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CruiseGuide 2011






Roatan Shore Excursions

Keep your eyes on Roatan Honduras as it opens its doors wider to the cruising world.

by Kim & Johnnie Rhodes

Roatan Shore Excursions

The natural beauty of Roatan Honduras holds much promise, for both cruise visitors and the people who live there. One of Honduras' Bay Islands, this island of only around 30,000 people is beginning to host many times that many tourists a year. With scenic mountains, crystal clear water and coral reefs everywhere, it's easy to understand why the outside world is falling in love with Roatan.

And to that end, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines are making multi-million dollar investments in developing better facilities to accomodate cruise ships in Roatan. It's easy for them to understand the potential that this beautiful place holds. And judging from the other developments around the island, others are following suit.

Roatan Island Honduras

Cruise line operators aren't the only ones investing big in Roatan.

The Bay Islands are a large group of islands just north of mainland Honduras. Just offshore to the west of Roatan is the island of Utila, also famous in the scuba diving industry. To Roatan's east are the islands of Barbareta, which is a private island featuring a 1,250-acre parrot reserve, and the island of Guanaja, which, although not as large as Roatan, offers several resorts.

During the reign of the Mayans in Central America, the Bay Islands were populated by the Paya Indians. Payan artifacts are often found on these islands, including jade and pottery. The indians reportedly mined the jade, then used it to trade for other things on the mainland. Europeans first explored the area in the early 1500's. Roatan has experienced a very colorful history, and that history leaves its mark still today, through an amazing mix of people and cultures.

We have only made one visit to Roatan, Honduras so far, but we look forward to returning soon. On our visit, we took the Fantasy Island Resort shore excursion, already knowing about this resort from articles and ads in scuba publications.

Fantasy Island Resort is nothing new, and is known far and wide as a great scuba diving destination. Our excursion there included a snorkeling trip, including stops over a sunken boat, and a coral reef.

Roatan Shore Excursions

Fantasy Island Resort also offers rooms with a view, for guests wishing to return for longer stays.
We found the reef to be particularly beautiful. It was easily accessible via a shaded pier, maybe 20 yards away. No boat needed for access here.

Fantasy Island Pier

Above: this shaded pier provides easy access to the reef, just a few feet away.


Roatan Island Honduras

This reef is just a few yards from the pier, and is very healthy.

Roatan Island Honduras


After the snorkeling trip, the beach area proved to be a treat as well. It is a fairly small cove, protected on three sides by land. This, of course, makes for smooth water with almost no waves or current, so it's great for kids too. This is also a good snorkeling area for those who aren't comfortable snorkeling in the deeper area around the pier, or as a second snorkel spot after you've snorkeled the pier/reef area. If you just want to relax, unwind and enjoy the view, there are beach chairs with thatched 'umbrellas' offering a view that's right out of a TV commercial. Hammocks are also available, strung between trees near the water. Hit these hammocks alone and you'd better bring an alarm clock -- they're situated on a small shaded peninsula of land alongside the beach, and the constant ocean breeze will sing you to sleep!

Roatan Island Honduras

If this isn't right out of a TV commercial, I don't know what is.

When you're finished with your scheduled excursion, shopping is available through various vendors set up near the cruise terminal.

Roatan Island Honduras

Shopping is available a few steps away from the cruise terminal.

Other Roatan shore excursions include trips to Gumbalimba Park, where you can interact with monkeys, exotic birds, and other animals. Also available in Roatan are scuba diving trips to this section of the world's second-largest barrier reef system, dolphin encounters, beach trips, and many other cruise excursions.

The island of Roatan, Honduras has came a long way in the last several years. And with the development taking place here, Roatan, Honduras holds much promise for the future. But there's no need to wait until then -- Roatan is ready to please, here and now!

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