Balanced on a coral ridge jutting out of the deep sea, Roatán has long been an under-the-radar dive destination. Now, with flights connecting the Honduras island to cities throughout North America, it’s becoming popular for vacationers in search of the Caribbean as it used to be. Palm-shaded and edged with powdery beaches, Roatán has a laid-back, genuinely local vibe – and its small-scale, intimate resorts feel at one with nature. Book into a paradise property here, with Culture Trip.
Stays at Las Verandas are super-tranquil. The loudest noises are the lap of the waves and the trill of terns – and unlike most resorts in Roatán, this place has a beach to itself. The pool and al fresco restaurant-bar have mesmerizing sunset-over-the-sea views, and simple rooms – done out in plain beige tiles and whitewash – open onto lawned gardens with plenty of lounge chair space. There’s a golf course on the doorstep and, for a choice of restaurants, French Harbor village is a 15-minute golf-cart drive away.
Right by the sands on the broadest stretch of balmy West Bay Beach, the Bananarama couldn’t be better located. Traditional Caribbean shutterboard villas, with big hammock decks, are dotted around a leafy garden. Interiors are simple: light woods, floor tiles, brightly painted walls and simple en-suites. Most guests spend very little time indoors: after all, the resort is a PADI five-star dive center with great-value packages for all ages and levels. There is also a broad range of outdoor activities, from paddleboarding to boat trips around the cayes (perfect for non-divers). You’re not going to get bored.
Roatán is ringed with tiny beach-fringed islets, among them Barefoot Caye, just off the coast from Los Fuertes village. Accommodation is either in loft rooms above the dive center, or in more intimate, traditional Caribbean shutterboard villas, with hammock-slung balconies overlooking the sand. All-wood interiors are settle-into-lovely, bright with colorful scatter cushions and sunlight through large windows. This is splendid isolation – if you want to dine out, restaurant alternatives are a boat-hop and a cab ride away.
The beach next to XBalanque is a fine place to relax. And when, at high tide, it shrinks to a ribbon, the resort has a luxurious pool to retreat to. It’s a special place indeed. Villas come with sunset-through-the-palms views, and interiors are cozy, all warm woods, polished stones and whitewash, with lounge areas and kitchenettes and plenty of natural light through big windows. Some are big enough for families. The resort has a popular seafood restaurant, and if you want to dine out one evening, you’ll find alternatives just a stroll away, along the sand to the north, or a short cab ride away.
The family-friendly Grand has condo-style villa or suite accommodation right next to one of the best stretches of West Bay Beach. With white sands, palmy shade, gentle waves and turquoise shallows, it’s a great place for young ones to improve their swimming strokes, with myriad activities and excursions. The resort has a kid-friendly restaurant and is home to one of the biggest pools on the island, complete with a swim-up bar. One-, two- and three-bedroom villas are impressive, with fully equipped kitchen-dining rooms and plenty of space. The best have balconies with sea and sunset views.
Naboo is a five-minute walk from the beach – and that’s quite a distance in Roatán. That said, it’s one of the best options for divers – with brand-new Mares gear on offer, as well as a huge range of courses and a shaded boat to speed you out to the sites. Rooms are spick and span, sporting a modern palette of creams, light woods and taupes. Wall-high windows bring in plenty of natural light and the resort has a big pool with an al fresco restaurant-bar, whirlpool tubs and plenty of sunlounger space.
Las Rocas is Roatán as it used to be – with great-value accommodation in a handful of simple wood bungalows positioned about a jungly garden right by a secluded white-sand beach. Interiors are cozy, decorated in modish creams and whites, offset by expanses of warm, polished mahogany. Ask for one with a balcony deck: slung with hammocks, these have breathtaking sea and sunset views. The resort feels tranquil and out of the way, yet West Bay Beach – abuzz with restaurants and bars – is just a few minutes’ walk away.
Isolated by Roatán standards, Marble Hill is all about immersion in nature. It stands, surrounded by rainforest, in the quiet northeast of the island, a 15-minute cab ride from the nearest village. Accommodation is in chic-shack bungalows on stilts, with bright-ochre and warm-wood interiors, positioned here and there through the forest. Settle in at the wonderful restaurant-bar for over-the-ocean sunrise and sunset views. There’s no beach, but the reef is within swimming distance of the shore, and the resort has a dive center to kit you out in the necessary gear.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.