Things to Do in Roatan


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Still More Pirate Treasure to be Found in Roatan

Roatan Treasure Map

Roatan Treasure Map

Pirates have played an important role in the history of Roatan. Since the early days of the Spanish conquest of Latin America, buccaneers have used the island has a hide-out for the purpose of raiding gold and other treasures that were being loaded on the ships and passing through the Bay Islands of Honduras on the route to Spain. In the late 1600’s, Henry Morgan hid out in Port Royal along with John Coxen (in which the city of Coxen Hole is named after) and Dutchman Van Home with several ships and untold amounts of booty.  As many as 5,000 pirates were believed to have settled in Roatan as a safe harbor reunion at one time.

As the celebration of the pirates’ reunion died down, they set about finding new spots to clean ships, sailing to Utila. But of course, pirates were not going to publicly record where they sailed or buried their treasure, so much of this is left to speculation.  Roatan’s most famous pirate is Henry Morgan, who interestingly enough, was a legally plundering! Henry Morgan had a commission from Lord Windsor that authorized him to attack the ships and villages of nations at war with England, and he was obligated under his commission to turn over a percentage of his spoils to the government. Morgan was a pilot and a legal pirate – he had a home to go home too and was authorized to steal and plunder so long as he provided money back to his home country.

Henry Morgan of Roatan

Henry Morgan of Roatan

The pirate reign ended in 1650, when Spain, under the command of Francisco Villanueva Toledo, attacked Port Royal with four warships and forced the pirates to flee. Countless tales of buried treasure hidden in the sea caves of Santa Helena and the eastern reaches of Roatan still remain. Some claim that lost artifacts such as the chain of Huayna Capac, taken from the Inca ruler by the Spanish, and a golden life-size virgin crated by priests in Panama that was loaded on a ship in Colon never made it to Europe, are still hidden somewhere in Roatan. Archaeologist Mitchell-Hedges, famous for his crystal skull, lived on the island for almost a decade in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and did considerable exploring on the eastern end. He was one of the first adventures to explore Old Port Royal, and legend has it he even found several chests filled with gold and silver, which he snuck of the island and sold in England, but never reported.

However, this leads us to a good question as to why a pirate would bury treasure in the first place? The obvious explanation would be the only time buried treasure could be found was either when pirates physically could not carry it all (making Roatan probable) or had to hide it because they could not spend it without suspicion. If you stole gold coins marked with a French emblem, I highly doubt that you could waltz into France and spend it without drawing an awful amount of attention to yourself. The key would be to trade treasure for treasure or take it back to your country of origin and perform a legal currency exchange. Without these two options, pirates were left with treasure that they could not legally distribute for trade. This would make the option of burying treasure a suitable solution; find an investor or a willing participant to help you make the exchange and go back and collect the prize. This is somewhat what William the Kidd attempted to do to ensure that he did not get murdered as he was the only key back to the treasure.

What Do You Do if You Actually Find Treasure in Roatan or Utila?

But let’s take this one step further, suppose you find buried treasure in Roatan or Utila? Imagine it now, you have struck the big time and found over $1,000,000 in precious gold coins. The thrill of “I’m rich!” echoes in your head. All the financial woes of the past have just melted away in oblivion until a little voice in your head says, “Now what?”

Yes, there is the logical, practical side of you speaking now. You have done the impossible and found the bounty, but now, how do you actually get paid on this amazing discovery? If your a local and find gold coins, I highly doubt you want to start distributing gold coins to vendors – they aren’t going to be able to break the change and in the first transaction, someone is going to get suspicious. And what if you are a tourist? I highly find it wise to sit there and attempt to go through customs with suitcases of gold coins. Ha ha, yea right.

No, seriously think about it. If you find the treasure in the water, maritime law states that you have to report it. But what happens then? In the United States, all different state laws apply but generally, you should report the property to the sheriff’s office and if it goes unclaimed, then its yours. Naturally, most Americans would consult legal advice to get a representative on their side of the transaction. However, there goes a small chunk of the prize to the lawyer.

