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Roatan

Mahogany Bay Cruise Port Tips

Mahogany Beach, Roatan
Mahogany Beach chairs are empty when only one ship is in port. © 2019 Scott Bateman
The Mahogany Bay cruise port on the island of Roatan is another example of the growing number of private cruise ports in the Caribbean.

Roatan, one of the Bay islands off the coast of Honduras, has attracted a growing number of cruise visits to its capital and major port at the city of Coxen Hole.

But Carnival Cruise Lines opted to build a cruise center at Dixon Cove, which lies about 20 minutes east of Coxen Hole. It draws Carnival cruise brands including the flagship Carnival name, Princess and Holland America.

The port can accommodate two ships with up to 8,000 passengers. The Mahogany Bay experience depends quite a bit on how many ships and passengers are there that day. We arrived on a day when only one ship was there and had plenty of space on the beach and elsewhere.

Fast Facts


  • Mahogany Beach is an eight-minute walk from the docks.
  • The private port has a half dozen bars and restaurants and a dozen duty-free shops.
  • April and May are the best months to visit for warm temperatures and low risk of rain.

Where is Mahogany Bay?


Mahogany Bay is less than five miles from the island’s capital at Coxen Hole. It is 136 miles southeast of Belize City, 290 miles south of Cozumel and 400 miles southwest of Grand Cayman.

Attractions and Excursions


On arrival, cruise passengers will easily see the port’s three main attractions from the decks of their ships. They are the cruise center, the beach and both the bridge and the “Magical Flying Chair” that connect the cruise center with the beach.

Cruise passengers on board their ships also will see a partially sunken ship in the harbor.

Duty-free shopping is impossible to avoid at Mahogany Bay. Cruise passengers must pass through the Dufry duty-free shop to get to the other attractions. From there, visitors have a moderate uphill walk from the cruise docks to the cruise center.

The cruise center is a 20-acre, open-air complex with a variety of shops and restaurants. We found the prices, products and services mostly in line with other cruise ports.

Duty-free shopping is impossible to avoid at Mahogany Bay. Cruise passengers must first pass through the Dufry duty-free shop to get to the cruise center and other attractions. From there, visitors have a moderate uphill walk to the center.

The cruise center is a 20-acre, open-air complex with a variety of shops and restaurants. We found the prices, products and services mostly in line with other cruise ports.

Roatan is not known in the western Caribbean for famous excursion such as Stingray City in Grand Cayman or Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica. But Mahogany Bay visitors will find plenty of excursions anyway.

Swimming and snorkeling with the dolphins is available at the Institute for Marine Science for about $150 per person. Ziplining and other activities are available at the Extreme Adventure Park and Gumbalimba Park for about $100 per person.

Kayaking and snorkeling excursions are available for less than $100 each.

Other excursions include the more common adventures: horseback riding, ATV riding, wave runners, beginner’s scuba and catamaran sailing, all for about $100 per person.
Duty-free shopping is impossible to avoid at Mahogany Bay. Cruise passengers must first pass through the Dufry duty-free shop to get to the cruise center and other attractions. From there, visitors have a moderate uphill walk to the center.

The cruise center is a 20-acre, open-air complex with a variety of shops and restaurants. We found the prices, products and services mostly in line with other cruise ports.

Roatan is not known in the western Caribbean for famous excursion such as Stingray City in Grand Cayman or Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica. But Mahogany Bay visitors will find plenty of excursions anyway.

Swimming and snorkeling with the dolphins is available at the Institute for Marine Science for about $150 per person. Ziplining and other activities are available at the Extreme Adventure Park and Gumbalimba Park for about $100 per person.

Kayaking and snorkeling excursions are available for less than $100 each.

Other excursions include the more common adventures: horseback riding, ATV riding, wave runners, beginner’s scuba and catamaran sailing, all for about $100 per person.


Nearby Beaches


Some Caribbean islands require transportation to get from the docks to the nearest and best beaches. Not Mahogany Bay. It has a nice beach within walking distance of the docks.

As beach lovers, we especially liked Mahogany Beach. It’s a 10-acre private island with an 825-foot-long beach with an open-air restaurant, beach volleyball court and many water sports activities.

Visitors have another brief but flat walk from the cruise center to the beach. Although the beach has hundreds of free chaise lounges, cruise passengers should arrive early on days when two ships are docked. Only a handful sit under shade trees.

Some people may want to skip the cruise center and go straight from the ship to the beach. A cruise employee said the beach is an eight-minute walk from the docks. I found he was right for people who walk at a moderate pace.

Anyone who doesn’t want to walk from the cruise center to the beach can take a chair lift. The lift is $14 for teens and adults, $8 for children 4 to 12 and free for children under 4. The prices serve as an all-day pass. Prices are subject to change.

Shopping / Restaurants


An arts and crafts market has more than a dozen vendors. Jewelers include Diamonds International and Tanzanite International. Other brands include Pirana Joe and Del Sol.

The port has a half dozen themed bars and restaurants. The open-air Fat Tuesday’s bar on top of Monkey Hill has views of the ships and the gardens. Crazy Ice Gelateria has a variety of ice creams, while Espresso Americano specializes in coffees and espressos using Honduran beans.

Hurricane Hole’s focus is specialty cocktails, and Playa Tortugas Chill ‘n’ Grill serves bar cuisine. Fish lovers can go to Hideaway Fishery for the fresh catch of the day.

Transportation


Visitors who want to leave the confines of the cruise port will mainly have to rely on taxis or excursion buses. One car rental agency serves the port.

A taxi manager told us it would cost $20 for one to four people to go one way to Coxen Hole for more shopping, dining and sightseeing. The city is less than 20 minutes away.

The Mahogany Bay Taxi Association has divided the island into a series of zones with different rates for each zone. The trip to Coxen Hole was $20 per taxi, while all other zones range from $10 to $25 per person.

Weather


Roatan weather has average daytime temperatures ranging from the low 80s Fahrenheit in the winter to 90 degrees in the summer.

The rainiest months are October, November and December while the driest months are April and May, according to the Roatan Tourism Bureau.

During our recent visit in April, the temperature was in the high 80s Fahrenheit. The sky did not have a single cloud.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Cruise Ports   

May 16, 2019

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