In January of 2021, after almost a year of not traveling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to pack up and spend a month working remotely from Roatan, Honduras in the Bay Islands. A month turned into two months, two months turned into nine weeks and nine weeks turned into 83 days. I left right before my tourist visa and my bank account ran out! Although I’ve been lucky enough to visit almost 30 countries around the world, there are few places I’ve fallen in love with the way I fell in love with Roatan. Along with the pristine beaches, gorgeous views, delicious food and affordable lifestyle, I met lifelong friends during my three months in Roatan and was able to see more than my fair share of the island. Keep reading for a list of the best things to do in Roatan, Honduras!
**This post contains affiliate links, which means if you buy something through those links I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
Where to Stay in Roatan, Honduras
Grand Roatan Caribbean Resort – West Bay
If you’re looking to stay in the lap of luxury, look no further than Grand Roatan Resort. With pristine beaches, delicious cuisine, a beachfront pool and ensuite outdoor showers (woot woot), Grand Roatan is the full, Caribbean package. After it’s grand opening in 2015, the owners of Grand Roatan have worked hard to uphold strong community standards and establish Honduras as a must-visit tourist destination.
Although the resort faced hardships during six months of COVID-19 lockdowns, they emerged through the other side with 100% of their workforce still employed. The majority of their employees are locals from Roatan and they frequently give back to the community by working to improve schools on the island, supporting the St. Helene Women’s Initiative by selling bags made of recycled plastic, placing an emphasis on conservation and sustainability and initiating an emergency food campaign during the pandemic where they delivered 800+ food baskets around the island.
Grand Roatan is the perfect place for some rest and relaxation with a long stretch of white sand beach and some of the best snorkeling on the entire island. To even further your relaxation, the resort has announced the opening of their new “Destination Spa”. A four story building set to be completed in the second half of 2021, the Destination Spa will include a spa, gym and both indoor and outdoor pools.
While relaxing on Grand Roatan’s gorgeous beaches, there’s no better place to grab a bite to eat than the Iron Shore Grill, the resort’s on-site restaurant. On this beautiful day in February, I packed up my beach towel and headed to the Iron Shore Grill to feast on some of the best ceviche I’ve ever tasted. The Iron Shore Special included shrimp, fish, pineapple, onion, sweet peppers and lime and was served with crispy, fried plantains.
Since I’ve been working full-time from Roatan, the strong wifi at the Iron Shore Grill was a godsend. I spent many hours munching on ceviche and typing up a storm on my laptop with this incredible ocean view. Grand Roatan is the perfect spot for your next “Worktation!”
The Meridian at Lighthouse Point – West Bay
Another beautiful spot in West Bay, The Meridian was where I spent my first, glorious month living in Roatan. With an enormous pool, gorgeous stretch of private beach, an on-site restaurant and beautiful, air conditioned accommodations, the only downside of The Meridian is that it’s a bit off the beaten path. However, if your primary goal in Roatan is some much needed R & R, then The Meridian is definitely the place for you.
Megan and her family could not have been more accommodating during my time on Lighthouse Point. They were always available to answer any questions and even offered to drive me into town themselves during a couple of rainy days on the island. I loved living at The Meridian and would do it again in a heartbeat!
Brisas del Mar – West End
If you’re planning on going out frequently during your time in Roatan, then I would definitely suggest staying in West End over West Bay. With the pandemic curfew (currently 10PM), it can be very difficult to get home to West Bay after a night out in West End. The curfew makes it illegal for cab drivers to be on the streets after 10PM, which means you’ll need to leave exactly at bar close to make it home for the night.
Brisas del Mar is the perfect location for anyone looking to be walking distance from all the restaurants and bars. They have their own private pool, bar, restaurant and beautiful stretch of beach. As a bonus, you’re only steps away from a water taxi to head into West Bay.
