Where is Roatan located?
Roatan is part the Bay Islands of Honduras. Honduras is located in Central America and has borders with Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. The Honduran North Coast borders the Caribbean Sea while a small section of the Southern Coast borders the Pacific Ocean.
The Bay Islands are located between 70 and 40 miles from the Honduran North Coast in the Caribbean Sea. The Bay Islands consist of over 70 islands and cays. The larger three islands are Roatan, Utila and Guanaja.
Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands and is approx 30 miles long and from 1 to 4 miles wide. A mountain ridge runs along the spine of the island and reaches approx 800 feet above sea level at its highest point.
What is the weather like in Roatan?
The climate of Roatan is tropical, hot and humid, though constant sea breezes keep the islands average temperature between 70°F and 90°F. The yearly average temperature is 82°F. The rainiest months in Roatan are October through January and the average rain fall is 87 inches.
What flora, fauna and marine life can be found in Roatan?
The warm tropical climate of Roatan supports a wide variety of plant life and eco-systems.
Roatan is home to tropical forest, which is home to a wide range of species including fruit trees such as Hog Plum, Nance and Strangler Fig. You will also find bromeliads, ferns, orchids, bamboo, and palms.
A variety of plants are found along Roatan´s tropical beaches. Coconut palms, coco plums, sea grapes, almond trees and a variety of vines and flowering plants create that special beach environment we all love.
Mangrove forests are found throughout Roatan and play an important role in protecting the coastal shoreline from storm and wind damage. Mangroves are also important breeding grounds for marine life.
Roatan is also very rich in local wildlife. You will find twelve mammal species inhabit Roatan. The majority being bat species, you also have Agoutis, two varieties of rats, Opossum and White-tailed Deer.
About 40 reptile species are found in Roatan including the endangered Hawksbill turtle. You also find six species of frogs, 15 lizard species and 13 snake species.
Over 120 species of birds live on Roatan, approx only 40 species actually live and nest on Roatan, the rest are migratory birds. The Yellow-nape Parrot is found in Roatan and is an endangered species.
Roatan’s coral reef is one of the most beautiful reef systems in the world. It is easily accessible from the shore in many spots making it great for not only divers but snorkelers also. The West End Marine Reserve covers the Western tip of Roatan and is a protected area which is home to a majority of the Roatan dive sites and home to some of the Caribbean’s best diving.
What food and drinks are available in Roatan?
Roatan offers a wide variety of food and drink options. You will find a wide range of restaurants offering everything from pizza & pasta, Indian, Thai, Argentinian, Mexican to local beef and seafood. Most restaurants mix international style dishes with the fresh Honduran products to produce unique dishes. You will also find in Roatan local Honduran restaurants which offer some of the local coastal and mainland specialty dishes.
Roatan is home to a few fast food restaurants such as Pizza Inn and Bojangles. The mall in French Harbour will also offer a food court with fast food restaurants.
The locally made Honduran beers are Salva Vida, Port Royal and Barena. You will also find served in most bars Corona, Miller and possibly a few other imported beers. Rum drinks are very popular in Roatan and most bars will offer a mixture of rum cocktails from a cuba libre (rum and coke) to a monkey lala.
Are there banks and what currency should we bring?
Banks in Roatan are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm and Saturday from 9 am to midday. This does vary though from bank to bank. It is recommended to avoid visiting banks at the end of the month or before or after a public holiday as the banks can be extremely busy, and you may need to wait 1 to 3 hrs to be served.
The official currency in Honduras is the Lempira though US$ are accepted through out Roatan and the Bay Islands. Credit cards are accepted in some restaurants, hotels and stores. There maybe an additional charge for credit card purchases. It is recommended where possible for smaller purchases to use cash.
Cash advances can be taken on major credit cards at most banks. Also ATM machines can be found in West End, Coxen Hole and French Harbor for cash advances on major credit cards.
Traveler’s checks can be exchanged at most banks or hotels. US$ travelers checks are recommended as most other currencies will be hard to change in Roatan.
What languages are spoken in Roatan?
Spanish is the official language of Honduras and Roatan. English is spoken through out Roatan and the Bay Islands, and most local residents speak some English and Spanish.
In what time zone is Roatan?
Roatan is in the Central Time zone and does not observe daylight saving time. Honduras and Roatan is 6 hours behind Greenwich mean time (GMT).
What type of electricity is used in Roatan?
The local electricity in Roatan is 110 volts, 60 MHz. This is identical to the USA, and also uses the same plugs. Voltage drops and irregularities in quality of electricity can occur, so consider bringing a surge protector for valuable items.
Is there good internet and communications in Roatan?
