Where to stay in Roatan?

Where to stay in Roatan?

So if you are a Marriott bigot, or a Hilton Honors fan, we have some bad news for you. Roatan is not home to any of the chain hotels that you will find in other areas of the Caribbean. Roatan is home to many beautiful independent hotels, hostels, bread and breakfasts and single family options. You should have a great time selecting the one that is best for your needs. And your second and third visits will allow you the opportunity to try something different each time. There are so many options to explore.

Your first decision will need to be where you want to stay. While the island is only 36 miles long and at the widest maybe 3 miles, it can be quite different from one end to the other.

The west end of the island is the most developed from a tourism perspective. It will offer the greatest number of places to stay, restaurants, shopping and other tourist options. It is also the most crowded, least quiet, and offers the least opportunity to really disconnect. If you are looking for excitement and lots of activities, this is probably for you.

Mid island is home to the largest towns including the major ports of Coxen Hole and French Harbour. In this area you will find the most commercial activity supporting most of the commerce on the island. It is also home to the airport, and the island’s two cruise ship docks sometimes welcoming as many as 3 to 5 cruise ships per day. In this area you will find some nice hotels and resorts, and a large number of private residences that are often rented by the week or month. You may however have to manage the crowds arriving with the cruise ships.

The east end is comprised of one town, Oak Ridge, as well as several villages and expat communities like Punta Gorda, Diamond Rock, New Port Royal and Camp Bay village. This is the quietest and most laid back area of the island. It is uncrowded and in some ways remains the way the island was 50 years ago. On the east end there are a couple of hotels and resorts, and a number of individual residences that can be rented. With fewer visitors to this end of the island your diving, fishing and other activities tend to be more intimate and more easily tailored to your specific likes.

One of the best hotels on the east end is The Camp Bay Lodge. It is a 16 room island style resort located directly on the longest white sand beach on the island, Camp Bay Beach. The Lodge offers a full service restaurant and bar, as well as many activities such as fishing, snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, yoga and massage. The Roatan kite school, Kite Surf Roatan is located at The Lodge and offers the opportunity to launch your kiteboard directly from your doorstep. For divers, Dive Pangea is steps down the beach and offers a quiet diving alternative to the hectic dive operations on the west end.

The Lodge also offers regular yoga retreats, and is available for other groups to rent the entire lodge to organize their group get away. Group rentals offer the opportunity to customize the menu, organize special activities and create an environment tailored to your specific needs.

While staying on the east end you will have the opportunity to engage with the folks of the Camp Bay Village. The village is an authentic island village still isolated from the development on the remainder of the island. Here visitors can engage with the locals, visit the local school and church, and share time at some of the local establishments like the palapa restaurant La Sirena.

The opportunities for places to stay, and areas to explore are almost unlimited. Visitors often find that one or other of the areas are right for them, and then explore different places to stay on each visit. Or, they fall in love with one particular place and return time and again. In any case, there is a place that is right for everyone on Roatan.

What to do in Roatan Honduras?

What to do in Roatan Honduras?

Roatan is a paradise for visitors who love the outdoors, water sports and relaxation. It can truly offer those who come an opportunity to disconnect and commune with nature like few other destinations can.

Most people are aware that Roatan is a Class A destination for diving. It is surrounded by the Mesoamerica reef which is the second largest coral reef system in the world. This offers unparalleled opportunities for diving, snorkeling, and exploring the hundreds of dive sites that surround the island.

A relatively unknow opportunity on the island is to visit the Roatan Institute of Deep Sea Exploration. The institute offers 2 person submarine rides (along with the pilot of course) to explore the sea to a depth of 3,000 feet. Nowhere else in the Caribbean can those with an adventurous spirit explore the sea to such incredible depths.

Besides diving, the island provides for some of the best deep sea fishing, flats fishing and fly fishing. Numerous tournaments are held in the waters around Roatan each year.

