Roatan, Honduras - Cruise Ship Information
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
If you've been on a cruise before, then you truly know that getting there is half the fun. That being said, however, there's not much that's more exciting than waking up of a morning knowing that today you're going to explore a new country for the first time.
Roatan, one of Honduras' Bay Islands, lies just north of the mainland. Christopher Columbus first landed here in the early 1500's, but today Roatan is beginning to welcome a different type of ocean-going vessel: cruise ships.
Why? This has to be one of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean. Once you see what it has to offer, your only question will be how has it remained a best-kept secret for so long.
On our visit here, we chose the Fantasy Island Resort excursion. This involved a bus ride for several miles across the island. I always find the trip to your excursion location interesting in itself - it's a great way to learn about a country, sightseeing while enroute to your destination. Visitors here will see a wild mix of things while enroute - furious development bordering primitive neighborhoods.
According to our excursion guide, even Roatan's utility infrastructure is very new, with the island only having gotten electricity in the last decade or so.
Upon our arrival, we discovered that Fantasy Island actually is a separate island from Roatan; it is connected by a wooden bridge to the larger island. The resort is adorned with all things tropical, including lush tropical vegetation and free-roaming monkeys and peacocks. The staff has done a very good job of keeping this resort looking like a just-discovered hidden beach, while still offering a full-service resort complete with dive center.
Walking into the resort's lobby area, we were treated to free, non-alcoholic fruit drinks, then brought to a beach area where we could leave our belongings until the snorkel trip was complete. After getting snorkel gear, we were off to our first snorkel site, a sunken boat near shore. The second site was a coral reef, again just a few fin kicks from shore. I am a diver, and I have to say that the health and beauty of this shallow reef rivaled most anything I have ever seen while diving much deeper. Exiting the water is a breeze, thanks to the shaded pier that juts into the water, specially built for divers and snorkelers.
The snorkel trip was followed by free time at the beach, which is appointed with beach chairs, 'umbrellas' of thatched material, and hammocks strung between trees in the shade.
Other excursions here include a trip to Gumbalimba Park, which is a one-stop shop for entertainment and adventure on this island. This park offers an animal preserve, complete with monkeys who love attention, iguanas, turkeys, and other exotic animals. Also here is the 'Coxen's Cave' history tour, a sandy beach with chairs and hammocks in the shade, a restaurant offering a lobster buffet, a gift shop, and snorkeling/scuba/snuba. There is even a 'zip line' canopy tour, where you whiz down a cable enjoying a view of paradise from above the tree canopy! If you are traveling as a family or group, this truly is one place which has something for everyone. Check with your cruise line for details on these or other excursions.
Once you travel to Roatan, Honduras, you'll understand why cruise lines such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean are investing millions of dollars in pier improvements in this Central American country. They understand the potential that this island holds. If you're looking for a tropical location with plenty to offer that still maintains its natural, primitive beauty, put Roatan, Honduras on your must-see list.