Roatan Airport

The Roatan Airport has become the main port of entry for travelers visiting the Bay Islands. In the past, most of the visitors would arrive via San Pedro Sula international airport and then continue by land or air towards their destination. If you are planning a trip to Honduras to visit the Bay Islands, The Roatan Airport is your best option for comfort. The Roatan Airport, whose IATA code is RTB is officially the Juan Manuel Galvez International Airport.

Roatan International Airport
Sun Country Air arriving at Roatan International Airport

This international airport is just outside the town of Coxen Hole, in the central part of the Island of Roatan.  As an international airport, one of 4 in Honduras, it has immigration and customs facilities. Although the facility is relatively small, with no jetways available, it has become a busy airport. Airlines like American Airlines offer regular nonstop service to Roatan Airport from their hubs in Dallas Fort Worth and Miami. United Airlines offers daily service nonstop from Houston. Both airlines have been operating regularly for the past couple of months, after the Covid-19 lockdown in Honduras was relaxed. Delta Airlines, that has service from Atlanta has let us know that they will resume service to Honduras as of early February.

It is interesting to note that the Roatan Airport became an important alternative to fly into Honduras after Tropical Storm ETA flooded the San Pedro Sula Airport. The San Pedro Sula airport is the main gateway into Honduras. Damage due to flooding rendered the airport as inoperable and kept it closed for over two months. Passengers flying into Roatan could then continue their flight to Tegucigalpa or La Ceiba using the local airlines. I know of several Hondurans that flew out of Roatan during the two months that San Pedro Sula was closed.

The Roatan Airport is the Gateway to the Bay Islands

Roatan Airport
Enjoying my trip on the Utila Dream from Roatan to Utila

Roatan Airport is a great gateway for all three of the Bay Islands. The Utila Dream ferry boat terminal is remarkably close to the airport. Once you have cleared immigration and customs, a 5-minute taxi drive will have you at the ferry terminal. The ferry departs daily at 2 pm for Utila, and the ride takes less that one hour. It is a comfortable passage, and you will get to see the southwestern coast of Roatan with many lovely homes along the waterfront.

Honduras Travel Advisory 2020
The Nature and Adventure Hub in Honduras. Photo by Luis Aguero

There are also flights from Roatan airport to Guanaja on weekends, making it easy to fly from Roatan to Guanaja. Alternatively, you may fly to La Ceiba, where you will be able to get to Guanaja. Keep in mind that the Cangrejal River Valley is on the outskirts of La Ceiba. There, you will be able to visit Pico Bonito National Park, as well as Nombre de Dios National Park. The river is the border between both parks. In addition, there are many nature and adventure activities available there. These include white water rafting, as well as canyoneering. There are several great lodges in the Cangrejal River area, and you should consider spending at least a couple of days there. My favorite is La Villa de Soledad B&B. The area is the perfect compliment to diving in the Bay Islands.