Travel Review: Roatán, Honduras

During spring break, my family and I decided to go to Roatán for the second time. The first time we went, we went with another family; we didn’t get the same experience that we would have had going on our own. So, about 3 weeks ago, we went again.

Roatán is an island off the mainland Honduras- we chose to go there instead of the mainland because it is less dangerous and the snorkeling is exceptional. It is known for its diver shops, which we didn’t have time to experience on our 1-week trip. However, we will definitely do it in the future. The island is only 32.5 square miles with a population of 50,000 people. I appreciated going to Roatán because we were fully immersed in Hondurian culture and we got to learn about the natives – and ourselves – better.

Even though most Hondurians would be considered to be “below” the poverty line of the United States, they live life to the fullest and work for everything that they have. In the United States, it’s not uncommon to see people begging on the streets instead of going to work. In Roatán, I didn’t see one person doing that; people were working, and more importantly, they were happy.

We stayed in a private home in Roatán to get more of the full experience of the island, but there are a few hotels that accommodate everyone, suggest travel locations, and help you plan your itinerary. The few main hotels are:

  1. Barefoot Cay in West Harbour: a boutique resort that features a private oceanside front. There is a PADI-certified dive center on site, so this hotel would be perfect for anyone who would spend a majority of their time diving.
  2. Infinity Bay Spa and Beach Resort: this is a larger hotel that is popular for travelers that want to snorkel. It is a upscale resort that helps you plan your itinerary: including fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
  3. Grand Roatan Caribbean Resort: this is a hotel that is often mentioned in traveling books for Honduras and Roatan. It is a luxurious, laid-back hotel with many different rooms and rates.An example of a Hondurian classroom in Cayos Cochinos, Honduras

I would suggest going to Roatán rather than a more touristy location like Hawaii or Costa Rica:

  1. It is quite a lot cheaper- you can get a lot of food for a low price, there are lower rates in hotels, and overall, it is just less expensive.
  2. You get to experience the culture- in places like Costa Rica, the natives are focused more on tourists than their own traditions. In Roatán, the tourists merely complement the natives’ lives rather than completely taking them over.
  3. The reefs are amazing- it is bordering the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is one of the biggest, most abundant reefs. However, one thing that I noticed is that the coral in some areas is starting to “white out,” or be exposed to global warming and too much sun.
  4. There are still many touristy things to do- Even though the locals focus on their own life, there are still an abundance of fun things for tourists to do in their free time. Some things that I did were zipline, meet sloths and monkeys, and go to a zoo.

Going to Roatán is one thing, but staying there is another. I have noticed that Roatán has a lot of bugs and sand flies, so I would suggest buying the following products.

  1. Cactus Juice Eco-spray, 6oz– this spray is not sticky or smelly, yet it deters bugs like no other. Also, there are no chemicals or things that are bad for your skin.
  2. Cactus Juice 20 SPF Sunscreen, 2.5oz– this is the same thing as the spray, it is just for when you are more in the sun because it has SPF. It’s also a lotion. We used the spray for the beach (sand flies!) because it’s hard to apply lotion over sandy legs.
  3. White Sierra Women’s Bug Free Jersey Long Sleeve Crew, Large, Lavender– these shirts are a little bit expensive, however, they can be used anywhere you go that has bugs. It is a great long term investment. When I wore this shirt, I did not get one bug bite for the duration of the trip.

I definitely would say that I spent my week in Roatán to the fullest. Some of the highlights of my trip were the constant snorkeling and kayaking trips, going on a giant canopy zipline, and meeting animals like monkeys and sloths. Overall, Roatán is a great tropical vacation spot for all families, couples, and children. I would definitely go there again. In fact, I am going to Roatán on a scuba diving summer camp trip this summer.

How the native Cayos Cochinos families cook meals

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