Adventure Awaits in Roatan
So, you have clients who are seeking their next adventure.
Roatan has everything they are looking for, as well as experiences they may not have even considered. The largest of the three Bay Islands off Honduras, Roatan lies about 40 miles off the northern coast. Despite its surprisingly diminuitive size of approximately 37 miles from east to west and less than 4 miles across at its widest point, every inch of Roatan and its surrounding waters is full of natural beauty and boundless adventure.
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.
Snorkel and Dive
Roatan’s breathtaking variety of marine life can be found both on shallow reefs and plummeting walls. Roatan will amaze both snorklers and veteran divers with its vast array of fish and corals. While swimming, look for giant grouper, eagle rays, seahorses, crabs, and many other colorful species. There are caverns, swim-throughs and coral reefs begging to be explored. Tight clusters of coral polyps coat walls, fissures and pinnacles, colorful sponges filter plankton from the water, and sunken ships lie on reefs. Larger fish – Nassau and black groupers, turtles, schools of tuna and jacks and an occasional shark – often cruise by. See abundant and multi-colored coral cascading in the deep blue water. Parrotfish are also in abundance, along with shoals of Atlantic blue tang and several species of angelfish. Baby trunkfish also make for an exciting find while touring the reef. Coral appears in every color of the rainbow, and you’ll see a variety of types – flower and pillar coral to elkhorn and staghorn. Many resorts offer guests the opportunity to explore their own reefs just off of their beaches.
For more experienced divers there is also a thrilling shark dive adventure operated outside of West End in the town of Coxen Hole. Swimmers can get up close and personal with half a dozen or more reef sharks, and may even be lucky enough to find a shark tooth souvenir.
Curious to see what lies below recreational limits? Stanley’s Submarines offers one of the greatest underwater adventures in the world. The submarine Idabel takes passengers deeper into the unexplored Cayman Trench than most people have ever ventured – illuminating depths down to 2,000 feet (610 meters) below the surface. Through the submarine’s large plexiglass viewing bubble you will see a wide variety of deep sea animal life rarely encountered by humans. Idabel docks at Half Moon Bay in West End.
Above the Water
Anthony’s Key Resort (www.anthonyskey.com) offers guided snorkel trips and a dolphin encounter that gives visitors the opportunity to meet their resident pod of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins who have made their home just across the lagoon at Bailey’s Key. Guests can swim and snorkel with the dolphins on their terms – these are not trained animals, and visitors experience what it’s like to truly be part of the pod.
Fishing expeditions from Roatan are also quite popular. Common catches include tuna, bill fish, barracuda, wahoo, mahi-mahi, grouper, tarpon, and of course, the blue marlin. The catch of the day depends on the season.
Take a Hike
Be sure to take a day or more to explore the natural beauty of Roatan at Carambola Gardens. Hike up Carambola Mountain for a breathtaking view of the island, and marvel at exotic flora and fauna, including orchids, spices, monkey lala lizards, and Honduran mahogany. Keep your eyes open for agoutis, small rodents that look a bit like a really large guinea pig.
Other wildlife encounters are possible, options include an iguana park, monkey and sloth tours, and mangrove tour with bird watching.
There are also zip-line tour operators who will take visitors on a thrilling ride through Roatan’s jungle-covered hilltops.
On the West End, you’ll find a mix of restaurants, hotels, bars, souvenir stores and (of course) scuba shops. Situated on the palm-lined Half Moon Bay beach, this is where you can go to relax and hear local bands and enjoy the nightlife, as well as catching a boat for a dive trip or fishing charters.