Roatan is the largest, most developed and most frequented of the Bay Islands. Essentially a long, forested ridge rising from the Caribbean, it retains much of the original landscape that the Buccaneers knew in the 17th and 18th Century. There are several towns around the island, each offering their own unique character to Roatan visitors. Following is a list of some recommended destinations and their culinary offerings:
French Harbour - Located 20 minutes west of the Villas. A bustling community, with many banks. A well-stocked market, a clinic, pharmacy. Just East of town is Arch’s Iguana Farm, where a local has set up his own iguana reserve. Stop by around noon to view mealtime for the inhabitants. There are also several restaurants located in French Harbour, including:
Oak Ridge - Travelling east on the main road from the Villas, scenic Oak Ridge is on the southern shore. It boasts a strong Afro-Antillean heritage. Most homes are right on the water, and locals operate water taxis, offering highly recommended tours through the mangroves. B.J.’s is a very rustic local bar that’s great for light lunch and a beer. Take the right fork at the entrance to Oak Ridge and follow it down and around. B.J.’s is in front of Bodden’s Supermarket on the water.
Continue East past Oak Ridge to the sign to East End Beaches and follow the dirt road to The Crow’s Nest, at Marble Hills Farms. They have a lovely sunset view and are open for dinner and drinks Wednesday - Saturday. Tropical Island Divers, located at Marble Hill Farms, offers a full range of dive courses from a "Discover Scuba" afternoon through to Divemaster training.
Camp Bay - Check out the Camp Bay Beach Adventure Lodge restaurant and their variety of island tours and activities. Beautiful public beach.
Look for the sign to Paya Bay about 10 minutes after Marble Hills Farms- Paya Bay resort sits on a bluff in the center of two beautiful white sand beaches. Their restaurant is on a deck overlooking the beaches and the sea. Take your swim suits and take a dip on one of the scenic, uncrowded beaches.
There are two roads down into Punta Gorda - just to the East of the Villas. The first Garifuna settlement, established in 1797. This event is celebrated annually on November 12th with a celebratory carnival that should be high on your list should you be visiting during that time. Socrifice Restaurant is on the waterfront in Punta Gorda. Very local food like deep fried lobster. A good lunch suggestion.
Coxen Hole - Largest city on Roatan and the capital of the Bay Islands. Coxen Hole is the gateway to Roatan, as both the airport and ferry dock are located here. Banks are open 8am-11:30am, 1pm-4pm, Monday-Friday.
Lawson Rock -The Hungry Kiwi has good breakfasts and also a great prime rib dinner.
Sandy Bay - Visit the famous Anthonys Key Resort. It is here that the institute of marine science is located. Dolphin encounter shows are scheduled regularly, two shows per day excluding Wednesdays, and three shows per day on weekends. For a fee you may swim with the dolphins. Reservations are required. Dining in Sandy Bay includes:
West End/West Bay - West End and West Bay offer breathtaking beaches in a tropical setting. Great scuba diving, sea kayaking, horseback riding and glass-bottom boating are all available. No banks are located in West End. Take a boat ride to West Bay and find one of the most beautiful stretches of beach anywhere. Snorkeling here is superb. There are many small restaurants from which to choose:
“ February 2012 The six of us enjoyed our week here in paradise. The house is beautiful and well maintained by an amazing staff. The food was beyond our wildest expectations - Rosa and Jessica are truly amazing cooks and great company. We loved the dogs and will miss them terribly. Hope to be back again - hoping for double the sun and more amazing food! ”