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 The Best Things To Do In Roatan!

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Recent Posts

  1. 5 Survival Tips for Semana Santa Roatan:
    Sunday, April 13, 2014
  2. Roatan Island Tour Video
    Thursday, February 13, 2014
  3. Where Is The Best Shopping in Roatan?
    Wednesday, November 20, 2013
  4. Shore Diving in Roatan:
    Saturday, November 16, 2013
  5. What Is The Climate Like In Roatan:
    Wednesday, November 13, 2013
  6. Internet In Roatan
    Saturday, November 09, 2013
  7. Roatan Visa Requirements For Canadians
    Monday, November 04, 2013
  8. Is there sales tax on Roatan?
    Thursday, October 31, 2013
  9. The Currency in Roatan
    Monday, October 28, 2013
  10. Is Roatan Expensive?
    Thursday, October 24, 2013

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5 Survival Tips for Semana Santa Roatan:

It´s that time of year again! For those who don’t know, this upcoming weekend marks Semana Santa or Holy week. Far from the somber religious celebration intended for Easter, Semana Santa turns Roatan into a hedonistic playground. Roughly 15,000 people from all over Central America, mostly the mainland of Honduras come to play on the beach and party all night.

1) Parade West Bay Beach: There will be no shortage of beautiful people this weekend (perhaps a shortage of sober people). Pack on the sunscreen, get a bucket of bear and let the people watching begin.  If crowds are not your thing then its best to stay away from West Bay Beach during the day.

2) Try The Food: There will be tons of vendors selling the best street food Roatan has to offer. BBQ is always good but if you get a chance try Mcoy, a coconut seafood stew with shrimps, conch, lobster, fish and maybe even a bit of iguana. Can’t go wrong with Hog fry aswell!

3) Party all night: The best place to party in Roatan is the West End. During the day West Bay will have some good venues but at night hit Franks, Nova, Blue Marlin or El Boske. Every year the cerveceria throws a big party as well so make sure to get wrist bands .

4) Make sure you have a place to crash: Semana Santa is not the time to show up without reservations!

5) If its all too much for you, head to the East End of the island for some peace and quiet!

Roatan Island Tour Video

Hey All,

Created a little slideshow video to see different parts of Roatan. Covers some of the nice lookouts, mangrove tunnels, Oak Ridge boat trip and West Bay.  A little cheesy but enjoy!

Where Is The Best Shopping in Roatan?

The Best Shopping In Roatan:

Souvenirs:  

If you are looking for medium range prices, good selection, small little shops with locally made goods go to the West End.

If you are looking for high quality souvenirs at a bit higher of a price go to Mahogany Bay Cruise Ship Port which has a ton of nice shops. You would have to go on a cruise ship day. They carry mostly foreign brands. Anthony's Key also has a great gift shop for t-shirts and flip flops.

If you are looking for cheaper souvenirs go to Coxen Hole, better to go with a guide on this one as prices will vary wildly. There is a really cool store in Coxen Hole called "Made in Roatan". They specialize in locally made souvenirs and all the profits help local artists.

Also there will be people walking the streets on West Bay Beach and in The West End selling their goods. Stop and take a look, they have really nice things at good prices.

Jewellery:
If you are looking to buy Jewellery, Diamonds International has great watches, necklaces and rings at amazing prices because it is duty free. They have about 150 stores world wide and are just as reputable as Zales or Peoples. 

Electronics:
If you need to buy electronics in Roatan (cameras, electronics, chargers, memory cards, etc.) the best place is Technos Design in Coxen Hole.

Groceries:
If you are looking for a one stop shop for groceries go to Eldons or Plaza Mar in Coxen Hole, which is right near the airport. 


Shore Diving in Roatan:

Can I do a shore dive in Roatan?


EVERYONE KNOWS ROATAN IS THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD FOR DIVING! What makes Roatan incredible is the whole island is surrounded by a wall of reef otherwise known as barrier reef. this means you can pretty much snorkel and dive anywhere and find incredible reef, big drop offs and all kinda of cool marine life. Most of the area before the barrier reef is shallow turtle grass or shallow coral. There are a few deep water bays but for the most part you cant throw a rock and not hit coral. All this being said, you can do a Roatan shore dive from most places. It is a lot easier though to get a boat and get dropped off. There are parts of the outer reef that do have current so just be careful when you go out, especially at the points of the island. The Roatan Marine Park has a great little guide book if you are interested in learning about all the different dive sites in Roatan. 


