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Roatan vacation

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Santa Cruz CA
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Roatan vacation

Hello TI

Me, my wife and our 10 year old son are planning a vacation to Roatan sometime in the spring of 2014 (April /May). We are seasoned traveler's having taken a vacation every year since our son was 4 years old. Several trips to Playa del Carmen/Akumal/Cozumel. We went to Belize last year and Hawaii the year before that. I do all the research/planning and execution of everything from lodging to rent a car. I always start with TI. We almost went to Roatan 2 year ago, so I've done some research. I'm an avid scuba diver, so you know why I want to go to Roatan. I take my son snorkeling and he loves it. My wife does not snorkel or dive, she likes hanging by the beach or pool and getting into the local culture. I usually get a vacation rental for accommodations and a rental car if needed, we like to be independent. We don't normally do AI and if I was traveling alone a nice room would be fine. I would be underwater most of the time anyway.!! but I have to take care of the family, so I'm looking for something nice but moderate. I'm looking for a little insight, off the beaten path stuff, someplace nice, a pool is a must and something on the beach

lodging recommendations ($150-$200 a night budget) I hear the West End or West End Bay is the nice part of the island, any other parts I should consider? any nice vacation rentals, I don't mind BBQing a little.

Dive shop recommendations (any steel tank shops around?) I would like to get up and out early and get a 2-take dive in the AM, so I'm back with the family by 1pm or so

things to do (for a wife and son while hubby is out diving) Family stuff we can all do?

We are not big on "nightlife", but enjoy getting out a little

Restaurants?

cultural activities (we were able to get all around Belize, Orange Walk, San Ignacio were the Mayan ruins were beautiful, I got my diving in Placenica and San Pedro, fantastic dives )

any general good info, websites and recommendations will be greatly appreciated

thank you

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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1. Re: Roatan vacation

Hopefully those with more experience will pipe in, but here are links to my lodging and dive shop choices for a June visit plus a new activity I'm looking forward to.

http://roatanposada.com/

http://www.scubaroatanhonduras.com/

http://steelpanalley.com/experience.html

My photos with blog and travelogue links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - recommendations from my previous visits are embedded there. Happy planning!

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Utila, Honduras
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for Utila
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2. Re: Roatan vacation

roatan is really a tale of two islands in one, the busy end and the quiet end.

95% of visitors, tripadvisor contributors and all the cruise ship passengers are ensconced in 5-6 square miles on the western edge of the island. if you like to be around a lot of other tourists and close to lots of restaurants and bars (mostly serving food geared towards north american taste buds), then the west end/west bay will be the "nice" part of the island for you. the snorkeling is very nice and you'll be spoiled for choice re. accommodation and dive shops.

if you want very quiet beaches and real local flavor you should consider the east and northeastern end of the island.there you will see far fewer tourists, have beaches virtually to yourself and will meet mostly locals whose families have been living on roatan for generations. however at that end of the island your choices of accommodations, dive shops and restaurants will be far more limited.

Edited: 31 October 2013, 20:35
Calypso, North...
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3. Re: Roatan vacation

I'm not sure that I've ever seen a steel rental tank in the Bay Islands- not since the 1970's. Are you asking about higher volume tanks than an 80? Nope, same answer.

Menlo Park...
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4. Re: Roatan vacation

needing to have a pool and beach together will complicate matters, eliminating West End altogether. There are only 2 real pools in WE; one is back from the shore and the other sits on ironshore. Maybe 3 if you could Luna Beach. Lots of places in West Bay have pools and are on that lovely beach, the best on the island. But that will raise the cost of both the hotel and the diving. Alternatively you could stay in West End and dispatch your family to West Bay by water taxi each day and meet them for lunch once you're dry. You could combine beach, West End, pool and serenity at one of the new small condos just south of West End, like Villas del Playa, but it's not cheap. Some of the isolated dive resorts around the island have pools and some beach, but that will mean you get to hang out with divers and you'll need a car. Nothing wrong with divers, except we're a little boring. I'd still suggest looking at West End or West Bay because it offers better snorkel conditions for your son.

