Honduras, Travel

10 Things to Do in Roatan….Besides Scuba Dive!

Known around the world for it’s spectacular under-water experiences, Roatan is a beautiful Caribbean Island off the coast of Honduras. Travelers flock to this Island of the Bay for the fantastic Mesoamerican Reef diving experience. However, there is so much more to Roatan than what lies beneath it’s sparkling blue waters.
 
While my husband was stationed at Soto Cano Air Base (on the mainland of Honduras), we took a week-long vacation on the island. (Going to visit him was on my Deployment Bucket List!) Neither of us are divers, so that activity was out of the question. But that didn’t mean that we just lazed on the beach for a whole week.
Quite the opposite, there are so many other things to do in Roatan besides scuba diving. So much to do in fact, that we ended our vacation already planning a second trip!
 

10 Things To Do in Roatan That Don’t Involve Scuba Diving:

1. Visit Gumbalimba Park

Hidden in the lush jungle of West Bay is an animal and nature preserve -Gumbalimba Park. We loved walking through the park and seeing the wildlife, especially the monkeys!
Visitors can feed and pet the animals. As a result, they are very friendly and very curious, reaching in pockets, looking through your hair, and nibbling on buttons. These feathered and furry fellas have yet to meet a stranger. Taking pictures with the monkeys and macaws was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. (Check out this article about why Gumbalimba Park is one of the most Instagram-able spots in Roatan.)
things to do in Roatan hold the monkeys in Gumbalimba Park
The mommy and baby duo were my favorite!
things to do in Roatan see the monkeys in Gumbalimba Park
That little monkey kept nibbling on the button on top of my husband’s hat.
things to do in Roatan see the birds in Gumbalimba Park
Posing with a macaw.

2. Zip-Lining

While, there are several zip-lining options on the island, we zip-lined at Gumbalimba Park. Their zip-course consists of 17 different zip-lines that zoom through the jungle canopy at speeds up to 35 miles per hour!
The guides were friendly, fun, and knowledgeable. Although I am terrified of heights, I never felt unsafe on the lines or platforms (except for when the iguanas got a little too close). This was my first ever zip-lining experience and I loved it!
things to do in Roatan zip-line
My husband coming down the last line.
things to do in Roatan see iguana
When you’re up in the trees, the iguanas are so close!
things to do in Roatan go zip-lining
Waiting on the platform before we went down the first line.

3. Snorkeling

I know I said that we weren’t scuba divers, but that didn’t mean that we didn’t want to see what all the fuss was all about. During our visit to Little French Key, we went on a snorkeling excursion. Our guide took us out by boat before we dove in over the reef.
It was truly one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. We saw schools of exotic fish and legions of colorful coral all from the safety of the surface (or close to the surface) of the water. My only regret was that I did not have a water-proof camera. The splendor of the Mesoamerican Reef was truly magnificent.
things to do in Roatan snorkeling
This was taken from the surface before the boat left the dock.
things to do in Roatan snorkel
The boat ride out to the snorkeling spot.

4. Horseback Riding on the Beach

On our day trip to Little French Key we made sure to get the package that included horseback riding. We started with a slow walk down a sandy beach before heading into the water to get a better view of the King Triton statue. We stopped often to take pictures and the guides were more than happy to help and even posed the horses for us.

The handlers stayed with us the whole time (even when they had to swim). The horses were gentle, well-trained, and properly cared for. This fun and peaceful ride was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.

things to do in Roatan horseback riding on the beach
The horses went out so deep that the guide had to swim to keep up.
things to do in Roatan horseback riding on the beach
A ride through the beautiful Caribbean waters.
things to do in Roatan horseback riding on the beach
After the handler posed the horses in the water and took a picture for us.

5. Watch the Crab Races and Fire Dancers

Behind the Bananarama in West Bay there is a weekly beach bash. Part of the festivities include crab races and fire dancers. If, like me, you have no idea how to race a crab, here’s what happens: bets are placed on numbers before the event, then a big circle is drawn in the sand and a bunch of numbered hermit crabs are dropped in the middle. The first crab to cross the finish line (the outer edge of the circle) wins. To our surprise, our crab won the race! We were awarded the prize of a free dessert at a nearby restaurant.
 
