Roatan is part the Bay Islands of Honduras. Honduras is located in Central America and has borders with Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. The Honduran North Coast borders the Caribbean Sea while a small section of the Southern Coast borders the Pacific Ocean.
The Bay Islands are located between 70 and 40 miles from the Honduran North Coast in the Caribbean Sea. The Bay Islands consist of over 70 islands and cays. The larger three islands are Roatan, Utila and Guanaja.
Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands and is approx 30 miles long and from 1 to 4 miles wide. A mountain ridge runs along the spine of the island and reaches approx 800 feet above sea level at its highest point.
The climate of Roatan is tropical, hot and humid, though constant sea breezes keep the islands average temperature between 70°F and 90°F. The yearly average temperature is 82°F. The rainiest months in Roatan are October through January and the average rain fall is 87 inches.
– Banks and Currency
Banks in Roatan are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm and Saturday from 9 am to midday. This does vary though from bank to bank. It is recommended to avoid visiting banks at the end of the month or before or after a public holiday as the banks can be extremely busy, and you may need to wait 1 to 3 hrs to be served.
The official currency in Honduras is the Lempira though US$ are accepted through out Roatan and the Bay Islands. Credit cards are accepted in some restaurants, hotels and stores. There maybe an additional charge for credit card purchases. It is recommended where possible for smaller purchases to use cash.
Cash advances can be taken on major credit cards at most banks. Also ATM machines can be found in West End, Coxen Hole and French Harbor for cash advances on major credit cards.
Traveler’s checks can be exchanged at most banks or hotels. US$ travelers checks are recommended as most other currencies will be hard to change in Roatan.
Spanish is the official language of Honduras and Roatan. English is spoken through out Roatan and the Bay Islands, and most local residents speak some English and Spanish.
– Time in Roatan
Roatan is in the Central Time zone and does not observe daylight saving time. Honduras and Roatan is 6 hours behind Greenwich mean time (GMT).
The local electricity in Roatan is 110 volts, 60 MHz. This is identical to the USA, and also uses the same plugs. Voltage drops and irregularities in quality of electricity can occur, so consider bringing a surge protector for valuable items.
– Internet and Communications
In Roatan you will find Internet cafes and phones for international or local calls available in West End, Coxen Hole and French Harbour. The majority of major hotels in Roatan will also offer internet and phone services for guests.
Roatan is home to a wide variety of shopping options, from the t-shirt and souvenir stores to art galleries and local craft stores. A shopping mall is currently being completed near French Harbour which will feature a variety of department style stores.
Supermarkets can be found in Coxen Hole and French Harbour while smaller style grocery stores can be found in West End, Sandy Bay, Oak Ridge and Punta Gorda.
– Traveling to Roatan
A valid passport is required for all visitors to Roatan.
Find below a list of the direct flights available to Roatan:
Taca from Houston, Saturdays
Taca from Miama, Sundays
Continental from Houston, Saturdays
Delta from Altanta, Saturdays
Daily direct flights are offered with American, Continental and Taca to and from San Pedro Sula. From San Pedro Sula a local connecting flight can be taken with either Islena (part of Taca) or Sosa Airlines.
You can also reach Roatan by bus and ferry. Direct first class bus services leave San Pedro Sula three to four times a day for La Ceiba. From La Ceiba the Galaxy Wave ferry leaves twice daily for the 1 ¼ hr journey to Roatan.
– Airport Taxes
All international passengers are required to pay approx a $40 per person departure airport tax. Only cash is accepted for this departure tax.
Roatan is a very safe holiday destination, though basic travel common sense is required. Be careful where you walk at night, do not carry or show a lot of valuable items, do not leave unattended items on the beach etc.
No vaccinations are required to enter Roatan and Honduras. However, it is always good plan to have your Tetanus, Hepatitus A & B up to date before traveling. Check with your local doctor before departure.
Malaria is found intermittently along most of the North Coast of Honduras and sometimes in the Bay Islands. Wearing insect repellant and clothing such as sleeved shirts and pants are a good idea during dawn and dusk hours and in mosquito prone areas even if you are taking preventive medication.
On Roatan you will find a public hospital and a few private clinics, Wood’s Clinic, Cornerstone Medical Clinic at Anthony’s Key Resort and Clinica Esperanza in Sandy Bay. Pharmacies can be found in Coxen Hole and French Harbour for basic medical requirements, though all prescription medicines should be brought with you.
– Packing for Roatan
The Roatan climate is warm all year round except for November, December and January. Light casual clothing is best and a rain jacket, sandals, bathing suit and sturdy hiking boots or shoes are all important items to bring. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are needed most of the year, as the sun is hot and strong. Insect repellent is also needed mainly for nights and some beaches where sand flies are found.
Additional traveling items
Photocopies of passport and airline tickets
Back up money supply in travelers checks or credit card
Camera and film
Day travel bag
Always tag or label all your luggage when flying to and from Roatan.