Do you long for a slow-paced, tropical escape somewhere far from hectic, bustling cities? Roatan is closer than it seems.
With its pearly white beaches that meet verdant forests, Roatan has all the elements of a Caribbean dream. And there’s more to Roatan than its idyllic beaches and island vibes. Wander off the shore, and you’ll find a unique and diverse culture to enrich your journey.
Table of Contents
- About Roatan
- Best Things to Do in Roatan
- Experience Roatan With Windstar Cruises
Roatan is an island in Honduras that lies alongside the Mesoamerican Reef – the world’s second-largest reef system. This eel-shaped stretch of land is the biggest of the Bay Islands, a strand of small tropical islands situated off Honduras’ northern coast.
As a renowned diving destination, Roatan attracts travelers eager to explore underwater worlds. With its Spanish, English and Afro-Caribbean influences, Roatan is also a draw for anyone craving cultural vibrancy, musical variety and colorful fusion cuisine.
Best Things to Do in Roatan
Despite its relatively small size, Roatan is full of exciting activities and natural beauty, making it easy to enjoy your time there. Here are some of the top things to do in this Caribbean gem.
1. Enjoy Beautiful Beaches
Roatan’s beaches are some of the most breathtaking in the Caribbean, boasting clear, warm water and smooth white sand. Many travelers head to West End for beach time and convenient access to dive shops, restaurants and bars.
Half Moon Bay is a popular spot in West End for embarking on a scuba diving adventure or getting in the water with snorkeling gear. Though Half Moon Bay is full of activity, it’s worth a visit if you want to easily reach various activities while soaking in the ocean view.
However, if your bucket list includes visiting the region’s top beaches, don’t miss West Bay Beach. With its shallow, crystal-clear water and proximity to the barrier reef, West Bay Beach rates as one of the best beaches in the entire Caribbean.
Do you want a more secluded beach experience? Head to palm-fringed Camp Bay Beach at the island’s eastern end for a quiet day lounging in the shade.
2. Try World-Class Diving
With the Mesoamerican Reef hugging its shores, Roatan is famous for its scuba diving opportunities. Put on your dive gear and explore shipwrecks, caves, canyons and swim-throughs. Enjoy close encounters with an array of sea life during your dive, including curious nurse sharks, sea turtles and stingrays. Roatan’s calm, clear water makes it an approachable dive destination, ideal for beginners and experts alike.
If you’d rather stay closer to the water’s surface, there’s plenty to see by snorkeling. A short swim from the shore, you can see coral reef teeming with marine life. You’ll have no trouble finding equipment rentals or snorkeling tours at Half Moon Beach or West Bay.
You can also relish Roatan’s tranquil, gem-hued waters by kayaking or taking a glass-bottomed boat tour if you prefer to stay above water.
3. Zip Line Through the Jungle
Roatan’s lush mountainous interior makes it an excellent zip lining spot. You’ll find multiple zip line adventures to choose from on the island, including options close to it all.
For example, South Shore Zip Line Adventures in West Bay allows guests to glide over the forest canopy and take in a bird’s-eye view of the sea and vegetation below. You’ll also have access to several suspension bridges and walkways, taking you deeper into the jungle to view the region’s wildlife.
4. Go Horseback Riding on the Beach
Horseback riding in Roatan is an unforgettable way to experience the island’s gorgeous beaches. There are several horseback riding tours available in Roatan, whether you want to ride on the beach or through the forest. For something more unconventional, you can go horseback swimming and take your animal companion right into the water. You’ll find horseback swimming at Little French Key – a small private island just off Roatan’s southern coast.
5. Make Friends With Wildlife
Do you dream of swimming with dolphins or cuddling with a sloth? Roatan abounds with exciting wildlife encounters for animal lovers.
For instance, at Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout, you can interact with sloths, monkeys and exotic birds. If you want to hit the water, consider visiting Anthony’s Key Resort. Here you can choose from several dolphin programs, including a chance to play, snorkel or dive with dolphins.
6. Immerse Your Taste Buds in Culture
If you love to try new foods while you travel, Roatan has plenty to offer. Along with delicious seafood, the island boasts hearty traditional meals that can keep you filled for hours.
Must-try dishes include baleadas, which generally consist of beans, cheese and sour cream stuffed into homemade tortillas, and anafres — a well-loved Honduran appetizer. Anafres is a fondue made of refried black beans and cheese served with tortilla chips in a clay pot.
If you need a quick snack while you’re out exploring, consider visiting a street cart for grilled corn or fresh pineapple.
7. Shop for Local Treasures
You’ll likely want to bring a piece of Roatan back with you or have souvenirs to share with loved ones. If you wish to shop for local handicrafts or art, head to Coxen Hole, the island’s largest town. Look for gifts like handmade jewelry, Garifuna art, straw baskets and Lenca pottery.
West End also provides opportunities to pick up unique souvenirs. For example, Waves of Art Gallery offers handmade gifts, local honey, colorful paintings and other locally produced goods.
Experience Roatan With Windstar Cruises
Though Roatan draws plenty of travelers to its shores each year, it’s still a lesser-known Caribbean destination. With easy access to one of the world’s largest reef systems and some of the most beautiful beaches you can find, Roatan deserves a spot on your travel bucket list. And its beaches and reef system are just part of its charm. Roatan’s wildlife-rich interior and friendly locals make the island feel like home.
Are you excited to learn more about Roatan and how to get there? Let us know at Windstar Cruises. We sail to destinations throughout the Caribbean, including hidden gems like Roatan and small, secluded harbors that big ships can’t reach. With Windstar, your relaxing journey begins the moment you enter our comfortable, uncrowded ship. To learn more about Caribbean cruises that visit Roatan, please contact a Windstar Vacation Planner.