We have been traveling in and out of the Island for years now and know the top things to do and places to go in Roatan. In fact, we realized that we have spent over a year here in all. The first time we came in 2012 we did our PADI Divemaster. The second time we came we did our PADI Instructor and worked there. This is the third time we have come to Roatan and by far was it our most enjoyable. We were able to do more and relax, change our perspective on life, and really get more immersed in the culture of Roatan.
Failed Working Experience
We came this time to manage a shop called Blue Island Divers. We met the owner the last time we were in Roatan and came here specifically to run the dive shop and instruct. Within a month of running the shop, we realized that we were not enjoying life in this capacity and decided to quit. So now we had 2 more months on our Visa and return flight to do whatever we wanted.
West End Roatan
Living In West End
We actually extended our Visa for another month for 4 months total. So what did we do for 3 months? Whew! What didn't we do? There are tons of places to go in Roatan and things to do! We got a place at our old friends Theris and Henry's place. We lived in one of their units when we did the Divemaster here in 2012. They are more than fair landlords and we simply love them and their family as if they were our own family.
We ended up getting a brand new apartment they built for $500 USD per month. This didn't include any extras like electricity or internet, but it was worth it due to it's location on West End. When we lived here last time, we were in Sandy Bay and it was too far from the action in West End. We felt alienated a little out there and feel part of the pulse of Roatan in West End.
So why did we enjoy it so much more this time than the last?
Scuba Diving In Roatan
We actually got to dive for fun. We dove sometimes with Splash Inn which was the closest dive shop to our home. West End Divers which was close to our house was no longer a place we wanted to dive with even though we had done our Divemaster with them, but we got quoted higher with them than anywhere else we dove in Roatan, which sort of made us feel that this is no longer the shop for us considering our loyalty to them in the past. There are many dive shops and diving in Roatan is spectacular! The shops in Roatan are part of the Roatan Marine Park and subject to guidelines while diving that include always diving with a divemaster or instructor. The corals in Roatan are healthy and can attribute some of their health to the Roatan Marine Park.
Coconut Tree Divers
Coconut Tree Divers
We also dove the top place to go in Roatan with respect to Diving... Coconut Tree Divers. First off, Coconut Tree divers is right on the corner of the round-about and in the center of the action in West End. No better location in Half Moon Bay exists for Scuba Diving. They also own the main dock right there in Half Moon Bay across the street. Coconut Tree Divers has been the most successful shop on the island for years and here are the reasons why.
We did our Instructor Course with them in 2015 and love this shop! Gaye the owner is one of the warmest people we know on the Island and love our time chit-chatting with her. Every time we dive with them, we have a great experience. This is one of the busiest dive shops on the Island and deservedly so. They have an incredible DMT (Dive Master Training) program and the best Instructor Program and IDC on the Island. Will Welbourn the course director is one of the best teachers in any arena we know.
Coconut Tree Divers has two big dive boats and do 4 dives a day, which is rare for Roatan where most do 3 so there is always a flexibility for when you want to dive. Some of the best instructors on the Island work here with years of experience not only teaching novices but, Divemaster Trainees. There is a buzz at this shop that many shops in Roatan lack. You actually feel that this is a shop where people are having fun. Safety and marine conservation is their highest priority and they work hard to make sure everyone has fun while keeping the reef healthy through responsible diving. Not only this, they are also one of the most affordable. You would think that a successful shop would raise their prices solely because they can, not Coconut Tree!
We can't say enough good things about Coconut Tree Divers and our continual experiences there. There really is no other place to go on the Island for diving. Check out their Extensive DMT and IDC programs.
The dive shops are fairly stable as far as businesses in Roatan. The restaurants however are ever changing. Food places come and go and every time we go to Roatan, we have some new favorites.
Creole's Rotisserie Chicken
Creole's Rotisserie Chicken
One staple and institution in Roatan is Creole's Rotisserie Chicken. Dola the owner has created a little culinary niche in this Island of here today, gone tomorrow eateries. How does she do it? DAMN GOOD FRESH FOOD! It's consistent too. For the last 5 years we have been going to Rotisserie Chicken and it is the same every time. The chicken is fall off the bone and one of the most reasonably priced places on the Island. Good local food with coconut beans and rice, potato salad, and some of the best deserts and homemade cakes and pies anywhere. Rotisserie Chicken is a gem and must do while in Roatan. You will be back for a second time before you leave, I guarantee it.
Cannibal Cafe is run by Kevin Braun and his family. They are originally from Chicago, but have been down in roatan for decades. They bought this land where the restaurant sits and have created a bed and breakfast and successful tour company. We love this place and always have. We eat there about once a week when we are in Roatan. We love the Grande Quesadilla and Cannibals has the best guacamole on the Island. Their chips and salsa are also something special. Fresh pico de gallo and handmade chips from tortillas make this a no-brainer. We really love Kevin and his family and our old friend Dennis who has been working there for years is like seeing family when we visit. Kevin is also a great baker and makes things like Pecan Pie and strudel which can't be found anywhere on Roatan.
It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience.
Too often. . .I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.
Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.
You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown, you travel for the unknown, that reveals you with yourself.
Make voyages! Attempt them… there’s nothing else.
Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.
Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret.
At its best, travel should challenge our preconceptions and most cherished views, cause us to rethink our assumptions, shake us a bit, make us broader minded and more understanding.
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.
I finally felt myself lifted definitively away on the winds of adventure toward worlds I envisaged would be stranger than they were, into situations I imagined would be much more normal than they turned out to be.
A wise man travels to discover himself.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.
The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.
Traveling. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.
Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you- it should change you.
Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted
I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.
