Roatan, Honduras cruises
Roatan port guide
The largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras, Roatan’s pristine white sand beaches, warm local hospitality, and perennially warm Caribbean climate attract sunseekers and beach lovers from around the world. Meanwhile under the crystalline sea, snorkelers and divers can discover one of the largest and most bio-diverse coral reefs in the world.
So, where will you crise to Roatan take you? Will you take a scenic stroll along the beaches of West Bay and West End? Savor a fresh catch of the day in one of the many charming beachside restaurants? Or even tour old forts and see relics from the island's pirate history.
Top landmarks and sights in Roatan
From lush jungles and unspoilt beaches to the rich history and friendly locals, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on a voyage to this verdant Caribbean gem.
Little French Key
If you’re someone who prefers the tranquility of natural wilderness to bustling market places and luxury resorts, a visit to Little French Key is a must on your Roatan adventure. This small private idyll is located just a short boat ride away from the main island, and it’s home to a variety of exotic flora and fauna, including iguanas, parrots, and of course the wonderfully diverse marine life that inhabits the tranquil surrounding waters. With opportunities for snorkelling, kayaking, and more available as Cunard Shore Experiences, there’s a way for everyone to experience this fascinating and unusual island ecosystem.
West Bay Beach
For those looking to soak up sun, sand, and spotless Caribbean waters, there’s no better place to find them on Roatan than West Bay Beach. This picture-perfect shore features silky white sand, gentle waves, and softly swaying palm trees to provide shade from the midday sun. The waters here range from turquoise to deep blue and it’s enviable location means that the legendary coral reef is protected from wind, making it an ideal spot for swimming and snorkelling. After you’ve taken a dip in the sea and met the colorful reef fish you can stop off at one of the many bars and restaurants that line the beach and watch the sunset with a cold drink.
Things to do in Roatan
Whether you want to snorkel in pristine coral reefs, explore lush jungles, or simply watch the world go by from a shaded beach bar with a tropical drink, Roatan truly offers a little something for every type of traveler looking to soak up its tropical charm.
To discover and learn more about Roatan's nature and wildlife head for Gumbalimba Park. This lush tropical park is home to a wide array of exotic animals like monkeys, parrots, iguanas, sloths and more that roam freely around the grounds. Here you can hand-feed birds, interact with spider monkeys, walk through a jungle canopy, and take paddle boats out onto the serene waters surrounding the park. The park also features botanical gardens showcasing the diverse flora and fauna of the island. After you’ve explored all the park has to offer, indulge in authentic local cuisine at the on-site restaurant overlooking the beautiful ocean vistas.
The Roatan Chocolate Factory
If you’re looking for something slightly different to keep you entertained during a Caribbean rainy spell then you’ll want to seek out The Roatan Chocolate Factory. This one-of-a-kind chocolate shop produces artisanal chocolate using locally sourced cacao beans from the island. Here, you can take a tour of the small factory to learn about the chocolate making process from bean to bar, and even indulge in samples of the factory’s handcrafted chocolates. With exotic flavors like passionfruit, coconut, and cayenne pepper all available, you’ll be able to find a treat for even the most discerning palettes.
Eating and drinking in Roatan
From sun-kissed beach bars where you can sip fresh coconut water under the shade of a palm tree to fine restaurants with spectacular ocean views, there’s no shortage of wonderful places to eat and drink on Roatan.
Unsurprisingly for an island surrounded by azure waters, one of the island's culinary specialties is fresh seafood. Whether you’re hunting for rich lobster, juicy plump prawns or the briny taste of snapper, you can find all of these in Roatan, often caught in the waters around the island.
For a selection of dining options that will cater to even the most discerning palette, head for the bars and restaurants located along the pier in Coxen Hole and take in the bustling harbor ambience as you enjoy your refreshments.
Shopping in Roatan
The shopping on offer in Roatan reflects the rich sense of community and warm, welcoming island culture visitors can find here. The island has long attracted artisans, drawn here by the warm climate and relaxed pace of life, and many shops offer unique handmade items that make great souvenirs. Whether you pick up wood carvings, paintings by local artists or an elegant jewelery item that none of your friends back home will have, there’s no shortage of ideal mementos to discover in Roatan’s sun-drenched markets.
Getting around: Roatan transportation
Roatan is a small island, so getting around is relatively easy. Taxis are readily available, and when you arrive on a Cunard cruise you can hail a taxi directly from the port area to take you to the main tourist areas. Rates are set by zones and drivers are required to use meters. You can also flag down collective taxis (also known as colectivos) that are shared with other travelers run set routes around the island for very affordable rates. A trip in one of these can be an excellent way to meet new friends when you stop off in Roatan! If you want to explore different parts of the island, water taxis run between the main towns of West End and West Bay so you can avoid the traffic with scenic travel by sea.
Roatan port facilities
Roatan has two cruise ports and your Cunard ship will generally dock at the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center. This is located on the island's south-eastern side, just minutes away from the beaches, shops, and restaurants of the island’s capital city, Coxen Hole. Taxis and shared shuttles are available right at the port for easy transfers around the island. From the port you’ll have the opportunity to visit Mahogany Beach, an exotic paradise that’s exclusively available to cruise guests. The chair lift to the beach costs $14, and for an extra charge you can rent snorkel gear, loungers, and cabanas to complete your idyllic island escape.
Top tips for Roatan
The Honduran lempira is the official currency of Roatan, but US dollars are also widely accepted on the island. Most shops and restaurants will accept debit and credit cards, but it's a good idea to carry some cash as well. There are ATMs available on Roatan, but many charge conversion fees, so check with your bank before your voyage, or simply get your currency from the Purser’s desk on board for maximum convenience.
Tipping is customary in Roatan. If you receive good service, tipping 10-15% at restaurants is typical and appreciated, and generally a tip any higher would be only in the case of truly exceptional service. For taxi drivers, tipping 10-15% of the fare is also standard.
Roatan has a tropical climate, and you can expect high temperatures, humidity and rain showers whenever you visit during the year. However, there are distinct warm and cold seasons. The warm season runs from July to October and sees temperatures consistently staying above 30°C, with the hottest days taking place in the first week of September. The colder season runs from March to September and brings with it slightly cooler temperatures. Whenever you visit, pack lightweight warm-weather appropriate clothes and sun protection but also a rainproof jacket for any sudden tropical showers.