15 Best Things to Do on Roatan in Honduras

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  • Post last modified:04/05/2024
Best Things to Do on Roatan in Honduras. Aerial view of deserted beach in Honduras

Roatan, a captivating little island off the coast of Honduras, is undoubtedly a treasure trove for adventures both in water and on land. While it’s slightly more built up than Utila, it’s still much less developed than many other islands in the Caribbean. 

If you’re like us, you may not be into diving, but thankfully, Roatan is much more than just one of the best scuba diving spots in the world!

As avid explorers of Central America’s hidden gems, Andy and I have had the pleasure of walking on the sandy beaches of both Roatan and Utila. We’re happy to be able to share our experience and tips with you. It amazed me how this place remains authentic even as it becomes increasingly popular among cruise ships and scuba divers from around the globe. 

Best Things to Do on Roatan in Honduras. Aerial view of deserted beach in Honduras

There are plenty of things to do on Roatan both in the water and on land – we’re talking snorkelling in crystal-clear waters, hiking through lush forests to stunning viewpoints, sampling fresh seafood at small eateries, or just simply lounging on pristine beaches. 

So whether you’re planning your next trip or simply dreaming about it from afar, let me guide you through some unforgettable activities that await you on Roatan Island.

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Best Things to Do on Roatan Island

Tanya and Andy sitting on colourful wooden beach throne on Roatan Island in Honduras

As the largest and most developed of the Bay Islands, there are many things to do on Roatan, away from the cruise ships and scuba diving. So let’s explore other amazing adventures that Roatan has to offer!

1. Explore the Second Largest Barrier Reef in the World

Snorkelling colourful Mesoamerican Reef on Roatan Island in Honduras.

If you’re planning a trip to Roatan, buckle up for an adventure that will top your list – exploring the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world! We also snorkelled this reef from Puerto Morelos in Mexico, which although fantastic wasn’t as good as the snorkelling off Roatan.

Pack your snorkelling gear (or rent it from one of the many shops) and prepare to plunge into this vibrant underwater kingdom. 

The reef here is in fantastic health, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Roatan Marine Park. As you navigate through the gorgeous coral formations, you’ll share waters with turtles, stingrays, giant crabs, and colourful fish like parrotfish and lionfish. You may even stumble upon some shipwrecks! 

While many sites hint at whale shark sightings, they’ve been playing hard-to-get recently around the island. But you never know! 

This highly-rated snorkel tour offers three exceptional stops that will leave you breathless (in a good way!).

2. Relax at West Bay Beach

West Bay Beach on Roatan Island in Honduras. White sandy bay beach on left with clear turquoise sea on the right with green tree covered hill in background.

There’s no shame in spending quality time at the beach – you’re on holiday, after all! 

West Bay Beach on Roatan is one of the island’s most famous beaches. Its world-renowned reputation is well-deserved, with miles of powder-fine white sand stretching as far as the eye can see. 

This idyllic beach offers pristine, clear water ideal for snorkelling (we couldn’t believe how good the snorkelling was straight from the beach. There’s also a wide array of restaurants conveniently located nearby to satisfy your appetite after a day of fun under the sun. 

Despite being a popular spot, it doesn’t feel overcrowded—there’s room for everyone to relax and soak up the sun. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of water sports to try out, like parasailing or kayaking. And don’t be surprised if friendly locals approach you with unique items for sale—it sometimes gets annoying, but it’s also part of the charm! 

West Bay isn’t the only beautiful beach on this island paradise.

Tabyana Beach is another must-see with its enchanting white sand, coconut trees swaying in the breeze, exciting water sports, and even beach volleyball! An underwater wonderland is just 70 feet from shore—perfect for snorkelling enthusiasts. Private sun loungers are also available. 

3. Roatan Butterfly Garden

If you’re visiting Roatan and would rather not morph into a fully-fledged beach bum, then the Roatan Butterfly Garden is a perfect way to while away some time.

Located in the vibrant West End, this 2,992 square foot sanctuary is open from Sunday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm. 

