Roatán: A gorgeous destination was plenty to do!
Diving, sloths, and fantastic food ... and another Tara
ROATÁN, Honduras (Tara’s Travels) - When we were looking for a new place to relax and kiteboard, my husband came across Roatán, one of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras. Wedged between Utila and Guanaja, Roatán is the largest of Honduras’ Bay Islands, and it turns out getting there wasn’t too difficult. We booked American Airlines through Dallas on the outbound and through Miami on the return.
Roatán is known for its diving, cacao, wildlife, kiteboarding, and more!
Plans called for kiteboarding. The weather did not.
Most of the action takes place on the island’s west side, but we opted for a small eco-lodge on the opposite end. It was about an hour’s drive from the airport - the last 20 minutes along a rugged, dirt road -- and WORTH the adventurous trip!
Camp Bay Lodge is run by an incredible family. Chris Bergler also runs Kitesurf Roatán right from the lodge. His wife, Marilou Lavallee, is a former rock-star-kiter-turned-mindfulness coach/masseuse/ wellness guru. They have built a unique and peaceful place.
Do not expect nightlife and crowds. We ate all our meals at the lodge or headed 5 minutes to a tiny, overwater bar/restaurant called La Sirena de Camp Bay. They had live music one afternoon, and the setting is spectacular.
Our Roatán trip was a great lesson in pivoting. We brought all of our kite gear down (the ONLY time I’ll check on luggage!) and landed to a forecast of ZERO wind - for five days! We didn’t kite once. But there was plenty to do, and we will go back for sure.
Roatán is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Reef. At one point, the island was rumored to have thousands of pirates living on it, so divers come from all over to explore and look for shipwrecks. Dive Pangea is a 2-minute walk from Camp Bay Lodge, so we were able to pick up the boat right on site. Richies ‘Tini’ Baley was our divemaster. His mom works at Camp Bay Lodge and was one of the highlights while we were there. In fact, the staff at Camp Bay was incredible - all locals who cook up special meals during the week and love the fact that they get visitors from all over.
Mangroves are abundant on the eastern part of Roatán. We did a water-taxi tour of Oak Ridge - a small fishing village considered the “Venice of Roatán” - one day.
On another day, Bergler organized a snorkel trip that included a visit to a small fishing village only accessible by boat. We enjoyed an authentic lunch of lobster, plantains, and rice. It was delicious!
Hold a sloth!
There are several places on Roatán where you can hold sloths. We ended up at Daniel Johnson’s Monkey & Sloth Hangout. It’s a very small place with capuchins, macaws, and more. The chance to hold a sloth was priceless.
Meet Sid. That face!
Sid is one of two males at Daniel Johnson’s Monkey & Sloth Hangout. You can tell he’s male by the stripe on his back. He’s a father of three (one of which is the other male) and has four girlfriends.
I hope our kids aren’t upset if we choose the sloth pic as our family photo for this year!
Other places we visited
West End: It’s fun to park and walk around the small main drag right on the water to grab a delicious coffee and explore.
Roatán Island Brewing: Great fun stop for lunch and some interesting local brews!
Roatán Chocolate Factory: While we didn’t do the tour, we did have some great chocolate!
Punta Gorda: Punta Gorda is considered the oldest permanent settlement in Roatán. It was founded in 1797 when more than 3,000 Garifuna people from the small island of St. Vincent were stranded on the island by the British army. They ended up settling in Punta Gorda. Today, the small town on the beach is known for its culture, food, and occasional music performances. I even met another Tara! She works at a fun restaurant called Yurumei. Enjoy a little bit of culture by making a stop here!