We’ve spent the last couple of days on Roatan, the largest and most visited of Honduras’ Bay Islands. We’re staying in West End which is where most of the lower budget travelers stay. Scuba diving is extremely popular here and cheap compared to other vacation diving destinations. Lucky for us (since we don’t dive), the snorkeling is also fantastic. It’s a bit of a weird place though. West End is just full of dive shops – all inclusive places where divers on vacation can stay, eat, and dive. There is a small, less than tidy beach right in town with some pretty good snorkeling not far from shore. Other than that, there isn’t really much to do in the town except for eat and drink.
West Bay is the resort center of this island. It’s only a couple of kilometers away from West End and has a much nicer beach. We went down there yesterday to find out that it is a total zoo. The beach was so packed with people, chairs, and vendors that you could hardly find a place to lay down your towel. There is fantastic snorkeling right off the ends of the beach though. The beach was so crazy that I think it’s safe to say I’ll never visit West Bay again. Amazingly, just around the corner from West Bay we found a restaurant/dive shop that was almost empty and had chairs in the shade. It was so relaxing to get away from all of the chaos on the beach.
Wanting to get away from all the crowds again, today we hired a boat to take us along the coast to some good snorkeling spots. We first stopped at a ship wreck that had amazing corals all around. The water was so much clearer away from the main tourist area at West Bay and West End. At another spot we even saw a couple of lobsters and a sting ray. The boat driver dropped us off for lunch at a resort located on its own beach – also very relaxing as there were only a couple other groups of people/families there. If we were going to be here another day I’d probably rent a car to get out to some more beaches like that. But, tomorrow we’re heading back to the mainland.