Roatan is a fairly small island in the Caribbean, but – like most Caribbean islands – the roads are winding and narrow. Even though places may only be a few miles apart, it can take you much longer to travel than it might back home. Keeping that in mind, here are some pointers on how to get around in Roatan.
Public Transportation in Roatan
Generally speaking, there are plenty of taxis and buses in Roatan so that you can easily get around without needing your own vehicle. The buses are 16-passenger vans that run regular routes between Coxen Hole and West End, and between Coxen Hole and French Harbour.
Taxis can be privado or colectivo – if you ask for a private cab, you will pay extra. But if you take a colectivo, you might pick up and drop off other people along your way. It’s a great way to chat with local residents!
If you’re visiting Roatan on a cruise ship, you can get a taxi directly from the port (either Port of Roatan or Mahogany Bay through the contracted company drivers. Alternatively, if you do an organized shore excursion, the tour will provide your transportation. There is no need for a rental car during a cruise ship visit to Roatan.
If you are staying at a resort in Roatan, your resort will likely arrange your transport to and from the airport. Once you arrive at your resort, everything you’ll need will be right on-site. If you wish to see more of the island, you could rent a car for a day, but it’s usually better to arrange an island tour so you see more without needing to worry about driving yourself.
If you are staying in a vacation rental, check with the property manager for information on public transportation options. Some vacation rental homes are farther off the main road, so hailing a taxi won’t be easy. However, most property managers will have taxi drivers they regularly use who you can call to arrange all transport.
Rental Cars in Roatan
There are a multitude of options for rental cars in Roatan, including some international companies based at the airport and many local companies who will offer to drive the vehicle to you for extra convenience.
If you decide you need a vehicle during your stay, be sure to check what type of vehicle will be necessary for your neighborhood. Some vacation rentals require 4-wheel-drive vehicles because of hilly or unpaved roads leading to them. Others will be fine with a small economy rental. Just be sure to check in advance of your booking.
Where you stay while in Roatan will determine whether or not you need a rental vehicle during your vacation. If you stay at a resort in West Bay, you will likely not need one at all – you can arrange your airport pick-up and drop-off with the resort, plus any island tours will be easily arranged with the concierge.
If you’re staying in Sandy Bay, you can decide how often you’ll be heading out. If you plan to only go out a few times, taxis will suffice. But if your dive shop isn’t nearby, or if you want to try multiple different restaurants, or if you want to go to West Bay Beach a few times, then a rental car would make your stay more convenient.
If you’re staying on the East End, unless you’re at a resort, you will likely require a vehicle. Check with the property manager when you book your accommodation to see if a vehicle is included or available for rent. Otherwise, be sure to check what style you will require to ensure you won’t have any issues upon arrival.