Caribbean Cruisin’: Our First Port of Call- Roatán, Honduras

Home to the world’s second largest coral reef, Roatán is a diver’s paradise full of colourful marine life. Equally as colourful are the houses along the main road that we strolled along, just outside of the cruise terminal, and Roatán’s long history of Paya Indians, Spanish conquistadors, British pirates, rebel slaves, and most recently European and North American expatriates. It was here that we docked on Day 4 of our cruise for some fun in the sun!

 

Welcome to Roatán!
Welcome to Roatán!

Along with the beautiful beaches and mountainous terrain that is great for hiking, it is mainly the reefs that are enticing the expats and tourists to come to Roatán for fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving. And that is exactly what we decided to do for our first port of call…well sort of anyway.

Before we headed off on our underwater adventure we had a little time to take a short stroll through the cruise terminal and along the main road that ran along outside the terminal. And really what a difference mere feet can make once you’re outside the terminal.

Photo by L
Spectacular view from the ship as we arrived in port (Photo by L)

As you would likely expect the terminal itself is really just a little shopping area with typical souvenir shops and some little bars. Personally I was surprised at how much time and effort goes into planning and “teaching” people to shop on cruises. It seemed like Jana our ‘port shopping guide’ was constantly advertising one shopping party or seminar on board all week. Mainly these talks were about diamonds and then in each port the diamond stores were very clearly marked on the “Port Shopping Maps” we received for each location. I’m afraid all that effort was for not with us because we weren’t there to shop. We were there to see the sights!

Quick Tip- As you won’t go through any passport control at the ports this means you won’t get the much coveted stamp in your passport. As a fun alternative there is a little stand inside this terminal that will stamp your passport for free.

Bars and souvenir shops at the cruise terminal
Bars and souvenir shops at the cruise terminal

After a very quick walk through the shopping area we found ourselves on the main road for our stroll and this is where the differences hit you immediately. The terminal is very clean and modern, although also very touristy, but the street that we wandered along was quite unlike that, except for the colourful aspect. Blues, greens, yellows, oranges, pinks…they were all there.

Honduras10We didn’t have time to walk very far, plus it was pretty hot, so we headed back to the terminal where we were to meet up for the excursion. On the way we stopped at a little market and enjoyed a little breeze and a drink to cool ourselves off at the Crusty Crab.

View from the Crusty Crab
View from the Crusty Crab

As the morning was now coming to an end it was time to meet our group on the dock for our excursion- Boss Underwater Adventures. 

A cross between riding a scooter and and old-fashioned diving helmet we thought this looked like a neat way to get under water since none of us have any diving experience. And it was certainly an adventure.

After a fairly short ride from the terminal to the little boat we’d take, I took one look at this hammock and thought it looked awfully tempting for an afternoon in the salty breeze.

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But with one look at water this colour and I was glad I was on board and would soon be snorkeling and on the little scooter to see what marine life awaited.

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We didn’t go too far from shore when they dropped the anchor and got us all geared up to go. After a quick demonstration on how to get in under the helmet of the scooter (where you can just breathe normally because the water only goes up to your chin), and how to drive the scooter, they put us in three groups for our scooter rides. I realize I keep calling it a scooter, to which you are likely thinking “huh? A scooter? Underwater?” but really that is the best way I can think of to describe it. Check out their photos and you’ll see what I mean.