Day trips to some of the nearby islands, only accessible by boat, offer visitors an opportunity to see some of the most beautiful undeveloped spots in the Bay Islands. Trips to Pigeon Cay, Santa Elena, and Jade Beach on the private island of Barbaretta usually include encounters with wild dolphins, free ranging spider monkeys, and even an occasional crocodile.

But for those less adventurous who would prefer to stay closer to shore you can enjoy sea kayaking, stand-up paddle boards and snorkeling right off the beach. The east end of the island also offers a world class kiteboarding destination and kite school at the Camp Bay Lodge.

If you prefer to spend a day on land there are many land based activities to enjoy including hiking to the top of Picachu, the highest point on the island, visiting Carambola Botanical Gardens or a beer tasting or chocolate tasting trip to the Roatan Island Brewery or the Roatan Chocolate Factory.

A must not miss experience is a visit to Punta Gorda. Punta Gorda is the original Garifuna settlement from back in the 1797 when the Garifuna people were expelled from the island of St. Vincent in the eastern Caribbean and stranded on Roatan. It is a vibrant community that maintains all its original traditions, and offers opportunities to eat at local Garifuna restaurants, visit the Garifuna museum, and visit shops offering original handmade crafts. Every Sunday evening there is a street festival in Punta Gorda where visitors and locals from across the island come together to celebrate the Garifuna culture.

Most people, after visiting the island, fall in love with the people of Roatan. Many want to find an opportunity to give back to the island. For those who want to leave a mark, there are opportunities to support local church projects, contribute to the island schools or support the island’s efforts to preserve the prize of the island, the Mesoamerica reef, by supporting the Roatan Marine Park.

At the end of the day, regardless what you decided to enjoy, it might be time to treat yourself to a yoga class or a wonderful relaxing massage.

My personal favorite for ending the day is to settle in at a local restaurant or palapa, like La Sirena de Camp Bay, or the restaurant at The Camp Bay Lodge on the east end, and enjoy a rum punch, some authentic island cuisine and discuss the day with the locals and visitors who mingle like family.

What is Roatan know for?

What is Roatan know for?

Roatan is known as a very special place. Most notably though, it is not well known to most, and we think that is a good thing. You can come to Roatan and have an experience unlike most other areas of the Caribbean. Roatan is a lush tropical island which until recently was more or less undiscovered.

Roatan’s history is rich, spanning from the days of Indian inhabitants, to the days of piracy and looting, to fighting over which nation owns the island, to independence and modern times.

The local islanders, including those of the Garifuna culture, primarily supported themselves by fishing, and a small amount of subsistence farming. Although the island is a part of Honduras, it evolved as an English speaking island, and interaction with the Honduran mainland was limited. This allowed the island to develop a culture unique to itself.

Before the arrival of the Garifuna, the island was sparsely populated but was frequented by French and English pirates who terrorized the area and hindered significant development. Many tales of pirate treasures still existing in the caves along the islands shores are common.

In the mid 1900’s Roatan began its transition to a tourism based economy. First came the scuba divers who discovered the crystal clear, warm waters and its location atop the extensive mesoamerica coral reef system. Many dive resorts began to spring up and visitors arrived in large numbers.

Following the scuba divers came the fishing enthusiasts who discovered the abundance of fishing activities including deep sea fishing and fly fishing. It was also discovered that the long season of steady and predictable trade winds made the island an excellent site for kiteboarding.

Today, the island is known as a desirable location for vacationing, but is still not dominated by chain resorts, hotels and other types of development that is found throughout the remainder of the Caribbean. It is a place where you can experience small, family owned resorts and restaurants, each unique and unlike those in more developed tourist areas.

Roatan is now also a place for expats to relocate. The island is home to many newcomers from the US, Canada and numerous locations in Europe. They are attracted by the slow pace of life, the ease of access due to the international airport, and the reasonable cost of living.

THE BEST KITESPOTS OF ROATAN, HONDURAS

THE BEST KITESPOTS OF ROATAN, HONDURAS

All the good spots to kiteboard are located on the East End of Roatan due to the prevalent easterly wind direction. Since the winds are shifting throughout the day from ESE to ENE we also move between the sides to kite mornings and afternoons.

