Just off the northern coast of Honduras, the Caribbean island destination of Roatán is coveted by scuba diving enthusiasts all over the world. Teeming with underwater life and impressive shipwrecks, there’s just as much to discover on the sandy land above the water as there is below.
If it’s sunshine, clear blue waters, and exploring the vast marine world filled with vibrant sea life that you’re after, Roatán is an idyllic destination that will help you check off all of those boxes. Mangroves and reefs adorn this paradise and, well, it’s not going to explore itself.
From greeting schools of gorgeous fish, basking on the various beaches, amping up for a wild island venture, or just filling up on fresh seafood, Roatán is a one-stop-shop for Caribbean goodness and one of the best places to visit in Central America.
Here are the 17 of the best things to do in Roatán that’ll knock your flip-flops right off.
1: Snorkel The National Marine Reserve
Marvel at colorful corals and so many different kinds of fish that you’ll likely lose count of at this protected reef in West Bay. This non-profit aims to conserve and keep the coastal area safe and thriving, making it an ideal spot for discovering the seemingly untouched life beneath the sea.
Snorkelers will be delighted to view parrot and angelfish, beautiful coral, and sea turtles, amongst many others. Excellent visibility and diverse marine life prove this to be one of the top things to do in Roatán.
2: Swim With Dolphins
Yes, dreams do come true. Hop in Roatán’s inviting waters to interact and swim with friendly local bottlenosed dolphins for an experience of a lifetime. As part of your dolphin encounter, you’ll even get to snorkel with them. Playtime in the Caribbean will take on a whole new meaning after this experience.
3: Scuba Dive The Mesoamerican Reef
Roatán has quite the claim to fame as host to part of the second-largest barrier reef in the world. The Mesoamerican Reef sprawls a vast 600 miles, with Roatán resting in the southern portion.
Scuba diving enthusiasts flock to the island to explore all that the waters surrounding the island have to offer, including a search for the magnificent whale shark. Shipwrecks, rock walls, and dramatic ridges make the incredible landscape under the water a cinematic backdrop to the rich marine life.
4: Hang Out With Monkeys And Sloths
…and maybe even an iguana or two as well! Little French Cay is home to an animal refuge hosting these resident friends, as well as local bird species like macaws and parrots. Interact with wildlife celebrities before taking the opportunity to enjoy other activities like kayaking, snorkeling, and horseback riding.
5: Visit A Cacao Plantation
You had us at chocolate, Roatán. Visiting this island cacao plantation will have you learning about the process of harvesting and making the delicious treat we all know and love through an educational tour.
You’ll have the chance to take part in the process of making your own chocolate bar, too. You should probably taste it right away so it doesn’t, you know, melt in the hot sun.
6: Ride An ATV
Harness your inner adventurer and explore the island via ATV for a dose of island atmosphere and adrenaline. Take yourself off-road with four-wheels equipped to handle the jungle and beach terrain, where the island’s beauty is practically begging to be photographed.
Your knowledgeable tour guide will lead you around the island for hands-on viewing of Roatán’s nooks and crannies that will have you feeling like a local. Fishing villages, remote beaches, and rainforest scenery are just some of the stunning sights you’ll witness.
7: Snorkel Through Starfish Alley
If the name hasn’t hooked you, the allure of swimming amongst brightly colored sea stars surely will. With some of the top coral reefs in the world, it’s no surprise that the waters surrounding Roatán are awash with starfish.
Head to the West End, where snorkeling gear is available to rent and an easy swimming trail highlights the starfish hangout. This activity is great for both new and seasoned snorkelers, making it an ideal family-friendly adventure.
8: Zip Your Way Through The Rainforest
Experience Roatán’s lush tree canopy from a different perspective as you zipline through nature at Gumbalimba Park. Hanging bridges add to the adventure as you embrace your jungle side. If you’re keen to stretch your legs, set out on one of the nature trails within this preservation park to explore on foot.
9: Horseback Ride On The Beach
Trot along white-sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters on the back of a horse, and you’ll realize you’re in a real-life island fairytale. You’ll have the exciting opportunity to cool off in the Caribbean Sea as your trail ride includes a dip for you and your horse. For a truly unique horseback riding experience, this is one of the ultimate things to do in Roatán.
10: Go Deep-Sea Fishing
Quick access to deep waters will maximize your time to reel in a healthy catch or two…or five. Tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and barracuda are some of the challenging fish you’ll have the chance to try your hand at catching, led by experts that know the waters surrounding Roatán. Afterward, reap the rewards of your hard work with a freshly cooked fish meal.
11: Learn About Local Culture
If culture and history are on your list of things to do in Roatán, a visit to the Flamingo Cultural Center in Punta Gorda will check those off with a flourish. It’s the perfect place to dive into the rich cultural offerings of the island and learn about the Garifuna culture. Authentic dancing, art, and culinary presentations are a fun way to immerse yourself.
12: Lounge On The Beach
West Bay Beach snags the most famous stretch of sand on Roatán, with plenty of space to lay-out, excellent snorkeling, and restaurants and bars for refreshments at the ready.
Head to Half Moon Bay in West End for all the water-based activities. Fishing and scuba diving boats depart and return to this beach, and you can partake in paddleboarding, snorkeling, or even enroll in a beginner’s diving session.
For a more off-the-beaten-path gem, venture to Marbella Beach on the north shore. You may even have it to yourself.
13: Taste Island Brews
Cheers from a hammock with local craft brews and feel the relaxation vibes from head to toe at Roatán Island Brewing Company, located in Palmetto Valley.
Other than delicious food (yuca fries anyone?) and drink, entertain yourself with a tour or games like ping-pong and the infamous dunk tank. A micro-brewery with a view is the perfect way to cap off your fun-filled day in Roatán.
14: Shop Local
If you’re searching for a souvenir, supporting local artists is the way to go. Located in Coxen Hole, you’ll find the Made in Roatán shop with hand-crafted island goodies for purchase.
With all of the proceeds going back into the community, you can feel good about your shopping choices. Jewelry made with sea glass, wood-carved items, paintings, and several other upcycled products can be found in this unique gift shop/non-profit combo.
15: Sip Roatán Rum
Bring your island experience full circle with some authentic local rum. Taste the Roatán Rum Company’s fleet of rum-infused treats (like cake!) and hand-crafted drinks while absorbing the stunning views from the hill-top perch.
If you’re feeling creative, you can even create your own custom flavored rum that you can bring home for a souvenir or gift.
16: Visit A Private Island
How do you make your time on a beautiful island even better? Tack on another island.
Maya Key is a private island just a quick jaunt from Roatán with secluded beaches, fantastic snorkeling, an expansive swimming pool, and a wildlife rescue center. Plenty of refreshments and amenities are available to make your extra island experience as well-rounded and relaxed as possible.
17: Hike the Botanical Garden Trails
If you’re looking to embrace nature, head to the Carambola Botanical Gardens to walk one of their many nature trails. Birdwatching and identifying native jungle plants like orchids, spices, fruit, nut, and chocolate trees, and the Honduran Mahogany are all part of this peaceful outdoor island experience.
Make your way to the top of Carambola Mountain for sweeping views that will be well worth the effort.
A luxury cruise to Roatán will have you enjoying some of the best things to do in this island escape that seems to have it all. Colorful coral reefs, rainforest wildlife, postcard-perfect beaches, and authentic cultural experiences will all be at your fingertips.
If you’re ready to fulfill your island cravings with all that Roatán has to offer, browse itineraries on our website and book your sunny getaway today.