As we were in the second group to go on the scooters we were then given time right away to do some snorkeling. This is something I’ve always wanted to do so I jumped right in and did my best to get a good look at some tropical fish. Two things made it a little less enjoyable than I was hoping. First it was mandatory to wear this inflatable life vest of sorts which was pretty much in the way the whole time and kept popping up in our faces. Maybe we weren’t wearing them quite right? I could have done without it. And second, the water wasn’t quite calm enough for snorkeling and it kept splashing up and into our snorkels, and of course then in our mouths. I was determined to stay in the water as long as I could but in hindsight I probably should have given up a few mouthfuls of salt water sooner because it didn’t leave me feeling very well. :-( But we did get to see some cool fish! :-)

After the snorkeling it was our turn to get on our scooters for our ride. The hardest part about it for me was getting under the helmet so it took me a couple of attempts to get under. L and the kiddo were right there getting situated on their own scooters and then it was time for us to make our little trip around in the area of the boat. There were several divers who led the way and kept all of us (about a dozen in total per group) herded together and gave us assistance when we couldn’t seem to get our scooters to move the way we wanted them to. I found it hard to judge how deep the water was and how close things were, in part due to the shape of the helmets, which when looking at us made us look like we all had shrunken heads! We were quite a sight I’ll tell you. One of the divers took several pictures of L, the kiddo, and I near the end of our time underwater but I’m afraid to get a view of the “shrunken heads” you’ll have to take the excursion to see it for yourself! Instead I’ll share a picture of one of the divers – his head is normal size…though seems to be completely missing in this photo! :-)

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We were underwater for about 30 minutes and while we got to see some really neat fish, I was ready to get out when it was time, due mainly to all the salt water I’d swallowed I think. Once up on the boat it didn’t seem like any time at all and the final group had taken their turn and we were headed back to shore for our drive back to the ship.

Back on board we made our way to the deck to watch as we left the port. The terminal was a much quieter place as we waited for the last stragglers to get on board. And yes, there were stragglers that barely made it back in time. I would have been sooooo stressed if I were them!

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Also back on board the planned activities and shows continued, but after a day out in the sun and fresh air, and another early day ahead of us we decided to call it a night fairly early. I’m not sure how folks dance and party the night away after days like this but they did. I guess we (and yes L, I’m including you in on this too!) are just getting old. :-)


 

If you’re interested in doing this shore excursion with Royal Caribbean in Honduras it is called “BOSS Underwater Adventure- RT95” and was priced at $109.00 per person.

To read more about  our Caribbean Cruisin’ adventures, please feel free to check out these posts:

Photo Tour of the Navigator of the Seas: Part 1 and Part 2

Ports of Call: Roatan, Honduras  Belize City, Belize  |  Cozumel, Mexico

Fabulous First Day of the Cruise  |  Fun Days at Sea

6 Comments

  • Can u wear regular life jacket instead of the blow up one

    • Hi Ron,

      Those were the only life jackets they had available for everyone to wear. I wish they would have had regular ones as they would have been much better. Perhaps these were more of a ‘one size fits all’ since so many different people would be wearing them. I’m not sure if you brought your own if they’d let you wear it or not. That’s a very good question!

  • Wow! We stopped over in Roatan on a cruise some years ago and none of the fancy port area was built at that time – it looks so different now! We mostly got the “real” part. We opted to go see the mangroves on the island – it’s a long story, but we ended up finding some locals to do the tour and it was absolutely fabulous! It truly is such a gorgeous place – and that water! Now that I’m actually scuba certified I would love to go back and see the reefs. Although in looking at it, the scooter adventure looks very cool (and with a lot less gear) :)

    • Oh I think if you’re scuba certified you’d like that much better than the scooters and I’d do that if I was scuba certified, even with all the gear. You’ll definitely have more freedom and will be able to get closer to all the beautiful fish. One day I might get certified. I’ve only thought about it for oh, 20 years now! :-)

  • That water looks amazing and so blue. The scuba diving looked fantastic.
    xx, jodi
    http://highheelsandtutus.com
    PS thanks for the heads up of the passport stamp, its always fun to have that in the passport.

    • Yes, that was the first time I’d seen water that colour. It won’t be my last! Looking forward to the next cruise where we might do some more snorkeling. The fish are so pretty and it’s so peaceful under water.
      You’re welcome! We thought that would be a neat little addition to our passports. I was worried it might cause a problem when I’m really getting my passport stamped but two trips abroad after receiving that stamp and so far no issues.

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