The main spot is the Camp Bay Beach with good conditions for any level of kiter and riding preference no matter if you prefer Twintip, Surfboard of Foilboard. Beginner and Intermediate riders appreciate the traffic and obstacle free spot to progress while advanced riders can play in the waves on the reef or take on the bump and jump. Flat water can be found upwind from the main zone. The beach is skinny which makes launching & landing interesting but experienced beach assistants are there to help and ensure everyone is having a good time.

The Mangrove Flats between Roatan and Helene offer epic conditions to kite in the afternoon with flat water. We organize boat shuttles & downwinders back to the Camp Bay Lodge to enjoy one of the best spots of the Island. About 6km of flat water and nature pure invite you to cruise or push your riding to the next level. For Freestylers visiting Roatan Pulpit is your lagoon to practice you could get a drop off by boat or journey upwind approx. 4k from the Camp Bay Lodge.

The St.Helene harbour is our go to location for ESE and E winds, especially for morning sessions or on very strong days it’s the best spot with shallow flat water and super steady winds. Excellent for beginners to hold the edge and learn how to go upwind and anyone liking epic views, steady winds and flat water. Please note there is no beach, rigging is done in shallow water and from the boat. No worries our team got your back for a speedy setup. For lunch we stop at a local restaurant for delicious seafood.

About 20 min by boat further East awaits a tiny island called Pigeon Cay, which is surrounded by reef and beautiful waters in all shades of blue. It used to be a lush paradise with palm trees but unfortunately, it’s has deteriorated over the last couple of years and soon only a sandbar will be left so better don’t waste any time.

Another great experience is an early morning session riding over in the historic Port Royal harbours on the south side of the island right across Camp Bay. Absolutely stunning views and crystal-clear water makes this definitely one of our favorite locations to ride. Old Port Royal and New Port Royal used to be home for some 5000 pirates in the 17th century and Henry Morgan, Blackbeard and Van Horn once ruled over the shores and waters. Historic and Epic.

How about a downwinder to the vibrant village of Punta Gorda the oldest settlement of the Garifuna community here in Central America after they got deported from the island of St. Vincente in 1797. We would take off right from Camp Bay along the northshore and pass by Paya Bay, Diamond Rock, Punta Blanca and finally reach to Punta Gorda. We either go back by boat or bus… actually, we could always arrange an evening out and eat and dance there after the session. Definitely one of the cultural highlights of Roatan.

ROATAN WEATHER

ROATAN WEATHER

The Weather in Roatan offers enjoyable climate all year round with temperature between 25-32 C. Roatan’s geographical location is at 16 18’0 N latitude and 86 33’0 W longitude, which places it almost midway between Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. Tropical climates occur in the zones between the latitudes of 5/10 and 25 and in these regions the temperatures remain high during the entire year and show a wide variation in annual precipitation between the wet and dry seasons. The tropical climate brings above average humidity levels to the Bay islands and is part of life in the Caribbean. Roatan Island experiences mildly humid to very humid conditions reaching in the upper 90’s. Throughout the year most of the rainfall occurs at night or early mornings and the bulk whenever a cold front is passing over the island.

The “Hot Season” starts in April and goes all the way to September, the average high is 89.5 F (32 C), this period is the best for Sun lovers as one sunny day is followed by the next. April & May can be considered the dry season with almost no precipitation. The temperature and humidity levels climb steadily from April till September. In the warmth of the summer June till September, occasional thunderstorms bring some relief

The “Rainy Season” is from mid-October till January and varies from year to year, most often this period is characterized by good stretches of weather with short periods, 1 to 3 days of rain. The annual lows with average temperature reaching 77 F (25 C) come in late January due to north storms bringing in cooler temperatures accompanied with strong winds and rainfall.

February and March are the “Shoulder Season” with very pleasant temperatures and humidity levels. Expect mostly Sunshine, blue skies and steady easterly trade winds but those nice days can still be mixed up by the occasional cold front coming down from Canada and the US.

