Thirty miles off the coast of Central America, a long, jungle-covered ridge rises out of the Caribbean Sea and forms the backbone of Roatán, the largest and most visited of the Bay Islands of Honduras. Fluffy white-sand beaches, volcanic-rock coasts, mangroves, and dense rainforests are contained within the island’s shores, which are hugged by the world’s second-largest barrier reef. To make the most of the destination, bring a sense of adventure. Encounter iguanas, monkeys, butterflies, and parrots. Discover the vital culture of the friendly locals. Examine the wonders below sea level. The little island of Roatán offers a whole world of exploration.
Upon arrival, cruise guests are greeted by Garifuna musicians and dancers. The Town Center is the island’s epicenter for shopping and entertainment with restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and other amenities. It’s just a short walk from downtown Coxen Hole. Right across from the port is Maya’s Key, a private cay that’s home to the Bay Island’s Interpretation Center and Ethnic Honduran Art Exhibit Center.
To immerse yourself in local culture and cuisine, head to West End Village, just a 20-minute ride from the port. Here you can find restaurants, bars, shops, and water-sports vendors. Discover local Honduran crafts such as native Garifuna paintings, handwoven baskets, Lenca pottery, mahogany carvings, and other authentic artisan goods.
Water taxis connect the West End to the West Bay. Here, you can get closer to nature at Gumbalimba Park, Roatán’s finest preservation reserve. Explore unspoiled trails where flowers and butterflies give way to the shade of the forest canopy. Delight in the tranquil sounds of the garden waterfall. Befriend the brilliant winged citizens of the Bird Sanctuary, where friendly parrots and macaws play. Enter the Monkey Refuge and get acquainted with the white-faced capuchin monkeys. Trace the steps of the real pirates of the Caribbean inside a re-creation of Coxen’s Cave, where you’ll encounter the infamous Captain John Coxen. Enter the Gumbalimba Insectarium and discover the world of buzzing creatures from the region. After your exploration, dive into the freshwater pool or take a dip in the Caribbean Sea. Snorkeling, Snuba, and clear-bottomed kayaking are also available at Gumbalimba.
From West Bay, head up the coast toward the East End, where you’ll discover the villages of Sandy Bay, Jonesville, and Oak Ridge. In Sandy Bay, visit the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences. Across the way from Anthony’s Key is Carambola Gardens, home to the Chocolate Tree. Jonesville and Oak Ridge offer a view into the island’s complex system of mangroves, which can be explored in dugout canoes.
Roatán’s coast is a diver’s paradise with over 130 snorkel and dive sites. Coral grows thickly on walls that begin in clear, shallow waters that drop to the purple depths of the Caribbean Sea. The Sandy Bay–West End Marine Reserve has some of the best dive sites.