Roatan Backpacker’s Hostel – Sandy Bay
For those visiting Roatan on a budget, Roatan Backpacker’s Hostel is a great option for accommodation. They offer a variety of dorm rooms, lofts and private rooms for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room on the island. The hostel also has an on site restaurant, Mel’s Diner, and a good sized swimming pool!
For more information on Roatan Backpacker’s Hostel, click here.
Protect Your Trip to Roatan, Honduras
If you’re planning a visit to Roatan, it’s important to protect yourself and your wallet with trip insurance. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 is an incredibly uncertain year to travel and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. When it comes to trip insurance, I swear by World Nomads. On my trip to Thailand in 2019, I had an unfortunate ankle-spraining incident that turned into a hospital visit with X-Rays, crutches and physical therapy. When I submitted my claim to World Nomads, I was reimbursed within weeks, no questions asked.
World Nomads has changed their policy in the light of the pandemic and have guaranteed reimbursement for any travelers that find their trips cancelled or delayed due to contracting the Coronavirus. Enter your dates and information below to receive a quote for World Nomads travel insurance!
For more information on traveling safely during the pandemic, head to my recent post How to Travel Safely Amidst Coronavirus Travel Restrictions.
Where to Eat in Roatan, Honduras
For a long list of the best restaurants and quick-eats in Roatan, head to my recent post Must-Try Restaurants in Roatan, Honduras.
Best Things to Do in Roatan, Honduras
Learn to Scuba Dive
The number one thing to do in Roatan is…drumroll please…scuba diving!! The Bay Islands offers some of the best scuba diving in the world. There’s no excuse to not get certified while you’re in Roatan! There are dive shops located on every corner, so it’s helpful to do your research before you arrive.
We decided to do our Open Water Certification with Sun Divers in West End and loved it! Our teacher, Serena, was incredibly patient and knowledgable about all things scuba diving. The Open Water course itself costs $355 (in cash, there’s a surcharge to use a credit card) and includes the initial Discovery Dive for free.
In addition to Sun Divers, we went on a few exciting dives with Nature Divers (also located in West End). Edgar is a great guide and offers more flexible hours and better prices than many of the shops in this area!
Tour the Roatan Chocolate Factory
You may already know that Central America is the birthplace of chocolate. Roatan is doing its best to educate tourists on the history of this delicious treat through the Roatan Chocolate Factory! They offer free chocolate tours daily and you’ll learn tons about the history of chocolate, how chocolate is made, the cacao plant and where it grows as well as get the opportunity to taste tons of different chocolate made on-site! My favorites were the white chocolate, milk chocolate with chili and the milk chocolate with sea salt.
The Roatan Chocolate Factory also includes a full-service restaurant that serves delicious and reasonably priced Indian food and sandwiches. Its definitely earned its place on the list of the best things to do in Roatan!
Visit the Roatan Brewing Company
Visiting the Roatan Brewing Company is definitely one of the best things to do in Roatan. I grew up in Wisconsin, so I LOVE a good craft brewery. Roatan Brewing Company is the only brewery on the island and is definitely worth a visit. It’s a bit of a hike from West End, but you can easily grab a taxi from the main roundabout.
They offer tons of delicious beer on tap as well as lots of yummy options for food. My favorite beers are the Juicy IPA and the Citrus IPA (and their Cubano sandwich was insanely delicious)!
Go Night Snorkeling
It’s a completely different world underwater when the sun goes down. Don’t miss out on viewing all the amazing nocturnal creatures in the Caribbean! Make sure to head out for a night snorkel during your time in Roatan, Honduras. If you don’t have your own snorkel equipment or just prefer going out at night with a guide, you can book an awesome excursion through the Seabreeze Inn / Cannibal Cafe in West End. An hour-long night snorkel excursion with all equipment, lights and a guide should only set you back about $30/person and is worth every penny!
