Roatan - What to do & see
Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras in the Western Caribbean. Located only 30 nautical miles off the mainland, the reef system is part of the second largest in the world after Austrailia’s great barrier reef. The mountainous terrain is unique among the bay islands and visitors may experience mountains, pastures, lust forests and vast stretches of white sandy beaches. Because Roatan is the most developed island, visitors also relish the wide assortment of restaurants, night clubs and resort amenities.
Most of the island’s main tourist attractions are on the west end within easy reach from Lawson Rock. Although diving and snorkeling are certainly main activities there’s plenty to keep everyone busy from horseback riding, hiking, fishing and lolling on the beach to visiting the many exhibits and preserves.
Roatan offers some of the finest Scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities available. Authorized PADI centers are located in both West End and West Bay. Expect to see eagle rays, moray eels, parrot fish, sea turtles, octopi and many more undersea creatures and stunning coral formations at Sandy Bay. The newest attraction is a whale shark dive. Imagine a chance to swim among the world’s largest fish.
Deep water exploration is also a possibility. Charters are available for submersible craft that reach depths of 3,000 feet.
Even non-swimmers can enjoy the coral reef via glass-bottom boat excursions.
Other Water Sports
Choose your favorite form of boating sailing, kayaking or pleasure cruising Roatan offers a lot of options.
Sport Fishing is one of the big attractions on Roatan. Fly fish the reef flats or chase bigger game fish in deeper water, where you can troll for Tuna, Wahoo and Marlin or bottom fish for Snappers, Jacks and Groupers. Knowledgeable local guides provide an excellent variety of well-equipped packages for anglers.
Enjoying the Flora and Fauna
Choose hiking, bicycling, motorcycling or horseback riding Roatan has mountains, jungles and many tropical treasures to explore.
The Roatan Butterfly Garden, located at West End, exhibits a variety of Honduras’ most colorful butterflies amidst a wide variety of tropical plants and fruit trees.
The Roatan Museum, in Roatan’s cultural Center, Sandy Bay, is affiliated with the Roatan Institute of Marine Sciences (RIMS). The museum displays well preserved artifacts and comprehensive information about the island history. RIMS is an organization devoted to research of tropical marine ecosystems, most notably including the bottlenose dolphin. Along with a variety of educational programs and regularly scheduled dolphin demonstrations, you can even swim with these marvelous marine creatures.
Tropical Treasures Bird Park, in Sandy Bay, features live exhibits of local native species including macaws, toucans and parrots, as well as other birds from South America. Seventeen species and over 95 birds are represented.
Iguana Hideout, near French Harbor, was created to protect the green iguanas that were once quite abundant on Roatan until hunting caused their numbers to decline. Enjoy them in their natural habitat.
The Mainland offers a variety of adventures including jungle treks, river rafting and opportunities to explore major archeological sites such as Copan, once an important center of the Mayan civilization. In contrast many of cities existing today reflect the early Spanish culture. Over 17,000 square miles of the country are protected and numerous national parks and preserves dot the landscape. Cloud forests such as Pico Bonito, near La Cieba, provide a mountain hiking experience fairly unique to Honduras. Shuttle flights from Roatan to the mainland depart every 10 minutes.
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