Since 1985 the Bay Islands’ reefs and fish populations have been under attack by the lionfish. A native of the waters surrounding Indonesia, it’s not known how the fish became introduced to the West Atlantic. It may have been a hitchhiker on an international vessel or it may have been let loose by an aquarium enthusiast. Regardless of its origin, it’s causing havoc in the waters near our Roatan guest houses.
The lionfish is not only a fierce predator and voracious eater, it reproduces much faster than native species. The female spawns every month and releases millions of eggs every year. There have been studies directed at understanding the fish’s reproductive methods in hopes of curtailing larvae maturation, but it’s been found the most effective way to curb the population is to encourage lionfish hunting.
In 2011 the first lionfish derby was held and resulted in the capture of 1200 fish. The Roatan Marine Park has since begun issuing spearfishing licenses to specifically target lionfish No other fish species can be hunted in the park. The license costs $50 which includes a workshop, an in-water skills assessment and a registered fishing spear.
Luckily, lionfish makes for good eating once properly prepared. It’s white flesh is dense, but has a delicate buttery flavor. It contains high concentrations of omega-3 oils and low concentrations of metals such as mercury and lead. Lionfish and chips is a very popular dish in the areas around the Roatan guest houses, although the fish also lends itself well to baking, frying and other recipes.
Although you might be feeling guilty for surreptitiously checking out Roatan vacation rentals during work hours, you can hardly be blamed! There are many benefits of taking a Roatan vacation and one of the biggest beneficiaries of your vacation (other than yourself, of course!) is your workplace. It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. Taking time off work will benefit your workplace. Here’s why:
You’ll Come Back Happier : No one likes working with a grump. By taking some time off in a warm and sunny environment you’ll be able to relax, unwind and come back with a fresh perspective. This will not only benefit you by making you happier but also give your coworkers a smiley, relaxed, new you to work with.
You’ll Become More Productive : Vacations are an antidote to job burnout. By getting away from the day-to-day routine you’ll be able to return with a new perspective and a renewed sense of mission. Recharge your batteries by taking some time off to enjoy your Roatan vacation rentals and take a break from the daily grind.
You’ll Be More Healthy : Vacations are the ultimate stress reliever. Stress increases your blood pressure, your heart rate and the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Stop these destructive processes in their tracks by going on a holiday. Allow yourself time to relax, catch up on your sleep and let your immune system recharge.
Your Family Will Love You For It: Spending time with your family on vacation is one of the ideal ways to improve your relationships. By taking yourselves out of the familiar, you’ll see each other in a new light and from a different angle. Add some more context to your relationships by enjoying Roatan together.
Finding a great spot to snorkel is like finding a great restaurant, it will make you want to keep coming back and discovering more. That is what West Bay is for Honduras. The white sandy beaches surrounded by beautiful tall palm trees draw visitors to its shores. The multi-colored coral sparking in that crystal clear water will draw you into the deep waters, to only surround you with some of the most exciting marine life the Caribbean has to offer. If you are looking for places to stay in Roatan, consider West Bay where there is wonderful snorkeling.
Where To Find West Bay
West Bay is located on the western side of the island. You can either take a 30-minute drive from the airport or a $25 taxi ride. If you are staying in Roatan, you will find that West Bay is the main seaside resort where most of the high-end hotels have planted themselves. The road is set back from the beach so you will need to cross through one of the paths between the hotels. If you are staying in the West End, you can also take a boat for $3 per person.
What You Will Find
Grab your snorkel or dive mask because there is plenty to see in this wide open area. You can snorkel in some shallow 2 feet waters that are rather close to shore. As you move out the reef continues to drop as low as 32 feet at some points. Swim around and you may find sea chubs, parrotfish, butterflyfish, French angelfish, or even queen angelfish. You will without a doubt find a fish you have never seen before. If you want to see a sea turtle try swimming near the small black rock cliff where they often relax.
In the west bay, you should not have to worry about rough waves, but there sometimes are dive boats in the area, so be on the lookout. If you are looking to take a snorkeling excursion in the area you can expect it to run you anywhere from $15 to $45 per person. Some excursions do not take you too far out, so some may not find it worth the price. Be sure to do a bit of research on your particular excursion before purchasing. When you are looking for places to stay in Roatan, L’Alize has access to a private keyhole beach where you can snorkel anytime you please and is also just minutes away from West Bay beach.
After a recent vacation where we booked some Roatan villa rentals off the north coast of Honduras, it occurred to me that there are a couple of things in the planning process that, if I’d known beforehand, would have made the entire vacation much more relaxing. I wrote these out more of a reminder to myself, but if anyone else can learn a thing or two, that’s an added bonus.
