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Roatán is made up of sandy beaches, wild mangroves and a coastline teeming with colourful fish. The island may only be 50km long, but this Honduras location packs in lively villages and an eclectic culture influenced by British, American and Spanish settlements, as well as indigenous tribes. And at 2-4km wide, you’ll never be far from scuba diving trips around the second-largest barrier reef in the world.
Hostels in Roatán are on the western end of the island, which is where its biggest towns are. You can experience a real slice of island life with a hostel surrounded by tropical greenery and decks with hammocks. Stop over in a Roatán hostel with a shady outdoor area or in a hilltop home with a panoramic deck that looks out to sea. Expect to find places to stay with swimming pools, private rooms and air con. Many Roatán hostels have free Wi-Fi and some offer a free breakfast too.
The island is a mix of bustling towns, remote landscapes and traditional fishing villages. Coxen Hole and French Harbour are the main towns, where you’ll find shops and restaurants. The Sandy Bay district (on the northern coast) has snorkelling sites 200 metres from the shore, as well as most of the island’s cultural attractions like the Roatán Marine Park. Venture east and you’ll come across Punta Gorda, a Garifuna fishing village that has remained mostly unchanged since the 1700s.
Head to West Bay Beach for some ocean adventures. With a shoreline full of corals, it’s a dreamy spot to go snorkelling or stand-up paddle boarding. From here you can hike along the beach through unspoiled scenery. Take a detour inland to the zip-lining centre where you can walk over thrilling suspension bridges before gliding among the jungle canopies. Little French Key is an island off the southern shore of Roatán, home to a nature reserve with sloths and monkeys and underwater Mayan ruins.
Roatán’s airport, Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport, is less than a 10-minute car ride to Coxen Hole. From Honduras’ mainland, you can get the boat from La Ceiba. Roatán has two bus routes, both starting from Coxen Hole and connecting to the airport, Dixon Cove, French Harbour and Sandy Bay. You can also get around by bike (rental outlets are found at West Bay), motorbike and boat taxis.