What Is The Climate Like In Roatan:

Weather in Roatan:

Most of the year the temperature in Roatan ranges from 21 C to 32 C (70-90°F). The hottest months are July-September. It can get very hot and humid this time of year so make sure to hydrate! Hurricane season runs from June- October but typically the island is so far south that hurricanes don't hit. Rainy season in Roatan runs from September to December with it raining about 50% of the time October and November. The seas around Roatan are typically very calm. If it is rough on one side (wave height over 1 M and wind over 15 Knots) then typically it is calm on the other side. So if it is rough on the South side then the North side will be calm and good for diving, snorkelling, boat trips and Vice Versa. The weather reporting is ok in Roatan but a lot of times you have to go by instinct or the instinct of locals (preferably boat captains).

Internet In Roatan

Getting Internet in Roatan:

Many of us would implode without the internet. Luckily, the internet in Roatan is easy to access. Most hotels offer free Wi-Fi which ranges from slow to decent. It will be good enough to check emails. Another option is to go to the TIGO or CLARO stores in French Harbour and get a prepaid SIMCARD. With this you can have 3G Internet on your phone for the day, week or month. Speeds may vary and it also depends on if your building is concrete but for the most part they are pretty fast. You can also use your smartphone to create a wifi hotspot if you want to use your laptop. Another option is to buy a USB modem for your computer for $25. 

A little trick that took me years to figure out, if you buy your internet for the day or week it is MUCH faster then by the month. A bit more expensive but well worth it. 

Roatan Visa Requirements For Canadians

Roatan Visa Requirements:


Roatan issues tourist visas in the airport on arrival for 90 days for both Canadians and Americans. Pretty simple process. They will staple a visa sheet in your passport, DO NOT REMOVE THIS or you will have to pay a fine. They take it out when you exit. Also don't forget to save $40 USD cash for the departure tax. If you stay longer then 90 days you have to go back to the airport and apply for an extension or leave the country and come back in. There is a rule where it has to be outside of Central America so better to check. Spirit offers cheap flights from San Pedro airport SAP so that is a good way to go.

Is there sales tax on Roatan?

Sales Tax in Roatan:

Roatan has a 12% sales tax on all goods and services. Hotels Charge an extra 4% per night making it 16% tax for accommodations. There are duty free stores in Mahogany Bay (Dufrys) and Coxen Hole (Sun Duty Free) which you can buy alcohol and perfumes cheap. There is also a duty free in the West End.  If you are from Canada buying alcohol in Roatan can save you a ton. 

Happy Shopping!

The Currency in Roatan

What currency do they use in Roatan?


The currency in Roatan is the Honduras Lempira. The exchange rate is roughly around 20 LPS to 1 USD. You can check the exact rate at XE.com. There are lempira coins but most places give out paper money in the form of 5, 10. 20. 50. 100. 500 LPS. Most people also take USD on the island and can give you change back in Lempiras but I wouldn't recommend brining anything bigger then $20 USD and bring lots of US singles. That being said it would be smart to bring a fair amount of cash to last you 60% of your trip and get the rest out from ATMs. 

No one takes travellers checks in Roatan so don't even bother. There are 2 ATMs in West Bay and 3 in the West End of Roatan that dispense LPS but are connected to your US or CDN bank account. Banking in Honduras is a NIGHTMARE so avoid it if you can. Mostly long lines and bizarre rules. Davivendia is probably the best bank in Roatan. 

As far as credit cards in Roatan, you can pay most hotels with them. We accept online payment for Roatan Excursions which makes paying easier or you can pay cash. About 95% of restaurants do no take credit cards or debit so make sure to come prepared. Lastly, make sure you save atleast $40 PP cash for the airport departure tax. DO NOT DEPEND ON THE ATMs in the Airport, too many people have had to trade iphones and ipads to get the money or have not been able to board their flight.

Happy Travels, see you soon!
 

Is Roatan Expensive?

Is Roatan Expensive?

This is a subjective question so I will give you a couple of examples and let you decide. Overall Roatan is in the middle of most tourist destinations. It is more expensive then Mexico and Thailand, but then cheaper then the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Costa Rica. Honduras is part of the developing world so people expect it to be ridiculously cheap , but the fact that Roatan is an island dampens that. Nothing is really produced on the island thus everything has to be shipped in. Electricity is extremely expensive, probably triple what you pay in the US and gas prices are probably 25% higher because of lower supply and the fact that it has to be ferried in. Yes labour is cheap, the average salary on the island is about 400 USD a month but there is also high turn over and labour program costs with island businesses so the price gets passed on.

