From a distance, your vacation looks unforgettable. You daydream about white-sand beaches, turquoise tides and platefuls of local fare. You envision spotting a monkey, exploring a coral reef and spending a day on a boat. But suddenly, your departure date is upon you and you realize—between busy work and family schedules—you haven't had time to plan the details. We've assembled some suggestions of specific adventure offerings to help you in your research.
Not sure what to do in Roatan?
Explore the West End
A stay in the West End is particularly suited for lively outings, as you don't even have to leave the neighborhood to find yourself surrounded by the party scene. Here, restaurants showcase Caribbean delicacies and sunsets simultaneously. Following dinner, take part in a pub crawl or create your own adventure by choosing from one of the island's largest concentrations of bars and clubs, frequented by locals and tourists alike.
Many more excursions can be found by heading a bit northward toward Sandy Bay. Spanning 40 acres, the Carambola Botanical Gardens and Nature Trails give visitors the chance to witness the Roatan jungle at its purest. Take an ecotour, explore local wildlife and photograph nature before hiking the summit of Carambola Mountain. Here, you can witness the panoramic view from a sheer cliff that doubles as a habitat for iguanas and a breeding ground for parrots. On the same day, the family can stop by the kid-friendly Bay Islands Underwater Museum for an introductory snorkeling experience. You'll explore the waters to find coral-reef wildlife along with replicas of artifacts left behind by pirates.
On another day of your stay, head down to West Bay's Gumbalimba Park, whose 20 acres encompass land and water excursions for all ages. More than 200 species of plants and trees decorate the botanical gardens, and several waterfalls provide a serene soundtrack to strolls around the fishing pond. The on-site animal preserve's monkeys and parrots can ride your shoulders—encouraging memorable photo ops—and an extensive canopy tour comprises 17 platforms and 13 zipline traverses above the jungle and beaches. In fact, Gumbalimba Park is one of many ziplining opportunities throughout Roatan. Check out other pirate-themed and rainforest-focused experiences to find the best match for your group, or try them all!
Aquatic adventures and the scuba scene
Deep-sea fishing is available courtesy of many charters that depart the island. With an extensive coral reef located a few hundred feet from the shore, you don't have to go far to seek yellow fin tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo, marlin and shark. If you prefer, you can also fish the flats for barracuda.
And finally, to say Roatan plays host to many scuba-diving sites is a bit of an understatement. Nearly 40 dives surround the island, with shallower reefs for novices and deeper caverns and canyons for more advanced divers. A particular dive of note is that of the El Aguila wreck site, where you can explore a 75-meter cargo vessel that was intentionally sunk in the late 90s following damage from a hurricane. Before leaving, participants follow their guides below the wreckage for a thrilling tunnel-diving experience.
Sure, sometimes it's nice to head to the Caribbean with no plans other than to sit on a beach and relax. Other times, however, you've packed your walking shoes and are ready for an adventure. Whether traveling with kids or a group of friends, you'll easily find inspiration in many of Roatan's island activities.