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Roatan

Roatan Travel Information

Dock at West End Roatan
Dock at West End Roatan; credit: Wikimedia
The long and slender island of Roatan off the coast of Honduras is becoming one of the hot spots of the Caribbean region for both tourism and retirees.

It also is a popular destination for western Caribbean cruise vacations. The island receives more than 500,000 cruise visitors a year, the Port of Roatan says.

Roatan is one of three islands making up the Bay Islands. They are located about 30 miles off the coast of Honduras.

The municipal capital and largest town is Coxen Hole. The cruise port is a half mile from the town. Other major towns include West End, French Harbour and Oak Ridge.

The island is nearly 40 miles long. Roatan has the second largest coral reef in the world, which creates many opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Roatan Attractions


The Mahogany Bay cruise port accommodates two ships and has a 20-acre welcome center. A chair lift system takes cruise ship guests from the welcome center to Mahogany Beach.

This 10-acre private island has an 825-foot-long white-sand beach. The cost of riding the chairlift is $12 for the entire day.

In addition to white-sand beaches, Roatan is a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. It lies near Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is the second-largest coral reef in the world.

Arch's Iguana Farm & Marine Park in French Cay has more than 4,000 iguanas on 12 acres. Visitors can pet and feed the reptiles. The park also has monkeys, tarpon fish and rescued sea turtles.

The 40-acre Carambola Botanical Garden in Sandy Bay has hiking trails, monkeys, bird watching and flowering plants. Visitors can go to the top of Carambola Mountain for a wide view of the area.

Standard excursions and things to do include zip line jungle canopy tours, horseback riding, deep diving submarine, glass bottom boat and sailing tours.

Tourism / When to Go


"A U.S. passport valid for at least three months from the date of entry is required to enter Honduras. Though not required by law, some travelers have reported difficulty departing Honduras using a passport with less than three months of validity beyond the date of departure. A visa is not required, but tourists must provide evidence of return or onward travel," according to the U.S. State Department.

"Parents should not rely on birth certificates for their children’s travel; rather, prior to travel they should obtain U.S. passports for infants and minors born in the United States. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a photocopy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that if questioned by local officials proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available."

Roatan Weather


The weather is subtropical in lowlands and temperate in mountains. The inner areas of Honduras average in the mid-80s Fahrenheit during the daytime most of the year except for November through January. There are two rainy seasons -- May and June, and again in September and October.

Safety


Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America and has high unemployment. As a result, the crime rate throughout the country is high.

The Honduran government has established a special tourist police in resort areas including Roatan. The crime rate there is lower than other parts of the country.

But the U.S. State Department advises avoiding isolated beaches and the walking through the town of Coxen Hole after dark.

Currency / Tipping / Taxes


The lempira is the official currency of Honduras. U.S. dollars are widely accepted, but Euros are not. Most businesses accept Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Diners Club.

There is regular bus service available when you arrive at the dock. Taxis are also available at the dock. Typical taxi fares are $10- $15 per taxi to town and $15 - $20 round trip to West End.

Culture / Geography


The official language is Spanish, but English is widely spoken.

Sources / More Information
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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November 09, 2015

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