Sunday, February 02, 2014

Top 5 Activities on Roatan, Honduras

Court and I were the last of the group to arrive; along with my cousin Katherine and three other friends, we'd rented a condo in West End. It had been just over six months since I'd last been to Roatan. But as soon as the plane landed, I knew that I was ready to be back.

While most people go to Roatan to learn to scuba dive, I've never been very good at meeting the status quo. In fact, I've actively avoided even snorkelling in scuba hotspots like Australia and Thailand. My second trip to Honduras was going to be no exception.

The truth is, I was tempted to just hang out on the porch of Frank's Cigar Bar all week, which is admittedly my favourite island activity. (If you’ve visited West End more than once, you’ll quickly know how the area earned its “Roatan Shore” nickname.)

But Sophie insisted that Roatan had way more to offer. And she's kind of an authoritative source—in addition to living in Honduras for over two years, she also now works for West Bay Tours, a company that specializes in boat and island tours.

So I put my vacation in her hands and I wasn't disappointed. Here are the five must-do activities for any girls' trip to Roatan:

1. Spend endless afternoons sunbathing at West Bay.

West End has its fair share of sand and water, but if you want to really play tourist (which I'm guessing you do, considering that you're on vacation in a Caribbean locale that's mainly inhabited by white expats) West Bay is where it's at.

A short water taxi ride ($3 per person) from West End, the water is clear, the sand is white, there's iguanas (!) and there's endless places to buy overpriced blender drinks from. Just watch out for the sand fleas.

2. Take a day trip to Pigeon Cay.

West Bay Tours advertises Pigeon Cay as a deserted island "located in the middle of the ocean." And here's the thing about Pigeon Cay; it actually is just a deserted island in the middle of the ocean, which is exactly what makes it so incredible. 

Pigeon Cay.
Sophie and I on the speedboat to Pigeon Cay.

Our entire group at Pigeon Cay: Martha, Nancy, Katherine, Ashleigh, Court, Sophie and me.
3. Go deep sea fishing.

Because I'm basically the world's worst vegetarian, I'm the first one to admit that my love of fishing is a bit strange. (But we can argue ethics later, when I post about the time that I went to a cock fight in Nicaragua.) So I jumped at the chance to go deep sea fishing. 

Unsurprisingly, it didn't take long to find a boat and captain to take us out to sea. It turns out that Captain Arthur was likewise willing to jump at the opportunity to take five young women out fishing. (I have reason to believe that we are't exactly his regular clientele.)

Sunrise over seas.
Court, with the mountains of mainland Honduras in the distance.
Katherine, Martha and Court wait for the day's first catch.
Ash and I take our turn.
Martha had grand ambitions.
She wasn't disappointed.
The girls with their  barracuda. 

4. Find a hangover cure at Earth Mama's. 

Chances are that if you’re staying in West End, you’ll spend at least one night partaking in the preferred pastime of expats everywhere—drinking. So the next morning, when you wake up to +35 degree heat and a splitting headache, head down the street to Earth Mama’s. Kim will take care of you with a fresh smoothie and a greasy breakfast will take care of the rest. 

But if you can’t get out of bed, there’s still hope. First, you need a baleada. Hell, you should probably just eat one of these every day for good measure. (During my month in Central America, I ate every possible corn/cheese/bean combo—tacos, pupusas, burritos—but I still declare baleadas to be the most delicious.) 

Then, get someone to procure you a noni fruit. 

Also known as “cheese fruit” or “vomit fruit” (the verdict is still out on whether it smells worse than durian), rumour has it that noni can cure cancer. 

So, it should work on hangovers too—if you can keep it down, that is.

5. Get a massage at Baan Suerte.

After an amazing week, the rest of the girls headed back to snowy Canada, leaving me alone in the condo. With two days left before I started the next leg of my journey to the mainland, it was the perfect opportunity for some alone time with Sophie.

Before a candlelit dinner on the water, she took me to Spa Baan Suerte, where we had a romantic couples' massage.

Sophie relaxing at the spa's pool before our massage.
And as if Sophie doesn't already know how to woo a girl, she also pointed out a tarantula on the walk home, making all my dreams come true on one night. Swoon. 

The direct result of cherry bombs. You have been warned.
Things NOT to Do in Roatan: Cherry Bombs

Do not, under any circumstances, do a cherry bomb shot.

Here’s the thing; you’ll be hanging at Frank’s Hideaway Bar, minding your own business when someone will send one of these drinks across the bar to you. And you’re going to look at it and think "what a delicious treat!"

After all, why wouldn't you? Everything else that they shill to tourists generally speaking is. (Can anyone say Monkey La La? Although really, those should really come with their own warning label.) Even the name sounds delicious—I mean, who doesn’t like cherries? (I like cherries!)

But the thing about cherry bombs is that not only will you be instantly drunk after doing just one, they're not delicious. Not even the slightest bit. Don't do it.

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