Yes, there are two different faces to Roatan! And its hard to determine which I prefer! This week I had a chance to visit the island. I spent most of the day in Roatan’s East End. I enjoyed the pristine beaches, the laid-back resorts and the tropical nature. Yes, you feel like you are in a remote Caribbean Island that has somehow managed to escape development and modernization. Don’t get me wrong, you have electric power, cell phone coverage and even wifi available here. But it is a far cry from the reality of so many Caribbean Islands that have become tourist traps. Read on and discover why Roatan is one of the top five destinations in Honduras!
The Pristine, Authentic Face of Roatan
Resorts like Paya Bay Beach Resort and Camp Bay Lodge are full of personality and sense of place. Views are spectacular, and you have miles and miles of pristine beaches to enjoy. From this remote end of Roatan, you can even explore some magnificent destinations, such as the pigeon keys, just off Barbareta. You can see the islands of Morat, Barbareta and Guanaja. And yet, you are only one hour from the Roatan international airport. The East End is one of the two different faces to Roatan. If you are into nature, local charm and pristine beaches, you will love this part of Roatan Island!
Nearby is the Port Royal National Park. The park features a unique Caribbean pine and oak forest. The name comes from the nearby historic community of Port Royal, which was abandoned many years ago. If you are interested in a good hike, including great views and some good birding, this a great place to visit. Best of all, you will not run into many other tourists in the park!
As the day was ending, and just a bit before sunset, I made it to the eclectic West End Village. Here, I saw the other different face that Roatan has to offer! A small picturesque beach front community, West End is a bustling community that offers outstanding dinning options. The town is full of small, family owned boutique hotels, specialty restaurants and beach bars.
The Eclectic, Fun Face of Roatan
Although West End can seem like a tourist trap on busy cruise ship days, it is always a charming Caribbean community by the time dusk comes along. Sunset bars with live music, friendly locals walking up and down the streets. Tourists that were out diving throughout the day now mingle in a beach front bar to talk about their days experience. Although a few bars stay open late, the town winds down early, especially on weekdays. This means that it is pleasant and quiet once you are ready to call if a day and go to sleep.
I enjoyed walking up and down main street in West End. The community is very safe, and you need not worry about your safety. This is one of the safest destinations in the World! It is certainly safer than just about any other destination in the Caribbean! I spent the night at the Splash Inn. This is an intimate hotel that offers nice rooms, free Wi-Fi, and has its own restaurant and pizzeria. They also have one of the popular and most reputable dive shops on town. Despite being in the heart of West End, it was very quiet in the room. It was nice to experience the two different faces to Roatan in the same day.
If my suggestion is of any value to you, you should certainly make it a point to see the two different faces to Roatan. As a matter of fact, if you are spending several days on the island, you should plan to go to the far side of the island and spend a couple of nights there. Your vacation will seem like if you visited two different islands on your vacation. Best of all, it is a short drive from one end to the other! Don’t miss the two different faces to Roatan next time you visit!