Geography question. Please raise your hand if you know where the Caribbean island of Roatan is. Okay, put your hand down…I can’t see you anyways. Roatan is part of a group of islands of the coast of Honduras call the Bay Islands. They are gaining in popularity but still far behind the majority of the other Caribbean islands. So if it’s a seclusion, escape and adventure you’re looking for, give Roatan and the Bay Islands a try.
Here is a article I found on Roatan I thought I’d share with you Castaways. Enjoy.
5 Great Things To Do on the Caribbean Island of Roatan
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal named Roatan the Caribbeans next “it” spot – an underdeveloped island that is poised to become a major tourist destination.
These days there is a definite buzz about this peaceful island lying just 30 miles off the coast of Honduras. No wonder: Roatan features lush tropical forests, warm turquoise water, and sugar white beaches without the crowds.
Continental Airlines now flies directly to the islands from Newark, New Jersey, and Houston, Texas. Delta flies directly from Atlanta, Georgia. Major cruise lines are stopping by more frequently, and both Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean are expanding their ship terminals to bring more passengers. Celebrities including Michael Douglas and Richard Gere have been spotted on the island in recent months.
Roatan has long been famous among scuba diving aficionados. The island sits atop the world’s second-largest barrier reef system and features some of the best diving in the Western Hemisphere. Scuba diving is still the main attraction drawing visitors to the island.
But Roatan offers much more than diving and makes a great family vacation destination.
Whether visiting with your family, making a stop-over on a cruise ship, or taking a break from diving, here are five Roatan adventures you can enjoy.
Roatan has several canopy tours from which you can chose. Palmetto Bay features a 20 platform tour that includes a climbing wall and swinging bridges. The West Bay also features a 16 platform tour including two bridges. Please keep in mind that canopy tours require children to be at least four feet tall.
2) Swim with the Dolphins. The Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences on the island’s north shore features several dolphin encounter programs that are open to the public.
One of the most popular tours on the island is their dolphin swim. Guests are taken to Bailey’s Key, a white-sand island frequented by schools of dolphin. During an initial 20-minute beach encounter, trainers coax the dolphin to join your group, giving you a chance to pet them.
Guests can then snorkel and swim freely with the dolphins in 20 feet of water. Guests are accompanied by a dolphin behaviorist and videographer and photographer to capture the memories. The dolphin swim requires children to be at least 13 years old.
Divers can also chose the institute’s Dolphin Dive program, which lets you interact with dolphins off a reef wall in 60 feet of water. This dive lasts approximately 45 minutes. Participants in the Dolphin Dive must be certified scuba divers.
Not enough for you? The institute also offers a Trainer for a Day program, which gives you the chance go behind the scenes and work with the staff as they feed and care for the dolphins. Participants will learn dolphin training techniques during a hands-on session with the dolphins.
3) See Coral While Staying Dry. Even if you are not a diver, you can get a glimpse of Roatan’s gorgeous reef formations with a ride on the Coral Reef Explorer. This glass-bottomed boat seats 25 persons below the water line in air conditioned comfort. Passengers look through windows at multi-colored coral, tropical fish and graceful Spotted Eagle Rays.
The Coral Reef Explorer departs daily from West Bay Beach and you can expect the tour to last approximately 50 minutes.
4) Horseback Tours. What could be more romantic than a horseback ride along Roatan’s pristine white beaches? Guided horseback tours start in West End, passing through some of Roatan’s best scenery before ending at the West Bay, where you can take a quick swim.
Tours last approximately 90 minutes and are suitable for beginners as well as experienced riders.
5) Pet an Iguana. Perhaps the most unusual attraction on Roatan is Sherman Arch’s Iguana Farm. This private preserve is real treasure and a real treat for kids. Over 2,700 of the big, spiny lizards roam freely on its grounds, which are located just east of French Harbor. The iguanas are tame, having been raised in cages until old enough to fend for themselves. Come during the early afternoon feeding for the best chance to hold and pet an iguana.
More to See and Do
The Honduran Ministry of Tourism web site features a good overview of Roatan and the other Honduras Bay Islands.
John Anton is a freelance writer covering the travel industry.
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