This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Roatan. To help you make friends with Roatan before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Roatan is one of the three Bay Islands or Islas de Bahia, the other two being Utila and the less touristy Guanaja. At sixty kilometers long, Roatan is the largest of the islands. Since it is located about one hour from La Ceiba on the mainland, most people take the ferry, although it is also possible to fly. However, given that many people will be diving, the ferry is the more popular option to reduce the risk of decompression sickness.
Diving is the main attraction in Roatan and the reason that most people stop at Roatan hostels and visit here. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is located just offshore and is second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in size. The West End is where most of the dive centres are concentrated, many of them owned and run by ex-pats from all over the world. The Bay Islands are one of the cheapest places in the world to do a PADI open water diving course or improve your skills to the next diving level. It is not unusual to do three dives in one day; you can do wreck dives and night dives, too. Each dive centre writes on blackboards where they are going to dive that day, so the tourist always has options.
Coxen Hole is the largest town on the island, but there is not a lot there to attract visitors to Roatan hostels for more than a few hours. You can spend a day touring the island on a rented scooter -- visit the iguana farm, the dolphin centre, the beaches, and the communities at the other end of the island. The street in the West End is no more than a sandy street lined with dive shops, bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Some street vendors sell jewelry to tourists.
There are plenty of accommodations to choose from. Many of the dive shops are affiliated with Roatan hostels or hotels. There are ATMs in the West End and it is possible to withdraw the local currency, lempira, or US dollars. There are a few different hostels in the West End; some are a bit rundown but there are plenty of budget options available.
Written by local enthusiast for Roatan hostelsRayJ