I spent a few days at a resort in the West Bay of Roatan, Honduras in July 2019. My new friend Ben invited me to join his group there.
We went SCUBA diving, I did some freediving, we talked about business, and also read some books for our book club.
Hotel: Grand Roatan Resort
We stayed at the Grand Roatan Resort. I paid around $300 per night for my Junior Suite.
I recommend this resort for the following reasons:
- Secluded and quiet.
- Dive shop conveniently located on the property.
- You can easily walk along the beach to other restaurants.
- Great snorkeling right off the beach.
- The staff was friendly and accommodating. Extreme example: One day I lost a very small aerial drone in the dangerous lava rocks near the beach. A search party of three workers scoured the area to retrieve the drone for me.
Dinner Conversation Topics
I was inspired by various conversations that our group had during our time together.
One night at dinner I wrote down a few of the things we talked about before our meals were served:
- Paper towel dispensers, and the importance of drying one’s hands to reduce germs.
- Quantified self, specifically: What have I really changed in my life as a result of measuring things like my blood work and my sleep scores?
- Books suggested to me: American Marriage, and Manhattan Beach.
More topics that were proposed for discussion:
- Therapy culture.
- Addiction, or Rehab culture.
- Charter schools.
- Gender and sex and identity. I learned that there’s a difference between a person’s sex, which you’re born with (male or female), and someone’s gender, which can be more fluid.
- Conference ideas, or how to produce an excellent dialogue-based conference.
- What’s your Jammy Jam? Julia explained this as, What’s your go-to special thing?
Book Club, Sales Touts, and Night Boat Taxi
Book Club: We read the book Recursion by Blake Crouch together. It was universally agreed to be a page-turner. 3.5/5.
As a test, we all read ~20% of the book each day. It allowed us to talk more about the book at dinner each night. But it was logistically difficult and frustrating for some to throttle their reading. I’m glad that we tried this method, but would not repeat breaking it up.
Sales Touts: There was a considerable sales tout culture in our area of Roatan. They were friendly but very outgoing and off-putting.
Night Boat Taxi: One night we took a night boat taxi from West Bay to West End. In hindsight, this was by far the most dangerous thing we did.
During the ride, Ben was planning what he would do when we crashed: “Leave my wallet and phone and let them sink. Focus on safety and swim to shore.” I closed my eyes and tried to enjoy the ride as the distracted driver plowed through the pitch-black sea. A young boy sat at the helm, pointing a flashlight to spot ocean buoys.
Flights, Roatan Airport, and Money
Flights: I flew in on United, and out on Delta. The United points redemption was a great value vs their cash price.
- United is the only airline that offers daily flights to/from the USA, all via Houston.
- Delta and American only fly two days per week: Delta to and from Atlanta, and United to and from Miami. I think both go on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Airport: Of note at the Roatan airport: Every other Saturday, there’s a very fun live band playing at the main airport bar. Imagine people drinking alcohol at 11:30am, singing along to a packed house, spilling out into baggage check-in lines.
Airport wait times: Saturday is the busiest day at the Roatan airport (RTB). On a Saturday at 11:30am, it took me 30 minutes to check in and get my printed boarding pass on United. Then 15-20 minutes to clear exit Immigration, and only 3 minutes for security.
Money: I wish I had brought more American dollars. Everyone accepts U.S. dollars, but I’m not sure at what exchange rate. (For example: could I have gotten 10% better pricing if I paid in the local currency?) Several places – like my favorite juice shop – did not take credit cards. A few places that accepted credit cards added a hefty credit card surcharge.
Roatan is famous for SCUBA diving. We dove with West Bay Divers and I’m happy with our experience there. I liked our dive master, Sarah.
My absolute favorite dive spots in Roatan were Spooky Channel and West End Wall. I have never done something like Spooky Channel before. It was architecturally thrilling.
After SCUBA diving, I was lucky to discover some excellent freediving in Roatan. See my post for more info on that. Or, for information about the safety and training of freediving, see this article that I wrote earlier: Freediving in Thailand.
Roatan is a nice place for SCUBA diving. I would definitely go back.
If I go back, I’d like to visit the sloth rescue and do a free diving class. I would like to explore the island more.