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!
Roatan Weather (When to Visit)
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.
Best Beaches in Roatan
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.
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.
This stunning stretch of sand is on Roatan’s north shore near Palmetto Plantation. Marbella is pristine, and its location off the main road and away from all touristy areas means it is normally completely empty of people. If you’re looking for a private beach for a day-trip, head there and enjoy nature.
Half Moon Bay
Paddle boarders, snorkelers, and beginner divers all share the shallows. This won’t be a private escape of a beach, but you can enjoy easy access to all kinds of activities, bars, and restaurants while you also enjoy the ocean.
Camp Bay Beach
Camp Bay Beach shows off Roatan’s north side with gorgeous views and cool breezes. Because it’s on the East End, it’s far from the major tourist hubs and usually quiet, except on Mondays when local expats gather to celebrate the fact that they’re not stuck in a cubicle somewhere in the middle of winter. Feel free to join them for their weekly “Mondays Don’t Suck” celebrations!
Roatan Tours & Activities
Customizable Best Of Roatan Island Tour in Honduras
This tour of Roatan Island in Honduras is designed for travelers who want to customize the experience to include just their personal top priority destinations and activities. Visit the Butterfly Gardens, Gumbalimba Monkey Park, Iguana Farm, Carambola Botanical Garden, or Daniel’s Sloth Hangout. Tour Mahogany Bay, French Harbor, West End, or West Bay. Relax on Tabyana Beach. It’s up to you. Learn more about the Customizable Best of Roatan Island Tour.
Roatan Shore Excursion: Monkeys, Sloths, and Snorkel Adventure
Discover Roatan wildlife on land and by sea with a shore excursion that combines animal watching and snorkeling. First, spot monkeys, sloths, and parrots in an animal sanctuary, then grab snorkeling equipment to explore the island’s gorgeous coral reef. Under the water, you could see anything from brilliant parrotfish to swaying fans in rainbow colors. Learn more about Monkeys, Sloths, and Snorkel Adventure.
Roatan Shore Excursion: Zip ‘n’ Dip Canopy Tour
Enjoy an alternative sightseeing experience of the remarkable Roatan Island on an exhilarating Zip ‘n’ Dip Canopy Tour. Soar over the dense canopy of Roatan’s exotic jungle on a zipline course on this adventurous shore excursion; scour the scenery for rare wildlife species and then plunge into the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea for a revitalizing dip after your adventure. Learn more about the Zip ‘n’ Dip Canopy Tour.
Zipline, Optional Monkeys/Sloths/Macaws Visit & West Bay Beach Resort
Combine ziplines for all adrenaline levels with animal encounters and beach relaxation on Roatan Island. Choose mild or extreme ziplining (or skip it altogether), then hang out with monkeys, sloths, parrots, macaws, and more before snorkeling and relaxing on the white sand of West Bay Beach. Convenient pick-up at the cruise ship port or your hotel is included and a DVD of your adventure is available for purchase. Learn more about this Zipline Tour.
Monkeys and Sloth Hang Out with Island Tour in Roatan
Visit Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hang Out on a half-day island tour that also explores villages, gorgeous viewpoints, and local landmarks. With a mix of wildlife and culture, it’s a great way to experience Roatan even if you have limited time, and you’ll see native species that are often hard to spot in the dense Honduran jungle. Learn more about the Monkeys and Sloth Hang Out w/Island Tour.
Best Roatan Restaurants
Blue Bahia Beach Grill $11 – 30
Serving breakfast, lunch & dinner on Roatan’s idyllic ‘Sandy Bay’, The Beach Grill is one of Roatan’s best restaurants. Fresh seafood, smoked brisket, USDA pork & ribs and the best hamburgers on the Island are just a few reasons why people come back again and again. Telephone: +504 3228-8161 Web: Blue Bahia Beach Grill
Lala’s Gallery & Garden Cafe $11 – 30
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. Telephone: +504 9572-0433 Web: Lala’s Gallery & Garden Cafe.
Roatan Oasis $11 – 30
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. Telephone: +504 9484–6659 Web: Roatan Oasis.
The Jade Seahorse $11 – 30
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. Telephone: +504 2425–3270 Web: The Jade Seahorse.
The Thai Place $11 – 30
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. Telephone: +504 9959–1149 Web: The Thai Place.
Best Roatan Bars
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. Telephone: +504 3360–2821 Web: Blue Marlin.
Sundowners Beach Bar
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. Telephone: +504 9907-7700 Web: Sundowners Beach Bar.
Frank’s Cigar 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. Telephone: +504 9564–6866 Web: Frank’s Cigar Bar + The Hideaway.
The Thirsty Turtle
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. Telephone: US 727- 564-9058 Roatan +504 2445-5005 Web: The Thirsty Turtle.
The Booty Bar
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. Telephone: +504 9853-4792 Web: The Booty Bar.
Best Roatan Hotels
Ibagari Boutique Hotel
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.
The Beach House 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.
Hotel Posada Seremein Roatan
Hotel Posada Seremein offers studios either sea view or gardens, depends on the floor it’s located. All studios have breakfast included, come with free wi-fi, private balconies with hammocks, refrigerators, private bathrooms with hot water, fully equipped kitchenettes. Guest have free access to the beach chairs and kayaks. The hotel also offers snorkeling equipment rental to help discover the beauty of underwater life.
West Bay Lodge & Spa
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.
Grand Roatan Caribbean Resort
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.