Top 10 Best of Roatán
Our next destination coming from the Cayman Islands is the Honduras. Honduras or officially called the Republic of Honduras is located in Central America. It has been referred to as the Spanish Honduras to differentiate from the British Honduras which is Belize now. Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, El Salvador to the southwest, the Gulf of Honduras to the north and a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.
The ship docked at Roatán port. Roatán is one of Honduras’ Caribbean Bay Islands or Islas de la Bahía. It is part of the huge Mesoamerican Barrier Reef which is known for its beaches, dive sites and marine life. We were in Mahogany Bay and got assisted by the Carnival cruise staff directing us to the right shore excursion. I chose the Top 10 Best of Roatán since it includes the Top-10 best attractions of the place.
Our first shore excursion stop was Arch’s Iguana and Marine Park. It is one of the little known treasure of the island. The iguana farm is located along the main paved road in French Key, just past the French Harbour. Iguanas have long been the basic ingredient to make iguana stew in Roatán. The main reason Sherman Arch built and started the iguana shelter. Visitors can feed hundreds of different iguanas in their natural habitat.
After our visit in the farm, we headed to the only Cameo Factory in the Americas. The Cameo Caracoles Carving Factory is located in the Coxen Hole. It is a very interesting and rare experience watching the trained Honduran to change an ordinary conch to a magical art piece. According to the tour guide, only few are left trained on conch carving. They harvested conch shells and make it beautiful masterpieces. Too bad, I’m too poor for such delicate and expensive artworks 😉 . We even had the chance of watching master craftsman create jewelry and art by carving away at shells, conchs, coral and stone.
Next stop was the Roatán Rum Company. It has been in business manufacturing fine rums way back 1765. There were a variety of authentic homemade rums. I don’t drink hard liquor but the rum cake tasted the really good. We only stayed in the store for few minutes. I took a picture behind the store with its nice view of the Roatán coast.
Just across the rum company was El Faro Lighthouse. With a small fee of USD5, guests can climb the steps to the top of the lighthouse and be able to enjoy the spectacular view of the West Bay side of the island.
On top of the El Faro Lighthouse is the landscape of the island with blue sky, green vegetation in the background and fresh island breeze. It was refreshing even with the sun glaring and the heat scorching. While everyone was having fun in the rum factory, I was in the lighthouse enjoying the view. The location is a good place to see the island. Next attraction was just located near the beautiful beach of Half Moon Bay. It is a stop in the West End Village’s ‘The Rusty Fish’. The Rusty Fish is a store gallery that offers great insight into the life in the area, tourists visit the gallery to purchase some of the recycled art created by the locals. Their products were interesting and buying them helps the community since the profit will go to the families needing assistance.
Just few miles from Rusty Fish was the Roatán Chocolate Factory. In the factory, they provided us a demonstration on the process to make some of the world’s best and rarest chocolate. They have wide varieties of chocolate flavors. They even gave us information on how to distinguish 100% organic chocolate from the rest of other chocolates. Their chocolates were really good. After the chocolate demonstration and free tasting, I went outside. Just across the store was the beach. I made sure to take a photo of the clear water, green sea and blue sky.
We, then, headed back to the coaster after Roatán Chocolate Factory. They drove us through Coxen Hole and passed City Hall on the way to a private beach. We went to Sol Y Mar Beach Club and Restaurant or Sandy Bay.
Sol Y Mar Beach Club and Restaurant was our last stop. It was a great idea having the beach club as our last destination. Tourists can relax the beautiful beach before going back to the ship. The beach club offers different passes and packages. The beach resort has fine, powdery white sands, clear blue waters, and fresh sea breeze. I was able to have an R&R. While in the beach club, we were also entertained by the local Garifuna tribe members with their music, dancing, language and some of their foods. The shore excursion in Islas de la Bahia was great. Thanks to our awesome tour guide, Lina and our driver, Dimas. We had fun and explored almost the whole Bay Islands. Now, I can put a checkmark on Honduras as countries I have visited. The whole experience was fun and informative. Even though, I ran out of cash. It was a lesson learned in the hard way while traveling in the foreign country.
Check my vlog in my YouTube channel showing the Top 10 Best of Roatán: