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.
If Honduras is known for a traditional food, that dish would be the baleada. With the basic composition of a grilled, thick flour tortilla filled with refried red beans, cheese and queso crema, a type of sour cream, the baleada is known as the poor man’s burrito and can be found in restaurants and roadside stands all over the country. No matter where your Roatan, Honduras vacation rentals are, you will be able to find a baleada nearby!
Origins Of The Name
It’s been said that the word baleada has its roots in the Spanish word balas, which means bullets. Baleada can be loosely translated into the word, shot. Whether the term describes the explosions of the beans when bitten into or some other legend related to a baleada seller being shot is not known for sure, but the name has certainly stuck.
Types Of Baleadas
Simple Baleada (Baleada Sencilla)
The simple baleadas is the one described above. A large flour tortilla is grilled until warm, but still soft. It’s filled with red refried beans, queso (a hard, salty cheese) and queso crema, which is similar to sour cream, but is actually a cheese as well and folded over.
Special Baleada (Baleada Especial)
The special baleda contains the three ingredients found in the simple baleada with the addition of scrambled eggs.
Super Special Baleada
Super special baleadas will contain all the ingredients in the simple baleada along with a variety of other ingredients which could include meats such chicken, beef, or pork or vegetables such as onions, peppers, avocado or plantain. Hot sauce or salsa are also favourite additions. Make sure to ask the owner of your Roatan, Honduras vacation rentals where they recommend you go to try this special dish.
Although you’re going on vacation, that doesn’t mean you can forget about your health and safety. Actually it probably means you should concentrate on it even more! Consider these topics when heading for your West Bay vacation rental.
Although drivers are on the right side of the road in Roatan (similar to North America) you should be extra vigilant when it comes to driving in a foreign country. Road conditions may not be to the standard you are used to and certain on-road practices may be unfamiliar compared to those back home. Added driving precautions will ensure a safe and successful holiday.
Beware The Sun
Make sure to apply sunscreen at least a half hour before catching any rays. This is especially important when you first arrive at your West Bay vacation rental as your skin will have not yet acclimatized to the tropical weather. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, wear a wide brimmed hat and avoid the midday sun.
Protect Yourself From Insects
Roatan is known for its African tradewinds which can be effective at keeping the mosquitos at bay, but you should still be armed with insect repellant just in case. There’s nothing much more miserable than being attacked by biting insects without any defence. Make sure you’re prepared.
Be Safe In The Water
There’s no doubt you’ll be heading into the water while in Roatan. Whether using the pool at your West Bay vacation rental or dipping into the ocean, basic water safety sense is always necessary. Always supervise young children, swim with a partner and look before you leap – especially into shallow water. Be careful around coral reefs, shuffle your feet when walking in the ocean to scare off stingrays and keep an eye open for jellyfish.
There are multiple ways to access the Roatan Vacation Rentals. However, plane and ferry are going to be your best options and potential options are listed below.
If traveling to the island by plane you are going to be flying into Juan Manuel Galvez International Airport, or Roatan International Airport. There you can find airlines such as American, United, Taca, Delta, and Cayman. These are the main airlines that service the airport, but they also partner with local carriers.
There are direct flights from Canada with Air Transit and Sunwing charters that leave from both Toronto and Montreal.
Always remember to shop around for travel deals. Sometimes, instead of booking a flight to Roatan from your location, it may be cheaper to book a separate ticket to a major hub that flies to Roatan and purchasing a round trip flight from that hub. For example, booking a return flight form Denver to Houston and then a flight from Houston to Roatan can sometimes be much cheaper than booking a flight from Denver to Roatan.
If you are trying to find the best fare, sign up for airfare or Roatan vacation package alerts with sites like Expedia or Hotwire. These will send you an email notifying you if the price has dropped for the time frame that you are interested in.
Another way to arrive on the island, to enjoy your Roatan Vacation Rental, is by Ferry Service. The ferry service travels between La Ceiba and Roatan. This will take you from the mainland of Honduras to the Bay Islands. It is a high-speed ferry getting you to your destination in about an hour. The cost is around $22 for a one-way trip in their general boarding. There is also a first-class option for $25. The ferry can be a little rough at times depending on the weather, but they do offer sea sickness pills at the ticket gate.
No matter how you get to Roatan, one thing is for sure, you will love it when you arrive!