Half of the value may have to be shared with the owner of the land

In the US, you very well may have to pay half of the treasure to the owner of the land in which you found it.  But important items – those declared to be “treasure” – have to be handed over to the state, in which case the committee that takes charge has discretion over the size of the reward given to the finder and landowner. “Assuming that what you have found is treasure, as defined by the Treasure Act 1996, the Treasure Valuation Committee will value the find and an ex-gratia payment will be made as a reward,” said Trevor Austin, a member of the committee and general secretary of the National Council for Metal Detecting.

In the US, if you keep buried treasure (treasure-trove), it is taxable income based on the fair market value on the the day it was found and undisputedly yours

As a US citizen, if you find treasure, as much as 50% of it could go to to Uncle Sam so pray you can sell it. If not, you are still going owe the tax because the treasure trove rule is based on fair market value on the date that the property is undisputedly yours. Therefore, for tax purposes, finding treasure can be costly, especially if you can’t find a buyer. Don’t believe me? Ask John and Mary, the North Carolina Couple who found $10 million worth of gold coins when walking their dog. Thankfully, for them, however, they found the coins in their country of origin and got to keep some of it!

Out of $1,000,000 in Buried Treasure, You Would Only Get to Keep around $220,000 (if you were lucky!)

$1,000,000 (Beginning Value of Treasure)
$604,000 (Total Value of Treasure After Federal Tax is Paid)
$543,600 (Total Value of Coins After State Tax is Paid)
$272,800 (Total Value of Coins when split with land owner)
$269,000 (Total Value of Coins after Treasure Valuation Assessment)
$240,000 (Total Value of Coins for Legal Advice)

$220,000 (Total Value of Coins)

Mitchell Found Treasure on Roatan and Bailed but it was not easy

It is a fact that near Old Port Royal Mitchell Hedges discovered four chests filled to the brim with gold bullion, which were reaped from the Spanish by the pirates of Roatan. As the story goes, Mitchell Hedges’ friend, known as Doctor Ball, was walking around one of the nearby keys near old Port Royal with a compass in hand. Suddenly the compass started going mad, with the needle spinning around in all different directions. He told him about the compass’s behaviour and the two of them decided that the only thing that would make the compass behave in such a way was a large amount of metal buried under the surface of the key. The two men wasted no time and started digging and found four chests full of gold treasure.

They placed the chests back in the ground for later recovery and searched the rest of the island with the compass. They found nothing. Someone, however, rumored that the police in Coxen Hole had been tipped off  to the discovery of the treasure. Wasting no time, the three explorers recovered three of the four chests that night and loaded them onto the Amigo and quickly set sail across swelling seas to the town of Belize which was then the capital of British Honduras.

Mitchell Hedges anchored the Amigo 150 miles off the coast of a small key and headed into the mainland on the Amigos extra boat. He returned several hours later with some lumber from which the expedition made three new chests for their treasure and dumped the old crusty ones into the sea. They then headed back inland and booked passage on a steamer that was headed for New York, their treasure safely stored in the cargo hold of the ship with the label Maya artifacts across the sides. When the three explorers arrived in New York, Mitchell Hedges sold off his lost treasure for the sum of $6,000,000 US.

Find treasure and you know what it feels like to be a pirate

Bottom line, if you find treasure on the island of Roatan or Utila, you are going to feel like a pirate for the very first time, because I guarantee that you will re-bury the bounty until you figure out what you are going to do. Considering the legal and tax consequences, finding treasure is not what it seems to be and there are many hoops to go through to legally be able to claim the prize. Some people may decide to leave it buried and make a map, always knowing that it will be there if they need it (minus the paranoia if someone else has found it). However, no amount of treasure is worth losing your liberty and I would recommend consulting an attorney immediately if you find a trove and decide that you want to go through the steps to get a portion of the bounty. Also remember, that money has made good people do incredibly stupid things. Sometimes, the lust of gold is better left within the cold depths of the sea or dirt.

But, ironically, now you know what it felt like to be a pirate…they had their stock in gold, but were always cash poor when the loot was buried in the ground. Stolen money seems to be cursed even if found and most of it is taken back in the end!

Happy Treasure Hunting!

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Lionfish Speared


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Lionfish Epidemic Exposed

Lionfish Speared

Lionfish

A large majority of those who visit Roatan do so for the diving. With the island bearing the second largest reef in the world, it is no wonder that people from all over the globe come to experience life under the Caribbean sea.

