A long, thin stretch of sand ringed with tropical coral reef, Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands.
It sits on the Mesoamerican Reef, a location that makes it a snorkeling and diving paradise. With an interior covered in lush, tropical jungles, winding dirt roads and small villages made of colorful shacks – it’s hard not to fall in love with the laid back pace of this beautiful island.
Roatan is still one of the more unspoiled and obscure Caribbean destinations. It’s loved by honeymooners, families, nature enthusiasts and backpackers (after all, it’s pretty hard not to love a place like this).
One of the best things about Roatan is the laid back, peaceful vibe. It’s completely acceptable to spend most of your stay swinging gently in a hammock, drinking a cold beer and listening to the rhythm of the waves splashing onto the beach.
But of course, if you do decide to get out of your hammock and explore – there are plenty of great activities and attractions to keep you busy. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Roatan, Honduras:
1. Scuba Diving/Snorkeling
Roatan is known for being one of the best scuba diving destinations in Central America. When you dive beneath the clean, warm water you’ll see dazzling coral reef and a range of rainbow-hued fish – from angelfish to groupers to barracuda and more.
Take a trip to the wreck of El Aguila – an enormous ship that was sunk deliberately to create an artificial reef for divers to explore. Large holes have been cut through the ship, making it safer to explore.
But you don’t have to go on a scuba diving trip to discover what lies beneath the sea! If you buy or rent some snorkeling equipment, you can swim straight out from West End towards the white buoys for around 200 metres. You will arrive at a reef that is fantastic for snorkeling and you’ll be able to see some truly incredible underwater life.
2. Jungle Zip-Lining
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of zooming through the treetops on a zipline – the lush green forest floor a blur below you as you soar through the humid air. A zip line gives you the chance to see the forest from another perspective – and possibly get a glimpse of wildlife including deer, iguanas and hawks.
There are several different zip line courses in Roatan to choose from, including the Pirates of the Caribbean Canopy Tour, Clip N Zip Roatan and South Shore Zipline. Each one will outfit you with the appropriate safety gear and give you a full briefing before you go flying through the forest like a tropical bird.
3. Swimming With Dolphins
If interacting with these gentle creatures is on your bucket list, Roatan is the place to make it happen. There are many dolphin encounter experiences here that will allow you to swim and play with dolphins in their natural habitat. Connecting with these beautiful and intelligent creatures will be an unforgettable experience.
For example, at Anthony’s Key Resort you can interact with the resident pod of dolphins that makes their home at Bailey’s Key. They are led by a licensed dive guide and dolphin behaviorist. There are even courses you can take to learn more about dolphins and their behavior, and a chance to be a “dolphin trainer for a day.”
4. Sailboat Charter
If you really want to make your trip to Roatan special, consider taking a sailboat charter to explore the beautiful clear turquoise waters. There are several local tour companies that offer sailing charters and they will take you snorkeling on the reef, through mangrove forests and to hidden coves that cannot be reached any other way.
The best time to go on a boat cruise is right before sunset, so you can watch the sun slowly sinking over the water and the sky changing colors. Most boat tours will include food and beverages, so you can nibble and sip while you watch the sun glittering on the sea.
5. Horseback Riding
One of the best ways to explore Roatan is on horseback. On a guided ride along a peaceful, white sand beach and through a dirt path in the dense, humid jungle you’ll be able to see the natural beauty of the islands close up. Plus, when you are exploring on horseback you’ll likely spot many wild creatures, including opossum, deer and agouti.
At the end of the ride, you can stop at a secluded cove and wade your horse through the calm, turquoise waters to cool down. Be sure to bring your camera – the photo opportunities will be spectacular.
If your favorite way to spend your vacation is playing a few holes on the golf course, you’ll want to head to The Black Pearl. Known as one of the best new golf courses in the Caribbean, it’s location is stunning. Designed by golf course design expert Peter Dye, it is one of the only courses in the world that uses eco-friendly Seashore Paspalum grass – which has an eye-catching almost translucent green hue.
If you want to improve your technique, the golf club offers courses and one-on-one instruction. The glittering sea and gentle rolling foothills will be your backdrop as you line up your swing – what could be better? .
Can’t wait to visit Roatan?
An unforgettable trip to this stunning tropical island in Honduras begins with finding a great place to stay. On the Abodeca website you’ll find a great selection of Roatan vacation rental properties. You can contact the vacation property manager directly and get a great deal on your stay – so you can explore this incredible destination for less!