DAY 1 :
Enjoy that beautiful caribbean view.
Welcome to Roatan !
When I first started planning my journey to Roatan, I did not quite understand what was like in the island, how to move around, how to get there and basically, what was the best choice to make the best of our 3 day say. I hope this will help you if you are (and you should) going to Roatan.
When to go ?
Roatan is an island with 2 seasons clearly marked by the arrival and departure of cruises. Each season has its ups and downs :
> HIGH SEASON January to June : Cruises (see below) arrive to the islans packed of tourists. On the downsides, everything costs double (and it’s already an expensive island) from food to accommodation. It is also packed : beaches, restaurants, diving shops. However, on the upside, you can feel the rythm of the island and enjoy restaurants and bars. Many islanders leave the island and come back for the high season, since it is THE only income the island has.
> DOWN SEASON – July – December : I personally went on low season. On the downside, the island was really quiet. Most restaurants and bars were closed and there was no nightlife (at all). However, on the thumbs-up side, the island looked like PARADISE. The beach was quiet, we spent the day at the beach along with other 10 tourists (yes, 10 !). We could find last-minute accommodation and paid lower fares. I even managed to negotiate our night rate with 2 hotels, since they desperately need tourists this time of the year.
The island is around 77 kilometres (48 mi) long, and less than 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) wide. Considering central mountains, distances between towns, high temperatures and humidity, you should avoid walking.
Besides, routes between cities are not really used by pedestrians and you expose yourself to car accidents (being hit by a car, not used to pedestrians at all) or, more seriously, being robbed or assaulted. Do not expose yourself !
The best way to move around the Island and between towns is either by land taxi or water taxi.
Bargain your land-taxi before getting in, sometimes it might be cheaper than the water taxi. Also, ask for the taxi driver’s cell phone so you can call him (from a restaurant or bar) if late at night, since water-taxi stop operating by sunset.
How to get there
You can get to Roatan by Plane, Boat or Ferry. I’d highly recommend, for security reasons, to arrive by plane. However if you are already touring around Honduras, the Ferry might be a good option. Please note that the closest mainland city is San Pedro Sula.
ARRIVING BY PLANE
Pick your flight to the Juan Manuel Galvez International Airport (RTB). I’ recommend arriving directly to Roatan and from there, if you want, visiting the other islands. Several airlines offer flights to Roatan non-stop, try also Central American connecting flights like Panama, Costa Rica or San Pedro Sula.
From Honduras, you can fly domestic destinations from Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba or San Pedro Sula.
CAB TO / FROM AIRPORT
You’ll get to a tiny airport from which you can take a cab. Consider bargaining a little bit your taxi fare BEFORE getting in. And also, consider booking that same cab for your return so you won’t have to worry about that later and might get a better price for the round-trip. From the Airtport to West End, count 15-20 USD.
MONEY, CURRENCY AND TAXES
Honduras official currency is Lempira. However you can pay pretty much everything in US Dollars. There are several ATM’s in the island and one ATM at the airport.
There is an exit tax when leaving the island, we had to pay around 50USD/each before check in.
Arriving by Boat
The island is visited by a number of cruise lines, such as Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Ships arrive to Coxen Hole and French Harbor. You can also choose to stay and find accommodation in Mahogany Bay (outside French Harbor).
Arriving by Ferry
From La Ceiba (Honduras mainland) take The Galaxy Wave. The ferry is clean, quite comfortable and reliable. There are 2 departs per day (9:30 and 16:30) to Roatan and back to La Ceiba (7:00 and 14:00). Expect to pay 27-30 US Dollars the trip. The Galaxy Wave is also a good way to “hop-islands” and to go to Utila island.
When choosing the ferry, take all the security measures appropriate in La Ceiba, since it is still a doggy place in Honduras.
MORE ABOUT ROATAN :
> 3 reasons to go to Roatan, (Honduras)