Making sure I start this post with – YOU HAVE TO VISIT ROATAN.
Alright, had to get that out of the way immediately. That is my recommendation for you, before you even get to the nitty gritty.
What a gorgeous place. I didn’t even see that coming. I knew (from the million videos and photos I searched) that this island would be beautiful, but those photos and videos didn’t do it justice. It wasn’t a long trip and I feel like I didn’t get up to much, but a lot happened. So here is me, sharing everything that happened and what you should know about visiting.
Friday, November 4th
First of all, if you plan on traveling to any part of the Honduras, you will need two things before leaving.
There is the Immigration Precheck and the Health Form. I’ve put the link to both in their names, however, there was this website I found that took me through the entire process step-by-step. This was very helpful, because the original sites are (of course) in Spanish, but the English versions aren’t translated too great. That website helped me with what was required and I finished both items quickly for myself and my boyfriend.
The photo on the left is the email you will receive for the immigration pre-check and the photo on the right is a screenshot you should take when finishing your health form. Again, read the step by step on the aforementioned site. Helps a lot.
We had to be at the airport at 4am for this flight. Luckily the lineup for security wasn’t too bad that morning at Pearson Airport. Remember if you are flying to or transiting through America and do not have a Nexus pass, make sure to download and fill out the MPC (Mobile Passport Control). My boyfriend was able to use it to bypass the long USA customs pre-clearance line at Pearson. It saves you a lot of time!
The first flight was Pearson to Miami International. This was now my FOURTH time in Miami for the year, one time landing in FLL and now, the third time transiting there.
American Airlines just loves them some Miami, I guess.
The layover in Miami was fine. I will note, we went to TGI Friday’s for breakfast and alcohol – sure noticed that a lot the workers there must have a very good doctor. Outstanding BBL’s.
Not all had them, but the ones that did….. good work. Solid work. A+
Off to our final destination.
Definitely try to have the window seat when you’re flying to Roatan. The views are beautiful and the landing is right by the water. Pretty nice.
Once you land you will have to go through some pretty intense security screening. They will take a photo of you and also digitally fingerprint you. The day you are set to fly home, you will have to have your fingerprints scanned again, I guess to prove it’s definitely you leaving the Honduras.
We had pre-arranged a pick up with our hotel in Roatan – Bananarama Dive & Beach Resort.
If you want information on how much the flight and the hotel stay cost, click here. I gave the full budget breakdown for this trip in that post.
From the airport to our hotel, we also requested a stop at a grocery store to purchase sunscreen and bug repellant (since you can’t bring aerosols in carry ons) and also other necessities like alcohol and chips.
As you can see from the above photo – my boyfriend liked the beer options at the grocery store very much. After being in The Bahamas under a month ago, these prices were HEAVEN SENT. I believe the local beers were only $1 USD or so and the other imported beers were also really cheap.
We arrived at Bananarama around 2pm.
The first person we met was April at the front desk. HEEEY APRIL.
She told us that we would be in room #17 and gave us our voucher for two free welcome drinks at the bar. Score.
Then we walked over to see our room.
Let’s talk about the room / resort overall.
I liked the location of the room, the air conditioning was fantastic, there was a fridge, a microwave and a whole cooler with water. The bed was comfortable, the room was clean, we had a hammock on our porch and I loved the outdoor area to wash your feet so you didn’t bring any sand into the room. I LOVED that we had a gorgeous beach not even 10 seconds walking from our room, a bar, a pizzeria, a café and a restaurant in the same vicinity. On site. I love having everything nice and close. Also, the staff. Probably the second biggest draw after the beach, the staff here was wonderful.
Now, I DID NOT like a couple of things. I don’t think they are deal-breakers, because WE would definitely stay here again. I just thought I would mention them because I can see how these things may deter others from staying here. The damn sheets. Hoooooly. I don’t know if maybe fabric softener isn’t good for the type of washing machines they have there. I don’t know. But it sure isn’t present. The sheets felt like the equivalent of covering yourself with carboard. It was so hard and just odd. I’ve never ever felt bedding this brittle in my life. Luckily, we didn’t really need to keep warm in this climate, but still, not a fan.
Secondly, the bathroom. As someone who currently has back problems, the height of the toilet was crazy to me. At 5’9, I damn near had to go into a full squat to sit down on it, that is how low it was. Also, the way it was designed was really strange because the toilet was directly behind the door. Finally, the shower water I am not sure was the water I am accustomed to? Like when we stayed in Azulik (in Tulum) they gave us the heads up that their bath water was still salt water, so at least we knew. Here, we didn’t know that. You would go swimming all day at the beach and then take a shower and still feel sticky. I never felt fully clean, even with the shower and body wash.
