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Roatan, Honduras: An unspoiled gem!

Fabulous sunset!
Fabulous sunset!
Renee Wooster

Roatan, Honduras

My husband and I were booked on an adventure down to Honduras this past February and didn't get out of Detroit due to snow in Atlanta of all places, which shut down the airport! Very upset, we went home and re-booked our trip for April. Let's just say we were so happy that we did because it was AMAZING!!! We took the 6:00 am flight on Continental through Houston, TX and arrived in 90 degree weather, sunshine with a fabulous breeze. A short 20 minute taxi ride later with Herman (ER-MAHn) we arrived at the Luna Beach Dive Resort, with its own sandy beach, dive shop, pool, dock, and restaurant. I can't forget the bars either! Luna offers a good choice of accommodations, from the basic room, premium beach front and private homes in the jungle. We chose room "J" which is a premium beach front room with a large bathroom, AC, water, fan, walk in closet, king bed, table out on the deck and hammock. The staff was fantastic! We met Chuck, the Owner, his daughter Joan whom has her own Realty, his granddaughter and her fiance were staying there as well. The dive shop staff was AWESOME! My husband is an avid diver and I had taken an Intro to SCUBA class here in Michigan, but wanted to take it a step further. I took the Discover SCUBA class with JT whom was patient and fun during my shallow skills and also during the 20 & 40 foot dive in the ocean. Needless to say I will be completing my coursework and certification because I loved it so much! Allan was also very helpful, whom is the Dive Shop Manager. Jose was a lot of fun to dive with as well and is very knowledgeable; my husband had very good dives with him. On one of the days a group of us went snorkeling and saw a gorgeous reef with tons of fish; after we were finished we decided we should jump off the top of the dive boat! Basically, because we came to Roatan at the end of the busy season, we had the resort literally to ourselves with the staff! After a walk into town for dinner, we'd hang out with the staff; including Lars, the Resort Manager. Many cold Salva Vidas later, as well as maybe a Monkey La-La or 2 and it was a party!

Overall, we sincerely hope that Roatan does not get built up and ruined like every other popular tourist destination. The island has a great, friendly, laid back vibe to it that has a lot of ex-patriots that have opened up places and have stayed. We love this place. We'd like to thank the staff of Luna Beach for a GREAT stay. Comfortable, quiet, tranquil, as well as social and fun you guys made it into our top 3 places of all time we've vacationed!

Suggestions for restaurants and bars:

1. Eagle Rays: Good ceviche and cold Salva Vida and Barena beers.

2. Luna Beach: Fabulous breakfast and lunch! The Honduran tacos are a favorite of mine!

3. Tong's Thai: Lars recommended this place - it is DELICIOUS! Some of the best Pad Thai and friend rice we have ever had!

4. Taco Stand in front of the Pinocchio's sign: We have no idea what the name of this taco stand is. But it is SO GOOD! 3 tacos with all the fresh toppings including a super spicy chimichurri sauce for about 120 Lempira, which $6 in American. Let's just say we ate there all but 3 nights we were there!

5. The Noodle Shack: Pick your own noodles, sauce, meat, and spice level. Very reasonably priced and yummy.

6. The Dive Bar: We hit this place up a few times for their breakfast tacos - chorizo, cheddar cheese and eggs wrapped in a tortilla with salsaVerdee. Perfect!

7. The Blue Marlin: Great place for Happy Hour and cheap beer!

8. Barefoot Bar: BBQ for $6.00 American per person; live music and its right on the beach! (Thanks Allan!)

Tips and Recommendations:

* Monkey La-La: the signature island drink that has a lot of alcohol in its yummy cold goodness!

* Beer: Barena, Salva Vida, Port Royal are our favorites. If you're looking for domestic beers here, good luck trying to find it, as many bars carry only the local beers.

* Bring plenty of bug spray! We still have bites almost 2 weeks later.

* Bring plenty of sunscreen. It was 95 with 100% humidity the entire week. We got a nice tan!

* Take anti-malaria pills prior to your arrival, with all the mosquitoes.

* There are 2ATM'ss in the West End - you can get Lempira or American dollars there. 20 Lemps = $1

* English the primary language, with some Spanish as well as Guarfuni. Either way, if you know basic Spanish you're all set!

* Definitely do your diving through Luna Beach Resort!

* Shopping in town is actually a lot of fun. Try to go early though to beat the rush of the people coming off of the cruise ships.

* Exiting the country you will need to pay the $37 in tax per person.

* Bring a small flashlight for walking the beach at night - only walk West End and don't go around the bend towards West Bay Beach.

* Water taxis run for about $2.50 American to and from West Bay Beach. Taxis into Coxen Hole are about $20. Taxi to the airport runs about $25.

Websites for reference:

http://www.lunabeachresort.com

http://www.tripadvisor.com

http://www.roatanonline.com

http://www.travel-roatan.com

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