In Roatan you will find Internet cafes and phones for international or local calls available in West End, Coxen Hole and French Harbour. The majority of major hotels in Roatan will also offer internet and phone services for guests.
What shopping options can be found in Roatan?
Roatan is home to a wide variety of shopping options, from the t-shirt and souvenir stores to art galleries and local craft stores. A shopping mall is currently being completed near French Harbour which will feature a variety of department style stores.
Supermarkets can be found in Coxen Hole and French Harbour while smaller style grocery stores can be found in West End, Sandy Bay, Oak Ridge and Punta Gorda.
How do you get to Roatan?
A valid passport is required for all visitors to Roatan.
Find below a list of the direct flights available to Roatan:
Direct Flights By Air:
Miami to Roatan with American Airlines
Dallas to Roatan with American Airlines
Atlanta to Roatan with Delta Airlines
Houston to Roatan with United Airlines
Toronto to Roatan with Canjet Airways
Ottowa to Roatan with Sunair Airways
Milan to Roatan with AirItaly
From Central American Destinations
Taca have direct flights to Roatan via San Salvador. Others flights can be found through either San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa where local airlines can then be taken to reach Roatan.
La Ceiba is the access point by ferry to Roatan, bus connections are available through San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa.
Contact us for more information and assistance with traveling to Roatan.
Is there an airport tax?
All international passengers are required to pay approx a $40 per person departure airport tax. Only cash is accepted for this departure tax.
Is it safe in Roatan?
Roatan is a very safe holiday destination, though basic travel common sense is required. Be careful where you walk at night, do not carry or show a lot of valuable items, do not leave unattended items on the beach etc.
Are there any health issues for visitors to Roatan?
No vaccinations are required to enter Roatan and Honduras. However, it is always good plan to have your Tetanus, Hepatitus A & B up to date before traveling. Check with your local doctor before departure.
Malaria is found intermittently along most of the North Coast of Honduras and sometimes in the Bay Islands. Wearing insect repellant and clothing such as sleeved shirts and pants are a good idea during dawn and dusk hours and in mosquito prone areas even if you are taking preventive medication.
On Roatan you will find a public hospital and a few private clinics, Wood’s Clinic, Cornerstone Medical Clinic at Anthony’s Key Resort and Clinica Esperanza in Sandy Bay. Pharmacies can be found in Coxen Hole and French Harbour for basic medical requirements, though all prescription medicines should be brought with you.
Are there any golf courses in Roatan?
The Black Pearl at Pristine Bay is Roatan’s only golf course. This 18-hole, par-72, 7,200 yard championship golf course was created by world famous golf course architect Pete Dye. It features Dye’s signature island greens, and 14 holes offer stunning vistas of the ocean and the Meso-American Barrier Reef. The Black Pearl is not only a haven for golfers, but for the vast wildlife on Roatan as well. With more than 100,000 plants and trees, the golf course is one of the largest sanctuaries of plant and animal life on Roatan.
Can Business Meetings and Conventions be held in Roatan?
Located only 2 hours from Miami, Roatan offers a convenient location for Business Meetings or Conventions. Roatan provides an international airports, modern communications networks and first class hotels with first rate service and conference and meeting equipment and facilities.
Can we rent a car on Roatan?
Most companies also have offices in the airport, and will meet you at your flight. To drive legally on Roatan, you need a valid driver’s license from your place of residence. You may drive with a foreign license for up to 30 days. Beyond that you will need to apply for a Honduran license. You may occasionally be stopped by police at checkpoints in the road, and be required to show your driver’s license and the registration card of the vehicle.
Is the drinking water safe to drink?
Tap water is not recommended to drink in Honduras. All good restaurants and hotels will provide purified water or use purified water in food preparation. Purified water can be bought easily throughout the country.
What can I expect the accommodations to be like?
Roatan offers a wide range of accommodations from first class modern hotels, resorts and nature lodges, a wide range of mid class hotels to budget hotels. Roatan really has accommodation options for all budgets and requirements.
What Cruiseships visit Roatan and when?
Roatan is home to two cruiseship ports, the Port of Roatan in Coxen Hole and Mahogany Bay located in Dixon Cove. The majority of cruiseships arrive in Roatan between October and April with Roatan annually receiving approx 250+ ships and close to 1 million visitors.
What is the diving like on Roatan?
The diving on Roatan is incredible! People come from all over the world, not only for the reasonable diving and dive training prices, but because of the wide array of sea life the islands contain.
How do I call the Roatan from the USA?
From the USA you would dial 011-504 and then the 8 digit Honduran phone number.
What should we bring to Roatan?
