Honduras: Beautiful Bay Islands
Bordering Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua and at the very heart
of Central America, tourists are beginning to see the utter abundance that Honduras has to offer its guests. This is a destination that seems to have it all – pine forests, mountains, coffee plantations, Mayan archeological sites, and of course, shores on both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Just off the northern coast of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea are the Bay Islands, offering white sand on long stretches of beautiful beach, warm weather and friendly people. The Bay Islands are surrounded by the world’s second largest coral reef, which has made this destination a mecca for scuba enthusiasts, snorkelers and nature lovers.
The Bay Islands
Each of the Bay Islands is a unique destination. Utila is the smallest and closest to the mainland. The landscape features Pumpkin Hill, which is the only mountain on the island. Get a glimpse of a whale shark, and enjoy a fantastic view from this vantage point.
Guanaja is about 45 miles off the north coast of Honduras. Here, visitors will find small resorts catering to divers, snorkelers and adventure travelers. Several waterfalls can be seen on the island.
Roatan is the largest and most developed of the Bay Islands, and offers travelers who seek beaches, adventure and history all that they are looking for. There is island-hopping ferry service available to those who want to see all three, and each of the Bay Islands offers outstanding diving, gorgeous beaches, and amazing sunsets.
Destination – Roatan
Roatan is located near one of the largest barrier reefs in the world, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Because of this natural attraction and all of the other opportunities that the island has to offer visitors, it has recently become an important cruise ship port, and scuba diving destination. Located 30 miles north of the mainland, Roatan is almost 40 miles long and just 5 miles wide. This remote island boasts white-sand beaches, pristine bays and spectacular coral reefs. Roatan has several regions, or villages, each offering guests a different perspective of the island. Each area has several resorts to choose from, and the farther east you go on the island, the less developed the areas are – offering a more rustic and rural experience.
A true paradise for scuba divers, Roatan’s warm, clear waters are teeming with colorful coral and a variety of fish. The bio-diversity of the reef enables both snorkelers and scuba divers to swim with schools of colorful fish, as well as whale sharks, barracudas, mantas, dolphins and turtles. See sponges, starfish, turtles, rays and all kinds of unique and exotic flora and fauna, and visit an underwater museum with statues and artifacts. There are many dive shops and operators offering PADI certification in the West End and West Bay areas of the island, where the reef is only a short swim away.
In addition to the world-class scuba diving, there are many activities attracting the adventurous to Roatan. Set your clients up with helicopter rides, fishing, snorkeling, horseback riding, or perhaps a zip line canopy tour. Anthony’s Key Resort even features a dolphin encounter. There is an abundance of opportunities for water sports including sailing, water-skiing, wake boarding and kayaking through the mangroves.
Where to Stay
Across the island, accommodations range from very rustic to well-established beach resorts. Consider Anthony’s Key (www.anthonyskey.com), an all-inclusive resort located in Sandy Bay. Their bungalow accommodations offer both tranquility and adventure in addition to their fantastic dive opportunities and renowned dolphin encounters.
If your clients want to get to Roatan from mainland Honduras, there is catamaran ferry service between the island of Roatan and the port city of La Ceiba. Getting to Roatan or back to La Ceiba takes a little over an hour on the ferry. Juan Manuel Galvez International Airport (RTB) is located on the island of Roatan in an area called Coxen Hole. Several US airlines including United, Delta and American offer flights to Roatan, and Avianca/TACA flies from Miami. There are also local airlines connecting the island with La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula, and Tegucigalpa. Several cruise lines visit ports in Roatan, and passengers can take advantage of all the island has to offer during a shore excursion. Visit www.letsgohonduras.com