Check, Check And Double Check
When I booked our flights, I mistakenly entered the wrong expiry date of my passport. I actually had it right the first time, but somehow the data field slipped to the next month without my noticing. Well, I definitely noticed once we were at the airport check-in desk and the attendant pointed out the error. Apparently they could have refused my boarding privileges for that simple mistake. Noted for next time: make sure to double and triple check my information before clicking “Next,” or possibly lose that booking in those beautiful Roatan vacation rentals.
Visas – This one didn’t happen to me, but to my British cousin. She had a trip booked to Las Vegas, but didn’t know she needed to apply for a visa online before she arrived in America. What actually happened that she was denied boarding in the UK. They told her to try applying online on the spot, which she did. Luckily she received confirmation almost immediately and actually made the flight. However, it’s possible for such visas to take up to 72 hours to process. Don’t wind up with any unpleasant surprises and check the visa requirements long before it’s time to leave.
The Cayos Cochinos are a small group of islands off the northeast coast of Honduras. They are sometimes called the Cochino Cays, the Hog Islands or simply the Cayos. They are only accessible by boat and you can easily find charters around the areas you’d find West Bay rentals.
The two main islands are Cayos Grande and Cayos Menor, although because Cayos Menor is the site of a scientific research station, it is off limits to most tourists. However, Cayos Grande has a few hotels and hostels to provide accommodations for visitors.
The population of the Cayos Cochinos is just over 100 people. The total area of the islands is two square kilometres and there are only a handful of private residences. Most of the locals are Garifuna people and they are quite willing to share their cultural traditions of dancing and drumming.
The islands, although considered part of the Roatan municipality, are a Marine Protected Area, a National Marine Monument Area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As such, the marine life is some of the healthiest and most plentiful found anywhere around the Bay Islands.
Commercial fishing is banned here, although line fishing is still allowed. There is also a lobster diving season. The Cayos offer incredible diving and snorkeling opportunities as well as other watersports such as kayaking and paddleboarding. The beaches are also world class.
For those staying in West Bay rentals, the Cayos Cochinos are only an hour away by boat and will offer a respite from the relatively busy West Bay.
Those staying in Roatan vacation rentals should be alerted to the fact that the island’s tiny neighbour, Utila, is home to the most consistent sightings of whale sharks anywhere in the world. Swimming with the planet’s largest fish species is a bucket list item that can’t be realized just anywhere. For those in awe of nature’s creatures, especially the oversized ones, the Honduras Bay Islands offer a unique opportunity for close up encounters.
The World’s Whale Shark Capital
Utila’s unique oceanography appears to offer ideal conditions for the whale shark diet. A steep bank off the island’s north coast combined with shallow banks off the south coast pushes deep ocean currents to the surface bringing with them large quantities of plankton – the whale shark’s favoured food. Because of this exclusive diet, whale sharks pose no danger to snorkelers, swimmers or divers. Although it’s reported that the whale shark high season occurs in April and May or September and October, the waters surrounding Utila have provided a whale shark presence in every month of the year.
Whale Shark Facts
The largest confirmed whale shark was over 40 feet long and weighed in at over 21 tonnes. Most whale sharks found off the coast of Utila measure around 20 to 30 feet – definitely large enough to make any human being feel insignificant! The whale shark has been classified an endangered species, however there is no agreed upon assessment of the world’s whale shark population. The fish are found in tropical waters all around the world, although Utila is known as one of the most concentrated areas. The next time you find yourself in one of the Roatan vacation rentals, you should make sure to make a detour to swim with the world’s largest fish.
For Family And Friend Reunions Go Here : Roatan vacation Home Rentals
When searching for Roatan hotels, parents with children in tow need to consider safety issues and exciting activities more closely than travellers without kids. For this reason, booking a private residence may make more sense for a family vacation. There’s no need to worry about interactions with other guests and children will be allowed to roam more freely. But how do parents keep their children entertained if they’re not staying one of the many Roatan hotels? Fortunately there are many family friendly spots on the island. Here’s a list of a few.
West Bay Beach
This is Roatan’s most famous beach and offers all sorts of activities for people of all ages. The coral reef is easily accessible and allows swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers to interact with the abundant marine life. There are plenty of rentals available which range from kayaks and paddleboards to jet skis and boats. There are also a large number of restaurants that cater to any appetite.
Gumbalimba is a beachfront park that also makes the coral reef easily accessible for swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. The park features monkeys, parrots and other native animals. There’s a freshwater swimming pool, ziplines and a sandy beach with chairs and hammocks.
Anthony’s Key Resort
Anthony’s Key Resorts is one of the many Roatan hotels, but comes with a distinct difference. The resort is home to a large pod of Atlantic Bluenose dolphins. Visitors can swim, snorkel and dive with the dolphins while learning more about their lifestyle and behaviors. It’s possible to book anything from a 30 minute encounter to a six day scuba camp.
As this article lists just a few of the child friendly activities available on Roatan, parents don’t need to worry about keeping their children entertained whether staying in a private residence or in one of the many Roatan hotels available.