The Roatan climate is warm all year round except for November, December and January. Light casual clothing is best and a rain jacket, sandals, bathing suit and sturdy hiking boots or shoes are all important items to bring. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are needed most of the year, as the sun is hot and strong. Insect repellent is also needed mainly for nights and some beaches where sand flies are found.
Additional traveling items:
Photocopies of passport and airline tickets
Back up money supply in travelers checks or credit card
Camera and film
Day travel bag
Always tag or label all your luggage when flying to and from Roatan.
Camera and film
Day travel bag
Always tag or label all your luggage when flying to and from Roatan.
Tell me about the History of Roatan?
The Bay Islands were originally inhabited by the Paya Indians, a semi-nomadic tribe that lived in non-permanent structures, and carried out subsistence farming and fishing as well as trade with other tribes from the mainland. They also produced simple ceramic items, the remnants or shards of which are today affectionately referred to as “yaba ding dings”.
The first recorded interaction between Europeans and the Paya was in 1502 when Christopher Columbus, during his fourth voyage to the new world, landed on Guanaja and traded with them for food supplies and water.
During the 1500s, Honduras was claimed by Spanish Conquistadors, who enslaved the Paya and began to use the islands to provision their ships, but did not establish permanent settlements. Not long after, English pirates seized the opportunity to raid the Spanish supplies. Thus began the battle for control of the Bay Islands. England was interested in the rich stands of timber and sent soldiers and colonizers to establish outposts along the length of the Caribbean coastline and the Bay Islands, while Spain was colonizing and mining the mainland. The clash between the Spanish and English dragged on for nearly three centuries.
The first recorded British presence on the Bay Islands was the short-lived colony founded by William Claiborne in Port Royal (1638 to 1642) which was largely comprised of log-cutters turned buccaneers who were eventually ran off by the Spanish Navy.
History again shows British occupation in 1742, with the formal construction of a naval fortification in Port Royal, which was a strategic move as part of the British attempt to gain possession of the Central American coast. Records show that by 1775 the fort was well established and inhabited. A famous and perhaps the first official map of the island of Roatan was surveyed and drawn by Lt. Thomas Jeffery’s.
During this time, lured by the Spanish galleons laden with gold, silver, slaves, and spices, the Bay Islands became a Dutch, English, and French pirate hideout. It has been estimated that at one time up to 5,000 buccaneers were using the islands as a safe haven including such illustrious privateers such as Henry Morgan and John Coxen, after whom Coxen Hole is named.
After a fierce battle in Port Royal in 1782, the Spanish were able to gain control of Roatan and subsequently removed all the native Indians to the mainland for abetting the British. But it wasn’t until 1798, when approximately 2,500 Garifuna (Afro-American descendents of shipped wrecked African slaves and Arawak Indians from the island of Saint Vincent) were forcibly removed from the island of St.Vincent by the British and stranded on Roatan that the first real settlement was established. Although most of these Garifuna were later transferred to Trujillo by the Spanish, a few stayed on and formed the village of Punta Gorda, which survives today. You can visit Punta Gorda for a cultural immersion visit and enjoy a Garifuna meal and see traditional Garifuna dances.
Although the Spaniards were in control of the islands, they made no attempts at establishing a colony there and in 1821 the Central American Federation declared independence from Spain and claimed sovereignty over the islands, but still they remained virtually abandoned until the late 1820s and the 1830s when British colonizers (both white slave bosses and negro emancipated slaves) began arriving from both the Cayman Island and Jamaica. It is from these families that many of today’s Bay Islanders are descended.
By 1842, a thriving British community had again formed in the Bay Islands. The colonists, in protest of the Central American Federation, hauled down the Central American flag, hoisted up the Union Jack, and claimed Roatan for Britain. Bonacco (Guanaja) and Utila soon followed with the raising of the Union Jack. In 1850, Royal naval estimates a population of “five to six thousand”.
In 1852, at the request of the colonists, the British Governor of Jamaica became the governor of “Utila, Rattan, Helene, Barbarette, Morat, and Bonacco”, which was officially recognized by Her Majesty Queen Victoria as “the Crown Colony of the Bay Islands”.
Unfortunately for the colonists, word reached Washington of this development, which was viewed in direct violation of the Clayton Bulwer Treaty that stated that neither the US or Britain could claim or seek to possess more colonies or possessions in the Western Hemisphere. A war of words raged between Washington and London for years until 1860 when the British Consul in Comayagua agreed to relinquish possession of the Bay Islands as well as the Moskitia.
On June 1, 1861 the Bay Islands became the “Departamento de las Islas de la Bahia”.