monkeys, and a fish hatchery. For more information call 2445–1498 or 2445–7743, or visit them on the web at Arch’s Iguana & Marine Park.
This private beach is a 10–15 minute walk east of the municipal dock. Entrance gets you access to lounge chairs, shade, and a more secure setting than the nearby public beach. The sand here is much softer and cleaner than at the public beach, it’s (usually) quieter, and the swimming area has less turtle grass. A palapa bar serves inexpensive cold drinks. It’s best for swimming and partiers.
This cave is the largest among the dozens of caverns that puncture the mountainside. Legend has it that pirates hid their treasure here in the 16th and 17th centuries. To get there from Utila Town, head toward the airport on the paved road and turn left at the first dirt path after the horse stables.
Utila is widely known in the diving world as the Caribbean’s whale shark capital. These massive creatures can measure as much as 12 meters (40 feet) long and weigh up to 20 tons, and they feast mostly on plankton, not humans. The sharks swim close to Utila’s shores and can be spotted year-round, an exciting possibility that lures many divers to the reefs here. The Deep Blue Resort has an EcoOcean identification database used to track whale sharks around the globe. WSORC also has monitoring and research programs in Utila. Visitors can join a four-hour encounter trip, called the Ocean Safari, and try to get a glimpse of a whale shark. For more information call 2425–3760, or visit them on the web at Whale Shark Oceanic Research Center.
West Bay is what many consider the picture-perfect Caribbean destination: white sand, clear, calm waters and full service resorts. The variety of water activities include scuba diving, fishing charters, snorkeling and parasailing. Scuba diving and other outfitters leave directly from the beach so starting your water-based activities is easy and convenient.
One of the premier day excursions and a great place for children, is this small private island near Coxen Hole. The park offers a wide variety of amenities and activities, including sandy beaches, tropical gardens, a museum with cultural displays, and an animal rescue center, where you can meet the animals. The 10-acre island also has spectacular snorkeling. Most cruise lines offer the island as a shore excursion, and it’s the only way it can be visited; the park takes no independent bookings. It’s a 3-minute water shuttle from the shuttle pier 50 yards east of the Terminal de Cruceros in Coxen Hole.
Things to Do
They are one of the biggest dive shops in beautiful West Bay. They have been working in Roatan for 20 years and are always happy to meet new divers! Tgi Diving offers free Nitrox to all divers, big comfortable boats and experience Instructors. Mares Equipment also available for rent or to buy. For more information visit them on the web at TGI Diving International.
They are a full service PADI and SSI accredited dive and aquatic center. They welcome divers staying everywhere on the island to come dive, snorkel or fish. They are the local dive experts on the Central-South Shore of Roatan, offering over 15 dive sites less than 10 minutes from our dock including the famous Mary’s Place. They provide high quality diving, snorkeling, fishing and sightseeing expeditions on the most unspoiled areas of the Mesoamerican Reef System. For more information call from the US +1-786-410-2787 or on the island at +504-9462-4550, or visit them on the web at Black Pearl Divers.
They are located on the unspoiled beach halfway between West End and West Bay right in the middle of the Roatan Marine Park. Only 2 minutes away from the best snorkel and dive sites of the whole island. Clearwater Adventures stands as the perfect option for a personalized, relaxed and enjoyable island experience. Pick up and drop off at any dock in the West End – West Bay area. For more information call +504 9488-8563, or visit them on the web at Clearwater Adventures.
Roatan Ocean Adventures brings guests a unique way of enjoying their time in Roatan. They will provide you with some of the most outstanding tours the island has to offer, making your time a fun and safe one. For more information call +504 9892-8179, or visit them on the web at Roatan Ocean Adventures.
They offer Cruise Ship excursions and beach rental of paddle boards on the beautiful island of Roatan. With their 2 locations on Half Moon Bay, West End Village and West Bay Beach, they can provide the beach day you are looking for. For more information call +504 9936-8088, or visit them on the web at Roatan Paddle Sports.
