Roatan, Honduras: Pictures and Notes

Four people in selfie mode on the beach in Roatan

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.

Favorite Photos

White sand beach and green trees, man in a Speedo
Drone photo that I took on the beach at the Grand Roatan Resort

Man SCUBA diving in Roatan, floating above the bottom
Me at the bottom of the ocean. Photo by Jessie.

Hotel: Grand Roatan Resort

We stayed at the Grand Roatan Resort. I paid around $300 per night for my Junior Suite.

Hotel room, couch in foreground
Inside my hotel room, a 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.
Patio, porch, trees, house among the trees
Aerial view of me and my Junior Suite. It was like a little house.

Dinner Conversation Topics

I was inspired by various conversations that our group had during our time together.

Four people in selfie mode on the beach in Roatan
Our group. L to R: Ben, me, Julia, Jessie

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.
Green lights on swimming pool. Palm trees, beach and ocean in the background
Looking towards sunset, from our resort near the beach in Roatan

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?
White sand beach with a palm tree, looking out to the ocean
We read on the beach a lot. Vacations are a great time to read books!!

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.

Sign for Kimberly’s Island Dish in Roatan, with a colorful drawn image of two chefs and some palm trees
No sales touts here. I liked this restaurant in the West Bay on Roatan. We ate here a few times.

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.

Perhaps a Capuchin monkey, on a small leash, sitting on a banister.
This is a monkey that we saw at lunch one day. I love monkeys.

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.

Two attractive blondes sitting on a flight
Photo by Julia. She and I happened to sit next to each other on our IAH-RTB flight leg!
  • 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.

Blue ocean, gray rocks, green trees
The rocky edge of West Bay Beach in Roatan. Photo by my drone shortly before it crashed on the rocks.

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.

SCUBA Diving

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.

My hands are up, I’m wearing a full SCUBA mask, underwater
Me going through Spooky Channel. Photo by Jessie.

Woman SCUBA diving in Roatan
Excellent SCUBA form by Jessie here.

Dive log and receipt from SCUBA diving
Dive receipt showing all of the spots that we dove. Full credit to Ben for picking the resort and the dive shop. Both were great.

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.

More Photos

Four people on the beach in Roatan
Our group towards the end of our trip. L to R: me, Julia, Jessie, Ben.

Man drinking water, me on my phone with towel on my shoulders
Ben hydrating and me in my phone on the SCUBA boat.

Conclusion

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.

BONUS PHOTO:

West End Bay beach in Roatan
Me on the beach, inside a heart sand castle that means I love you for reading my blog all the way to the end. Thanks for reading!!

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