However, there is one fish that divers are allowed to spear and eradicate…

Meet the Lionfish.

In Roatan, divers are legally allowed to spear lionfish due to their negative impact on the ecosystem. There are some regulations such as each diver needs to get his or her own registered and initialed spear, but essentially, everyone wants the lionfish dead. Roatan is very adamant at preserving its ecosystem and normally, the main purpose of preservation is to keep humans out of the mix and let life be. But somehow, the lionfish epidemic has pierced this eco rule and humans seem to be the only hope for the marine life invaded by the lionfish.

The REAL TRUTH: Lionfish are Hurting the Economy

Lion Fish on Shark Tank Show

Is there an eerie similarity with humans depleting Earth’s resources and the lionfish, who invade a territory and start eradicating marine life under the sea? Just recently, lionfish have joined the ranks of other nuisance “aquatic invasive species” such as zebra mussels. By the year 2000, zebra mussels had caused $5 billion damage to the infrastructure of industries, public utilities, ship navigation, boating and sport fishing in the United States. Although the lionfish is not as physically destructive as the zebra mussel, it far surpasses the zebra mussel in its gluttonous greed. And this greed is what makes the lionfish so despised by homo sapiens: we are greedy too! In all truth, the lionfish is significantly reducing the quantities of shrimp, crab, snapper, and grouper available for seafood exportation. In addition, diving tourism revenue is affected by the lionfish as it is eating all the pretty fish available for viewing! The NOAA reports: “The economic value of heavily impacted and devastated reefs may be reduced also as recreational divers and snorkelers stop visiting, and perhaps causing a major collapse of the local tourist industry. Recreational and commercial value of reef-related pelagic and benthic species is close to a half-billion dollars each year to the Carolinas.”

Lionfish are Gluttons

Lionfish SpearedWhat makes a lionfish so utterly obnoxious is its enormous appetite – its stomach can expand up to 30 times its normal size after a meal. The lionfish’s favorite delicacy’s include smaller fish and shrimp as the lionfish is relatively small itself, reaching an average of 12 to 19 inches in length.  Naturally, with the lionfish’s compulsive eating habits, the quantities of snapper and grouper for sale have significantly been reduced. But in reality, lionfish will eat anything and just won’t stop. More alarmingly, a single lionfish was found to reduce a native species’ population by 79% in five weeks. “It seems that the native fish don’t perceive lionfish as fish,” Mark Hixon, a marine biologist at Oregon State University said, pointing to the fish’s markings. “They swim right up to it,” only to end up being swallowed whole.” Studies have also found that the lionfish is eating so much that it is actually causing itself liver damage!

One Female Lionfish Produces 40,000,000 eggs in a Lifetime

As far as containing the problem, the lionfish reproduces so quickly that almost nothing can be done to contain the problem. One female lionfish produces 30,000 to 40,000 eggs every few days, and become sexually mature by the age of one.Therefore, on average, one lionfish female produces 2,000,000 eggs per year. The average lifespan of a lionfish is 18-20 years. Therefore, one lionfish female produces 2,000,000 eggs per year. That means that one female will produce 38,000,000 eggs in her lifetime.

6 Female Lionfish Owners Are Responsible for the Entire Problem

All of the billions of the lionfish swimming in the Atlantic Ocean are derived from just six species of lionfsh females. Pet owners in Florida have reportedly been blamed for releasing the fish into unfamiliar waters. It may be hard to fathom but DNA evidence has traced all lionfish in the Atlantic back to between six to eight female lionfish, according to CNN. Well, when one female can produce 38,000,000 eggs in a lifetime, six female lionfish would be responsible for an initial batch of 228,000,000 eggs! Thus, it is understandably reasonable to fathom how the lionfish population has grown so fast in a relatively short period of time.

