When we arrived on Roatan, the largest of Honduras’ Bay Islands about 40 miles off its northern coast, it was hard to remember we were still actually in Honduras. English was so widely spoken (more than Spanish) both by the Islanders and the vast (aging) ex pat community (mainly from North America and the UK) and the Islanders themselves looked very different from many of their mainland brothers, being chiefly of European and British-Afro-Caribbean descent. Almost all prices in hotels and restaurants (and even the water taxi fares) were quoted in US dollars and in fact at times, it almost seemed that paying with the local currency, lempiras, was more of a hassle!
There was also a different pace of life on the island. With the beautiful white sandy beaches and the amazing crystal clear turquoise shallow waters covering the world’s second largest coral reef, no one seemed to be in a hurry to do anything other than to strip off and get into the beautiful warm water kitted out with a snorkel mask and fins to start exploring under the surface of the water.
And off we went too into the Caribbean Sea. No underwater pictures to share I’m afraid but some of the fish were amazingly colourful and the coral was pretty impressive too. And you didn’t have to swim out that far to see lots especially as the water remained quite shallow. In fact, when you snorkelled back to the beach, you realised that people were literally standing around in the water at waist depth or less chatting to each other oblivious to all the fish life circling around them just under the water’s surface. All in all the snorkelling opportunities were fantastic. Apparently the diving is amazing too but we didn’t try our hand at that.
View from the water taxi route to West Bay
And then once all that hard exercise (!) was over, having to lie back on those pristine beaches wasn’t too much of a chore it has to be said. Obviously it was important to rest up a little in order to conserve sufficient energy so that you could be ready to watch the spectacular sunsets, beer in hand.
The only real negatives to the experience were (a) the pesky minute sand flies on some (not all) of the beaches which feasted on us and (b) getting on and off the island. The 1.5 hour catamaran ride was rather choppy to say the least and while we both managed to hold down the contents of our stomachs, unfortunately that wasn’t true for the majority of our fellow passengers especially on the afternoon crossing to the island. This trip did make me look seriously at alternative methods of getting off Roatan, namely flying, but such a last minute booking was a little on the pricey side so we had to take the boat again. Fortunately the morning crossing was a lot smoother than the evening one had been which was just as well.
Galaxy Wave catamaran