I didn’t know what to expect from Honduras. Despite having done a report on Tegucigalpa in high school Spanish class, the country has remained a blank on my travel map. But now that I’m on my Central America trip, I’m looking forward to discovering a bit of it. I’m heading to the Bay Islands in the north, and am excited to find all the best things to do in Roatan.
Things to Do in Roatan, Honduras
Surrounded by crystal-clear Caribbean waters, Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands and is known for its excellent scuba diving. I can see the reefs firsthand as my flight from Belize soars overhead. But I’m not a diver, so I spend my days getting to know the island instead.
West End, Roatan
I stay in West End, a low-key village on the northwest coast of Roatan. My accommodation, the Cocolobo Hotel, is tucked away at the end of the main road. Its secluded bungalows are surrounded by jungle and have sweeping sea views. It’s a great retreat from the main village, and a beautiful property in its own right.
West End village is a gem, too. Laid back and lined with beach bars and dive shops, it has a great island atmosphere. Add to that the sandy crescent of Half Moon Bay beach and the pristine waters, and West End quickly wins my heart.
I have three days on the island, and I wake up at sunrise each morning for a walk on the beach in West End. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Roatan, not least because of the quiet calm that takes over after the lively nightlife scene subsides. The peaceful lapping of waves and the trilling of birdsong are the only music playing at this hour, and as I walk with my feet in the water I know I’ve found paradise.
The other thing I come to love about West End is the street food. There are plenty of restaurants along the shore, but I want to taste the local food and eat on the beach. I try several different places while I’m in Roatan, indulging in everything from quesadillas to rice and beans—they do amazing things to rice and beans here—while watching people swing from a rope tied to the mast of a marooned sailboat.
West Bay, Roatan
Down the beach is West Bay, which despite being close to West End in both proximity and name is about as far as it gets from a cultural point of view. Packed with all-inclusive resorts and guests-only lounge chairs, this part of the island has a completely different feel.
I take water taxis over to West Bay two days in a row. The first day I go to explore the beach and see what the area is like. The bay itself is beautiful and has lots of swimming spots, but there’s not much room for non-resort guests. I have lunch at one of the restaurants, where I notice both the prices and the exchange rate are substantially higher than they are in West End.
Still, I return the following day to go snorkeling. The big rock at the end of West Bay has some of the best snorkeling in Roatan, and I’ve been told it’s better to snorkel on my own here than pay for an excursion. As soon as I get in the water, I see why. The clarity is amazing and there’s a great variety of fish near the shore. There are a few lovely coral formations, and I soon spot the biggest fish I’ve ever seen (it’s almost as big as I am).
Snorkeling in West Bay is one of my top things to do in Roatan, and a highlight of my trip to Honduras. As I return in the water taxi to West End, I have to admit it’s been worth going back for.
And everything I’ve experienced in West End is worth going back to Honduras for, too. My time here has been short, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this Caribbean island paradise. I’m off to El Salvador next, where a very different scene awaits. Stay tuned…
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