Roatan Bay Island, Honduras
Roatan is the largest of the Bay Island, 30 miles north of Honduras. The remote island boasts white sun beaches, pristine bays and spectacular coral reefs. Today tourism is Roatan’s top industry. Dozens of world class diving and snorkeling sites are accessible from the sandy white beaches around the island. Roatan is part of the world’s second largest barrier reef system; her waters are full of colorful coral and sponges. The official currency is the Lempira. The America dollar is widely accepted and as credit cards and travelers checks.
You will be anchored on the south side of Roatan at Coxen Hole, the largest city and capitol of the bay Islands. Coxen Hole has a small shopping mall and a few restaurants but little for tourists to do. It’s a good place to buy a cold drink before venturing east toward French Harbor and Oak Ridge, or west towards Sandy bay and the West End. Confirm fare before entering the taxi. I f the driver says 20; make sure he is quoting Lempiras, not dollars. Water taxi from West End to West Bay Beach runs about $1.25. Most drivers accept lempiras and US dollars.
West End offers beaches, coral reefs for snorkeling, eateries and water sports like sea kayaking, diving and sailing. At the entrance to West End is a palm-lined Half Moon Bay beach. Be prepared for large crowds on cruise ship days. The best secluded beach is Camp Beach past the village of Diamond Rock. It is a 2-mile stretch of white sand with swaying coconut palms. The best beach for families is West bay Beach near the northern tip of the island. It features clear, shallow water, about 5 feet deep teeming with coral and colorful fish right off shore.
SHORE EXCURSION: Nature lovers will love the Iguana Farm on the outskirts of French Harbour, they have 2,500 reptiles. Gardeners will enjoy strolling the lush Carambola Botanical Gardens in Sandy Bay, home to hundreds of exotic tropical plants, including chocolate trees, orchids and heliconias. The best over-all tour is the bottle nosed dolphins at the Roatan Institute for marine Sciences. The institute uses Anthony’s Key Resort in Sandy Bay to care for about a dozen dolphins. The residents put on a show and swim with the visitors.
Roatan’s central coast is off the beaten path, with spectacular snorkeling and diving. Valley of the Kings and Parrot Tree and two outstanding snorkeling sites. Mary’s place with its spectacular black coral is considered the Grand Canyon of wall diving and the islands premier dive site.