The FDA Urges Consumers to Be Careful When Eating Lionfish But Gives It the Okay

Lionfish

Lionfish

Last spring, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance warning that two lionfish species, Pterois volitans and Pterois miles, carry a danger of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) for consumers. According to a 2012 NBC News report, 50,000 cases of ciguatera poisoning are reported each year, but experts say the real number of cases may be 100 times higher. However, as of July 2013, the FDA admitted there have been no known reports of CFP illnesses associated with the consumption of lionfish. Yet, the FDA continues to warn of the risk of eating lionfish, but leaves it up to primary seafood processors to ensure that the fish they distribute are safe, which involves knowing that the fish do not come from affected harvest locations. This is attributable to the lionfish’s venom located in its frilly spines. The lionfish spines are used as a defense mechanism and not offensively, but lionfish stings can be quite painful and can lead to serious infections. But when the spines are removed and any left over venom is fully cooked, it is apparently harmless for its consumers. By most reports, the lionfish makes for a quite delicious and healthy meal.

Groupers being Used to Attack the Lionfish

Grouper can swallow a lionfish whole and are being used to combat the lionfish population. However, “If we want groupers to help us control the lionfish invasion we’ll have to develop a taste for lionfish instead of grouper and drastically reduce the fishing of this species.” Exactly. All things must go in cycles. If we as humans continue to catch grouper and not lionfish, how do we anticipate that the natural predator to these invaders will have the numbers to fight back? We would be no different than the lionfish if we had this attitude that we can continue in our ways and expect different results. The goal here is to rise above the lionfish in order to start winning battles to regain the win!

Predication of How the War of the Lionfish will End

The lionfish have already won the war. Now, it’s up to mankind to begin a new war and conquer battle by battle, area to area. The lionfish’s dark enemy will be the major corporation savant who realizes that they can catch an abundance of these lionfish and start exporting them for profit. Diving escapades that kill a measly 167 lionfish are not even scratching the surface of the problem, but don’t forget that lionfish is very tasty and can be used to make a seafood corporation even richer – perhaps, there is even a grant or tax right-off considering the harmful effects these predators pose if not controlled! As humans tend to focus on what they don’t have rather than what is right in front of them, the reality is that there is a huge plethora of lionfish for consumption. Yes, the lionfish has reduced the fish population by their compulsive eating habits, but in their defense, fish seem to swim right up to their face and admire their beauty without associating the lionfish as dangerous. Eventually these species will adapt to survive. Humans are the lionfish’s biggest predator because one thing is for sure: when the lionfish takes too much and starts reducing what mankind wants out of the deep blue sea: mankind attacks. I would except to see more and more lionfish dishes added to menu’s – mark my words, if you see grouper on the menu and have a liking for it – order it now because eventually the lionfish will replace many other fish on the menu!  The ecosystem will survive as it always has, but it may not be the same and some species of fish may die or evolve as a result of the lionfish. But it is us who has to learn to evolve, first and foremost, and begin developing taste buds for the lionfish. That is all there is to it.

One source says it best: “Lionfish may be one of the ocean’s most voracious predators, but on land, Homo sapiens might have it beat.” I must disagree – there is no ‘might have it beat’, in this case, homo sapiens must take action!


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Mermaid Sighting at Land’s End

After publishing this blog, I have received a plethora of information but none was as interesting as a response stating that a mermaid was sighted at Land’s End. Could it be true?! The source said that she and her husband stayed at Land’s End Resort in the early autumn month’s of 2014. Land’s End overlooks the Caribbean Ocean and the black coral/iron ore make a perfect area for a mermaid to sun bathe if in fact, mermaids do exist. When the couple was enjoying their yogurt and fresh fruit breakfast at the Resort, my source reports they at first ‘thought it was a person on the rocks’, but when they looked closer they both saw a tail: “I was in utter disbelief. I took a picture but it does not do justice to what we saw. I never believed in mermaids and even after this, the mermaid wasn’t what I thought it would look like. But it was on top of the rock. Even after seeing this, I don’t know what I believe. I must sound crazy.”

Mermaid Sighting

Mermaid Sighting in the Caribbean at Land’s End on Roatan, Honduras

There is no such thing as crazy – this is fascinating and ANYONE who has possibily seen a mermaid in the Roatan area (or Land’s End), I beg to come forward! This is just too amazing and any and all tidbits would be super amazing!

Instead of trying to convince you or myself whether mermaids exist, I thought that I would spend some research on the topic and provide a factual breakout. Ever since the Animal Planet released their documentary Mermaid: The Body Found, the curiosity of mermaids seemed to spark interest on an international level. The evidentiary support for mermaids is the strongest in the Caribbean and mermaid sightings were quite frequent in past times. In fact, less than two hundred years ago, people spoke of mermaids in passing as if their existence was always known. Even England, when establishing its property within its chartered territory, claimed the possessions of mermaids in their waters.

