Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Roatan, Honduras

  • Published 2022/07/08

The island of Roatan lies in the coastal waters of the western Caribbean, around 65 kilometers north of Honduras.

This stretch of 45-mile landmass, together with the islands of Guanaja and Utila and other smaller islands and cays, make up the second-largest barrier reef in the world.

Roatan is the largest among these Bay Islands.

Coxen Hole is the municipal capital of Roatan and is also the most densely populated town.

Besides the unspoiled Roatan beaches, the island has plenty of scenic spots and activities.

Discover the best things to do in Roatan, Honduras.

Go Beach Bumming, Diving, or Snorkeling at West Bay Beach

Aerial view of the beautiful West Bay Beach

Cesar Aroche /

Located in the west of Roatan, West Bay Beach is perfect for your beach getaway.

The seaside attraction is known for its pristine white sand beach and crystal blue waters.

No wonder Caribbean Travel and Life hailed it among the top 5 beaches in the world in 2011.

It’s also a favorite diver’s spot.

Tourists enjoying the sun and the waters of West Bay Beach

mundosemfim /

You’ll love diving and snorkeling on the coastal waters on this west coast or enjoy basking under the sun and swimming in its cool, calm waters.

You can try the Coral Reef Explorer, one of the biggest attractions in the area, where you’ll explore the entire reef and see schools of fish on a glass-bottom boat.

You can also catch the international Caribbean Cup freediving competition in May with competitors across the world.

A boat on the waters of West Bay Beach

Angelina Pilarinos /

Get in Touch with Nature at Carambola Botanical Gardens

The 40-acre Carambola Botanical Gardens is in Sandy Bay.

This tropical garden offers several nature trails to hike, explore natural wildlife, take shots of natural attractions or simply relax.

You can watch exotic birds like the Smooth-billed ani, brown hawk, or a Golden-fronted woodpecker.

Meet other wildlife like monkeys jumping from tree to tree or see brightly colored Anole lizards springing up for some sun.

The jungle trail will also lead you to an array of native plants, from orchids and exotic medicinal plants to fruit-bearing trees.

You would enjoy the trek going through the Cahoon forest and uphill towards the peak of Carambola Mountain.

Once you reach the summit, you can relax on the deck and enjoy the scenic view overlooking the woods and distant seas.

Spend Quality Family Time at Gumbalimba Park

Welcome sign of Gumbalimba Park

quiggyt4 /

Gumbalimba Park is an eco-adventure and history park that your family can enjoy together.

Located at the beachfront of West Bay, you’re sure to have a fun time in this 20-acre attraction.

The park offers walking trails where you see more of Roatan’s natural views.

Cross a 237 feet suspension bridge over the lagoon.

The monkey trail zip line at Gumbalimba Park

Solarisys /

Meeting the animals face to face is an unforgettable experience that Gumbalimba Park offers.

Since it’s also an animal sanctuary, the animals in the park roam freely and are ready to greet you when you visit.

Kids can see iguanas and different lizards roaming in the park’s area. You can also see exotic parrots and take pictures with colorful macaws and capuchin monkeys.

The park tour also includes a visit to an insectarium and a museum to give you an idea of the island’s history.

A sloth on a tree at Gumbalimba Park

quiggyt4 /

Go Extreme for a Zipline Adventure at King Kong

The King Kong Extreme is near the Port of Roatan, Coxen Hole.

You can try this zipline attraction for a next-level adventure.

See the impressive views from more than 300 feet above and speed up to 70 miles an hour with King Kong’s largest zipline ride.

If you love heights and extreme adventures, this is the perfect place.

The canopy consists of 23 platforms and 14 double cables.

Get some adrenaline rush, especially if you love heights.

This is an attraction worth adding to your Roatan experience.

Adventure plus nature equals fantastic fun.

Discover Marine Treasures in the Waters of Maya Key

Aerial view of the breathtaking Maya Key

Stephanie’screativeImages /

You won’t get enough of the calm blue waters of this Caribbean island.

