Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to 24 hours in Roatan Port! From the moment you get up in the moment to the moment your head hits the pillow at night it feels like you’re bombarded with trivial tasks. Do the laundry! File that report! Take your cockapoo to yoga class! The drama never ends! Wouldn’t you rather spend the day eating chocolate and napping on the beach? Then join me for 24 hours in Roatan Port.
During this 24 hours in Roatan Port, I’ll show you the hidden charms of this unusual island. Truly there’s no place in the Caribbean or Central America exactly like. You want to come here before the world knows of its charms! Let’s go!
24 Hours in Roatan Port
Morning: Explore Roatan
Even though Roatan is part of the country Honduras, it’s separate from the rest of the nation because it is just a little island off the coast. During this 24 hours in Roatan Port , we’re going to find a local guide and see the major attractions of the island. Plus, we’ll be visiting Roatan Port on board Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, one of their biggest ships! So even after we return to the cruise ship, we’ll never run out of things to do.
Many people visit Roatan Honduras as a stop on a cruise ship. Ordinarily I recommend taking a shore excursion with the cruise line because it’s usually more convenient that way. But they didn’t have any sightseeing shore excursions available, and I figured my Dear Readers would rather see some sights than just sit on a beach all day.
That’s why I booked a tour with a company called Velasquez. You don’t need to book with them in advance. When you enter the Roatan port, just go to the area with tour guide kiosks until you find the one called Velasquez. For an extremely reasonable fee, they will put you on the next available tour. I’ll take you through all the Roatan attractions we saw!
Approximately Top 5: Roatan Port
1) Roatan Honduras History
Honduras, like many Latin American countries, is primarily Spanish speaking. But Roatan was colonized by the British, so English is widely spoken on the island. In fact, Roatan is home to many different ethnic communities, but the three most prominent are Latino, Anglo, and African. (Africans were enslaved and brought to Roatan by the British during the colonial period.)
As you exit the cruise ship port, keep an eye out for busts of important people in Roatan’s history. My favorite was the bust of a prominent local education, the late Juan Brooks. As a former teacher, I can promise you that more teachers need to have statues dedicated to them. And Juan Brooks doesn’t just get his own statue; he also has a local school named after him. You go, Juan Brooks!
2) Viewing Point
Any tour of Roatan will take you to this viewing point, which is the highest point on the island. It’s located on the outskirts or Coxen Hole, the small capital of the island. You’ll be able to see the cruise ship port from here and wave to your giant home, which now looks like a toy.
This viewing point is quite popular with tourists, so naturally there are many souvenir stands set up here. You can buy local goods like coffee and vanilla here, but I prefer the shops in the cruise ship port, so I suggest holding off.
3) Roatan Honduras Houses
The different types of housing is one of the most interesting and saddest things about Roatan. You can find mansions like the one pictured above, dotted all over the island. Our guide, who was from Roatan, told us that these mansions sell for around a million dollars, but they go only to Americans. No locals own a home like this.
If you want to see what local housing looks like, take a drive through the Spanishtown neighborhood. Our guide told us this neighborhood was called Spanishtown a long time ago because it used to be the Spanish speaking neighborhood. Remember, the Spanish speakers arrived on Roatan after the English speakers. But nowadays Spanishtown is not only for Spanish speakers.
The economy of Roatan is entirely dependent on tourists. You might think I’m exaggerating, but our guide said that 90 percent of the economy comes from tourism. I’ve been to many Caribbean islands whose main industry is tourism, but I’ve never seen an island as dependent on tourism as Roatan. (PS. The other ten percent comes from fishing.)
4) Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs
One of the most fun activities on Roatan is the chance to watch real chocolate making in action. We got to watch how a local chocolate shop makes their products from bean to bar. And of course, some free samples of the goods were included.
Cocoa beans don’t grow on Roatan, but they do grow on mainland Honduras. So the company has them shipped to Roatan where they are processed on the island. First the cocoa bean is dried, then it is fermented, and finally it is mixed with cocoa butter. (You also get to rub a little of the cocoa butter on your hands, in case you are experiencing the dreaded Dry Fingies.) I’m not exactly sure how this statue of the monkey is involved, but I assume he’s crucial to the process.
There’s no pressure to buy the finished chocolate bars, but I think the price is a steal for this quality. I purchased a bar of their spicy chocolate. Heat + Sweet Can’t Be Beat, in my book. But they have more normal flavors, including milk and dark if that’s what floats your boat more.
5) West Bay Beach
The number one reason to visit Roatan or buy a one million dollar mansion on Roatan is because of its stunning beaches. So thank goodness our last stop on the tour was a couple of beaches. First we stopped at Flowers Bay, which was the first community on the island. (Do you remember what language they spoke in this community? I hope so! Always live like there could be a pop quiz any moment, as my grandmother used to say.)
Our final, final stop on the tour was at West Bay Beach, which is the most famous beach on the island. It’s pretty easy to see why! Look at that stunning white sand and water as blue as the eyes of Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.
Tragically, my camera ran out of juice right about here, so I couldn’t take pictures of the beach for you. Fortunately, Wikipedia has hooked me up with a picture so you can close your eyes, look at the photo, and dream that you are on West Bay Beach yourself. Thanks, Internet!
Afternoon: Roatan Port
The cruise port in Roatan is a little different from most of the Caribbean cruise ports I’ve been to. The cruise ports in places like Basseterre, St Kitts or St John’s, Antigua are within walking distance of museums, restaurants and other attractions.
