In my opinion, the perfect Caribbean getaway will combine massive amounts of beach time, with water sports, strange animals, and something that drives fast! Look no further, Roatan’s got us covered.
As the largest of Honduras’s beautiful Bay Islands, Roatan is quickly becoming a hot destination in the Carribean. If you’re beach lovers like us, this should be at the top of your list! A small number of cruise ships have begun to make stops, but Roatan is still practically unknown to the tourist industry (that won’t last long). It’s a big, but manageable island. So instead of only experiencing just one beach town, you definitely need to grab some type of rental and see everything the island has to offer.
It took some hunting around, but we were able to rent a motorbike for $25/day from a local guy out of West End. His small stand was located across from the famous bar “Sundowners” and offer some of the best prices on the island transportation wise.
West Bay: The best beaches in Roatan, and maybe even the world are located in West Bay. The clear, aqua colored water and white sands are almost indescribable in beauty. Unfortunately, you won’t find anywhere to stay in West Bay if you’re on a budget, but don’t let this deter you from making a visit! I’ll let the pictures do the talking:
West End: Just up the road is the more affordable, hip, and backpacker friendly West End. Filled with dive shops, beach bars, and some outstanding restaurants, this is the place to be! Definitely hit up (the appropriately named) Sundowners for happy hour and a stunning view of the Caribbean ocean.
French Caye: Despite the glamorous photos and TripAdvisor ranking, the French Caye is nothing more than an overpriced restaurant doubling as a tourist trap. While it is strategically placed, the same beautiful setting can be found on other parts of Roatan without the theatrics. Leave this spot for the cruise shippers!
Coxen Hole: Coxen Hole is the unofficial capital of Roatan. Definitely worth a drive through for cheap souvenirs or authentic Honduran cuisine, but not a place you need to stay the night. This is the closest thing you’ll find to mainland Honduras, and trust me it gets extremely local!
What to Do:
Hosting the 2nd largest reef system in the world, Roatan has become a diving mecca. We opted to put our licenses off till next trip, but went snorkeling almost everyday and saw some amazing fish, sea turtles, and stingrays around the reefs!
Hire a boat and take a trip up the river through the crazy mangroves. You can bargain the drivers down a bit, just make sure they don’t short you on time. Guarantee you’ve never seen a forest like this!
After a long day of exploring and swimming in the ocean whats better then finishing off the day with a nice Cocktail! It is the Islands right?!? Almost every bar on the island will be offering an amazing happy hour deal. Here are our top beach bars on Roatan:
1. Sundowner’s– This is the unofficial bar for everyone in West End. Starting at happy hour and extending well into the night this bar is always packed with local and tourist alike. $2 Beers and plenty of beautiful beach to enjoy the sunset! Whats not to love??
2. Lands End Hotel in West Bay– This property was right down the street from our hotel, Posada Las Orquídeas. Even though it was out of our budget we were shocked to discover their happy hour deal! Only $3 for a mixed drink and $2 for a beer and you can enjoy your cocktail in their SALT WATER pool over looking the ocean! This may be the best hidden secret in all of Roatan!
3. Beacher’s: Even though it is surrounded by the expensive upscale bars of West End, Beachers definitely earns its keep. Fun island vibes and live music every night! Not enough to convince you its worth a visit? Make sure not to miss their famous crab races and fire shows!
4. Booty Bar: One of the first thing you see pulling into West End (from the water)… The Booty Bar! Besides its crazy drink deals, $1.50 mixed drinks, beers, and all the best music! Booty Bar has an amazing bar built on the dock over the water!
5. Trattoria Da Piero: This well hidden bar/hotel is not to be missed! Secluded from the main beach of West End you’ll find this great restaurant built for you to enjoy your cocktails on the rocks with a stunning view of the ocean! Don’t miss out on the amazing LOBSTER BURRITOS!
6. Splash Inn Restarant: With different (and cheap) food deals every night we found ourselves always wondering into the Splash Inn! The portions are huge and food is always good! Not a happy hour driven place but still worth a mention!
In case you can’t tell, Roatan is a blast! With flights going out of the U.S. for under $200 it’s the perfect place for a weeks vacation from your cubicle. Now you know what to do and where to eat! If you still want a more information about the most popular destinations check out our “West Bay vs. West End” article. Have fun!