Santa Cruz CA
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5. Re: Roatan vacation

all good info everybody, my note book is filling up! I love my TI family

thanks (keep more info coming if you think of anything or just send me a message)

Hamilton, Canada
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6. Re: Roatan vacation

It will be our first time in Roatan and like like Musicman's wife I am not a water person either. I like to relax but also like to take in the sites. Are there any drivers for hire on the island to show you the sites? We had pre booked a person before we went to Jamaica a few years ago that was on Trip advisor but I am not finding anything like that for Roatan?

Minneapolis...
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7. Re: Roatan vacation

Deb... do a search or start your own thread with a title that says something like Best Tour Driver or some such... you won't find a shortage of drivers - lots of folks do day tours and many people speak glowingly of their folks... so many nice men and women who will do this.

You should know that Roatan is not like Jamaica in that it is a small island. You can easily see the whole island end to end in a half day. With stops and meals, but no water sports, you might be able to stretch it to two days of touring.

On the other hand, nowhere on Roatan will you run into the situation you find on Jamaica, where tourists are kept in safe enclaves and then tour out into the rest of the island with careful attention to safety concerns and crime. Roatan is not without crime, but it is a much more laid-back kind of place than Jamaica.

Rosedale, Canada
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8. Re: Roatan vacation

idiots:

I often agree with your assessments of vacation destinations and you give great advise but I have a differing view of Jamaica than you do, having been there about 20 times (since the late 70s) and booked to go back for Christmas this year. Contrary to popular opinion, there are far more visitors who stay in the (often) small, non all-inclusive hotels and guest houses and who wander all over the place to explore and eat, particularly in the Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios areas, than those who stay in the safe enclaves, ie All-Inclusive resorts. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of non - AI hotels ranging from the back-packer budget type to the outrageously expensive and luxurious boutique types that cost thousands per night and often cater to the rich and famous.Sometimes we stay AI, sometimes not, and sometimes we mix it up and do both in one trip. The all-inclusive concept is relatively new to Jamaica, considering it has been a tourist destination for decades before their advent, but. yes, I have heard that some AI hotel staff tell people not to go off resort alone. To my mind that is rubbish! They are just trying to generate income for the tour companies that are operated from within their premises. We go off resort by ourselves and don't even think twice about it and have never felt unsafe in JA, but then we don't walk around after dark, we use common sense just as we would anywhere, ie carry little money, don't wear jewelry or take expensive electronics out with us. Sounds like Roatan, right?

Hope I don't seem like I'm lecturing , I don't mean to at all, but I keep hearing stuff about Jamaica from folks who have never been there - not saying that's you - who have heard stories from friends of friends etc and non of the stories have been remotely close to our many experiences there.

Roatan actually reminds me of a scaled down version of Negril, which is why I love both :) . Yes, tourists in both places can be victims of petty crime or scams if they are careless or maybe just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but violent crime against tourists are rare, I understand, on both islands and more often than not tied to the drug trade. I have never stayed in Kingston and never will but I find that our favourite places to stay in JA are every bit as laid back as Roatan and we love the music and vibe there !

Hoping to be back on Roatan late April/early May. Will you be there around that time idiots or are you going back earlier in the year?

Edited: 02 November 2013, 14:21
Montreal, Canada
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9. Re: Roatan vacation

thecaribbeancurrent.com/the-story-of-gordon-…

Not to throw a wrench in anyone's plans or ideas...but to my knowledge...Jamaica was the birthplace of the all inclusive....which might be neither here nor there for the OP...more an interesting bit of trivia.

We traveled to Jamaica with two young children against all the advice of family and friends. Our trip was already booked and paid for & I thought I had done all necessary research & safety pre-cautions....I actually tried to cancel. WAS I GLAD I DIDN'T!! We LOVED it....had booked our own flights, landed in Kingston, took a two hour drive to Port Antonio where we stayed and toured....incredible. For the record, Port Antonio is the birthplace of tourism in Jamaica...incredible place, ( Jamaican's vacation here ).

I digress...I'm off topic...I'll don my flame suit....apologies to the OP and all that...but, the Jamaica I saw was incredible ....& I remember feeling a bit of anger thinking I had tried to cancel, thank god I wasn't able!

I was absolutely not in an AI....used local drivers, went into town, shopped, dined wined, swam, snorkeled off San San Beach......all on our own, we live to tell the tale. :)

Edited: 02 November 2013, 17:58
Montreal, Canada
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10. Re: Roatan vacation

* Apologies: Blue Bahia or Tranquil Seas could fit the bill......