Climate and Geography on Roatan
Located in the Caribbean, about 35 miles off the northern coast of Honduras, Roatan is the largest of a group of islands called the Bay Islands. Approximately 40 miles long and about 5 miles at its widest point, Roatan enjoys an incredible array of topography. A central ridge runs nearly the full length of the island, rising up to about 900 feet above sea level. Pristine, white sandy beaches meet stunning iron shore and intricate mangroves along the entire shoreline. Tropical hillsides lead into lush valleys, giving Roatan the luxury of both jungle and beach.
The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system extends from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, past Belize and Guatemala, and ends around the Bay Islands of Honduras. Roatan benefits from the close proximity of this barrier reef to shore, protecting the island and keeping the lagoons between the shore and reef amazingly calm. A large majority of the reef is a protected marine area, with fishing and boating regulations in place to preserve and protect this environment. SCUBA diving and snorkeling have long been popular activities around Roatan, with the tourism market now bringing people from all over the world to enjoy the incredible array of marine life and astounding coral structures all around the island.
Roatan’s yearly average temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a true tropical paradise. The island receives constant trade winds, which keep the climate cool, along with moderate rainfall, which predominantly falls between December and February. This rainfall helps the island maintain a lush, verdant landscape to contrast with the bright blues of the sea and sky.
Roatan is often referred to as the “Gem of the Caribbean.” The island has retained its natural beauty despite its increasing popularity, so you can still enjoy a charming, quaint Caribbean island with much to discover.
How To Get To Roatan
Roatan offers amazing convenience through its international airport, which is serviced by international direct flights from Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, San Salvador, Toronto, Montreal, and Milan (seasonal flights from Canada and Italy). Additionally, daily regional flights arrive from La Ceiba, Tegucigalpa, and San Pedro Sula. Airlines that fly to Roatan include: American, Delta, Avianca, United, Isleña, Sun Wing from Canada, and Air Italy Charters.
Basic Information About Roatan
The population of Roatan is currently estimated to be around 80,000. The official currency is called the Lempira, although U.S. Dollars are accepted everywhere. While Spanish is the official national language, English is widely spoken as a first language in the Bay Islands. Visitors from North America, most European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, do not require advance visas to visit Honduras. Upon arrival, a tourist visa for 90 days will be issued. Tourist visas may be extended one time for 30 days at an immigration office.
What should I pack for Roatan?
Roatan is very casual, so there is no need to pack several suitcases for a brief visit. Keep in mind this is a tropical environment, so light clothing is always best. If you come during the rainy season (end of November through February) bring a light rain jacket as well. Of course, don’t forget your swimsuits and sandals, as you’ll be in those most of your time here!
Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are needed all times of the year, as the tropical sun is hot and strong. Bug repellent is also needed mainly for nights and some beaches where sand flies are found. We like to say that the bugs are here to remind us that this little paradise is actually real.
Additional items to bring with you include:
- Photocopies of your passport, credit cards, and airline tickets
- Back up money supply (i.e. debit or credit card)
- Prescription medications
- Torch (flashlight)
- Small day bag for excursions and the beach