Best places to stay in Roatan
West End is located in the northwest of the island around Half Moon Bay, approximately 20 minutes from Roatan International Airport. It has one of the best beaches on the island, a long curve of sun-drenched golden sand backed by palm trees, places to stay, bars and restaurants. The diving and snorkelling is second to none here, with a mesmerising coral reef sitting just off the shore. You can rent diving and snorkelling equipment from one of the many dive shops in the town and swim out to the reef to search for tropical fish, sting rays and sea turtles. There are diving opportunities further out where you can witness whale sharks, dolphins and reef sharks.
West End is one of the island’s liveliest hubs with restaurants, bars, shops where you can pick up Honduran souvenirs and places to stay that suit different budgets. Roatan is known for its deep sea fishing, so you can try Roatan Island cuisine such as baleadas, pastilles, conch and other seafood specialities at many of the restaurants in West End.
There are numerous companies in town where you can hire a scooter to go off and see other parts of the island such as nearby West Bay, Flower Bay, Coxen Hole and Sandy Bay. Alternatively, you can try horse riding and canter along secluded beaches or explore jungle trails that lead up to hilltops for breathtaking panoramic views of the island and coral reefs below. Nearby in Roatan’s verdant jungle interior you can try zip-lining and canopy tour adventures.
West End is also one of the best areas on the island to admire the psychedelic sunsets and once the sun has set, there are many bars and live music venues with happy hours, local bands and DJs who keep things pumping into the early hours.
West Bay is West End’s more sedate, easy going sister located just west of West End and about 30 minutes from the Roatan International Airport. It is a more family friendly and laid-back place to stay and invites its visitors to hang loose and enjoy a combination of beach time, snorkelling and swimming. It has some of the best beaches on the island with typically Caribbean pearly white sand and calm azure waters that are crying out for beach bums to kick back and while the time away. The shallow water gives way to the island’s thrilling coral reef where you can dive down to spot tropical fish, sting rays and sea turtles, most notably around Tabyana Beach. There is a multitude of companies that offer scuba diving, fishing charters, snorkelling and parasailing directly from the beach front.
Although it is quieter than West End, there is a good assortment of restaurants and places to stay and it is less than a 10-minute drive from the nightlife of West End should you wish to dip your toe into the action. You can also reach West End by taking a water taxi directly from the beach which takes about 10 minutes.
Known for its deep sea fishing, you can savour traditional dishes made from freshly caught seafood, or start the day with an adrenaline inducing Honduran coffee. West Bay is Roatan’s best spot, for hypnotic sunset vistas and there are many places along the waterfront where you can sip a tropical drink against a stunning backdrop.
Sandy Bay is a very relaxed place to stay spanning part of the north western shore of Roatan about a 20-minute drive from Roatan International Airport. It is made up of a beautiful series of long honey-hued beaches lapped by milky-blue water, speckled with resorts and palm trees. There are many dive operators in the area and it is only a short swim off the coast to reach the island’s famous coral reef where you can go snorkelling to discover an underwater teeming with vibrant tropical marine life. Further out there are spellbinding diving opportunities.
You can go kayaking and windsurfing or hike to the Carambola Gardens where amongst the jungle you can spot local wildlife that includes monkeys, flowering and medicinal plants and exotic spices. You can also take in the sensational colours of a Roatan sunset by going on a sunset cruise. Back on dry land, there is a good selection of restaurants serving traditional dishes such as baleadas, pastilles, conch and other seafood specialities and bars where you can try locally caught seafood and tropical cocktails.