Are those two things big deals? Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on who the traveler is. With all the positives and how good of a price this place is, I’d happily do it all over again.
After settling into our room, we decided we needed some food. We had not eaten since BBL TGI Friday’s.
During the shuttle ride from the airport, we made a friend named Ashley (who told us she comes from Tennessee once a month to stay at this resort, GOALS). She mentioned that right behind Bananarama there was a really good taco spot, so we went there for lunch.
The epitome of a hole-in-the-wall because that’s what it basically was. This tiny little place with a couple seats outside of it. I don’t remember what my boyfriend ordered, but I got these wasabi shrimp tacos and they were delicious! If you’re in the West Bay area, stop by here for a quick meal.
Once we were full, we decided to take a nap. I think I mention every recap that I like to nap on vacation. So we did that.
When we woke up we took a nice evening stroll up and down West Bay beach. Gorgeous sunset. Shame it got dark at like 530pm though. If you want to walk on the beach after 7pm, make sure to bring a flashlight with you. I found there to be enough light from the hotels, but if you want to see what is directly in front of you in the sand – bring a flashlight like we did.
Also, make SURE you spray yourself all over with bug repellant. The mosquitos and beach bugs do not play around.
Saw some pretty cool things on our walk……
For dinner we decided to just eat at the hotel’s pizzeria. The choice was cheeseburger pizza, which was pretty good.
The Thirsty Turtle is the name of the bar a the resort, if you end up drinking there, know they have a heavy pour. Some folks like that, some do not. That was my warning sign. They have all kinds of currency hanging from the ceilings and their walls that tourists have signed, we added ourselves to that as well!
This long day finally came to an end.
Saturday, November 5th
Another great thing about Bananarama? Breakfast is included in the stay.
Nothing like walking over to your beachfront restaurant and ordering some eggs, plantain, sausage and beans. The fruit juice also? Heaven. One day they had papaya, another day watermelon and on the final day blackberry. All three were so damn good, I may have drank 5-6 glasses of each.
Following breakfast, we both sat our asses down on the resort beach chairs and hung out there all day. Literally, didn’t move.
There are a lot of people on the beach offering you bracelets, massages, t-shirts, conch shells, diving excursions and all kinds of other things. It can be pretty frequent, but for the most part you are left alone. Also, in a much quieter tone, you will likely be offered cocaine and marijuana. I do not partake in either of those, so I can’t give you reviews on the quality.
Roatan has cruises coming in pretty frequently, but they arrive on the other side of the island. At some point during the day you’ll see small groups of people arriving and choosing which resort they will pay to hang out at or they will go directly onto the boats for diving or snorkeling trips.
Around lunch time we decided to take a boat taxi over to a restaurant I had seen on Tripadvisor and wanted to try really badly. I had overheard what some of the boat taxis were charging the cruise ship people for transport, but I think we got lucky, because my boyfriend made friends with damn near everyone around the resort already.
For us, the boat from our beach to Happy Harry’s Hideway only ended up being $30 USD roundtrip. I think this was a good price because one of the conversations I heard was a lady and her sister were trying to take a boat taxi back to their cruise and the person quoted her $100 USD – just ONE way. Ouch. Glad that wasn’t our price.
The ride to Happy Harry’s was GORGEOUSSSSSS. I love being on boats in general, but this ride was so nice. Our driver? Captain? Well his name was Jairo. If you’re in West Bay, talk to him and he will get you to your destination.
Happy Harry’s is located in the West End part of Roatan, this is where all the party spots are and many restaurants.
When we pulled up in our Uber Boat, we decided to sit upstairs and get to ordering. I only wanted one thing and that is what I came for specifically. The Seafood Mix Plate.
This consisted of king crab, lobster, conch and shrimp with a side of rice and peas and plantain. Oooouh.
The young lady serving us was like ‘you guys know this is for four people, right?’ and I was like ‘yeah yeah, we got this, we came hungry‘.
We didn’t have that. Are you crazy? THAT FUCKING MEAL WAS MASSIVE.
I had never seen such a huge plate of seafood in my life. This thing is definitely for four people, please listen to your server.
When I tell you, the king crab alone? Sheesh. This was like a king crab on human grown hormones. That alone could have fed a family.
