A remote paradise about 30 miles north of mainland Honduras, Roatan is a popular stop on Western Caribbean itineraries. It's also a rising destination for avid divers, with its ideal location at the southern edge of the Mesoamerican Reef. Ships dock at both the Coxen Hole cruise complex, which offers shops, eateries, and other standard amenities and Mahogany Bay Cruise Center, which features shopping, bars and beach access.
What We Love
Maya Key: This resort and beach is a just a five-minute ferry ride from Roatan. Book an excursion here to use the swimming pool, loungers, and two secluded beaches where the clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The private property also serves as a rescue and rehabilitation center for jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, parrots, and other animals with which you can interact.
Best Known For
Beaches: West Bay Beach is widely regarded as one of the best in Honduras, and is located within a short taxi ride from the cruise pier. Your cruise ship will offer beach break excursions to West Bay, which features soft white sand and access to the reef for excellent snorkeling.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling: Divers flock to Roatan to explore its pristine turquoise waters and large barrier reef system. You can access more than two dozen top dive sites around the island year-round because the conditions are calm and rarely are affected by weather.
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Who It's Best For
Water Babies: You come to Roatan to either be in the water, on the water, or near the water. Most people like to jump right in, and scuba diving aficionados could come back again and again to try all the prime spots with access to the second-largest reef system in the world.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Be Alert: Mainland Honduras has a high rate of violent crime, and while the island of Roatan is fairly safe, tourists have been targets of petty crimes. It's wise to be cautious when you venture away from the port area on your own, and to use a reputable guide.
John Roberts is a New Jersey-based writer for ShermansCruise who worked at The Virginian-Pilot.