Some prices to give you an idea of what things cost in Roatan (USD):

A beer in Roatan : $1 at the store, $2-$3 at the bar
A loaf of Bread: $2 at the grocery store
Lunch at a simple restaurant: $5
A bottle of water : $0.75
12 Eggs: $1.75
Cost of a taxi ride in Roatan: $2- $5 PP depending on where you are going if you share the cab.
Avg. Monthly Rent for an ex pat: $350- $700
Avg. Monthly Rent for a local: $150-$500
Avg. Hotel cost in Roatan for the week: $500-$1500

All that being said, now look at the value. I have yet to find a place anywhere in the world with as beautiful beaches and snorkelling as Roatan. The people are genuine and it hasn't lost its soul like so many other destinations. Bare in mind I have been to most places in the Caribbean when I worked on cruise ships. I imagine in 15 years the prices in Roatan will be more like Hawaii so come check it out while it is still underground! 

Is Roatan Drinking water safe? Are there sharks in Roatan? Is Roatan Safe?

Roatan FAQ:

Ok Boys and Girls, going to answer a couple commonly asked questions:

1)      Is it safe to drink the water in Roatan?

 It really depends where you are, but to be safe I would say only drink bottled water. Washing veggies and brushing your teeth is fine with tap water (typically well water). There are a few resorts that say you can drink their water and I believe it to be true. They are putting their reputation on the line and wouldn't do so haphazardly. If you are renting a house in Roatan you can just get a 5 gallon Sun Water jug from the grocery store or any little shop. They only cost 35lps to 50 lps which is about $2.50 and the pumps cost about 100 lps ($5).

2)      Are there sharks in Roatan?

A better questions is are there dangerous sharks in Roatan? The answer is no! Roatan has nurse sharks, reef sharks and hammerheads which are not considered dangerous. They wont even get close to you unless you are doing the Roatan shark dive. You might see a nurse shark but they will most likely be asleep on the reef bottom. As far as tiger sharks, bull sharks and great whites there haven’t really been any sightings.

3)      Is Roatan Safe?

 Not unless you are doing something you shouldn't be. I consider the island to be very safe and have traveled the better part of the world. There are areas which you should avoid at night time but that’s true in every major city. The West End and West Bay are very safe day and night. Sandy Bay is pretty spread out so it really depends where you are. Coxen hole and Flowers Bay are fine during the day but can be a little sketchy late night. A lot of the negative stereotypes come from the mainland of Honduras which has a high crime rate. THIS IS NOT ROATAN! Its like comparing Harlem to Hawaii.  The island is its own microcosm and not affected by it.  Roatan does have its social issues so try not to be too flashy. There is a crime season which stretches from late September to late November. This also coincides with rainy season in Roatan and when the cruise ships slow down. As money gets a little tight crime shoots up, but drops just as quickly when business comes back in December.

Roatan Dolphin Snorkel- The Best Tour in Roatan!

For most people, their favorite creature in the sea is a dolphin. They are smart, agile and always smiling. What´s not to love? Beyond that, dolphins are widely considered the most social animal in the sea.  We are really blessed in Roatan to have one of the best dolphin centers in the world. Anthony´s Key is home to a pod  of 32 Atlantic bottle nose dolphins, of which 3 are new born babies. They are housed in a large open ocean pen and individually looked after by a team of caretakers and marine biologists.

The center is open to the public and is one of the few centers in the world to offer an unrestricted snorkelling experience. The experience starts with a brief introduction in the water where you learn about dolphin behavior. From there you put on your snorkel gear and can snorkel with all 32 dolphins without any trainers. The dolphins are very curious and playful and will actually come right up to you, swim under you and even play catch with you. It is a free interaction so the dolphins are free to swim as they please without any guidance. The Roatan Dolphin Center is also one of the few in the world which actually lets their dolphins out into the open ocean where they are free to not come back if they choose. The dolphin snorkel is consistently ranked as the best excursion in Roatan, make sure to check this out on your next visit to the islands!

The Best Party In Roatan- The Fishing Tournament

Roatan Yacht Fishing Tournament


Well its that time of the year again! We just had the annual Roatan International Fishing Tournament. This year was by far the biggest and best yet.  The tournament started early Friday morning and went til Sunday at noon.  What separated this year from other years was the amount of large yachts (50ft +) from all over the Caribbean.  The tournament has really grown with its catch and release policy.


Boats in Roatan

The fishing tournament is not just about fishing, but about brining the island together.  In my opinion New Years is a party for tourists, Semana Sanata is a party for mainland Honduras but the tournament is the one day when islanders from all over go to the West End to celebrate.  The whole street is shutdown for the weekend and food stalls line the entrance with great bbq, seafood and cheap beer. My kind of party!  The festivities go from day to night with live entertainment and the Steel Pan Alley Marching band putting on a world class show.

Fishing Tournament Party

This year the tournament itself was housed at the entrance of the West End and had an incredible tent and DJ set up provided by Miller and many other  island sponsors. The marlin competition was won by  Ron Mcnab who caught 3 marlin and the Rodeo by Ashford Bodden. In total over 50 boats entered.