The official “Hurrican Season” for the Atlantic Basin is from June 1st till November 30th but Roatan is outside the hurricane corridor and only sees a hurricane at a rate of every 26 years.

The easterly Trade Winds are present from mid December till mid September and are not only refreshing but also keep the sandflies & mosquitos in check.

January: Peak Storm Season, Bulk of Rain, lowest temperatures possible 22-25 degree.

February: Trade Winds, Sunshine, blue sky, warm, mildly humid,

March: Trade Winds, Sunshine, blue sky, warm, mildly humid, less likely to have storms and rain

April: Strong Trade Winds, Sunshine, warm, mildly humid blue sky, no rain

May: Strong Trade Winds, Sunshine, warm, very humid blue & hazy skies, no rain

June: Trade Winds, Sunshine, very humid, warm, blue & hazy skies, Thunderstorms

July: Trade Winds, Sunshine, very humid, warm, blue & hazy skies, Thunderstorms

August: Trade Winds, Sunhine, very humid, warm, blue & hazy skies, Thunderstorms

September: Sunshine, calm seas, very warm, very humid, few windy days

October: Scattered showers with Sunshine, warm, humid, grey or blue skies

November: Scattered showers with Sunshine, humid, grey or blue skies

December: Scattered showers with Sunshine, grey or blue skies

 

Tips: Look for accommodation which are exposed to the trade winds to keep sandflies away and have nice

Packing list essentials:

  • Sunglasses
  • Sun Hat or Cap
  • Sandals
  • Waterbottle
  • 2 pair of board shorts
  • 1 Rashguard
  • 1 micro fiber towel
  • 1 beach towel
  • Snorkel gear
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • 3-4 T-shirts
  • 1-2 Tank tops
  • 1-2 Shorts
  • Bag
  • Camera
  • Book
  • Toiletry
  • Raincoat and Longsleeve shirt (rainy season)

BEST TIME TO VISIT ROATAN FOR KITEBOARDING

BEST TIME TO VISIT ROATAN FOR KITEBOARDING

The best time to visit Roatan for kiteboarding is between February and August when the Caribbean Trade Winds offer very reliable and consistent conditions. Roatan is a 77km long and less than 8km wide island just 50km off the coast of Honduras and is the largest of the 3 Bay Islands (Utila, Roatan, Guanaja).

The island is resting on an ancient reef known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef which is the second largest reef system in the world and therefore very popular amongst Scuba Divers. However, the best kitespots are located on the East End of the island with Camp Bay as the main area suitable for any level. Expect wind speed between 12-30 knots and most often between 15-25 knots.

The usual pattern is 3-10 days of wind than 1-2 days break till the next period of wind. The easterly trade winds blow ESE during the night and morning and shift over to E or ENE in the afternoon. Wind speed increases after 3pm till Sunset. From January till April occasional north storms mix up the trade wind pattern. During the season any moment is good to learn!

For kiters with own gear we recommend 8-12m kites and depending on weight evtl. a smaller 7m or bigger 14m kite to cover most of the conditions. If you are loyal to the foil make sure you bring it along as the Camp Bay spot offers ideal conditions.

The best time for wave riders is between January and May when occasional swell brings in 2-6ft waves. Join in for epic downwinders or boat trips to the best spots around. It never gets cold expect temperature around 24-29 degree. The relative humidity averages 72%. Water is always warm 25-29 degree.

One of the most convenient aspects to Roatan is that the island has amazing air connectivity, with non-stop flights available from Miami and Dallas via American Airlines; Atlanta via Delta; and Houston via United Airlines, and El Salvador via Avianca year round. There are also seasonal flights available from Montreal, Toronto, New York and Madrid. Most of these airlines also offer flights from several gateways in North and South America to Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, Honduras main cities; all just a hop away from the island via several smaller local airlines such as CM Airlines.

There is also the large and comfortable passenger ferry by Safeway Maritime that operates daily from La Ceiba.