Kayak in West Bay
If you plan on renting kayaks in West Bay, I would suggest renting through Argentinian Grill‘s West Bay location. You’ll end up saving a lot more per hour than booking through one of the larger resorts on the stretch. You can also rent kayaks through Cannibal Cafe in West End, however the waters in West Bay tend to be a bit calmer and better for kayaking.
Spend a Weekend in Camp Bay
Although there’s plenty of awesome stuff to do on the West side, a visit to the peaceful East Side is definitely one of the best things to do in Roatan. If you have a weekend to spare, make sure to book a stay at Camp Bay Lodge, about a two hour drive from West Bay.
Camp Bay is beautiful and much quieter and more relaxing than the West side. It’s also the perfect place to learn to kitesurf! Camp Bay Lodge offers kitesurfing lessons as well as other fun excursions such as scuba diving, paddle boarding and massages.
Camp Bay Lodge offers some of the most delicious food I tasted during my entire three months on Roatan. Pictured below is their seafood soup FILLED with conch, shrimp and lobster. At only $15/bowl, I wished I could have eaten it for every meal in Roatan.
Learn to Spear Lionfish
Lionfish are an invasive species in the Caribbean and have wrecked havoc on the reefs for years. In order to combat the problem, Honduras has legalized spearfishing exclusively for lionfish. In order to legally spear lionfish in Roatan, you’ll need to obtain a Bay Islands Lionfish Spearing License. The course to obtain this license costs $70 and includes a spear. You can sign up here through the Roatan Marine Park!
Book a Relaxing Massage
Booking a professional aromatherapy massage is one of the best things to do in Roatan! Roatan Mobile Massage offers affordable, full-body massages at your convenience. Pick your favorite beach spot or set up in your air conditioned hotel room! Wherever you choose, you’ll be sure to have a great experience with Roatan Mobile Massage.
Take a Mangrove Tour
Roatan has the perfect climate to support the growth of mangrove forests. These trees, categorized by a thick tangle of roots, thrive in tropical environments and are a huge contributor to Roatan’s ecosystem.
Roatan’s mangroves grow in beautiful turquoise waters, mainly on the east end of the island, and touring them is a great way to spend a beautiful, sunny day on the island. If you’re interested in booking a mangrove tour, Norman is your man! Contact him on WhatsApp at +504 8740-9209 and expect to pay around $20/person for a great tour.
Support Local Artisans at the Craft Market
I always love visiting a local craft market! Not only is it fun browsing the creations of local artists, but it feels great to support Roatan’s local economy. Roatan’s craft market tends to rotate locations depending on the week, but the best time to visit is the one Sunday each month when the market is hosted at the Roatan Brewing Company. You can find updates on the location of the craft market on their Facebook page.
Take the Ferry to La Ceiba and Stay at the Eco Lodge
If you find yourself in need of a short break from island life, why not hop on the Galaxy Wave Ferry from Roatan to La Ceiba and enjoy some beautiful jungle views at the Omega Tours Eco Lodge? The Eco Lodge is a 5-star resort located in between two of Honduras’ most beautiful national parks: Pico Bonito and Nombre de Dios. Omega Tours was founded and the Eco Lodge was built entirely by a German couple who still operates the property today. At their restaurant, La Jungla, you can find delicious Honduran staples as well as hearty and authentic German cuisine!
The Eco Lodge is known for their white water rafting and variety of nature activities. I cannot recommend the white water rafting enough. You’ll see amazing views of Pico Bonito as well as get to do some adrenaline-inducing cliff jumps! They also offer on-site massages for only $40.
Take an Island Cooking Class
The Roatan Backpacker’s Hostel offers fun and immersive cooking classes through their on-site restaurant, Mel’s Diner. The head chef, Miss Betty, is a wonderful cook and loves passing on her knowledge of Honduran cuisine to hungry and curious travelers. They prefer groups of four or more people, but if you have a smaller group they can sometimes fill in the spots from travelers staying at the hostel.