Best Rated Restaurants
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$ Ilene’s Kitchen
If you’re looking for authentic island food, you’ll need to stop here, where Miss Ilene herself dishes up traditional island fare such as stewed chicken with rice and beans, fried plantains and cabbage salad, and whole fried fish. If she’s making soup, be sure to try some even if it’s hot out—her soup is legendary in West End. For more information call +504 3217-5418, or visit them on TripAdvisor at Ilene’s Kitchen.
$$ – $$$ Lala’s Gallery & Garden Cafe
When you’ve had your fill of the beach crowd, head back to the main road and enter into Lala’s garden, a beautiful space that exudes some much needed zen vibes. The café offers healthy, vegetable-centric fare at reasonable prices. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free friendly, the international fusion menu changes based on seasonal availability. Central American art is featured around the alfresco dining area. For more information call +504 9572-0433, or visit them on the web at Lala’s Gallery & Garden Cafe.
$$ – $$$ Roatan Oasis
There’s a reason Oasis is constantly on the top of Roatán’s best restaurant lists—its international fusion menu and laid-back atmosphere consistently come with good food and drinks. The menu changes frequently, so be sure to check their Facebook page for the most up-to-date menu items. But you’ll usually get at least a few local favorites, like the famous chipotle-glazed baby back ribs or a homemade Snickers bar. Creative cocktails flow freely, and this is one of the only places on the west side serving imported beers. For more information call +504 9484–6659, or visit them on the web at Roatan Oasis.
$$ – $$$ The Jade Seahorse
Looking a bit like a psychedelic museum, this longtime favorite is decorated with island paraphernalia and tunnels, sculptures, and gazebos built from mosaics of colored glass. The best place to enjoy the big platters of seafood is in the pleasant garden. Stop by for one of the best fresh fruit shakes you’ll find on the islands, and top off the evening with a drink in the tree house bar. If you want to stay the night, the Nightland cabins have two double beds, spacious bathrooms, and stunning interior decor. For more information call +504 2425–3270, or visit them on the web at The Jade Seahorse.
$$ – $$$ The Thai Place
You’ll hear locals still calling this place Tong’s Thai, and while former owner Tong left the island long ago, thankfully the cooks stayed on. Spicy noodle dishes are served on the beachfront gazebo, and at night, the candlelit dock makes for a romantic dinner on the water. Honduran twists are added to traditional favorites by adding lobster to pad thai or squid to vegetable curry dishes. For more information call +504 9959–1149, or visit them on the web at The Thai Place.
If you want to party past 10 pm on the island, Blue Marlin is the place to do it. The dance floor here gets pumping late and drinks are poured generously, which helps make up for the occasional wait time to get in. Karaoke Thursday is a hit with locals and tourists alike, while the bartenders like to suggest shots involving hot sauce and sambuca. For more information call +504 3360–2821, or visit them on the web at Blue Marlin.
The perfect place to end the day, Sundowners is where tourists and locals all hang out for a cold beer right on the beach. If you come here after taking a dip in the ocean or lying on the sand, you can take advantage of their freshwater shower before ordering a cocktail or a snack. They have a small menu with great appetizers, sandwiches, and burgers, and their epic Sunday night BBQs are not to be missed. Live like a local and grab a Monkey La La or two, Roatan’s signature cocktail. For more information call +504 9907-7700, or visit them on the web at Sundowners Beach Bar.
This relaxing, low-key place carries cigars from around the world, and feels more like lounging in a friend’s living room than in a bar. Guests can enjoy a drink on the outdoor deck facing the main street, and in the late evenings, the back section offers the best outdoor dance floor in town. For more information call +504 9564–6866, or visit them on the web at Frank’s Cigar Bar + The Hideaway.
The Thirsty Turtle is the main restaurant and bar located at Bananarama Dive & Beach Resort in West Bay. Head there several nights a week for live music where you can enjoy a great meal with your feet in the sand. This is a really family-friendly resort, so feel free to bring the kids for games of giant Jenga or Connect-Four while you enjoy the show. For the adults, enjoy the adjoined Caribbean Fish Therapy experience right at the restaurant. A pedicure courtesy of tiny little fish while you listen to live music on the beach: it doesn’t get much more perfect than that! For more information call from the US at (727) 564-9058 or from Roatan at +504 2445-5005, or visit them on the web at The Thirsty Turtle.