Use the provided chart to spot up to 30 varieties of rare butterflies fluttering amidst colourful birds and native plants. It’s a self-guided tour, so take all the time you want. 

If a day packed with eco-adventure is more your style, consider pairing your visit to the Butterfly Garden with an invigorating hike up Carambola Mountain within the equally magnificent Carambola Garden. 

Remember, this combo is best saved for when the weather is dry. The whole setup is family-friendly, too, making it one of the unmissable things to do on Roatan!

4. Carambola Botanical Gardens and Nature Trails

Nature trail in Carambola Botanical Gardens on Roatan in Honduras

This expansive 40-acre lush green oasis is not just a feast for your eyes but also an exciting adventure for those who love exploring its gardens and trails.

The hike to the summit, just under 2 miles round trip, is worth every step. While the hike isn’t too difficult, you’ll want to leave your flip-flops at home and wear sneakers, as the path can be muddy and uneven. Luckily, it’s mostly shaded to the viewpoint. It takes most hikers about 45-60 minutes to complete the hike round-trip.

With panoramic views of Anthony’s Key and the vast ocean beyond, it’s like something out of a Caribbean dream, worth the entrance fee.

And if you’re into botanicals or chocolate making, they’ve got that covered too. You can even hire a guide to learn more.

So don’t forget to pack plenty of water and bug spray, and get ready for an incredibly warm and unforgettable couple of hours at Carambola. 

5. Enjoy the Restaurants and Bars of West End

West End is an absolute must-visit when you’re in Roatan. It’s a charming beachfront community with laid-back vibes as inviting as the turquoise waters that lap its shores. 

The West End area of Roatan is a melting pot of tourists and expats. It’s teeming with dive shops, hotels, and even an art gallery. 

But where West End truly shines is its food and drink scene. The restaurants and bars here range from cosy local haunts serving up mouth-watering island cuisine to upscale establishments offering international flavours, all at prices friendlier than those in West Bay. 

Stop by Gingers Caribbean Grill for a gastronomic treat, Roatan Divers for some underwater adventure, and cap off the day with a chilled drink at Sundowners Beach Bar.

6. Get Muddy on an ATV Dune Buggy

One of the best things to do on Roatan is hopping on an ATV Dune Buggy for a thrilling jungle adventure. 

It’s a fun and unique way to explore the island’s lush landscape. There’s nothing quite like feeling the wind whip through your hair as you navigate through the muddy trails, with each turn offering another stunning view of Roatan. 

The tour guides are well-known for ensuring everyone is having a good time and staying safe. Don’t forget to pack a change of clothes and a towel – things will get muddy, and that’s part of the fun! 

7. Become Scuba Certified

Of course, getting scuba certified had to make it onto my list of top things to do on Roatan – how could it not? The Bay Islands are globally recognised for their affordable certification courses. 

Roatan Divers is one of the island’s best dive shops and has a comprehensive beginner certification package. This includes your PADI e-learning, dives, and gear. In just 2-3 days, you’ll go through the theory, practice in shallow waters, and experience 2 fantastic open water dives. 

If you’re unsure about taking the plunge right away, dip your toes in first with a Discovery Dive at Roatan Divers. You spend half a day learning some theory and basic skills before enjoying an unforgettable 40-minute dive in open waters.

If you already dive there are plenty of other diving trips you can join.

8. Sip on Craft Beer and Rum

Roatan Island Brewing Company is the hidden gem you didn’t know you needed on your island adventure. This craft brewery offers more than just a refreshing sip. Their selection of locally brewed beers and ciders is as diverse as they are tasty. 

The establishment also boasts a welcoming area for kids and pets to run around, making it an ideal spot for family outings. 

And if hunger strikes amidst your drink sampling, their food menu won’t disappoint – especially their ceviche, which has gained quite a reputation among locals. Not to mention, those soothing jungle views add a touch of tranquillity to your visit. 