After the crab race and the when the sun sank below the horizon, the fire dancers appeared. And they were spectacular! Their performances set to local and American music hits were choreographed dances complete with flaming ropes, hoops, and torches. At the end of the show, they created a burning message in the sand. It was an experience I’ll never forget and the best part…..it was free!
things to do in Roatan crab races
The start of the crab race!
things to do in Roatan crab races
This little boy was helping collect the crabs after the race was over.
things to do in Roatan watch fire dancers
Fire dancers on the beach in West Bay.

6. Day Drinking on the Beach

What’s an island vacation without a little bit of day drinking? Roatan is not short on beautiful beaches or booze! More than once we found ourselves in West Bay on the beach behind the Bananarama, where you can find the Thirsty Turtle. This bar and restaurant served the best pina coladas I’ve ever had. There was nothing more relaxing than laying in the sun beside my husband with a good book and a cold drink.
things to do in Roatan day drinking
Sippin’ and sunnin’ at Little French Key.
things to do in Roatan day drinking
Lazing on the beach in West Bay.
things to do in Roatan day drinking
Watching the sun set from our hotel room balcony.

7. Swimming

You can’t possibly spend time on an island without getting your feet wet! We loved swimming in Roatan’s crystal Caribbean waters. It was the best way to escape the tropical heat and humidity. Bright yellow fishies surrounded us as we waded in and all was right in the world, if only for a moment. For those opposed to salt water, many resorts and hotels have swimming pools. Our hotel had an infinity pool with a spectacular view of the ocean…a pretty fair compromise, I’d say.
things to do in Roatan swimming
Swimming with the fishes at the beach in West Bay.
things to do in Roatan swimming
Look how clear the water is!
things to do in Roatan swimming
At the swim up bar in Little French Key.

8. Hammock Napping

Never in my life have I seen as many hammocks as I did on the island of Roatan. There was one on our tiny balcony at the hotel, they were strung up at Little French Key, near the beaches of many of the resorts, pretty much anywhere there were trees, there were hammocks. So, grab a book, some bug spray and settle in for a long summer nap. You won’t regret it!
things to do in Roatan hammock napping
The hammock on our tiny balcony at our hotel.
things to do in Roatan, Honduras: take a nap in a hammock
Even their giant ropes can be used as hammocks!

9. Eat!

Honduras is Latin American foodie heaven and Roatan is no exception! There was so, so, SO much good food to be found on the island. From upscale restaurants to street vendors, Roatan’s food scene is as interesting as it is delicious. Make sure you try the smoothies, banana pancakes, baleadas, and the conch ceviche.
A local guide told us that Roatan grows pretty much every fruit imaginable, except for apples. We ate fresh fruit and drank a smoothie every day. Forget about your diet out the window during your visit….besides, do island calories even count?
things to do in Roatan Honduras eat delicious food
Burritos from the Cannibal Cafe in West End. This was the only restaurant that we visited more than once!
banana smoothie from the Cannibal Cafe in West End, Roatan, Honduras
My banana smoothie from the Cannibal Cafe in West End.

10. Take ALL the Pictures

This island is a photographer’s paradise. I mean, it’s everybody’s paradise, but it’s an especially photogenic one. You’ll want pictures of all your fun adventures, the wildlife, the beautiful flowers, the sunsets, the gorgeous Caribbean waters – I don’t think there’s much that I didn’t snap a picture of. You’re Instagram feed will inspire envy and wanderlust among all of your friends and family. Bring your camera and take. ALL. the. pictures!
things to do in Roatan Honduras take pictures
My all-time favorite picture that I took in West End.
things to do in Roatan Honduras take pictures
Shells attached to the rocks on the beach in the Pensacola community.
things to do in Roatan Honduras take pictures
A secluded section of beach in West End.
Don’t overlook Roatan because all you can find on the internet are rave diving reviews. I’m sure the diving is spectacular, but there is so much more to this destination. (You can see here the things that I WISH I had time to do while we were there.) There are so many things to do in Roatan besides scuba dive. It’s an island that will please land-lovers too!
10 Things to do in Roatan besides scuba dive.
10 Things to do in Roatan, Honduras for land-lovers!
10 Things to do in Roatan Besides Scuba Dive 10 Things to do in Roatan, Honduras
things to do in Roatan Honduras