We understand the names West End and West Bay are so similar as to be very confusing, so we’re going to break it down for you!
Here are the basics: West End Village has a paved road lined with shops and small hotels, while West Bay is a larger area comprised of West Bay Beach – filled with resorts and hotels – and the surrounding neighborhoods offering a multitude of vacation rental properties. Even more basically: West Bay is a beach, West End is a road.
All About West End, Roatan
West End is a mile-long strip along the northwestern coast of Roatan, offering a line-up of dive shops, gift shops, small hotels, mini-marts, restaurants, and bars. Half Moon Bay is the largest stretch of beach, with a few commercial properties sitting right on the sand and offering beautiful sunset views.
Docks abound as you head west from the entrance into town; they are lined with boats from SCUBA dive shops and water taxi drivers. Continuing west, you’ll hit the development of Sunset Villas, providing a multitude of vacation rental options and several long-term apartment rentals as well. Past that, the road turns into dirt and runs into the beach, around which are a few more housing options and restaurants. Keep heading down the beach in that direction and you’ll eventually get to West Bay Beach.
All About West Bay, Roatan
West Bay is really comprised of two different areas. First, there is West Bay Beach. Most of the resorts and hotels in West Bay are located right on the beach, offering everything from all-inclusive packages to Bed & Breakfast-style accommodations. Every resort has an in-house SCUBA dive shop, and there are a few more independent operators on the beach as well.
Activity operators are everywhere, many walking the beach with signs offering everything from parasailing to snorkeling tours. The coral reef is close enough to swim to from shore, offering excellent snorkeling and shore diving straight from the beach. There are also a few designated swim zones where no boats may enter.
If you’re not staying in a hotel or resort in West Bay, you’re more likely renting a vacation home. The majority of those homes are actually at the far point of the island in the neighborhoods of Turtle Crossing and Lighthouse. There are a few other neighborhoods all along the south shore offering vacation rentals as well, still in the West Bay area.
There are also many vacation rental options located in neighborhoods between West End and West Bay, especially in neighborhoods like Orchid Beach and Turtle Beach. Other hotels and small resorts dot the beach between the two hubs as well, ranging from modern luxury to beachfront casual.
Please note that the roads leading from the main road down to many of the rentals and hotels between West End and West Bay are very steep and will require 4WD if you rent a vehicle.
Which is Better: West End or West Bay?
Which is better is entirely up to you – if you’re looking for more nightlife, stay in West End. If you’re looking to relax on the beach all day every day, stay in West Bay. If you’re SCUBA diving in Roatan, stay anywhere you’d like! Roatan has some of the best diving in the world with incredibly easy access to the reef. Whichever neighborhood you stay in, you’ll have plenty of choices for diving and snorkeling!