But don’t worry if you’re not located nearby or prefer not to drive out — their brews are available at bars and restaurants across the island, so you won’t miss out. 

If beer isn’t your jam, there’s always Roatan Rum Company waiting to win over your taste buds with complimentary rum and rum cake! 

9. Take a Cooking Class

If you want to spice up your Roatan adventure, why not join a cooking class? Cooking classes are held at Sunflower Cafe (on-site at the hostel) on Wednesdays at 5 pm. Beloved islander chef Chilsey Bodden guides hostel guests and those just passing by. 

You’ll have all the ingredients you need to whip up a mouth-watering local dish, plus lots of help from the chef. The menu changes weekly, so there’s always something new to look forward to – think hearty stewed chicken with rice and beans or delicate fish in a coconut milk sauce. 

After about an hour and a half of fun-filled cooking, you’ll get to relax and enjoy the dinner you’ve created. 

10. Visit Utila Island

Colourful I Love Utila sign on Utila in Honduras

If you’re on the Roatan and itching to explore more of the Bay Islands, check out Utila! Just catch the daily ferry via the Utila Dream company at 2 pm. The journey is just an hour, plenty of time to soak in the stunning views. 

The earliest return trip to Roatan is scheduled for 10:20 am the next day, so you’ll enjoy an overnight stay on this laid-back island. 

This smaller slice of paradise offers a slower pace than its larger neighbour – it’s perfect if you’re seeking serenity and want to connect more deeply with local culture. 

So, whether getting lost in the maze of quaint streets or simply unwinding by the beachfront under a palm tree, Utila promises an experience beyond sightseeing.


11. Explore Roatan by Catamaran

Imagine yourself lounging on the deck of a catamaran, a refreshing cocktail in hand, while the boat slices through the azure waters surrounding this tropical paradise. In other words, booking a catamaran tour is one of the best things to do on Roatan!

Snorkeling directly from the boat adds an exciting twist. Timing your voyage with sunset amplifies the experience tenfold. 

This tour also offers ample opportunities to mingle with fellow travellers. However, if you seek privacy, don’t hesitate to book a private cruise for a more intimate experience. 

And here’s the cherry on top: an open bar and food included are in this package, so all you need to do is sit back and soak up every unforgettable moment!

12. Eat Fresh Seafood and Baleadas

Roatan is a foodie’s paradise, especially if you have a soft spot for seafood and local delicacies. The island boasts several superb restaurants like Loretta’s Island Cooking, Gio’s Restaurant, and Blue Bahia Beach Grill

Roatan restaurants serve up the freshest sea bounty, and it’s not uncommon to find Lionfish on their menu – an invasive species that’s fair game for fishing on the reef. 

But don’t limit yourself to just traditional seafood – make sure you treat your taste buds to some authentic Honduran street food as well. Enter Baleadas: flour tortillas bulging with refried beans and salty crumbly cheese – Honduras’ delicious answer to the Salvadorean Pupusa. For the best baleadas in town, head straight to Calelu’s

13. Go Fishing

For the angling aficionados among us, booking a fishing charter with the legendary ‘bonefish whisperer’ is hands down one of the most unforgettable experiences you can have in Roatan. 

This seasoned guide, who’s as much an educator as a coach, will have you reeling in bonefish, permit, and tarpon like a pro in no time. 

The excitement of catching these amazing creatures is only topped by the peaceful beauty of spending a day out on the shimmering waters around the island. And let’s not forget about the food served on board – superbly fresh and deliciously prepared to add that final flourish to your trip. 

If you fancy a different fishing experience there are tours to suit everyone that you can book at agencies on Roatan or in advance online.

14. Get Your Fix at the Roatan Chocolate Factory

If you explore the charming West End, visiting the Roatan Chocolate Factory is a must. 

These folks are not only crafting some of the best chocolate on the island, but they’re also doing it in a socially responsible way. As you step into their humble factory and sampling area on the second floor, you’ll be swept up in the rich and tantalising aromas of locally produced chocolate. 

