Roatan island Caribbean travel destination tourist guide

About Roatan

Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands, which are a part of Honduras, lying just over 30 miles from the northern coast of the Honduran mainland.

Roatan is known around the world for its scuba diving. The reef surrounding the island attracts beautiful tropical fish and snorkelers alike. Dive attractions include sea walls, shipwrecks, a submerged airplane, and night diving. Sea turtles, dolphins, and whales swim in the waters of Roatan.

Parrots, iguana, and monkeys live in the wild on this tropical island. An iguana farm east of French Harbor provides a refuge for thousands of iguanas and is open for tourists. During crab season, island blue crabs come out at night by the thousands. The crabs climb trees to eat fruit.

Roatan has a mild climate year round with sea temperatures fine for swimming all year. The weather does not always permit swimming, however. Stormy weather brings rough and dangerous seas, but that is more like to occur during the rainy season.

Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving Roatan

Thousands of tourists travel to Roatan each year. Visitors from around the world enjoy Roatan's relaxed lifestyle, beautiful sea, mild climate, and friendly people. As more people become acquainted with Roatan each year, more decide to make the island their home. Roatan experienced a real estate boom and the associated housing growth, but the world economy slowing has affected Roatan. At the same time, more people are moving here from the mainland of Honduras to take advantage of the economy and better paying jobs.

West Bay Beach Boat Rides
Roatan's West Bay Beach boat rides

Coxen Hole is the largest town on Roatan. It is home of government offices, the airport, and the cruise ship dock. It streets are narrow and crowded with people and honking cars. Street vendors offer peeled oranges, a variety of other fruits, newspapers, and souvenirs for tourists. Coxen Hole is one of the less attractive communities of Roatan. A low-lying part of Coxen Hole is called "the swamp" with slums. This area is not safe at night.

Caribbean Tourist Resort Island

French Harbor is the second largest community on Roatan. It is a thriving business center, with grocery stores, banks, real estate offices, shrimp boat docks, and shipping companies. French Harbor also offers a nice shopping center featuring a restaurants, a grocery store, and many other businesses.

Punta Gorda has the largest settlement of Garifuna people on the Bay Islands. There are also Garifuna settlements on the mainland of Honduras. The Garifuna have a fascinating culture, preserving their African roots. They beat African drums and still speak the Garifuna language, which is very unusual sounding.

West End is one of the main tourist destinations of the island, with dive centers, hotels, restaurants, and tourist shops. West End has rental properties and condominiums available for travellers who choose to stay longer on Roatan.

Currency You may spend dollars or Lempiras on Roatan. If you want Lempiras, you can usually get a good exchange rate at the larger grocery stores. If you spend dollars, don't be surprised if the Lempira exchange rate you are given is a little lower than what you find on the internet. If it is much lower, refuse the transaction. Prices are highly negotiable on Roatan.

Fresh, Tropical Fruit
Coxen Hole Street Vendor, Roatan

Electrical Power The power on the island is 120 V 60 Hz, but the power is not always clean. For electronics, you may want to use a filter if you want to use them on the Roatan grid for long durations. Dirty power can shorten the life of electronics. The power company (RECO) does not provide reliable power. Outages can last for hours.

Tourism Honduras recognizes the value of Roatan tourism and foreign investment to the nation's economy. Accordingly, Honduras passed laws protecting the environment and encouraging foreign investment and ownership of property.

Travel Brochures: Please note that Travel-Roatan does not have any travel brochures to send out.