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Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

Southern Illinois
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Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

We spent a wonderful week in West Bay 1/18 - 1/25. Before our trip I spent hours pouring through this forum, so I hope I can help out some others who are now planning their trips. I gained so much from the many folks who share their experiences and answer questions on this forum. Thank you all so much! You helped make my vacation run smoothly.

My family of 4 rented a 2BR condo at Infinity Bay through VRBO, which seemed to be much cheaper than the rates advertised on the IB website. I loved IB and would rent there again. We ate one dinner there... while it was very good, it was really expensive, so we ate all our other evening meals at the many restaurants along the beach.

Restaurants - We ate each evening at a different restaurant on West Bay... they were all very good and reasonably priced, and we took advantage of several of their specials. These bars & restaurants were very rustic, open air, and very fun. Going out to these places each night was one of the highlights of our trip.

Snorkeling - what else can I say that hasn't already been mentioned on this forum... it was the best walk-in snorkeling we have ever experienced - we didn't think St. John, USVI could be topped but this did! We snorkeled every day, usually swimming through deeper channels in the reef and then swimming along the outside of the reef. Just totally awesome!

While the beach in front of IB was narrow and did get a little crowded a couple of days, I totally enjoyed laying around people-watching. Yes, there are a lot of local vendors, but a simple "no thank-you" and they will be on their way.

Rain - We arrived in a deluge and left in one also. We had a couple sunny days, a couple more rainy days and it was just cloudy the other days. I knew January was still considered the rainy season, but I had been to other areas of the Caribbean in January and had great weather, so I was sure it wouldn't really be that rainy... Well, of course, it rained a lot more than I expected, but it was still warm and we enjoyed our rainy days too. But next trip we will go a little later in the winter.

Groceries at Eldon's were plentiful but seemed to cost more than I had expected. I guess I am just spoiled by my small town Midwestern prices. And the prices at the deli/market at West Bay Mall were very high, so I'm glad we got most of our food at Coxen Hole.

Airport - We arrived at the Roatan airport about 2 hours before our flight back to the states, and it took a very long time to get through all the lines. By the time we finally made it to the gate our plane was starting to board. (It was a Saturday which is probably the busiest day of the week.) Next time we will allow a little extra time for that process. I did have a large beautiful seashell which I bought from a beach vendor confiscated by the TSA. I'm still not sure if you are not allowed to take purchased shells out of the country, or maybe it was because it was really pointy on one end and could be used as a weapon.

I wish we would have explored the island a bit, but we were so content on West Bay we just stayed there most of the time. We did take the water taxi to West End for lunch and shopping, and that was a lot of fun. We will definitely check out other areas on our next trip.

We had a great time ziplining with South Shore Zipline which is very close to West Bay. Call them and they will send someone to pick you up. I also enjoyed Stand-Up Paddling with Roatan Paddle Sports on West Bay Beach.

I would recommend West Bay, Roatan to anyone who loves to dive, snorkel or just swim in the beautiful clear blue water. This was our first trip but definitely not our last.

Minneapolis...
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1. Re: Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

Thanks for the nice report, Lilyfarm! It's clear you came into Roatan with an open heart and the right attitude! A little rain didn't prevent your enjoyment, you were able to appreciate the joys of simple dining along the beach - and didn't feel driven to "do" the whole island. Kudos!

Next trip - lunch on the dock at La Sirena de Camp Bay... lionfish fingers and the rum punch are recommended!

Pepperell...
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2. Re: Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

Thanks for the report.....I'm in the planning stages still for our first trip to Roatan, and love reading about other folk's experiences. Thanks for taking the time to share.

3. Re: Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

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Removed on: 27 January 2014, 19:05
Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

Lilyfarm,

thanks for your comprehensive report!

Can wait to go back in a few weeks!

Roatan is just a very precious jewel!

Thanks again!

Montreal, Canada
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5. Re: Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

Nice report...appreciate that you took the time to give your impressions/ observations of Roatan.

Thank you!

Calypso, North...
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6. Re: Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

""I did have a large beautiful seashell which I bought from a beach vendor confiscated by the TSA. I'm still not sure if you are not allowed to take purchased shells out of the country, or maybe it was because it was really pointy on one end and could be used as a weapon.""

Yes, "weaponized sea shells".... that's actually the goofy reason. TSA is just security. They may have unintentially prevented your negative interaction with US Customs when you got back home- they're the ones that enforce prohibitions against the importation of the Queen Conch (and many others). Unfortunately, the social complications of island life trump what is legal, and certainly many acts that are bad for long term ecology.

Please- Do not buy products made from shells, Turtles or Seahorses.

But, here's the Honduran Rainbow: Honduran TSA confiscates the sharp pointy shells and then sells them back to the vendor, so it's essentially a zero impact thing, ecologically. They used to take batteries, and DEET, but I believe they ran out of storage space or they had a lifetime supply. They are now busy taking any butane lighter. They were busy relieving me of three of them as a friend walked through with a Leatherman Tool in his backpack.

It's Honduras, you roll with it.

Roatan is a big place for being such a small island. You got to see a very narrow perspective, as we all do (for the first 14 visits or so). Come back, try something different, see the incredible variety of tropical happy that is available

Edited: 27 January 2014, 19:35
UNITED STATES
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7. Re: Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

As a newbie to the web forum thanks lily for your informative post

I wander the world
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8. Re: Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

I have seen more than one person have shells taken from them, some of them very small.

Hard to say why TSA does the things they do.

I went though San Pedro Sula back in the day, I had used the remainder of my Lemp to buy two snickers bars. When I went looking for one in Houston, they was only one. The guy digging though my bag had that slight of hand thing down!

Saint Cloud...
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9. Re: Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

Thank you so much for that! We've never been there and are thinking of Roatan for our next vacation.

Ontario
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10. Re: Trip Report - A First Timer's Observations

Quick question please: how far do you figure La Sirena (Camp Bay) is from West End? By road? By water? Options to get there?