$80USD —- money well spent. It was so good and they even gave you a bowl of melted butter to dip the seafood in. You will have to put some muscle in your meal though because it took some real work to crack all the parts of the crab with the mallet they provide.
Make sure you take time to hang out at the restaurant before or after your meal. They’ve got super cute photo areas. There’s swings and you can jump in the water from the second floor (maybe not after eating) and you can also just lounge on their beach chairs.
When we went to pay the lady at the front mentioned it would be 10% off if we used cash, but we were out of cash and decided to go try and find an ATM. I left my backpack as collateral so they didn’t think we were some weirdos who might dine and dash.
The walk took a while, or it felt like a while because it was so hot outside. We eventually made it to where this ATM was supposed to be but apparently it was out of money. Fuck. Did all that walking for nothing.
Next door to it was a liquor store or some type of haberdashery that we walked into to ask if there was any other ATM’s nearby. Nope. But luckily they did cash back and it seemed like a good time for my boyfriend to buy two more beers for the road. Perfect.
Got the cash and walked back to the restaurant to pay. Called Jairo to come pick us up and take us back to West Bay.
West End looked really nice. We heard that this is the place you should go out at night to party so we thought we’d come back later in the evening.
When we got back to the hotel we sat for a bit listening to a man singing with his guitar out. He had a wonderful voice and was singing some soca and reggae songs. It was lovely.
Not going to lie to you here – we fell asleep at like 8pm and didn’t wake up until Sunday. No West End. No partying. Fail.
Sunday, November 6th
Due to us falling asleep insanely early, I woke up at 5am.
Although the sun goes down at 530pm, it also does come up super early. I decided to go for a nice walk on this morning up and down West Bay.
Everyone should do this at least once during their time here. There was barely anyone out on the beach (except those damn people who jog at this ungodly hours). Prior to us arriving in Roatan there was actually a hurricane warning and we found out that many people’s flights had been cancelled in anticipation of that. This was why the island felt so empty, I think. I loved the peace and quiet so that was fine with me.
The walk on the beach got me hungry, so of course, time for that wonderful breakfast at the hotel.
I don’t think I can truly explain how beautiful West Bay beach is so, see photos below for proof.
Also, feel free to use them as wallpapers. You’re welcome.
I am not lying when I tell you this was the second nicest beach I had ever been on. (#1 still remains Shoal Bay Beach in Anguilla)
Today was going to be another day of doing absolutely nothing. I felt we were in the minority for ‘doing nothing’ gang because I swear everyone else there was always going diving or snorkeling. We had no interest in that. Just drinking and relaxing was the motive.
If you see a guy walking down the beach selling coconut bread, make sure you buy some. So good.
Another person you have to see is Sammy! Shout out to Sammy, I had seen him on a YouTube video and really hoped I’d get to buy some things from him during my trip.
Sammy sells fruity drinks from his canoe. It’s so awesome. Pick either a coconut or a pineapple and he will open it up, fill it with rum and then some personal concoction he also made into it. Wow. Sooooo good. Best swim-up bar you could ever have. If you see him, get some fruity drinks from him. They don’t cost much and you may even end up getting multiples. Who knows.
You get to relax in this breathtaking sea while drinking rum from a coconut or pineapple. It’s the most perfect day.
We hung out well until sunset at the beach this evening, as it was our final night here.
There was a band at the hotel tonight, not the same man singing from the Saturday. It was very unfortunate. The band singing tonight did renditions of Queen, Bob Marley etc. that would make their respective singers turn over in their grave. It was like a cat was being drowned over and over again. That is what the singer of this honky tonk band sounded like. Brutal.
We got some snapper for dinner, but we literally ate as quickly as possible to get the hell away from this band. That was the shitty thing about our room being so close to the beach, we had to keep hearing this band. Not enough liquor in the world could make them sound good.
Yep, went to sleep at 9pm tonight.
Monday, November 7th
Here I was again, up at 5am.
Taking my walk up and down West Bay beach for our final day.
I also made a friend named George. This is George. He tried to eat my phone. Then he grabbed my boob. George is a guys’ guy.
We spent time at the beach until check out and began heading for the airport at noon. Paradise time was done.
The airport security was easy to go through and we wanted to have some time to hang out at the restaurant in the gate areas. I know this is super random, but when you get to your gate, order some ceviche. There are only two spots to eat and one of them has like sandwiches and stuff, the other has wings and fries …. and shrimp ceviche. After being in Peru, I was a little skeptical, but this ceviche was surprisingly good. SO WERE THE WINGS!!?? So yeah, get that.
I’m here thinking like wow, woke up and got to have my breakfast, beach, my new pal George and then some bomb ass ceviche and wings. I thought this may be one of the best flying days ever. Fuck no. Everything went to hell as soon as we finished our meals at the gate.
We had been sitting past the security point for at least 90 minutes now and suddenly my boyfriends name gets called over the speakers. He had been chosen for ‘extra pat down’ before going on the plane. So he would have to be searched and immediately get on the plane.
I’m not here to make assumptions or accuse anyone of anything but the four people that were ALL chosen for this ‘random’ extra search happened to be Black. It was him, an older gentleman and then a 20-something year old girl and her four-year-old daughter. Seeing a four-year-old getting pat down was awful. I went into the plane as my boyfriend had his turn getting searched. When he came on the plane he was so upset.
He was telling me they opened his bag (we only went with carry ons) and spilled everything onto the table and in front of passengers walking by were going through his underwear and all kinds of things. Not even in private, which is already degrading enough, but in front of passengers boarding the flight. Horrible. I’m not sure if this was the choice of the security at the Roatan airport or American Airlines. But this was disgusting. I understand folks can get chosen for random things, but is it necessary to humiliate them too?
So that happened. And we flew to Miami in not the greatest mood.
Now we get to Miami and I’m like ok great we land at D9 and have to fly to Toronto from D7, nice and close.
We have to go through fucking security. Now I asked one of the people at Miami International how much for a two hour layover I have to go through customs again and I didn’t have to do this when I came back from Antigua. He said ‘it’s because Antigua counts as part of USA‘. Anyone else knew that part of geography? Because I sure didn’t.
What I think he meant is, like Pearson in Toronto, the airport on Antigua has USA pre-clearance so when you land you don’t have to go through further BS with customs. But still, this was a pain.
You have to walk like a damn kilometer to get to the security area, wait in a long ass line to ‘enter’ America, I guess. Then you have to stand in another 20-25 minute line to take your bag through the scanner again. I was two gates away eh? Had to do all this to come back to exactly where I landed. Nonsense.
It was time to fly back to Toronto now. My arch nemesis – Pearson Airport. I haven’t had the best luck here this year, so I was thinking that after the day I had, the final BS was remaining.
You guys won’t even believe how this day ended.
We land at Pearson and are taxiing to our gate. What do the flight attendants always tell you?
‘Please be careful removing your things from the overhead bin as they may have shifted during the flight‘. Literally, I know this verbatim.
My boyfriend and I were in like row 24, in the back. So most of the airplane had cleared out and all we both hear is a loud bang and then a woman sobbing.
Some asshole WASN’T careful and went to remove a bag from the overhead bin and a HEAVY DUTY tripod fell out of it and hit the woman sitting below in the head. Gash on her cheek. Gash on her forehead. Given the size and weight of the tripod, she probably was also concussed.
This guy only said ‘yeah I didn’t know that was there‘ and walked off the plane. The girl whose tripod it was? Grabbed the tripod and walked off the plane.
Not a sorry. Not checking if the woman is OK. Nothing.
We felt so bad for this lady, and like, it’s midnight now. I know the flight attendants and pilot were annoyed too. But yeah, if you’re the douchebag who did that – you can go to hell. That was so unkind. No empathy.
The ONLY thing that went right was that when we finally deplaned, we got through security in like 3 minutes. Maybe because it was midnight on a Monday? There was no line and no waiting. Breeze through that.
Aside from that monstrosity of a return-trip and the awful sheets in the hotel, amazing trip.
This year I didn’t have the best luck for weather.
Rained in Costa Rica. It rained in Portugal. Rained in Monaco. Didn’t see sun in Ecuador. Didn’t see sun in Lima (but did in Cusco, so yay.)
But the islands didn’t let me down! Antigua. The Bahamas. Roatan. All had lots of sunshine!!!
I have to say, my posts from while I was in Roatan garnered the most questions I’ve gotten about ANY trip I’ve been on before. Some folks had never heard of this place and the others that told me not to go to Honduras for my safety, yeah them too.
I can’t speak to how Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula are, on the mainland. Speaking to the locals in Roatan, seems like they aren’t exactly the safest places for tourists to go. But, I can speak on my time in Roatan, I felt completely safe. The locals are super duper nice. The other tourists are really nice too.
You should give Roatan a try. That West Bay beach is going to remain in my mind for a while, especially trying to get through this cold ass Canadian winter.