After a couple unusually hectic months at the ZOO, we decided it was time for a little R & R. And with the unseasonably cold weather we experienced in late October and early November, a visit to the warm and sunny Caribbean seemed like just the ticket.
Remembering our excellent trip to Samana last year, we wanted to pick a destination known for great snorkeling. We trimmed our choices down to between Cozumel Mexico and our eventual selection, Roatán Honduras. And although I have heard mix reviews for this island, we were more then open to experiencing it for ourselves. Clearly, this island’s marketing is geared towards diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.
Roatán, located between the islands of Útila and Guanaja, is the largest of Honduras’ Bay Islands. The island formerly known as Ruatan and Rattan, is roughly 60 kilometres long, and less than 8 kilometres across at its widest point. So you can pretty much see the whole island in a day by car.
My first impressions of the island after touching down on a Monday afternoon were very positive. The geography is similar to Dominica or St. Lucia – very hilly landscape with lush tropical vegetation. Loved all the palm trees, bamboo, tall ferns and colourful island flowers.
And like a lot of Caribbean islands, there are some rougher looking areas and occasional poverty type conditions. But instead of this being a deterrent to me, knowing that tourism is the chief source of income on the island, I am more than happy to share their beautiful environment and do my small part to support their economy.
The area of the island where we would be staying is called West Bay. Again, with our main goal on this visit being snorkeling, apparently no other part of the island offers a better beach and the opportunity to experience excellent snorkeling right from shore.
Simply put, West Bay beach is fantastic. Not the longest beach we have visited, but the sand is super soft and the water is super clear and calm – all key ingredients for good snorkeling. But there are a few too many beach vendors for my liking, but a firm “no thanks” and a smile is enough to keep them moving along. Not a big hassle at all.
Roatán and West Bay in particular, is a popular stop on the cruise ship circuit. So you can expect a deluge of visitors for a part of the afternoon a few days a week. I personally didn’t find it to be a big annoyance (I read a few negative comments about this on travel sites), but is something to be aware of if you are considering Roatán as a travel destination.
Since we were travelling at the end of November, right in the middle of their rainy season, we did have a few rainy days. But luckily, almost everyday had partial sun with temperatures of 28+ and the weather was excellent for our last 4 days. Truth be told though, I would recommend visiting Roatán in January instead, to avoid the chance of any extended periods of rain. From what I was told, the weather is pretty much perfect in the Spring.
Stay tuned for future posts on our resort experience, the island culture and of course, the snorkeling! For now, back to the cage.