You can choose from a variety of different yummy meals, including chicken in coconut milk, tapado, machuca, traditional Honduran breakfast and chicharron con yucca with red cabbage and special island sauce. We chose chicken in coconut milk for our class! You can find the recipe here.
Before you leave, make sure to ask Miss Betty when she plans to make a batch of her delicious McCoy! McCoy is a type of Honduran soup usually made with seafood, pork, chicken and sometimes iguana. Miss Betty delivers hearty portions all over the island for only 180 Lempira per bowl.
Spend a Weekend on Utila
Located only a quick ferry ride away, there’s no excuse not to check out the neighboring of Utila during your time in the Bay Islands. If you find time to check out this little island, I would recommend staying at Hotel Trudy. Whether you’re a solo traveler looking for budget accommodation (hostel rooms for $6/night) or in search of private, air conditioned accommodation ($50/night), Hotel Trudy has something for everyone.
Hotel Trudy has a corresponding, on-site dive center called Underwater Vision. If you decide to dive during your stay, you’ll receive a small discount on your nightly accommodation! You can check out the different dive packages here.
Currently, Hotel Trudy has no online booking options. You can send them a message via the Underwater Vision Facebook page to secure a room or diving package. For more a full itinerary for Utila, visit my blog post “Your Ultimate Trip Itinerary to Utila, Honduras.”
Get Your Brunch on with Bottomless Mimosas at San Simon
They had me at bottomless mimosas. Before you head to Infinity Bay for an afternoon filled with sun and live music, stop by The Beach Club San Simon for a boozy brunch! $30 buys you all-you-can-drink mimosas and Bloody Marys, an appetizer and a brunch entree. It’s the perfect brunch/pregame! Be sure to make a reservation in advance, the restaurant can fill up very quickly.
Enjoy Live Music on Sunday at Infinity Bay
There’s no better way to enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Roatan, Honduras than relaxing at Infinity Bay and listening to everyone’s favorite band dance artist…MUDDY! Since Infinity Bay is an upscale resort in West Bay, the drinks can get a little pricey. To maintain your budget, do what we did and drink Salva Vidas (50 HNL or $2) to your heart’s content!
Dance the Night Away at Frank’s
One of my favorite experiences in Roatan was the island nightlife! Since most bars and clubs (literally all but ONE) are outdoors, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is much lower than it would be in a traditional nightclub setting. And let me tell you…Honduran locals know how to dance. West End is the place to go to experience Roatan’s nightlife scene, and Frank’s (or as local’s call it, “The Pub”) is the place to go if you’re looking for a dance floor.
Try the Local Cuisine
I knew little to none about Honduran food before moving to Roatan. Three months of island cuisine later…my first stop back in Wisconsin was the Latin American grocery store for Honduran sour cream and red refried beans.
The first dish on your Honduran food bucket list should definitely be baleadas! This tasty street food consists of a freshly homemade flour tortilla, refried beans, cheese or mantequilla (Honduran sour cream) and your choice of toppings. I prefer mine with scrambled eggs, avocado, hot sauce and a cold Salva Vida on the side.
Another must-try island dish is, of course, ceviche! I tried many different types of ceviche in Roatan, but my favorite was lionfish ceviche, a must-try if you’re lucky enough to find it! Keep in mind when ordering seafood that just because it’s for sale does not mean it’s a sustainable choice. If you’re questioning which types of seafood you should be avoiding, check out the Bay Islands Responsible Seafood Guide.
After three months in Roatan, I’ve made the decision to pack up and move back for the remainder of 2021! Stay tuned for more Honduras travel guides and must-see spot in the Bay Islands.
If you enjoyed this post of the best things to do in Roatan, Honduras, you may also enjoy my related posts…
Thinking of planning an epic trip to Roatán, Honduras or anywhere else in the world? Don’t forget to download my free PDF guide, “How to Plan Epic Trips” and be sure to follow along with my adventures on Instagram @madisonsfootsteps.