Derketo

Ancient Phoenician coin depicting Derketo

Lucian of Samosata while in Syria (2nd century CE) recounted the Syrian temples he had visited and stated that “I saw the likeness of Derketo in Phoenicia, a strange marvel. It is woman for half its length, but the other half, from thighs to feet, stretched out in a fish’s tail.” The Syrians called her Atargatis, while the Philistines knew her as Derceto.

In the fifth Century AD, Physiologus in his Bestiary describes a mermaid with the upper body of a woman and the lower of a fish, split at about the navel.

In AD 23 in what was in now modern Italy, Pliny wrote in Natural History, “Mermaids are not fables. They are in fact how artists depict them. Their bodies, however, are scaly and rough, even where they seem most human. A mermaid was seen by many witnesses close to the shore. It was dying, and the local inhabitants heard it crying pitifully.”

Mermaid

Mermaid Statute in England

In January 9, 1493, Christopher Columbus reported seeing mermaids and had to comment that they were not very pretty in appearance. His diary states: “The day before, when the Admiral was going to the Rio del Oro, he said he saw three mermaids who came quite high out of the water but were not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like men.” John Smith reportedly saw a mermaid in 1614.

In 1403, after a terrible storm, which broke the dykes in Holland, some girls in the village of Edam perceived a mermaid floundering in the mud, with very little water. The girls took the mermaid into their boat, and brought it to Edam and dressed it in woman’s apparel, and taught it to spin. It never spoke and died roughly fifteen years later. Interestingly enough, the girls did teach the mermaid how to cross herself and she seemed to show some religious interest. People far and wide came to view the mermaid of Edam as a spectacle.

a1178e999f239d24b2d24d88ebdc3b2b (1)Probably the most detailed and convincing historical account of a merman comes from Orford in East Anglia in the U.K where fisherman caught a merman in 1204. In Ralph’s account, the merman was unclothed and covered in hair except for the top of his head, which was bald. He also had a very long beard. The fisherman attempted to talk to their captive, but his best replies were a little more than grunting noises. The Orford men took him to the castle and handed him to the warden, Bartholomew de Gladville. Gladville wasn’t too sure about him either and decided to keep him there as a prisoner. The merman responded positively to a raw fish diet but still refused to speak – most likely because he could not. Jailers noticed that when he was offered a piece of fish, he squeezed the liquid from it first and drank it. Gladville resorted to torture to try to get some intelligible words from the merman, but even when hung upside down, the merman would not, or could not talk. He showed no interest in religion when Gladville demanded he be taken to church. The humane side of Gladville coming to the top, however briefly, ordered his men to sling nets around the harbor mouth to let the merman swim for a little bit. However, as soon as the merman hit the water, he easily escaped the net’s barrier and headed to sea. He was never seen or heard from again.

Different Races of Mermaids

Mermaid StatuteOne complexity of mermaid sightings is that there seems to be different races of mermaids. If mermaids do in fact exist, I don’t see this is as any different than different races of human. Some mermaids have been described as  having fair skin whereas others have been described with greyish or black skin pigmentations. All of the skin has been described as scaly regardless of the color. Even hair color seems to be a factor: some mermaids have been spotted with green, black, or brown hair. The fair skinned mermaids with the lighter hair have been spotted on rocks, combing their hair and are undoubtedly, the more attractive of the mermaid species. However, if my skin is in cold weather, it turns purple. So, temperature can have a serious impact on skin appearance. But regardless, I find it interesting that myths have been debunked because not all of the mermaids look exactly the same.

Mermaid Statute

Mermaid Statute

A similarity of every mermaid encounter I have researched is that the mermaids cannot talk – at best, they can sing in a pleasant, haunting tune but with no words. This would make sense as these beings live underwater and would have to communicate via sonar – there is no need for vocal chords at this point, but the vibrations and frequency would still make for a pretty chorus and beat, especially if there was an echo. Most of the stories of “sirens” always involve large rocks that would create a harmonious echo for that matter – but this was the only similar quality that every mermaid encounter had in common. In addition, every merman or mermaid was able to breathe oxygen and did not die if outside of water. Therefore, mermaids must be able to hold their breathe for an abnormally long period of time under water or may have gills in addition to lungs. However, there was never an encounter in which a mermaid did not survive when captured from being outside of the water – however, it may very well be that mermaids have to surface for oxygen and dwell in under water oxygen caves or have spots where humans do not visit to surface for air unnoticed.

