We just returned last week from Roatan and after all the information I gathered from all the wonderful posts here, I wanted to share our experience. It was just hubby and I for a much needed week of escape and R&R.
After much researching, I found St. Mac's and knew it was exactly what we wanted. The location couldn't be more perfect! The owner was a joy to work with and happily answered my 10,000 questions before we arrived. They arranged for a river to pick us up at the airport. After a stop at Eldon's in Coxen Hole we were taken to the management office for a quick check in. One of the managers took us to St. Mac's, gave us a quick information session on the house and we were ready to enjoy beautiful West Bay beach. We would stay at St. Mac's again in a heartbeat. It's located in West Bay Village, right next to Infinity Bay.
This was one of my bigger issues to think about before we left Solely because I kept debating on how much to bring. First, about groceries...I made a quick list before we left so we wouldn't have to waste too much time thinking about what we wanted. Our plan was to eat breakfast and lunch in and have dinners out. We got the basics and essentials which we paid about $140.00 for. I thought the prices were reasonable compared to the US. We took all smaller bills with us, mostly 20', 10's , 5's and had no problem using US cash anywhere. I did bring a credit card, but never used it. Another question that has been asked is about ATM's and which ones dispense US dollars. We went to an ATM at a gas station/mini-mart in Coxen Hole that dispensed US dollars. Sorry I don't remember the name of it. The driver we had that day said that the banks give US dollars too, but they weren't open yet. I wouldn't have worried so much about finding an ATM that gave US dollars if it wasn't a couple of days before we left.
We figured out after a couple of days that we were better off getting drinks during happy hour as they were half price basically. Two mojito's for $6.00 compared to $8 or $10 for one. I'm a sucker for mojito's so we spent some money on drinks before the happy hour realization kicked in! :)
We chose not to rent a car with this being our first time to Roatan I was a little nervous about driving there. It's sad that some of the roads are in such bad condition, but the drivers could navigate them with their eyes closed. We never had a problem getting around. Taxi's were abundant. We met a sweet man by the name of Ernest the night we had dinner at Beachers. He is an independent tour operator/taxi driver/expert of the island. We hired him for a half day tour of the island and he was fantastic! He took us to Coxen Hole, Flowers Bay, Sandy Bay, Oak Ridge, and a few other places. WE talked with him for hours and he gave us so much history of the island.
As others have talked about the water taxi's were a great way to get to and from West End. The price is still $3 per person. A few did run after dark, but charged $5 per person. I would only go on one with a light. :)
Before we left, I booked a full day island tour/Pigeon Cay trip with Bay Island Adventures. The tour circumnavigated the island. This was one of our BEST days! Ray and his crew did n outstanding job! We were picked up at the Infinity Bay dock and from there went to Anthony's Key for a peek at the dolphins. We snorkeled Spooky Channel, then stopped to snorkel the shipwreck. After that, we stopped at Palm Beach for some appetizers set up on the beach for us, then we were off to Pigeon Cay. What a beautiful little paradise! The different shades of blue in the water can't be described. We snorkeled some more and had a delicious lobster and steak lunch on the beach. Heading back to West Bay was a bit rough with 4ft swells, but Ray handled the boat expertly. I will admit I was hearing the Gilligan's Island theme song in my head, but Ray was amazing! I would highly recommend a day with him!
Snorkeling, snorkeling, and more snorkeling!
The main reason we picked Roatan for our vacation was because of the amazing snorkeling that was so easily accessible. Our first 3 mornings there it rained. On only one of those days was the clarity a bit poor. Every day we snorkeled between Infinity Bay and Grand Roatan and every day we saw something different. It was breathtaking! The colors and variety of the fish was amazing. I bought an underwater camera purposely for this trip and I couldn't have been happier that I did.
We were fortunate enough to have been in Roatan for their Independence Day celebration. We went into West End on the night of the 15th and what an awesome night to experience! The street was packed with celebration and food vendors were set up along the entire side of the road. I was daring enough to try lion fish and it was delicately sweet and delicious.
So many places to go with not enough days to try them all!
The Thirsty Turtle had a rib sepecial on Saturday night. Two plates of ribs with two sides for $20. The food was good, great service, live music, and a view of the water. What could be better!
Beachers was a big hit on Monday night for their 3 lobster tail special. For $16 we each had 3 tails, mashed potatoes and salad. Awesome! It was delicious! The mojitos here were the best I had. :)
Eagle Ray's in West End
While the location of this restaurant is amazing, we felt they were a little pricesy for dinner. The food was very good thought, the service was quick and friendly, and the view was even better! While I'm glad we tried it, I wouldn't be compelled to go back for dinner.
One of our favorite meals was at Ceole's Rotisserie Chicken. After reading so many great things about it here, my mouth was watering with anticipation. All of the glowing comments were spot on! The food was cheap, the portions were HUGE, the vibe was very funky and fun, and it was delicious! For $6 I had the 1/4 chicken platter with coconut rice and beans and pasta salad. It was enough for two meals. For $9, hubby had the chicken quesadilla and it had to easily be the size of a medium pizza. We were gluttons and had to have a cinnamon roll and coconut cram pie for dessert! I with I had one of each right now . They were absolutely delicious!
Our best dinner was the night Blackie (a local lady) and her husband Marty came to cook dinner for us. We found out about them through the owner of St. Mac's. They arrived, cooked, set the table and cleaned. All we had to do was eat. There was so much food that we were able to enjoy leftovers the next night for dinner as well. They made lobster tail, coconut shrimp, rice, beans, plantains, homemade bread, and key lime pie for desert. They were so sweet!
We were also lucky enough to run into the banana donut guy a couple of times too. One day in the morning and one in the evening. After everything I read here, I had to try them. While they didn't have a banana flavor per se, they were a great treat to enjoy. I am still trying to figure out how he keeps them warm in that cardboard box. We paid $5 for three.
Another fun treat were the empanadas a guy sells n the beach. Most days he would come looking for me because he knew how much I liked them. The price was a little steep ($3 each), but he was trying to make a living and they were very tasty.
Yes, there were a lot of these pesky critters but fortunately, they didn't bother us too much. I brought bug spray with deet and that seemed to do the trick.
This was our first trip to Roatan and we fell in love with the island! It is a beautiful, magical place where time stood still for us and will now always hold a special place in our hearts. We're already planning a return trip back. Never once did we not feel safe. The people of Roatan were so warm, friendly, and helpful. We would hop on a plane tomorrow if we could. I am so thankful for all of the information that I gathered from here before our trip. 'm sorry this review is so long, but hopefully reading through our experience on Roatan can help someone else discover th gen that Roatan truly is!
Here is a link to my photo show if anyone is interested: