Roatán and Bay Islands
The largest of the Bay Islands or Islas de Bahía has long been considered an insider tip among divers and individual travelers. In addition to a fascinating underwater world, Roatán also offers a varied, green landscape and beautiful beaches on land.
Utila, southwest of Roatán, is largely reserved for backpackers looking for inexpensive accommodations and diving.
Finally, Guanaja, located about 30 km east of Roatán, is visited only by a few people, mainly by divers or sport fishermen.
The most important place on Roatán, regardless of the “capital” Coxen Hole and the fishing port of French Harbour, is West End, which consists of a number of small hotels and pubs.
Here, as almost everywhere on the island, the atmosphere is very relaxed, interrupted only for a few hours on those days when large cruise ships dock.
The showpiece of Roatán’s beaches is West Bay Beach. This picture-book beach is no longer as idyllic as it was a few years ago, but the panorama of crystal-clear water shimmering in all shades of turquoise behind the white sand is still impressive.
Large hotels, which dominate other Caribbean islands, are still largely absent; instead, small bungalow complexes, mostly built in traditional wooden construction, characterize the tourist infrastructure.
There are numerous recommendable dive operators on Roatán, so that it is usually not necessary to book a complete package.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle, you will find an unspoiled dream beach in Camp Bay.
The world of the Bay Islands, although only 65 km from the Honduran coast, also differs culturally from that found on the mainland.
For most of the colonial period, Englishmen controlled the archipelago, and to this day the majority of the inhabitants speak English, regardless of the official language of the country.
Finally, in 1797, the Garífuna, a mixed race of black slaves and indigenous Caribs (Arawak), were deported from the island of St. Vincent to Roatán. They established themselves as a distinct ethnic group here and elsewhere on the Caribbean coast.
Flights to Roatán and Guanaja are available from La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa.