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Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

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82 posts
2 reviews
Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

Just got back last night after spending 8 days at Infinity Bay. This is my personal opinion designed to help people who are considering going to Roatan.

The resort—Absolutely perfect. The staff was great, the grounds were impeccably maintained and the vibe was relaxing. We went to West End twice via water taxi and I really can’t see why people choose staying there with zero beach as opposed to the beautiful beach at West Bay. Again this is my personal opinion.

The reef—We brought our own snorkeling gear and went out out 2-3 times a day and it was fantastic. You go out to the round white buoys by the pier, go through the small channel and then go left and it is incredible. My daughter and I tried SCUBA for the first time with West Bay Divers and it was great. Christi and Collin were very patient and accommodating.

The bugs—We barely applied anything and had no issues with sand flies or mosquitoes. The only time we were bothered was at Iron Shore at Grand Roatan and the staff gave us bug spray.

Gumbalimba—We were so fortunate to be there during a non cruise ship day. We had the place to ourselves and had a blast (Please spare the self-righteous rhetoric about it being a zoo and not a sanctuary—it was a fun place, especially for the kids).

Cleve—Did the full day with him and just our family of four and what a day! We had brought about 20-30 “smile bags” from our dentist (the bags of toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss,etc that you get every time you go to the dentist) and Cleve gave them out to people on our trip. What an enriching experience! The pastalitos were the bomb!

Food—This was the most disappointing aspect of our trip. Very sub par across the board. Bananarama is awful—avoid at all cost. There were a few good meals but overall if you’re a foodie you might want to pass on this island. My moment of food zen came when I got some breakfast baleadas at Arlyn’s Place for $3 and stumbled across the banana bread guy on the way back (it was still warm!). Had an awesome breakfast for four for $6.

Overall I would highly recommend Roatan. The people are very friendly and the snorkeling is the best I’ve ever seen in 7 different trips to various islands in the Caribbean.

21 replies to this topic
I wander the world
Level Contributor
4,773 posts
25 reviews
1. Re: Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

I don't remember anybody ever saying anything negative about Gumbalimba. I know they have monkeys and birds but I thought they were free. I didn't even know it had a zoo.

Little French Kay on the other hand, there is nothing self-righteous about my choice not to go to that place. Choice.

I agree the food in West Bay is all boring, Americanized and I find it expensive. I often suggest to people if they want good food they should go to Italy.

I go for the water, the people and the reef.

Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
195 posts
1 review
2. Re: Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

The food situation has improved in Roatan, but it is never going to be a big selling point of the island. Even the highest end places don't approach what anyone who identifies as a "foodie" would consider great. But if you embrace the vibe and enjoy the inexpensive typico breakfasts, baleadas, etc. you might find it pretty delicious anyway, and save yourself a bunch of money in the process.

Agree with Nomadic.....i don't think there have been many negative posts about Gumbalimba. Little French Key is the one that people usually reserve their ire for.

Tokyo, Japan
Destination Expert
for Hakone-machi, Minato
Level Contributor
7,711 posts
3. Re: Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

Thanks for your review.

Wish you had taken a water taxi to West End. You might have found food that was worth the trip. Creole's Chicken Place, Ginger's, The Landing at the Beach House, Pazzo's, Oasis. The list goes on.

Please visit again!

Level Contributor
82 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

Nomadic—Sorry my original intent was to give people who are considering Roatan for the first time (like me 6 months ago) some insight on whether it is for them. I see Little French Key as the Duns River Falls of Roatan—the ultimate tourist trap. I had no desire to go there—especially after I read how they treat that jaguar. I just don’t like internet bullies who belittle people who are earnestly looking for feedback on their desired destination.

Level Contributor
1,164 posts
16 reviews
5. Re: Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

Thank you Rum Punch for a great review. It’s always great to read about other’s thoughts/experiences on Roatan. I tend to agree with your impression of the food. It is okay and some places can be quite good but it’s definitely not a foodie destination, but along with that the prices are reflective. It is about the water and the reef. Hope you are able to visit again.

Menlo Park...
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5,764 posts
91 reviews
6. Re: Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

Quite glad that you enjoyed your vacation. But I have to take serious exception with your put-down of the food. If your idea of high culinary expression is a breakfast baleada or the banana donut, well clearly we know what to think of your taste. You needed to get out more. Oasis, Lotus, the Landing consistently put out exceptional dinners. Probably no baleadas but otherwise great. With langosta now back in season you have to try that somewhere. Several places execute a seafood stew that is exquisite. I tried the Landing’s stew recipe on my home foodie club and it triumphed. Then there’s what Creole Chicken can do with a simple plump juicy chicken. I simply have not found a Caribbean destination with Roatan’s consistently high level of good food available if you know where to look. I’m only in Roatan for a week to 10 days at a time but I don’t eat at the same place twice per visit. And I am never am disappointed. Of course I don’t get down to West Bay for dinner. Maybe that’s why I can’t agree with you.

Utila, Honduras
Destination Expert
for Utila
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3,107 posts
336 reviews
7. Re: Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

Thanks for the trip report. I have to agree re. the food, the only truly great meal I've had anywhere in Honduras was dinner at Hacienda San Lucas in Copan. Food is definitely not the lure of the country, the local food is tasteless and simply acts as a vehicle to transport hot sauce into your mouth and the non local food is never as good as the restaurants at home.

Again, thanks for the report I'm glad you had a nice trip.

Edited: 15 July 2018, 09:08
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Level Contributor
940 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

dhauk; will you share the stew recipe? When we were there in March, I got some at Cayuco that was outstanding, and I ate on one serving for at least 4 meals.

Menlo Park...
Level Contributor
5,764 posts
91 reviews
9. Re: Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

#8, better yet why not drop in at the Landing and get it straight from them? It combines cayenne and tomato with fish, which I always thought was a no-no, but it sure works. Plus they and I use real fish stock, which makes a big difference. Procure 6 fish heads, throw them in a large pot with a gallon of court-bouillon, open the windows and leave the house.

It's hard to remember most meals we've had for better or worse, but I have a distinct recall of many meals I've had in Roatan over the years. Maybe the best fish dinner I've ever had was a well prepared langosta at Besos in West End 7 years ago. I returned there for my last meal of the trip with 6 young dive master trainees from Coconut Tree to thank them for all their help and companionship that trip. They all wanted the langosta too, and they couldn't really afford it on their own.

I drove across the US from CA to ME in April and I can say definitively as a result of that exposure to real American food, that this country is NOT a place for foodies. Not sure I ate any better driving across Canada either.

Edited: 15 July 2018, 17:31
Port Stanley, Canada
Level Contributor
14 posts
90 reviews
10. Re: Thoughts on first trip to Roatan

We just got back and has some great meals, especially at X-balanque and Celeste's. Snapper and sea bass. Prepared to perfection. You can't beat fish that was swimming around in the ocean that morning. We also ate at Hangover hut, which we thought was cute - the food WAS exactly like eating in Canada, but that's the point of that one. We thought the pizza at Bananarama was among the best we'd ever had. We did think Sundowner's was overrated, the food was meh, the lala's were meh, the crowd all seemed to know each other, so it is maybe more for locals. Alas, Ginger's was closed when we visited, and we were too full to sample at Pourquoi not, but it looked good. I might agree that you don't GO specifically for the food (Paris, anyone?) but we ate some outstanding meals while we were there.

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