Roatan fishing  is amongst the best in the world, this is not an event to be missed! 



Really Cheap Flights to Roatan!


There is an amazing promotion going on right now where Sunwing is offering flights to Roatan for as little as $465 from Toronto to Roatan (YYZ to RTB ). Normally the price is $800 +so this is fantastic.  www.sunwing.ca

Tropic Air just opened up a route from Belize to Roatan aswell.

On November 13, 2013. Tropic Air will commence non-stop service to Roatan from Belize City's Phillip Goldson International Airport (BZE). Flights are 3 times weekly with a plan to increase as demand warrants.

Passengers from Roatan will be able to connect to and from the many multi-daily non-stop international flights that Belize City has to offer (Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Charlotte, Houston, Miami, and Atlanta among others). The Roatan flights also connect to Tropic Air’s other international services to Cancun (Mexico), Flores (Guatemala) and San Pedro Sula in addition to its 11 domestic destinations within Belize.

In addition to trade and commerce, this service also opens up many new opportunities for the tourism market, with hotels in both destinations already partnering up to offer double dip vacations, further diversifiying the tourism offering of both Belize and Roatan.

Tropic's schedule between Belize City International and Roatan:

DEPARTS - Belize City Int'l (BZE), 4:15PM 
ARRIVES - Roatan (RTB, 5:15PM 
Wed, Fri, Sun

DEPARTS - Roatan (RTB, 7:00AM 
ARRIVES - Belize City Int'l (BZE), 8:00AM 
Thur, Sat, Mon
ALL TIMES LOCAL

With the addition of Roatan, Tropic Air will serve 15 destinations in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. 


What are you waiting for!!

What to Pack for Your Roatan Excursion

Things to bring to Roatan, Roatan packing list

Before you set off for beautiful Roatan, you must create a comprehensive packing list. Aside from preparing for the weather, take into consideration what activities you might want to partake in while you’re there as well. But first thing’s first: for any international trip that you must check the expiration date of your passport. When traveling to Honduras, your passport must be valid for at least six more months. Another consideration is purchasing travel insurance before your trip – it never hurts to be safe (but it may hurt your wallet if you don’t take precautions).Roatan’s climate is warm and humid all year round, with not much variance in temperature. However, the area does have a dry and rainy season, so keep this factor in mind while choosing when to visit.

Clothing

If you’re traveling during the rainy season, be sure to bring a lightweight raincoat (with a hood) and waterproof hiking boots. Roatan is a superb destination for those seeking an active vacation with hiking and camping opportunities. If you wish to take advantage of Roatan’s beautiful wildlife, be sure that the clothes you bring are protective yet comfortable. In addition to hiking, visitors should prepared to visit beautiful beaches to relax or engage in water sports. For these activities, bring at least two swimsuits as wet cloth may take a while to dry in the humid air. To keep your luggage light, bring rugged open shoes you can wear on land and in the water. Roatan is very casual in terms of dress so no need to pack your fancy duds because t-shirts and shorts will do just fine!

Gear

  • Whether you’re at the beach or in the trees, you will most likely be pretty active. Bring quick dry towels for the beach or for strenuous mountain hikes.
  • Wherever your vacation takes you, you will probably be out in the hot sun so pack high SPF waterproof sunscreen. As an added measure of protection, bring a hat and sunglasses. I would recommend a brimmed hat with a drawstring so you don’t have to worry about your hat flying away. Put a lanyard (preferably one that floats) on your glasses in case they fall off while in the water.
  • Roatan has a very tropical climate, which means lots of mosquitos. Shoo them away with bug repellent. You can now buy mosquito repellent clip-on fans, which make comfort in the wild even easier.
  • It can get pretty hot in Roatan. Bring a refillable water bottle and stay hydrated.
  • For day trips, bring a small backpack.
  • Cash, cash, cash. Sometimes it’s hard to find an ATM so make sure you have enough cash on you to take care of emergencies or buy some food while you’re out. 
  • It is not uncommon for Roatan to experience blackouts – don’t forget a flashlight.

Medication

  • A scrape here and there is bound to happen so pack hydrocortisone cream, Neosporin (or any other antiseptic) and Band Aids just in case.
  • For those with sensitive tummies, make sure to pack PeptoBismal and anti-diarrhea medication.
  • Avoid allergy discomfort with an antihistamine.
  • Throw in some hand sanitizer in case of limited access to soap and water.
Guest Post by: Angie Picardo, a staff writer, financial analyst, and content manager at NerdWallet.com, a site dedicated to empowering consumers to save money and make smarter decisions about their personal finances, travel plans, or higher education.