The Booty Bar which is across Eagle Rays and the Turtle Shack Café. The Booty Bar stays open til late and the Caribbean pirate themed bar is a delightful mix of locals, expats and tourists. The great sunsets are truly a sight to behold and an evening at the bar, with your favorite drink in hand and the faint sound of the waves crashing against each other may just be the kind of relaxing evening that you need. From the locals, it has been said that the dancing scene is great after 9p.m and can be enjoyed till late. For more information call +504 9853-4792, or visit them on the web at The Booty Bar.
Ibagari Boutique Hotel is offering accommodations in Roatán. Every guest at the 5-star property can enjoy sea views from the rooms, and has access to a hot tub. The property provides free WiFi. At the hotel, the rooms are equipped with a closet, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Rooms contain air conditioning, and selected rooms contain a terrace. The rooms will provide guests with a fridge. A continental breakfast is served each morning at the property. Guests can dine in the on-site restaurant, which serves a variety of international dishes and also offers vegan and vegetarian options. Ibagari Boutique Hotel has an outdoor pool. Guests can use the business center or relax in the bar. Speaking French and Italian at the reception, staff will be happy to provide guests with practical information on the area. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Ibagari Boutique Hotel.
The Beach House is the premier boutique hotel in West End, and is the perfect location on Roatán for your next vacation. Located on Half Moon Bay in the West End, The Beach House boasts a wonderful beachfront restaurant, a dock bar, and truly magnificent views of the sunset–from every suite! The Beach House is an eco-friendly establishment; in 2018 we installed a solar hot water heater, installed more efficient appliances, replaced all air conditioning units and eliminated disposable plastic from use on premises. To further improve our guest experience, we also installed a state-of-the-art water filtration system. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit The Beach House Boutique Hotel.
Located in Roatán in the Roatan Island region, Mayoka Lodge features a terrace and sea views. Housed in a building dating from 2008, the villa is in an area where guests can engage in activities such as snorkeling and tennis. The villa has 7 bedrooms, a kitchen with a dining area and a dishwasher, and a bathroom. A flat-screen TV with cable channels is provided. An American breakfast is served each morning at the property. The villa has an outdoor pool. A water sports facilities is available on site and canoeing can be enjoyed within close proximity of Mayoka Lodge. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Mayoka Lodge.
Their Roatan style bungalows allow you to experience Roatan with a touch of elegance at great West Bay Beach rates. From rain shower bathrooms with glass blown sinks, to comfortable beds and boutique kitchens furnished with mahogany cabinets and imported ceramic tile counter tops, your tranquil paradise has been carefully prepared for you. Each bungalow has a deck with a hammock, table and chairs and is set in lush tropical gardens, winding travertine paths and a beautiful pool. From the time you are picked up at the airport to your departure you will be swept away into Island paradise with friendly service from the entire staff. Leave your stress behind, pamper yourself, relax into Island time and let them serve you! For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit West Bay Lodge & Spa.
On the southernmost tip of Roatán Island, overlooking West Bay Beach, Grand Roatán Caribbean Resort is a rare tropical gem that merges authenticity with unmatched luxury and elegance. Stylish and sophisticated, our resort is nestled between a pristine forest sanctuary and the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean. Guests enjoy 48 oceanfront or ocean view suites with unparalleled beach views and wade-in access to the Mesoamerican Reef — the world’s second largest barrier reef — just 30 yards offshore. With its breathtaking coastline, luxury suites, five-star amenities and a sense of solitude that blends perfectly with its natural surroundings, Grand Roatán Resort welcomes you to enjoy the quintessential Caribbean lifestyle for a week or perhaps even a lifetime. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit the Grand Roatan Caribbean Resort.