In the Honduras islands a heated debate is raging… The battle of West Bay vs West End! Now even though these two beautiful destinations are located just a quick water taxi away from each other, they couldn’t be more different. The super glamorous West Bay of Roatan has top hotels and plush resorts lining its pristine white sandy beach. While West End Roatan plays into the more free spirited, down to earth island style vibe. Whatever you prefer, the Roatan Beaches in Honduras have something for everyone!
About the Roatan Beaches
Welcome to paradise! Roatan is a small Caribbean island located just North of the mainland. Being the largest of Honduras’s Bay Islands, there’s plenty to do and see.
However, if you couldn’t guess the main attraction is the beautiful Roatan beaches! West Bay and West End are the two main beaches to stay at, and we’re here to break them down for you. Also, if you have time take a visit to the surrounding islands of Utila and Guanaja.
West Bay vs West End Roatan
What’s Going On in West Bay Roatan?
This is the go-to spot for your perfect Honduras island vacation. This Roatan beach is phenomenal, and for those who know us that’s saying a lot! The water is crystal clear and probably some of the best snorkeling you’ll do outside the Great Barrier Reef.
West Bay Roatan is the place to be if you’re interested in a plush resort vibe. Here the day is best spent by the pool, and even having waiters wading out to bring you cocktails in the ocean! West Bay is all about luxury and relaxation. So if you’re the kind of person that likes to have a resort vacation this is the spot for you!
West Bay Roatan Perks
Beach: We’re not sure there’s anything we could write to fully do this Roatan beach justice. We saw some amazing beaches in Southeast Asia, but West Bay Roatan may top the list! The soft white sand and motionless clear blue water will make it tough to leave.
Relax: Weekdays with no cruise ships in town will be pure bliss. We must have hit it at that perfect time, but Monday morning we were sharing this long beautiful beach with only a handful of people! Plan your dates wisely to the Roatan Honduras beaches.
Upscale: If you don’t have a problem spending the money, who doesn’t like to be pampered? West Bay Roatan hotels offer all the amenities you could wish for on a vacation.
Beach Hustlers: Some might not think of this as a perk, but we love it! Locals walk down the beach with everything from homemade empanadas and to fresh coconuts. Snacks are always the freshest on the Roatan Beaches!
Things to Know About West Bay Roatan
Vibe: The whole strip is resorts catered to tourists. They do a good job of keeping an island feel, but realistically you’re not going to get a local vibe unless you travel outside the West Bay Roatan bubble.
Tours and Activities: By far the most expensive out of West Bay. There are dozens of options like sailing trips, jet skiing, etc… But it will cost you more here!
Cruise Ships: If you’re in West Bay when a cruise ship is in town get ready for your worst nightmare. Tour companies take people here for their day in paradise. Unfortunately, for you that means that your little slice of heaven can quickly turn into an overpopulated mess.
What’s Going On in West End Roatan?
The West End of Roatan gives off a hometown island style feel. It’s hard not to find yourself day dreaming of giving up your life and moving here. What makes that fantasy even more realistic is that there are an overwhelming amount of people who have done exactly that!
Many have moved to the Roatan Honduras beaches and opened dive shops, or are just working in the local restaurants living the life. Some of the cheapest and most spectacular diving in the world comes from this little town!
West End Roatan Perks
Town: There is a proper downtown with all the fun and social life you could want! Instead of being restricted to hotel restaurants like in West Bay, here you’ll have options to fit any taste and budget.
Amazing Food: You can go to the regular restaurants, but there are a few great options for that down and dirty street food that we all crave. If you’re walking down the main street at night you’ll see some fantastic grills pop up so you can get your fill!
Boat Swing: Right in the harbor of West End Roatan is a sailboat that has been converted into a local playground. It doesn’t matter if you swim, kayak, or float over just make it a stop!! Soon you can be flying high just like the local island boys.
Cheap Tours: With prices at about a quarter of what you’ll find in West Bay, it will be tough to get out of the water! We went snorkeling three times with the company Island Dive Center, and with a price tag of $15 USD it was a steal! With sea turtles, sting rays, and millions of fish, it was by far the best snorkeling we have ever done.
Things to Know About West End Roatan
Beach: The beach is Still AMAZING, but it just can’t live up to the standard of West Bay. Boats are coming in and out and the slightly murky water, and the relatively small swimming area will leave you wishing you were on the other side of the Roatan beaches.
Harbor: West End is one of the main harbors for the island so dozens of boats are always rushing in and out. The boating lanes are well marked, but be careful when swimming and kayaking!
Which is the Best of the Roatan Beaches?
The truth is Roatan Honduras is amazing! So if your biggest struggle is where to stay between West Bay vs West End then you’re doing something right. At the end of the day it’s all up to personal preference.
We spent an incredible two days in West Bay before trading in our resort for a more realistic apartment style hotel in West End. If you don’t have time to stay in both towns, the water taxi will only cost you $3USD! Come on it’s the islands… Don’t stress!
Have any questions about West Bay vs West End Roatan or want to share more of your favorite Roatan beaches? Leave us a comment!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Roatan Honduras
Ultra Luxury (High End) – Ibagari Boutique Hotel – The most luxurious places on the Honduras islands can be found in the West Bay of Roatan, and the Ibagari boutique hotel may be the most elite of them all. Set right on the beautiful beach, this five star resort has everything you need for the perfect stay.
Fun Vacation (Mid Range) – Hotel Posada Arco Iris – Nestled right in half moon bay, the Arco Iris is a great option for those who can’t decide between the Roatan beaches. All the rooms come with a coffee maker, big balcony, and quick walk to the ocean.
Hostel Life (Budget) – Georphi’s – Offering both private rooms and bunk bed style dorms, Georphi’s is one of the best low budget options you’ll find in the West End of Roatan.
For more places to stay in Roatan Honduras you can explore the latest prices here!
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars for renting vehicles. A quick travel tip is to ask for a discounted weekly rate rather than booking 2-3 days.
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner. That’s how we flew from Norway to Poland for under $20 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld can be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities around the world. From food tours to skip the line entry passes!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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