Treat yourself to a chocolate-making class and learn how this heavenly treat is made, or simply stop by to indulge in some samples – your taste buds will thank you! 

And if you fancy getting hands-on, grab tickets for their chocolate-making class. After visiting here, hand-crafted chocolate will hold a new meaning for you!

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15. Kayak in the French Cay Harbour

One of the most fun things to do on Roatan is kayaking in French Cay Harbour. This isn’t your regular kayaking adventure – it’s a chance to immerse yourself in the mangroves, the island’s vibrant floating ecosystem. 

As you glide through the serene mangroves, watch for our feathered friends – the king fisherman, great blue heron, and osprey – showing off their impressive fishing skills. After you’ve soaked up the sights and sounds, swap your kayak for a snorkel and dive into the crystal-clear water to explore the mesmerising reef below.

Note: You may have noticed that I haven’t included animal encounters on the list of best things to do on Roatan (other than potential whale shark sightings). While such experiences can be incredible, I’ve intentionally left them off this list, as I believe in responsible tourism. It’s best not to promote close contact with animals without a thorough knowledge of their ethical implications. 

Where to Stay in Roatan

You’ll be spoilt for choice of where to stay on Roatan. West Bay offers high-end stays near some of the island’s best beaches and sunset views, while the West End is more laid back and cost-friendly and has some of the island’s best restaurants and bars. A lot of expats call the West End home. Don’t worry about travelling between these two – a convenient water ferry has you covered!

Ibagari Boutique Hotel in the West Bay is a little on the pricey side but gorgeous.

Mr. Tucan Hotel in the West End offers beachfront views and scrumptious breakfasts. 

If you prefer something quieter and cheaper, Sandy Bay is just 10 minutes away by bus or taxi. There you can find Blue Bahia Resort with an outdoor pool and beach access for some serene relaxation time. Also in Sandy Bay is Puerta Azul, a boutique bed-and-breakfast boasting a tranquil beach setting, mouthwatering cuisine, and sea views in select rooms. 

No matter where you stay, enjoy your time on this beautiful island!


So, as you can see there are plenty of things to do on Roatan to keep you busy for several days or even for an extended stay. Whatever you like doing and whatever your budget there’s something for everyone. It’s a great addition to your Honduras itinerary, possibly combined with some time on Utila or Guanaja; maybe before or after a trip to La Ceiba and Pico Bonito National Park over on the mainland.


Have you been to Roatan in Honduras? Did you do anything else that we missed, that visitors should consider doing?

Planning Your Trip to Roatan?

Planning your trip to Roatan in Honduras? Here are some of our recommended useful resources to help you have the best time possible.

TRAVEL INSURANCE IS AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION! World Nomads offers cover for travellers in over 100 countries and True Traveller is a great option if you’re from the UK or EU.

SafetyWing is another solution, particularly for digital nomads and long-term travellers.

● Use Wise (formerly Transferwise) for sending or receiving money internationally. It’s cheap, easy and transparent.

● Find amazing flight deals on Skyscanner and Kayak.

● Compare rental car prices on Rentalcars.com.

Book other ground transportation with 12Go and  Bookaway.

● Booking.com usually have the best hotel prices.

● Our go-to for self-catering accommodation is Vrbo.

● Discover fantastic trips and activities with Viator and GetYourGuide.

● Check out Bookmundi, G Adventures, and  Intrepid Travel for group holidays and tours.

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Tanya Korteling

Tanya is the founder and head content creator for Can Travel Will Travel. She combines freelance SEO, CRO, Data and Marketing consultancy with exploring the world. Passionate about adventure, nature, wildlife and food, she incorporates these in her travels as much as possible. She also loves immersing herself in new cultures. She's visited hundreds of destinations in 50+ countries and lived in 4 countries. Tanya worked as a Data Planning Manager and Digital Marketing Strategist before leaving the UK in 2016 with her husband Andy, to travel, live and work abroad indefinitely. Together they share their experiences and useful information to inspire and encourage others to do the same.

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