Roatan Travel Guide – Tips and Things You Need To Know For Your Next Trip
If you have a vacation to Roatan planned in the near future, you are in for a great time! Roatan is a beautiful island and one of the best places in the world for an underwater adventure.
There are a few things that you need to know about visiting Roatan and I put together this guide with tips to help you with your planning. It will include answers to many questions I had as a first time traveler to Roatan including where to stay, what to do, what to pack and more.
Currency and Using Cash In Roatan
The currency in Roatan is the Honduran Lempira. The exchange rate fluctuates but as of Aug 2017, the exchange rate is 23 Limperas to 1 US Dollar.
- Bring US dollars to Roatan. Most of the ATMs are compromised so it is not a good idea to use them.
- Bring only small bills, 20 and under. The reason for this is that banks in Honduras, including those in Roatan, will not accept large bills. That means that the businesses will not accept them either. While some businesses will take larger bills, you don’t want to be caught in a situation where a business won’t accept them.
- Make sure your bills are crisp and new as possible. Businesses will not accept torn or overly wrinkled US dollars. Again, this is because the banks will not accept them. I did have a vendor refuse a $5 bill that looked too worn to them. So it does happen!
Businesses will give you change in dollars and in some cases Lempiras. I found that 9 times out of 10, I got US dollars back for change.
Do businesses take credit cards?
Some businesses will take credit cards, but they may charge a sizable fee to use them. Make sure to ask before you use the credit card if there are fees. You will want to use cash in cases where they do not accept credit cards or the fee is too high.
What To Wear
It is hot and humid in Roatan so bring light clothing such as shorts, tank tops, sandals. Everyone dresses like they are going to the beach everyday which is one of the things I love about Roatan! It is very relaxed. If you are going in the rainy season, bring a light rain jacket, poncho and something to keep you dry and warm in case it cools down in the evenings.
What To Pack
Here is a list of essentials to pack to Roatan.
- Bug Repellent – Mosquitos and Sand Fleas can really put a damper on your vacation so you will need bug spray everyday. I prefer natural bug repellent which uses essential oils to repel bugs because most commercial bug sprays have many toxic chemicals in them. I will be posting DIY Bug Spray recommendations soon!
- Sunscreen – Waterproof sunscreen is ideal if you plan on being in the water. Make sure it is Reef Safe since the chemicals in many sunscreens contribute to bleaching the coral. Lets keep the reef safe for generations to come by making small contributions to use reef safe sunscreen and body products.
- I suggest Thinksport SPF 50 Sunscreen which is Reefsafe. You can find it on amazon here http://amzn.to/2w6w3pt
- Snorkel Gear – Bringing your own snorkel gear to Roatan will allow you to snorkel on your own from the beach and save you money! Renting snorkel gear can get very expensive and if you are like me, you will want to snorkel everyday since Roatan has the most amazing reef just off shore. I recommend the Tribord Easybreath Full Face Snorkel Mask. (You can also read my review of the mask here.)
- Benadryl – Even if you do not have any known allergies, bring this in case you have a reaction to bug bites or food.
- Medications – Tylenol, Sinus meds, Ibuprophen and any other prescriptions you may need.
- Small First Aid Kit
- Beach Bag
- Coconut Oil – I suggest coconut oil to help sooth your skin after being in the sun. Some people also use Aloe Vera which can also be very beneficial to assisting with sunburn.
- Mini Flashlight – Roatan has occasional blackouts or time periods where the electricity is turned off for “maintenance and repairs.” So, it is helpful to have a flashlight to light up the street paths and to see your way through your vacation home. I like carrying a mini flashlight with me at night too incase I need to see the roads better while walking.
No Addresses In Roatan
There are no addresses in Roatan. Really! The address to my vacatoin rental went something like this…. Tell the taxi driver to go towards West End, take the first round about and exit to the first right. Then go past sundowners and look for a long fence of the right. To the left, look for a red house. Our address the the house next door, inbetween the blue and yellow house.
That was the “address” and it was truly an adventure finding my apartment rental. Quite an experience! So make sure to get the best directions you can for anywhere you go.
How to Get Around
Taxi and Water Taxi – If you are staying on the West End or in West Bay, you will not need a car. You can take a car taxi or water taxi to get wherever you need to go. During my stay in Roatan, I was in a car total of 2 times and that during my ride to and from the airport. I walked and took a water taxi the rest of the time.
Car – For more remote areas or even Sandy Bay, you may want to consider renting a car.
Airport Transportation – Taxis are readily available at the airport. They have set prices based on where you need to go. For instance, a taxi ride to West End is around $25 US dollars. You do not need to tip drivers since the price includes tip. (This information was given to me by a local. If you feel the need to tip extra, please do!)
Grocery Stores For Food and Supplies
The main grocery store on the island is Eldons in Coxen Hole. You can ask your taxi driver to stop at the store on the way from the airport to pick up groceries for the week. Most taxi drivers will not charge you extra, but just make sure to ask to make sure there are no surprises!
On the West End, there is a grocery store called Woody’s. It is not as big as Eldons but they have basic items like water, fruit, groceries, sunscreen, etc. It is similar to 7-11.
Where to Go For Diving
There are dive shops all over the island. West End has dozens of dive shops so you can easily find a dive shop once you get there.
Snorkel Tour Tips
The dive shops have boats that take their divers out up to 3 times a day. They allow snorkelers to come with them for $15-20. They take you to the main snorkel/dive spots and you will also be with trained professionals for a piece of mind. This is a good way to save some money instead of paying for expensive snorkel tours.
Accommodations/Where To Stay
I suggest renting a home or apartment because it is more affordable than the resorts and you will also feel more at home in Roatan. West End is a great area to stay because you can walk to beaches, restaurants, bars, shops and all you need is nearby. West Bay is also a popular area to stay, but there are lots of resorts in the area so it has a bit more of a touristy feel, so keep that in mind!
- I rented a home from Flipkey while I was in Roatan. It was a great place 1 minute from the beach and West End. You can read more about Flipkey in my post here.
What To Do In Roatan – Below are links to previous posts on what to do in Roatan. Have a wonderful time in Roatan and come back to tell us about your trip!