And there’s more to see when you dive in for some snorkeling.

The Maya Key is one of the beach areas on the island where you can get the most out of your snorkeling experience.

A wooden pier at Maya Key /

This private island is simply a paradise, just a five-minute boat ride from the Port of Roatan.

A few feet from the shore, you can get your snorkeling gear ready and set your eyes on fascinating coral formations.

You’ll see different species of fish and various marine life.

Piers are also available so that you can easily access fantastic reefs.

Learn More about Rum at the Roatan Rum Company

One popular destination on the island is the Roatan Rum Company.

The brewery is between West End and the West Bay area.

You can get free samples of different rum flavors and cakes.

You can have your rum flavor concocted with a personalized label as a souvenir on your Roatan trip.

And, of course, you can purchase the Rum Company’s mouth-watering rum cakes made with fresh ingredients and flavored with their signature rums.

Bring some souvenirs, like their hand-rolled Honduran Rum Cigars.

You guessed it; it’s infused with Honduran rum.

Likewise, you can choose other keepsakes from their local souvenir shops.

Don’t forget to catch the spectacular panorama of the Caribbean Seas from the back door of the brewery.

Enjoy the Nightlife at the West End

Scenic sunset at West End

Unai Huizi Photography /

West End is an island village on Roatan’s northwest side and features many restaurants and nightlife spots.

This bustling area sits in a cove, and you can quickly get there through a ten-minute boat ride from West Bay.

The local town is lined with great places to eat when you get hungry.

You can have a taste of food varieties, but you wouldn’t want to miss the local Roatan cuisine.

This place is where the “eats” meets west.

A bar at West End beach

Unai Huizi Photography /

The waters at the West End are shallow and just perfect if you want to take a swim in serene waters.

You can get to Half Moon, one of the island’s famous coves, and have a relaxing view of the setting sun.

Your West End experience only begins after sunset.

This town comes to life with strips of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants you can visit.

Go bar-hopping with friends or dance the night away with live music in beachfront clubs.

Silhouette of West End beach huts during sunset

Unai Huizi Photography /

Meet the Dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences

The Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences in Bailey’s Key area is home to many Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins.

Mingle with these lively sea creatures because they’re ready to give you a handshake and even a kiss or a smile.

You’ll also enjoy the company of the dolphins while you swim and snorkel and encounter more of Roatan’s marine life underwater.

Visit this more memorable attraction by becoming a dolphin trainer for a day.

You’ll also learn about aquatic life and the environment when you visit the Marine Science facilities.

Hang Out with the Sloths at Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout

A smiling sloth on a tree at Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout

MarkChartier /

There’s plenty to see and discover with Roatan’s wildlife.

You can check out some animal parks for a fun learning experience.

Meet and greet some calm and furry sloths at Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout in the French Cay area.

You’ll see these gentle mammals climbing and blending with the trees.

A sloth on a tree at Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout

MarkChartier /

You’ll also have a chance to get some hugs and smiles from these lovable creatures.

Bring your camera to take some snapshots with them.

You can play with the monkeys and macaws in this animal park.

It’s a family-friendly attraction that everyone can enjoy.

See Creative Colorful Artworks at Waves of Art Gallery

Located at West End, the Waves of Art Gallery welcomes visitors with its bright and colorful artistic façade.

Owner and founder Michele Braun is also one of the in-house artists expressing her creativity in vivid colors with nature as her inspiration.

Lidia Hernandez manages the gallery, which hosts regular art shows and exhibits showcasing the island’s folk art artistic creations.

View the various works of Virginia Castillo in different mediums with themes of local Caribbean settings and subjects.

Check out fantastic nature photography pieces by Shawn Jackson, a known commercial photographer of several prominent Caribbean and international resorts and hotels.

