While most people come to Roatan in Honduras on a cruise ship or for a diving vacation, there are plenty of activities to keep divers and non-divers alike occupied for a few days on the island. For cruise ship passengers looking for shore excursions, many of the island’s best adventures are scheduled around port time, ensuring you have the opportunity to see more than just the cruise port. Here are six of the coolest things you can do while on Roatan.
Due its proximity to the Meso-American Reef, Roatan is blessed with some impressive diving. Scuba divers come from all over the world to explore sites teeming with vibrant coral and abundant marine life. While many visitors opt for the dive sites closest to West End, there are plenty of more distant dives if you have multiple days to dive.
There are several zip-line operators on Roatan. Take to the trees and look for wildlife, like white-faced capuchin monkeys, while you zip between platforms. Some of the lines offer spectacular views of the mountains and sea. Choose from zip lines in the West End/West Bay area, where you can even fly tandem if you want, or head east and try one that reaches heights of 328 feet and distances of nearly of two miles! You are rewarded with stunning views of both sides of the island on this adventure.
Head towards the eastern side of the island to Pristine Bay, the first and only golf course on Roatan, to hit a few balls with the gorgeous Caribbean Sea as your back drop. The par-72 course is open to the public. You can opt for nine holes, 18 holes, or consider a package that will give you 18 holes on the Pete Dye-designed course, a dozen balls and lunch.
Check out Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum’s tour that takes visitors on tours of its fruit orchard featuring star fruit, pink grapefruit and mangoes. There is a conservatory with a hydroponic lettuce and herb farm, said to be the first in the Caribbean at the time. You’ll find ample wildlife and birds that congregate around the Arboretum’s large pond.
If you’re headed to Pristine Bay, you’ll find some spectacular snorkeling spots nearby. One of the coolest is a shipwreck that is visible right from the shoreline. This old steamer ship sits in 5 feet of water and has shallow coral all around. You’ll see a variety of fish and marine life, including sting rays, eels, trumpet fish, parrotfish, and more. If you don’t have gear, the dive shop on the beach can outfit you with a snorkel and fins. It’s a quick boat ride out to the shipwreck, which makes an excellent snorkel spot since it’s in such shallow water. Depths here range from 4-8 feet.
For a real down and dirty adventure, consider going on a dune buggy tour of Roatan that will leave you needing a shower for sure. Especially during rainy season, this tour will literally cover you in mud. Start off with a few street drives around French Harbour, and you’ll eventually wind up going off-road to a giant mud pit where your guides will let you take a number of spins with mud flying everywhere. You’ll have goggles and a bandana around your mouth to keep the mud out of your eyes, nose, and mouth. Take a dip in the sea to get some of the mud off, and then relax with a nice lunch before heading back.
Have you been to Roatan? What else would you add to this list?
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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