Advice

8 Best Things to Do in Roatan, Honduras

what to do in roatan honduras
Roatan has plenty of water sports and island adventures, but it's hard to resist the beach. - Photo by Tony Moran / Shutterstock.com

Most cruisers don’t set out to see Honduras but find Roatan a pleasant surprise once they get there. The largest of the Honduras Bay Islands, a group of islets about 30 miles away from the mainland, Roatan has recently transformed itself from a small village to a recreational center rich with fishing, diving, and water sports. Today, there’s a steady supply of tour operators at the port ready to take you into the cerulean waters, which — thanks to being the world's second largest barrier reef system — are home to unforgettably bright rainbow-colored fish and coral.

Restaurants

Breakfast: Rudy’s Restaurant – At Georphi’s Tropical Hideaway hotel on the West End, Rudy’s is well known in the diving circuit for its banana pancakes and tropical smoothies. It’s good fortifying food before a day at the beach, which is right across the street. 

barefeet bar roatan honduras cruise port

Barefeet Bar - Photo by Bare Feet Bar

Lunch: Ronny’s Barefeet Beachfront Bar – The Caribbean fare at this joint — including spicy island-style fried chicken and grilled honey-basted lobster — is heaven on a plate. Ronny’s leads several tours as well, from ziplining to snorkeling, making it a good day trip. Best of all, it offers convenience and an island vibe: They come pick you up at the cruise port, have a “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” policy, and let you eat with your feet in the sand.

Dinner: Temporary Cal’s Cantina – Though it looks like a hole in a wall that might be here today, gone tomorrow, the view of the bay from this off-the-tourist-track location is one of the best on the island. The specials change daily based on available ingredients, but the menu includes local favorites like grouper fish tacos and jerk chicken wings. The restaurant may not be temporary, but it’s only open Tuesday through Friday.

The Crows Nest at Marbe Hill Farms - Photo by Marble Hill Farms

Dessert: Marble Hill Farms – How about PB&J for dessert?This farm on the rarely visited East End makes all-natural jams and jellies on-site. Sample the island flavors, including hibiscus, Island plum, and mango pineapple, and then order a sweet treat from the farm’s Crow’s Nest restaurant to go.

Tip: One of the best ways to sample Roatan's seafood is in one of the popular local soups: If a restaurant has sopa marinera on the menu, try itit’s loaded with crab, shrimp, mussels, and fish. Or go for sopa de caracol, a conch-laden soup that’s so adored, a Latin pop song was written about it.

 

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For Everyone: Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum – Roatan’s “Tropical Eden” offers tours of its fruit orchard (star fruit, mangoes, pink grapefruit) and extensive conservatory, which features a hydroponic lettuce and herb farm — a Caribbean first. It has a lot of wildlife because of the large pond on the premises, so it’s a great place for bird watchers.

For Families: Detour Roatan – Glass-bottom boat tours are a good option for families who want to see marine life close-up, without snorkeling or diving. The 45-minute tour costs $45 per person and includes round-trip transfers from the ship.

black pearl golf course pristine bay

The Black Pearl Golf Course at Pristine Bay Resort - Photo by Pristine Bay Resort

For Couples: Black Pearl golf course – Not interested in diving? Pristine Bay’s par-72, ocean-view golf course — Roatan's first and only course — is open to the public. Play nine holes, 18 holes, or book a package, which is $225 per person for 18 holes on the Pete Dye-designed course, a dozen balls, plus lunch.

For the Adventurous: Jungletop Zipline – Get a glimpse of white-faced capuchin monkeys while ziplining through the trees. Touted as one of the longest zip line courses on the island, this outfitter will have you briefed and suited up for fun in no time.

Insider Tip
Want to get away from the hordes? Sign up for an excursion with Bay Island Adventures — staffers will pick you up and take you to the beautiful Cayos Cochinos islands, in the opposite direction from where most tour operators travel. Home to Honduras’s indigenous Garifuna people, this off-the-grid paradise offers a look inside their life (plus meet a real chief), as well as snorkeling in quiet, uncrowded waters.
 

Join the discussion

Have you been to Roatan and, if so, what did you think?

Posted by schwen7752

norwegian dawn thanksgiving week 2015...there is a sign in the port advising people not to go out alone. there were security guards with guns where we got off from being tendered. we were approached by an local kid who claimed to be 14 but looked 10 and offered to be our " muscle" so we wouldn't be bothered. the hole "downtown" is about a 4 minute walk with no place really to go. this is a very poor area and we gave our "muscle" $20 (yeah, i know....but the extreme poverty is so evident) and he stuck to us like glue. so don't plan to "wandering" in this port...port excursions from the port or don't get off the boat at all. That is our honest opinion and we've done 18 cruises. we ended up taking our 8 year old granddaughter right back to the boat because this is not a place for kids.

Posted by Mumsie1952

Had the pleasure of visiting Roatan for the 2nd time in Nov.2016. Love, love, love it. Our favourite port! This time around avoided ship excursions & spent a awesome day with Penny, guide extraordinaire. Highlight of the day had to be a visit to Daniel's Monkey & Sloth Hide-away. Actually enquired about long term vacation rentals because it seems this would be a great & affordable place to spend more time. People we met were very friendly. This is a developing area & it is apparent that local government is doing their best to ensure the safety of locals, expats & tourists. I can hardly wait to come back!


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