You’ll also glimpse Ciseron Bautista’s Surrealism-Post Cubism works of art and see why he has become one of Latin America’s sought-after artists.

Visit the gallery’s gift shop and find handmade goods, local crafts, and products manufactured in Roatan.

Relax at the Caribbean Fish Therapy

Inside the Town Center and Mahogany Beach, guests can enjoy a relaxing exclusive treat at the Caribbean Fish Therapy.

Have a Fish Pedicure Treatment or a Fish Manicure Treatment to get a natural, one-of-a-kind cleansing and energy boost.

The Garra Rufa fish initiates natural peeling by sucking impurities from the skin and stimulating microcirculation and exfoliation, releasing an enzyme called dithranol to regenerate healthy skin.

The fish originate from a certified breeding location and are raised under regulated conditions.

Take a seat and immerse your feet in the tanks to get a soothing and relaxing cleansing fish spa.

Rest assured that the tanks use modern technology and follow approved health standards, regularly purified with a filtering system and UV sterilization.

Enjoy an Island Staycation at Fort Morgan

The waters of Fort Morgan Cay

Einkimadu, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A great way to enjoy and get the most of Roatan is having an island stay at Fort Morgan.

The incomparable natural setting around the Cay and the mild climate provides a truly relaxing island escapade.

You can take a shuttle boat to get you to and from the island and the main Roatan island through the Port Royal Harbor.

You’ll enjoy complimentary drinks available like fresh juices, Honduran coffee, or tea, or you can request a serving of wine or special drinks with an extra charge.

Taste the island delicacies and specialties on the menu, primarily fresh vegetables and local fish recipes freshly prepared for you.

Grab Handcrafted Cameos at the Stone Castle Cameo Institute

Check out artistic cameo collections at the Stone Castle Cameo Institute.

View rare and intricately carved pieces from brooches to pendants and rings, showing the artistry of local artisans, including Franco, the institute’s master carver who brought the cameo art form from Italy.

He shared his carving knowledge and skills with Roatan locals and hired locals to promote the cottage industry and local economy.

You’ll start the tour by viewing how the art pieces are made and learning about cameo history and its manufacture.

The pieces are made from Honduran conch shells and creatively carved to make jewelry for lamps.

You can purchase these items as souvenirs.

Enjoy a Day Hike at the Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum

Check out the Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum, Roatan’s 160-acre “Tropical Eden.”

See the extensive grounds of stunning botanical gardens, where you’ll be amazed at the expansive display of exotic plants and flowers.

See the abundant orchards, walk through the nature hiking trails to view unique tropical nature and breathtaking ocean vistas, go for some bird watching, or drop by the lovely butterfly garden and duck pond.

The guided tour even includes a mud run and an obstacle course for the active traveler.

You’ll also tour the hydroponic farm, which features water conservation and sustainable farming methods that grow safer and fresher produce like lettuce and herbs.

Encounter Iguanas at Arch’s Iguana and Marine Park

Situated on the French Cay with abundant tropical native plants, Arch’s Iguana and Marine Park is a famous iguana excursion and the oldest park and sanctuary in Roatan.

Sherman Arch started the park in 1980 to provide habitat and protect iguanas in the area.

Today, it is the sanctuary for over 4,000 iguanas, including the Black Spiny-tailed Iguana, native to Central America.

You’ll interact with these iguanas, feed them with leaves, and even hold them on your visit.

You’ll also meet other animals like the active capuchin monkeys, the colorful scarlet macaws, and exotic Amazon parrots.

The park also offers a marine park where you can feed tarpon, sea bass, and other native tropical fish.

Don’t forget to drop by the gift shop for some souvenirs and local goods to purchase.

Final Thoughts

Roatan island is one unique beach paradise.

You can do plenty of water activities on the islands’ beaches, coves, and cays.

You can also get the best of the island’s nature and wildlife with several park attractions.

Book a Roatan tour today and enjoy summer like no other!

Best Hotels in Roatan

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