Survival of the Fittest

Mermaid Syndrome

Mermaid Syndrome

No matter what religion you are, Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest has never been disproven. However, we know through Darwin’s survival of the fittest theory that mermaids could have once been human beings who evolved due to the conditions of Earth. If all life on this planet was flooded, there would be a few humans that survive. These few humans would reproduce and bear children. Surrounded by water, these humans would have to learn how to hunt and develop superior swimming skills with keen eye sight under water for survival. Survival of the fittest states that whoever was more adaptable, would survive. In this case, mermaid syndrome where children are born with their legs fused together may not be an adaptable feature for our society norms, but may be exactly what was needed for survival if human beings had to adapt to life under the sea. The way that the survival of the fittest works is that the most compatible species of life under its conditions prevails. Thus, even though we may consider a mermaid syndrome child to be deformed, as a Sirenmermaid, this child would be one of the few that could out swim and survive the conditions of the rough seas. As we know that children with mermaid syndrome is a rare phenomenon, the condition would make the actual mermaid population rather slim (if they do in fact exist). However, if mates with mermaid syndrome mated, they would produce other similar offspring. Regardless, probability states that eventually a merman and mermaid’s offspring would have legs. This is no different than two midgets who can produce offspring that grow at a “normal” height. However, when brought up under the sea, even with two legs, these children would learn to adapt similar to Tarzan having to survive in the jungle raised by apes. In short, I quote Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park: “Life finds a way.” However, these offspring, (perhaps sirens) would be quite lonely as depicted in the famous statute above. 

In fact, to support this theory, the polar bear has been migrating in waters and has begun to develop webbed hands and feet! This shows just how much the body will survive to adapt!

The Question is What you Believe

Whether mermaids are fact or fiction is still at large debate; however, I can honestly attest that every culture in the world has had sightings and created remarkable artwork in their memory. As I truly believe humans possess very little imagination and are inspired by creation, I find it highly probable that mermaids (in some form or fashion) still exist below the deep blue sea. Humans have explored space more so than the waters that cover over seventy percent of our Earth. As humans have a tendency to attack the unknown, I do believe if mermaids exist, they have learned to stay hidden for survival. But in no way do I disbelieve that mermaids exist. However, for their safety, their hidden secret should only be observed from the fascination of interest wherein all things are possible. 

I want to thank the user who submitted this picture – you are not crazy – you saw something and that is all that matters and I encourage everyone who has to come forward! I would love to blog about it and I will keep all sources anonymous! 

Things to do In Roatan

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Roatan map

Map of Roatan

I had the pleasure of visiting the tiny bay island of Roatan for the first time on August 23, 2014 and figured that I would start a blog as I do intend to be back. My stay lasted for a week and the wealth of information I learned about the third-world country travel destination hot spot was incredulous. Before I visited Roatan, I spent a few hours googling and never really found what I was looking for. Call me a modern day traveler, but I love to research where I travel and get an idea of what I would like to do or see so I don’t waste any time on my precious vacation days. With the airport being what it is, I consider two days devoted to traveling. I always assume that the Internet and phone service won’t be an option and even if it was, I want to perform my due diligence googling before I arrive – not after!

So this blog is devoted to those like me who want to have the best trip in Roatan possible and don’t want to waste a precious second upon arrival or book the wrong hotel in the wrong place that can make any vacation an automatic bust. I will provide a brief general outline of the topics I plan to cover and hyperlink for the readers who want to know more about a particular subject.

So, let’s get the nitty gritty – what is there to do in Roatan? Is Roatan worth visiting? How long should I stay? Is Roatan dangerous? Where is the best place to stay? What should I bring? What should I expect? How are the Roatan locals? These are just a few of the topics I will discuss more in depth, but I wanted to provide a small explanation in general.

First all, I stayed at Land’s End located in West End and it was dreamy :).

