Okay, because so many of my friends abroad asked me will I start blogging in English too, I decided to switch the language right away. This story goes to Roatan island in the Caribbean sea. Roatan is the largest island of Honduras' Bay Islands (Islas de la Bahia) that are often called the Caribbean's "best kept secret". The island was for a long time a hidden paradise, very popular holiday destination among the locals, but then the cruise ships started to stop in Roatan and the peace was gone. But still you could say that Roatan is unspoilt destination in Caribbean (at least it was 3 years ago)
So almost 3 years ago I did my first trip to Caribbean and didn't choose the "basic" option like Jamaica, Cuba or Dominican Republic there. I traveled with my friend who's into scuba diving and she knew that some island that belongs to Honduras is very popular diving destination with white sand beaches and laid-back atmosphere with real Caribbean culture. Then we saw some pictures and were ready to book the flights! The place was a "dream come true" for a beach holiday. We traveled there in February 2011.
When we were there, the locals we met said to us that the cruise ships are more than welcomed but everything has its limits. When the cruise ships came the beach was suddenly full of thousands of noisy tourists. Thank God, there weren't cruise ships coming every day. The island lives for tourism and fishing, but locals were saying that they don't want Roatan to come a "resort hell destination".
Roatan is 60 kilometers long and the population is approx. 60 000 today. The island is located near the biggest barrier reef in Caribbean sea so it's ideal for diving and snorkeling (and wow, it was amazing). There's direct flights from US to Roatan. For example it's only 2 hours flight from Miami.
Our accommodation was in West Bay that is one of the most popular places to stay in Roatan. There were hotels, beach bars, restaurants and little supermarket etc. Everything you needed were in walking distance because the area is very small. We stayed in Westbay B&B. At that time the owner Glen was friendly, helpful and one of the nicest hosts I have met. He made us breakfast every morning and told a lot of stories about Roatan. B&B was near the small "mall" and only 3 minute walk to the beach. Great place to stay. If you go to Roatan I recommend you to stay in Westbay B&B. It's economic also for your wallet.
Our days were pretty same every day. Diving, snorkeling, sunbathing and trips to West End, Sandy Bay etc. West Bay beach was purely awesome, clean and quiet except the days when the cruise tourists came. Snorkeling in clear turquoise water was great near the beach. The weather was pretty same every day (pure sunshine, temperatures around 28'c to 32'c degrees).
Lying on the beach under the hot sun with a good book, great company and cold beer. What else do you need?
Remember to go to Thirsty Turtle beach bar in West Bay to try some Bananarama drink! It tastes like heaven! If you want to see some wild nightlife go to West End. There's water taxi service between West End and West Bay.
And the food? We ate almost too well in our stay. There are many restaurants offering tasty dishes. Of course the fish as a main dish is a popular choice. The prices in restaurants were quite cheap. In some restaurants you could eat 3 to 6 dishes meal with 30 - 40 US dollars and after eating 6 dishes meal walking back to the hotel was hard ;) All the dishes I ate were delicious. Dont' forget to try lobsters there!
Roatan is not only for scuba diving and snorkeling. There's punch of things to do. For example we visited Gumbalimba Park were you can see the crazy monkeys, noisy parrots and beautiful nature.
We met 2 lovely Americans in one diving trip and one day we drove from West Bay to Camp bay (from West to East) with them. Like I said the island is about 60km long and from West Bay to East end of Roatan the distance was about 30-40 kilometres. The driving took us couple of hours because the roads were in bad condition and of course there were many beautiful sightseeing places to stop. When driving we saw that the island is everything with white beaches, mangroves and rainforests to volcanic rocks and rural areas. The East Roatan was very quiet, almost no other tourists around. It was totally stressfree place. We didn't do water activies there, but heard that there's cool snorkeling and diving places nearby.
We stayed 8 days in Roatan and it was enough for us. If you are not a diver you will get bored after one week. By the way, when leaving the island you have to pay tax that was around 30 US dollars.
What's your favourite island in the Caribbean? Next time I will go to Cuba or Jamaica!