But there’s nothing really within walking distance of the Roatan Honduras Cruise Port. That’s why I recommend spending most of your time in port on the cruise, and only a little bit of the afternoon in the cruise port. That should just give you enough time for lunching, drinking, snacking, and shopping. What more could you want from a cruise port?
Three Fun Facts: Roatan Port
1) Where Can I Get Lunch?
Head straight for the man making tacos on a grill right by the entrance to a cruise ship. Food is almost always 100 percent better when it’s cooked fresh in front of you. And while you wait, sip on a cocktail from the restaurant near the taco grill. I suggest the Bahama Mama cocktail, a tiki classic. There’s so many different kinds of juice in this baby, you won’t even notice the rum until you’re dancing on tables with a lampshade on your head.
As for the taco, you can choose the meat for each one. I suggest a taco al pastor, with pork, and the spicy sausage. Food for cruise ship passengers can be on the bland side, so it was nice to try something with a little kick.
2) What About Dessert?
We’ve already sampled Honduran chocolate, so why not try some Honduran coffee next? Fortunately there is a Wellu coffee stand right next to the taco grill. This stand serves only Honduran coffee. You can get it ready made in a drink or buy some coffee as a souvenir! The coffee jelly, which is more of a sweet coffee syrup, is excellent in Greek yogurt.
I suggest getting something coconut flavored, so you know you’re in the Caribbean. As much as I love the ‘Bucks, the flavor in this coffee is so much fresher than the stuff they put in a Mocha Frappucino.
3) Where Can I Shop Til I Drop?
Great question, Internet Stranger! After all, if you visit Roatan port without shopping, can you even say that you have been there? I suggest that every regular traveler collect one type of souvenir in every place they visit. It should be something you can find in most places, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Even a postcard collection can be beautiful and meaningful.
Regular readers of this blog know that I choose to collect earrings. You can find earrings in every city, there are a googily-jillion different cool versions, and they take up no room in your suitcase. Of course in the Caribbean, it’s possible to blow a huge chunk of change on expensive jewelry, but I would rather highlight locally made pieces.
Both of the earrings I bought in Roatan were made with unusual items. The pink ones are recycled soda can tabs. There was a special deal if you bought three, so you can get two for friends and keep one for yourself. Or keep all three for you! No judgment here.
The other pair was made with local seeds. I assume that means if you plant them in my windowsill, your apartment will turn into one of the Roatan forests, and you’ll be able to go ziplining in the comfort of your home.
Evening: Dinner at Chef’s Table
After the cruise ship has sounded the All Aboard, you’re going to be steaming away towards your next port. It’s very difficult to leave the cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean to get dinner. So why not indulge yourself by making a reservation at Royal Caribbean’s fine dining restaurant, Chef’s Table. Especially if you’re a solo cruiser, this is a great way to meet other guests who are also passionate about food and travel.
The Chef’s Table is a tasting menu restaurant, which means you don’t get to choose what to order. So it’s not the right experience for a picky eater. But if you love gourmet foods like scallop, steak, and lobster, you’ll be as happy as a pig in cocoa butter. The meal starts with a refreshing scallop carpaccio in yuzu vinaigrette with crispy quinoa. The chef comes out with every course to explain how the dish was prepared and answer your questions. This definitely doesn’t happen in the main dining room!
The next course was a roasted tomato soup with garlic focaccia croutons. I liked how each dish was getting slightly heavier, but not too much heavier. It made this decadent tasting menu more leisurely and enjoyable. The chef explained that this soup takes two days to make because of the lengthy process involved in roasting the soup. Definitely worth it!
24 Hour Treat: Lobster
The seafood course was a Maine lobster salad with hearts of palm, pineapple, and vanilla dressing. I had never eaten lobster with vanilla, but the sweetness of both ingredients went well together. I was curious to know why they’d bring Maine lobster to the Caribbean when there’s so much seafood in the Caribbean to begin with. But maybe Maine lobster is just better than all the rest. USA! USA! USA!
24 Hour Treat: Steak Time!
Here we have the piece de resistance, a filet mignon served with truffle potato puree, asparagus, and bordelaise sauce. Technically there were two choices for a main course, since a roasted branzino was available for those who don’t eat steak. But literally not a single person chose this option. I mean, fish is all well and good, but not when a gorgeous piece of beef and truffled potatoes are available. That’s just science.
The chef had a little moment of showing off when the steak was presented. We had each ordered our steak cooked a different way. I ordered mine medium rare like a civilized person, but some of my dining companions chose to murder their cow a second time by getting it well done. (I’m really very tolerant about most things, but not about eating well done steak.) Then we cut our steaks open in front of the chef so he could see if the cook was to our liking! Mine was a perfect pink, not the sad brown of a well done steak, so I was thrilled!
At this point in the meal, you might be thinking you don’t have any more room. But I bet you can find some in your tummy for Valrhona chocolate, salted caramel, and dulce de leche ice cream. Look at the smush on that fresh ice cream! You can tell this isn’t the stuff they serve at the All You Can Eat Soft Serve Booth.
Our dessert was paired with a dessert cocktail called a Tiramisu Martini. I have no idea what was in it, except it got everyone at the table real drunk real fast. This is the moment at Chef’s Table when everyone starts spilling their darkest secrets, but I won’t tell even my Dear Readers what the other guests said. What happens at Chef’s Table stays at Chef’s Table.
That’s 24 Hours in Roatan Port
What would you do in Roatan Port? Why would someone order a steak well done? And is that a towel dog on my bed or a towel demon? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in Roatan Port that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours in Roatan Port. If you’re looking for other Caribbean itineraries, try this one!