Roatan Place to stay

Best Place to Stay Roatan West End

For first time Roatan visitors, there are only two places that you would want to stay: West End and West Bay. Both are side by side of each other, but not walking distance (around fifteen minutes apart) depending on how you travel. I will go more in depth about the differences in a separate post, but essentially if you traveling to Roatan, you are going to go one or two areas. Outside of the two areas, you begin to travel to the unknown. Which brings about the question: Is Roatan safe?

In my opinion: the answer is yes, Roatan is a safe BUT it is still a third world country. I don’t care where you live, there are always “those areas” that should be avoided. In Roatan, it is no different except for the fact that you don’t have the typical order of a first world country (although the same rules still apply). You have to remember you are in a third world country. And just to clarify, there are only two first world countries: the USA and the UK plus allies. Second world countries include large countries such as Russia. As a third world country, Roatan has not had major investor contributions which has kept the country at what it truly is. The possibilities of freedom echo the entire island depths. Although this may come as surprising, the freedom of the country radiates a very peaceful aura that attracts many visitors and small business owners alike.

Picking the right location to stay when visiting Roatan is essential. But this is no different when traveling anywhere – how many times have I booked a hotel that looked awesome but wasn’t in the right area? Too many to tell. But alas, if I did not have a fun experience – I rarely ever visited the same country or place for that matter again. Heck, going on a vacation costs – you want to enjoy it before you go back or go somewhere new (my motto anyways)! My hope is that this blog can help prevent hit or misses in that regard. As we have already established, you are only going to stay in West End or West Bay – picking between  the two locations all boils down to what you want out of your experience in Roatan.

In short, if you are looking for the typical luxury amenities and don’t plan on leaving the resort that you book, West Bay is better. Most all of the West Bay resorts have beach access and at least one restaurant where you can enjoy meals. If you want to travel or go outside the resort, you will have to venture down to West End – West End has the shops, restaurants, and bars, and fun Roatan night life. In truth, West End is a boardwalk like Ocean City, Maryland. In West End, there is over fifty establishments on one main street where you can find anything from a new dress to Argentina cuisine or a fun pub. It would take you over a month to visit all the unique spectacles on the West End, Roatan Boardwalk Street (FYI – there are no street addresses in Roatan – so this street is not named, but I am going to call it West End, Roatan Boardwalk Street). So on West End, Roatan Boardwalk Street- the restaurants and entertainment are somewhat endless. West Bay is more of your Parkplace in Monopoly terms. The amenities in West Bay vary per resort but the major difference between the two areas is entertainment: West Bay = Limited to the Resorts whereas West End =  everything.

If you were asking me whether West End, Roatan was better than West Bay, Roatan – I would tell you that you must evaluate what you want out of your experience. Roatan became marked on the tourist map because of its great diving locations – I can honestly say that there are fifty dive shops between West End and West Bay so you won’t have a problem finding one. With the high supply, no matter where you decide you want to dive, there is enough demand to where you can get the best deal. Sandy Bay has the best diving spots and would be worth staying at if your sole purpose was diving. If you choose that route, hands down, I would recommend Tranquil Seas. Tranquil Seas is an eco lodge with amenities that surpass the entire island (in my opinion) from the founder’s dedication to the eco-system. But in truth, these little things matter greatly when it pertains to things that can be taken for granted (like hot water) – located in Sandy Bay – it is a diver’s paradise. If your sole purpose is to dive and maybe go out one or two nights of your stay, go there. Nothing will compare. If you come to the island and want to do more than just diving, stay at Land’s End. Period. But as stated, it all depends on you. If you were on a honeymoon and just wanted romantic time with you and your newly-wed, I would recommend perhaps different. I created a little survey that if you would like to fill out, I would be more than happy to give you my recommendations because just as Roatan is unique – the right place for you would have to be catered around you. I did visit multiple resorts and do feel that I have a somewhat good feel for people who are interested. Plus, I can send it along to some of the friends on the island who are always more than willing to offer suggestions and find the right place – everyone is just so chill and cool!

Click the link to fill out my form for suggestions!

Well, I am going to stop for now. Being the dork I am, I brought a notebook with me of great topics and want to cover them all. I hope for the first post this has been informative enough for scratching the surface – much more to come!