Headed to Roatan for the day in April. We're really into both snorkeling AND partying. Any suggestions on where to go? A neat little snorkeling area with a fun bar, maybe? I've read very little about this port on various forums.
My mom just came back from a cruise with a stop made at Roatan. She wasn't thrilled at all. As soon as you get off the ship there are soldiers with machine guns all over. She didn't think much of the Island either. She did have one good thing to say. She swam with the dolphins and thought it was well organized. She got a lot of time with them in the water. Over all she was glad they weren't there long.
Check out Anthony's Key Resort. It's a beautfiul resort/beach- with the dolphins. I could go back and stay for weeks. Lovely view- very nice beach, clear water for snorkling. I don't think you'll be disappointed!!!
GIRLS- Thanks much for the feedback. I'm SO looking forward to this stop. As of now, the plan is to catch a cab to West Point (?) and then a Boat Taxi to West End Bay. The beach there is supposed to be out of this world. Delightful snorkeling right off of the beach.
Well I can tell you what not to do. Do not tour this Island on your own. That was my husbands bright idea. We do normally like to go off on our own and really discover the hidden treasures of a city. My gut told me....lets book the nice beach tour this time and my husband insisted it would be fun!
We took the trek down the dirt road and were followed by four harmless little boys for our entire day. They were the ages of our children 5-7 that we had left with loving grandparents. We did pay them for their unrequested escort at the end of our day . We walked past open sewers, real poverty and not the beautiful island town one would like to see on a vacation. There is no beach in walking distance from the dock. No quaint bars or cafes. We did go into a downtown grocery store and a craft type shop where everything had very high prices. The prices at the actual port market are much better than in town. We also were kept under the watchful eye of law enforcement throught our journey. It was just not a comfortable experience. I just had an uneasy feeling here and we were looked at with great curiosity. Why would they come into town, seemed to be the look. If I had it to do again I would have gone on some planned event or stayed on board.
I have traveled the world as a flight attendant and have often seen poor people and small villages but this was not an experience I would repeat. It is possible that if we had gone further, another couple miles maybe we would have seen something different. But from our prospective it seemed like we were in the local town center. Learn from our mistake. Take a tour.
AKR may be a good snorkel option but I believe they only offer the ship's excursions the use of the best that AKR has to offer.
The ship (NCL SUN) has a excursion to Tabyana beach at $44 per person
AKR only has the Dolphin Encounter through the ship, at $112, I don't see any snorkeling there.
You can try Fantasy Island Resort on the East End as I've seen posts that they have a snorkel beach.
NCL has new excursion called Catamaran, Snorkel, and Beach, for $85pp You go to a beach for snorkeling and relaxing. Once the watersports are complete, punch, rum punch, beer, and soda start flowing.
Here is what our day in Roatan was like, as we just got off the NCL SUN yesterday:
Tuesday August 27th, we were in Roatan. We did our own excursion.
Once you get over the rush of being swarmed by the taxi drivers and tour operators within the gated area, find a taxi driver and negoiate a price both parties are comfortable with.
For the 4 of us, the price for a taxi for the day, started at $100, we settled on $60 and everyone was happy.
We hired Jermnoy Webster, taxi #140 and started off with a tour of the east side of the island.
We stopped at the airport tower which provided fantastic vistas of the island and sea.
Next stop was the Las Palms shopping mall which IMHO has one of the best beach areas I've seen in years. Nice, clean stores, many local crafts to buy, and a seaside bar, with docks out to the bay, and a white sandy beach with little plams all over the place.
We then continued our tour of the east end, passing a couple of ship wrecks, before turning around and heading over to the West End/West Bay area.
Also made a couple of stops high up on the mountains for picture opportunites. What a great, lush, tropical island.
We ended up on West Bay, near the Maya Princess, down the beach from where the ship's excursion was on Tabyana Beach. This whole beach area is one of the most beautiful beach areas I've seen in the Caribbean...you must walk from the coral rock formation at the Tabyana side, all the way down through the other side, checking out the different beach areas and docks. Though we didn't snorkel here, I'm told there is great snorkeling near the coral wall by the Tabyana Beach.
We stayed here almost 3 hours with Jermnoy waiting for us. Had a great lunch and local Port Royal beers with shots of local rum on the side at the Maya Princess cabana, while listening to some Caribbean mood music in the background and having a view of the beach and palm tress right in front of you.
The beach had clean, soft white sand, leading to very clear, calm, clean, warm water, with lush tropical plantasia and plams surrounding the beach.
We then headed south back to the pier, touring a different side of the island -vs- our arrival to West Bay.
Beautiful vistas of the sea and coral formations with houses on stilts and the NCL SUN in the background.
Ok, here is the part you all have read before re: how poor the island is...it is, but you couldn't tell by the folks living there, some of the most polite, smiling people I've ever met.
True, we saw familes leaving under blankets stretched out over clothes lines in a ravine between two hills, and yes, we saw the poverty, and the dirt roads full of potholes, and yikes, buying gas out of a shack in gallon jugs and having to be poured into the gas tank via a funnel was observed, BUT all this added to the experience of touring Roatan. Being safe was never a concern, and Jermnoy was a fantastic guide and very proud of his island and people.
Do hire a taxi and get out past the gated area, take a tour, and see this tropical island!
We travelled to Roatan about 2 years ago and I don't recall seeing anyone with a gun or even any obvious law enforcement. I took a bus tour of the island and saw some beautiful sights. Stopped to shop, see native dancers, tooks a canoe trip through the mangroves and met some nice people. There was a very small "flea market" near the dock and the prices were good. You can always negotiate with the vendors. Maybe things have changed in the past two years but I never felt afraid or uncomfortable on my trip. I took the excursion while my husband dove with Anthonys Key. It is poor island, but that is not uncommon in many ports, the people were friendly.
We went to Roatan as a port of call 3 years ago. We didn't see any machine guns, either.
We booked the sea kayaking through our cruise line. It was really fun and relaxing. Our guides also ran a small hotel and outdoor bar on the island.(With a pet monkey) We truly enjoyed it. We did ride through some very impoverished areas. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the people of Roatan.
I would not recommend winging it on Roatan, either, though. But for us, the excursion booked through the cruise was worth it.
Roatan was my favorite port without a doubt. Yes folks, there is an obvious lack of $$ there....but a few more years of cruise ship arrivals will probably help alleviate that. My concern is really for the reef. The obsolute best snorkeling I have ever done! I fear that a few more years of people visiting will result in the reef becoming damaged like all those in the eastern Caribbean. These people are rich in the things that really count. They live in a paradise, they love each other and God (check out the number of churches). If you want to stay in an expensive resort then go do that...but if you want to see pristine beaches and unsurpassed snorkeling/diving venues, this is the place!
Bring bug spray for the sand critters! This is one port I don't want to visit again. I agree it has beautiful areas, but the overall beauty you can get elsewhere. I had a hard time seeing the poverty, it would have been nice if they (cruiseline) would have given people a heads up prior to docking. Everyone was surprised by the island conditions. Nanette, have a good time, now you can go in prepared.
Will be going on the NCL Sun in 2 weeks. We will be 9 people. 3 of which will be children (2, 5 and 8). I know they would like the beach, but it gets a little expensive with so many people. But I have been reading e-mails that tell you not to go anywhere there by yourself. What do you recommend. Also if you went on the sun you went to Belize. What can you recommend on that Island. Have been to the other islands many times.