NOT I – NOT ANYONE else, can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself.
We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey
There comes a point in your life when you need to stop reading other people’s books and write your own.
The saddest journey in the world is the one that follows a precise itinerary. Then you’re not a traveler. You’re a f@$%ing tourist.
To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.
A great way to learn about your country is to leave it.
What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.
Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
Traveling outgrows its motives. It soon proves sufficient in itself. You think you are making a trip, but soon it is making you – or unmaking you.
I travel not to cross countries off a list, but to ignite passionate affairs with destinations.
The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.
For the born traveller, travelling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding its victim’s time, money, energy and the sacrifice of comfort.
Not all those who wander are lost.
If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.
No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.
Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.
Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.
I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.
Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.
Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you travelled.
Nothing can be compared to the new life that the discovery of another country provides for a thoughtful person. Although I am still the same I believe to have changed to the bones.
Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.
I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.
How you live your life is up to you. You have to go out and grab the world by the horns. Rope it before it ties you down and decides for you.
Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves.
…to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.
Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.
Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.
To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet.
I am a passionate traveler, and from the time I was a child, travel formed me as much as my formal education.
If you’re… physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.
A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.
The journey not the arrival matters.
One’s destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things.
There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage.
Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going.
Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.
Hole In The Wall
Hole In the Wall - Jonesville.
Captain Ed runs the old Hole In The Wall and they still do all you can eat lobster on Sundays. We went out a few times while we were here this time and loved the atmosphere everytime! Truly a unique place on the island tucked into the mangroves. You can only get there by boat. Once there, Captain Ed will entertain you with story after story of his interesting life. Great place to spend the afternoon on a beautiful inlet in the mangroves. We just love this place.
The Street Food
How about some street food? You know how much we love our street food. There are plenty of beachside places that open up when the diving is done for the day serving mostly serving local Honduran dishes or a meat(pork chop, fried chicken, or sausage), coconut beans and rice, and some fried plantains for $5 bucks. Or you could head down to one of the many places that have Baleadas. A baleada is a soft tortilla with a thicker consistency that is hand made on the spot. Then they put on refried beans, scrambled eggs, and a choice of meat (sausage, ground beef, ground sausage or all of them) and cheese with avocado or other veggies if you want them. The total price is anywhere from $1.50 - $3.00 USD each depending on the extras. It's a meal and delicious! We loved Calelu's next to the Booty Bar.
Dixon Tours Roatan
We got to actually take some tours. We got to take a tour with Dixon Tours Roatan. Really first rate experience! Theris who is also our landlord owns a tour company and took Shelly and I on a tour. We have been to Roatan so many times and never toured it. We drove around and saw some places in Flowers Bay we had never seen like the oldest church in Roatan. Then she took us to the Zipline Park. Neither of us have ever ziplined and we loved it! We also went to the Sloth Sanctuary as well. We had such a great time with Theris! She runs a great tour and we had a blast!
Garifuna Independence Day
West End Places To Go In Roatan
There is a small town feel with a tight knit community in West End that is simply special. Not only is everything within walking distance, everyone pretty much comes here from other communities on the Island to either work at a dive shop, bar or restaurant or frequent one. The last time we lived here in West End in 2012, we were doing a Divemaster program and it was tough to get out as much. We were also new to the Island and didn't know as many people.
Now that we have been here for while we seem to know everyone. Here in West End it was great to just leave you house, walk down the street to all your food choices and see someone you know every time you leave the house. How much does that happen anywhere you live? I grew up in a small town, and you might see someone you know while out, but every time we left the house and walked down the main drag of West End, we saw someone we know and stopped to chat. This time in Roatan we felt so much more "connected" than in previous times.
Working On The Blog
We worked on the blog a lot! We changed up the format, design and updated posts. We worked on promotion through social media and worked on advertising. We rarely get the time to dedicate to the blog like we have in the last 3 months. We needed this time to change some things we have been wanting to do for a long time.
We also went to the Garifuna Festival on the Island this year. It's their independence day which was to commemorate the 220th year of independence when they were dropped off on the Island of Roatan and basically became the first "indigenous people" of the island. They were slaves in the Cayman Island who were unruly and sent to Roatan as a prison Island. However, they thrived there and gained their Independence. We went to Punta Gorda and participated in the celebrations there! Awesome cultural experience there.
One last thing we really loved about being in Roatan this time is the freedom to do whatever we wanted to do. We woke up when we wanted, we went to bed when we wanted. No place to go, no place to be. We were able to simply enjoy life. Catch a sunset on the docks in West End, Lay out in West Bay or West End on the beach. Dive when we wanted and how often we wanted. Complete freedom to live life on a Caribbean Island. It was incredible and truly our best stay on the Island by far. We are really going to miss it and leaving the Island was tougher this time than the other times combined.
Relaxing On The Beach
Change In Perspective
We have made more friends and had some unforgettable times this time in Roatan. We have changed our view of Roatan and the community with this trip. There is something special about being able to go out and exchange pleasantries with your neighbors. In this world it is all too rare these days to accomplish this. People appear to be more self-centred in their life and less interested in what others are doing. Here in Roatan, you still have the feeling of being in a community where people stop and talk to each other. Even if they had seen them the day before, they take the time to relax and connect.
This is an important aspect of life in Roatan to take life slow. There is something called "Island Time", where people are generally not in a hurry and subsequently live day to day. It's all too easy in this day and age to be immersed in our mobile devices, in a hurry to get somewhere or do something and not concerned about our neighbors or even know their names. We will try more to interconnect with our neighbors, take the time to say hello, stop and ask someone how their day is. It's this sort of personal connection with our fellow man that creates a community which is severely lacking in the world today.