Part two of the complete family travel guide to the scuba paradise of Roatan.
Check out Part One of this article, which lists the best dive shops and hotspots for adventure + discovery on Roatan.
Now that we’ve covered how to fill your days on Roatan, Honduras with thrills, let’s focus on nourishing your primal needs of sleep and sustenance. Because of its tourist appeal, and the fact that its economy is almost solely reliant on said tourism, there are a lot of places to eat and sleep on this tropical rock… but they’re not all created equal. So, we’ve sifted the offerings and ended up with our favorites, almost all of the which are so high-quality they’ve been thriving since Bailey lived on Roatan over a decade ago.
Best Places to Eat on Roatan
For such a small, remote island Roatan has a shockingly large offering of restaurants that serve tasty food. While it was hard to choose, below are our favorite eateries in West End and West Bay that range from standard-casual, to “rock up in your bathing suit” casual.
Note: Because most of the food has to be shipped in, it’s not cheap. But the cheap beer prices make up for it.
Creole’s Rotisserie Chicken – West End
The take-out spot for locals after a long day, this simple eatery offers really really good chunks of rotisserie chicken with perfectly seasoned beans and rice (or pasta salad and coleslaw). Enjoy this put-you-to-bed-fat-and-happy meal on your moonlit patio, or from the cushiness of a couch as you binge on vacation movies. This is also a great spot for lunch, just be ready to nap afterwards.
Sundowners Beach Bar - West End
A West End fixture, Sundowners is where to go to hang with the locals and maybe even score a sighting of the disgusting, yet iconic, “snorkel test”: a ritual consisting of a dive-master-in-training chugging a blended mixture of whatever the bartender finds around the bar... through a snorkel. There’s usually puking. But puking aside, this is a prime place to score a cold beer or cocktail, and classic comfort foods like cheeseburgers, chicken strips or nachos. And the sunset from Sundowners is everything.
Lighthouse Restaurant - West End
This is an absolute must for brunch. Go hungry and ready to chill for a few hours while you sit over the water and savor bottomless mimosas, coffeecake, omelets, eggs benny, fresh fruit and other breakfast-y treats. In addition, Lighthouse is a nice spot for a classy, candlelit, sunset-kissed dinner, although we’re not as keen on their lunch and dinner as we are on their brunch.
Por Que No? – West End
A high-quality joint offering an eclectic mix of beautifully made Mediterranean dishes, Por Que No? is an excellent choice for a leisurely meal spent sharing and sampling various delicacies, as you enjoy the intriguing décor of this beachside eatery. And, the (mostly) healthy fare is made all the more delicious by the friendly service.
When the owner is present she’ll chat you up about her story and the inspiration behind the dishes, and the primary server is heaps of fun to talk to. While all the savory dishes are popular, the desserts solidified our love for Por Que No? A piece of their baklava or tiramisu, combined with one of the expertly prepped coffees will change you.
Thai Place - West End
Yup, there is actually good Thai food to be found in the Honduras. A frequent recipient of Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence, Thai Place offers classic Thai dishes that are well portioned, filled with all the right flavors, and brightly colored with a variety of veggies and fresh seafood. The prices aren’t low, but the food and tranquil seaside setting makes it worth the investment. This was Bailey’s birthday-dinner spot.
Tip: Have a glass of the sangria.
Mangiamo Market & Delicatessen - West Bay
A short walk from most of the accommodations in West Bay, this treasure chest of high-quality nosh is the place to stock up on snacks and the best breakfast and lunch wraps on the island. The ambiance isn’t anything special, so get your goods to-go and have a beach picnic.
Celeste's Island Cuisine – West Bay
Celeste's serves up island basics done right in a laid-back tropical environment. Go here when you’re craving a big lobster dinner, pasta, plantains, and other stick-to-your-ribs dishes after a long day of diving. And make sure to ask if they have any fresh key lime pie.
