"Roatan of Las Islas de la Bahia" Top 5 Page for this destination Isla de Roatán by starship

Isla de Roatán Travel Guide: 312 reviews and 706 photos

For Lovers of Outdoor Adventures

Because we had not yet visited the mainland of Central America, the opportunity to visit even a small part of two countries there was one of the main reasons we had chosen this particular cruise. The advance research I had done made Roatan sound appealing for a number of reasons: culture, the crafts, the beach, and the ZIPLINING!! Roatan is a hilly, and lushly green island and the towering trees provide a high and lengthy drop for great ziplining which ends down at the beach.

Our plan was to take an excursion which included a stop at Tabyana Beach at the western tip of the island combined with something I've never done but thought I definitely wanted to try before my fifty-something birthday---ZIPLINING!! Although it is also called a "canopy tour," I wouldn't call it that ---because you definitely didn't have time to look around at the trees or anything in them!! LOL

We would not have to tender over to Roatan today as our ship would tie up at the pier near Dixon Cove near Coxen Hole on the southwest side of the island. As we sailed into port we could see that there was no formal welcoming center at the pier, no tourist information center or anything of that sort. Those going ashore were grouped by excursion and we made our way onto the bus which was going first to Tabyana Beach for what I thought would be some swim time and a beach BBQ. The details were not handled well by the tour operators on shore and we didn't know that we had to find out what our assigned time was for the ziplining and then be sure we were on the right bus when the time came. Almost as soon as we got off of the bus at Tabyana, we found out that our ziplining time was scheduled within the next half hour so we had to make a mad dash for the bus going there!!

The ziplining was scary, thrilling, exhausting and fabulous! When it was all over I felt like I had really proved something to myself. Anyway, going back to Tabyana Beach afterwards was a severe disappointment---this was mainly because the beach was crowded, the garbage containers were overflowing and the BBQ lunch was over. The water was too murky at this point for any snorkeling. Now I have to point out that the beach itself was quite beautiful and unusual. There were lots of beautiful palm trees for shade, the sand was fine and white, the view was beautiful and it was a brilliant, sunny place to be. It just didn't work for us because of the lengthy time ziplining. But for many people, it had been a great experience!

We never had the opportunity to venture any farther afield on our own to walk towards town or look for any of the Lenca pottery that is made only in Honduras. I wish we had time to do more, but it wasn't in the cards this trip! The time was just too short!!

Some Interesting Facts

Eight islands and over 60 bays comprise what is known as "Las Islas de la Bahia", of Honduras. The island of Roatan is the largest of these 8 islands even though it is only 40 miles long and approximately 4 miles wide. Its approximately population of ONLY 30,000 people represents a wide array of ancestral origins: English, Afro-Antillean, Anglo-Antillean, Spanish, the Payan Indians, Spanish-Honduran, and North American.

Although it is definitely situated in a hurricane zone, Roatan enjoys a year-round temperature of about 80 degrees and is swept by constant tradewinds. (I didn't feel them the day we were there!!)

One of Islas de la Bahia's most spectacular natural features is the "Bonacca Ridge" which the islands sit upon. It is an enormous fault running along the ocean floor for 40 miles. The fault caused the ridge to be formed when lava eminating from the Earth's mantle welled up through a crack and formed the "Caribbean plate." The plate subsequently buckled and created the Bonacca Ridge.

I remember a guide telling us that right off shore, the drop off was in the thousands of feet deep and finding it incredible. It is no wonder then that our ship was able to anchor at the pier!!

A Brief History

The original inhabitants of Roatan were the Payas, a tribe of the Amerindians. There are no purely Payans left on the Bay Islands today. During the 13th & 14th centuries, Europeans came to the islands and for a couple hundred years the Spanish Conquistadors and British pirates battled for possession of the islands. These two groups mostly ignored the Payas and tended to using the islands for food, wood, a safe harbor, and slave trading. In 1641, the Spanish governor of Honduras ordered the depopulation of the Bay Islands oddly enough, so that British pirates could no longer use the islands as an outpost.

Following that, the first permanent settlers were the Caribs from St. Vincent, who were forcibly moved to the islands as punishment for an unsucessful mutiny against their British slave owners. Settling on the north shore in Punta Gorda, their descendants became known as the Garifuna. These people were followed by freed black men, and white farmers from the Caymans around the 1830's and it was the combination of these groups which became known as "islanders".

NOTE: Once known as BRITISH HONDURAS, the island was a British Colony until the Wykes-Cruz Treaty of 1859 which returned sovereignty of the island to Honduras. Over 300 islanders left the island when this treaty made certain that Honduras would have control of the island.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Ziplining, diving, snorkeling and the beaches!
  • Last visit to Isla de Roatán: Mar 2005
  • Intro Updated Apr 5, 2007
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Reviews (11)

Comments (27)

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Mar 6, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    Wow, you are a brave girl :-)) Ziplining is something I once wanted to do too but.... I might need a bit more fitness now. This looks like a fabulous trip, despite the chaos afterwards at the beach. But that is indeed a sad thing when too many people create such a mess.

    • starship's Profile Photo
      Mar 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      Ingrid, thanks for having a look at this page and for the ratings. I didn't realize it at the time, but ziplining in Roatan was like child's play compared to the ziplining I did in Costa Rica. Also, I liked Costa Rica so much more as a whole. I probably would not go back to Roatan.

    • Trekki's Profile Photo
      Mar 6, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      Welcome :-)) I remember your writeup about ziplining in Costa Rica :-) Oh, this reminds me - I taped a docu about Costa Rica, because it is high on my list :-)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Sylvia, interesting page about this gem of Honduras. I must admit that I´have never heard of ziplining before.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    What an amazing place to explore. Another excellent page Sylvia!

  • Feb 23, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    ive heard some good things about roatan, and your page confirms it. i remember ziplining across the colca canyon in peru - nearly crapped by pants it was so scary! but fun!!! nice work sylvia.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    The canopy tour sounds to have been fun (I have only done a shorter one with three stops). And the Lenca pottery looks beautiful!

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2009 at 3:06 AM

    Love that Yaba Ding Ding Pottery- and not just for the name lol! Its beautiful. The canopy tour sounds like fun. We have a similar thing going in Daintree Forest, Queensland. Great page, Sylvia.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Sep 29, 2008 at 1:15 PM

    Enjoyed reading about Isla de Roatan esp. the Canopy Tour - sounds like an awesome thing to do. Also enjoyed the info on Yaba Ding Ding & the Lenca Pottery. Well done!

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Feb 5, 2008 at 10:02 AM

    A nice place to relax & reflect = good updates Sylvia!!

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2008 at 4:31 AM

    An outstanding introduction and excellent five star tips. We loved our own visit to Roatan last year and your page brings back lots of good memories.

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2008 at 9:45 AM

    What an excellent, informative page here. It's such a shame to have to share a beautiful place with so many people at the same time!!

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