Yes, Honduras can be a dangerous place. In June 2014, the U.S. State Department warned travelers that the "level of crime and violence in Honduras remains critically high." However, as Roatan is one of Honduras's Bay Islands, it is physically and culturally distinct from the mainland. Because of this, the safety issues of the Honduran major cities are not nearly as prevalent on Roatan. Nonetheless, anyone traveling in unfamiliar areas needs to be mindful of safety concerns, no matter the location. With that in mind, we've assembled some helpful guidelines.
General Roatan safety tips
Just like at any other vacation spot, it's important to keep your belongings organized to ensure you don't put your valuables at risk of theft or loss. Look for accommodations that offer hotel-style room safes. Also, if you decide to bring your camera or your phone to the beach, don't leave it unattended.
Handle safety the same way you would at home. For example, if your children use the buddy system when you leave the house, use the same idea when you leave your vacation lodgings. Avoid walking in dark, unfamiliar places alone or leaving a site with someone you don't know. It's generally considered safe to walk to around West End Village in the evening for dining and nightlife, but stay alert if you decide to have a couple of drinks, especially if you are not with a group. There are plenty of reliable taxis available if you feel uncomfortable walking, though it's best not to catch a ride with someone you don't know in an unmarked vehicle.
If you are interested in touring the island, there are many reputable tour guides on hand that can provide not only proper instructions and transportation recommendations, but also knowledge about the island's evolving culture. Leaving some of the planning in the hands of guides can be a more relaxing option, particularly when traveling with large family groups.
Common safety practices when traveling to any Caribbean island:
- Only carry as much cash as you need.
- Don't carry all your credit/debit cards. Instead, take one or two, preferably with limited funds.
- Don't leave valuables unattended; keep them locked safely in your room.
- Lock up your villa when you are not there or while sleeping; this includes patio doors.
- Don't wander around at night in unfamiliar places.
- Bring a photocopy of your passport and store it in a different location than your official passport.
The best piece of safety advice we can offer is that if something feels unsafe or uncomfortable, trust your instincts and be sensible. With our common safety practices in mind you shouldn't experience any problems on your vacation.