Where to Sleep at West End
If you’re traveling on a budget and want a pretentious-free area overflowing with character, West End is your spot. There are a slew of simple, well-kept hotels, B&Bs and vacation rentals dotting this strip of seaside - almost all of them within walking distance to popular amenities.
Note: Half Moon Bay is like the downtown district of West End.
The Beach House
Located on Half Moon Bay’s primary beach for bummin’, sand and sea play, snorkeling and drinking, this fully remodeled boutique hotel is close to pretty much anywhere you’d want to go in West End. Beyond the prime locale, the biggest perks of The Beach House are their contemporary suites, featuring lots of white with pops of beachy colors, dazzling ocean views, sprawling patios and one of the best breakfasts on the island. As The Beach House only has nine rooms, book a few months ahead of time if you have a big group.
Both convenient and private, Cocolobo offers guests a tranquil space to float in a pool, stare at the sea, and recharge in one of their spacious and stylish 10 oceanfront studio condos, 2 cottages, or 4 garden houses. While Cocolobo does not have a restaurant, or direct access to a sandy shore, it’s an easy 5-minute walk to Half Moon Bay, where numerous eateries and a long stretch of public beach can be enjoyed. And, guests can enjoy a daily complimentary breakfast and get their buzz on at the on-site bar.
Posado Arco Iris
Directly across from Sundowner’s, and attached to Native Sons dive shop, Posado Arco Iris is one of the most geographically desirable hotels in West End. The accommodations are fairly bare bones, but clean, comfortable and convenient with their free wi-fi, private balconies with hammocks, refrigerators, private bathrooms with hot water, and (in some rooms) a fully equipped kitchen and air-conditioning. This is one of the best options for budget lodging in West End.
A Condo at Sunset Villas
As Bailey lived in one of these condos for over a year, she can attest to the pristine landscaping, loveliness of the large community pool, chic villa-vibes of the structures, and comfort provided by the 24-hour security guard. This is probably the nicest neighborhood you can find right off West End’s main road.
While the condos are rented out by private owners (mainly through Airbnb) who have varying aesthetic proclivities, you’re almost certain to find one that pleases your interior preferences. These are a great choice for large families, or multiple families traveling together, wanting to share a space and have the option of cooking.
Where to Sleep at West Bay
While West Bay doesn’t have as much personality as West End, it provides the upscale features travelers with a taste for resorts expect - aka sprawling infinity pools, chic and spacious rooms, fine dining, spas, and an expansive powder-soft beach. This is also the place to score easily-accessible, spectacular snorkeling.
Grand Roatan Caribbean Resort
The most sophisticated, “on trend” resort in West Bay, Grand Roatan offers a boutique experience for guests wanting five-star amenities mixed with solitude (at least from the tourist masses, not your kids.) With elegant touches like granite countertops, travertine floors, handmade cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and contemporary light fixtures and furniture, this haven screams style.
One of the most tried-and-true resorts in West Bay, Infinity Bay provides upscale, modern-ish accommodations, a giant pool, good food, a thriving bar scene, and one of the most paradise-esque stretches of beach on the island. In addition, they’re directly in front of some of the island’s best snorkeling.
An all-inclusive resort with uber-tropical vibes, Mayan Princess makes you feel as though you’ve stumbled upon the vacation palace of, well, a Mayan princess. With a waterworld of meandering pools surrounded by lush foliage, rooms and suites that open directly on these pools, lots of thatched roofs, and one of the most shade-soaked portions of West Bay (thanks palm trees!) Mayan Princess is the place to be if you want a resort that stays true to the local ambiance - at least the vacationland version of it.
(Best Budget Option) Bananarama
Perched on the shore of West Bay, this dive shop/ beach hotel offers a lively outdoor bar and restaurant that occasionally hosts live music, and the obligatory hammocks for rejuvenating between dives. Rounding out their offerings are their clean and comfortable beachfront accommodations and “Dive and Stay” specials. These specials, combined with the world class snorkeling right off the shore, makes this a great choice for budget-conscious families.