Roatan is a Central American Paradise that you just will love when you have the chance to visit. The skies are blue, the water is crystal clear and the beaches are gorgeous. In fact, Roatan is known for scuba, fishing and snorkeling and it’s awesome.
We were here just for the day, and due to limited time here we needed to figure out what worked best to get the most out of our day. There were 6 in our group and our age genre spanned from 11 years to 75 years old, so we had to find something we all could do.
You can bet snorkeling was out of this, lol! I began investigating all the different things we could do from shopping to touring and somehow our plan came together. We arranged a private tour, run by a company that is well respected on the internet, and I will say their information is spot on.
The ships do prefer you come and go with their particular excursions, but as a seasoned cruisers, my husband and I knew that we could do something a bit different as we had on each cruise we have taken. We went ahead and made email contact with this particular tourism vendor on Roatan and we confirmed pick up. We are ready to share our tale of tips for visiting Roatan, as we lavishly live travel out loud!
Tips For Touring Roatan Off Of A Cruise Ship
Remember, taking adventures not scheduled by your own ship is taking a risk, please pursuit with caution. We are not advising for or against, we are just telling you what we did. We had been on a previous cruise where tours were cancelled so we knew what to do before we got on this cruise. Again, proceed with caution.
We are in Roatan, here is our welcome map are we ready for an adventure?
Plan Your Excursion Ahead
I once read someone’s excursion and then all of the comments left behind by readership, accusing her of not really telling it like it is. You know me, I will not sugar coat things just so that a company, or tour place likes me.
I want you to know what I think, and what I saw, and telling you that places are awesome just to say it is ridiculous. We loved Roatan, make no mistake about it, but I am about to provide you the reality of the beginning of your trip, if you are coming off a cruise ship and attempting to master your own tour.
Plan ahead, be meticulous about it, read up on the tour provider you are using and understand you will see both the good life (resorts, best of, etc, ) and then the reality check the impoverished conditions that the families on the islands or countries live in. That stated, I have provided you with an appropriate reality check and I do suggest lots of research ahead of your trips, as you can never be too prepared, now read my adventure.
Let me start off by saying, this is the most intimidating port of call we have EVER been in, but also recall, we decided to do this one on our own, so who knows how differently this experience would have been and I am sure we would not have received this note. When you get out of the shopping area that is directly at the port, you walk up a set of steps, and at the top of the steps are the POLICIA. Once you clear through them, there are so many tour people biding for your business, but you must remain strong and find your CORRECT Tour person.
As things would have it, we got an email notice before we arrived from The Tour Company we had hired and it stated that people were ‘impersonating’ their workers so to please make sure you are with your tour and get the right bus. Ohhhhh, can I just say I was shaking my head and hoping for the best? We had never had this happen on any of the other cruises we have been on and we have been on several other cruises.
It was not hard to find our tour, but many people did try to stop us, we just continued on to our Tour Guide. I had read his email which showed us photos of people who were not them and that would try to get us to come with them.
Not usually the one that is questioning an adventure, but after trying to get through all the vendor vying for your business and the policia, dogs, guns, etc., I truly questioned our decision to take this tour and wondered if we should not go?
We moved on and we were fine and the tour was great, but just know what you are going to see before you get there, you will be greeted by the Police at the area once you LEAVE The port of call, unless of course you go with the ship, but if you don’t leave the port of call you will just shop in a little area and then head back to the ship.
Before You get to the beach, you ride through West Bay Village, and the Roatan Area in order to get to Victor Bodden’s Tour Center. This is a photo of what Roatan streets look like, it is very much an economically depressed country, it is a third world country and sugar-coating it I won’t.
CHECK INTO LIFE
The destination is known for its diving, snorkeling and reef, not the surrounding area. Everyone knows that the resort areas are the places that thrive but remember, with every resort there are workers and those workers are there to provide a living a means for their families… Their families are living in conditions such as the photo below (this was explained to us by our tour guide)
That means that those tall fences around your resort always have another side and while you are living the life of Riley your tourism is supporting the less than wealthy area you are visiting.
This is when it is time to remember that with every encounter you experience, every tip matters to everyone you will come into contact with on your trip.
It is not ‘Island’ living as some tourist in our group stated, this is actual housing and housing conditions and it is not just the effect of the weather on the area, this is the living circumstances, of a third world country that we are visiting. Ohh, the ignorance of some who forget reality. I am known for stating it like it is, and that is what I am telling you.
I will tell you the truth. It is wonderful but I preferred seeing it through a tour and going to where the ‘hot-spots’ were rather than traveling on our own or attempting to tour by ourselves. My children got to see how impoverished other countries are, I do believe this was a reality lesson on its own providing them more value and thanks for what they have.
The education achieved through traveling is like no other and it is why we take them everywhere we go. Suddenly they valued several things they took for granted and this Mamma bear never had to open her mouth and say anything, they just said it to us.
So let’s get to the good stuff, now that I have explained tourism, personal tours and the personal lesson in economics that my family adventure proved ripe with. Our personal tour which was loaded with Cruisers from Norwegian, and Holland America as well as Carnival, because other people search the net for options for adventure outside of the cruise ship options and I can attest to a great day and a safe day.
Get Ready For Some Fun
Trust me, I have read so many thing about traveling to the different ports of call, some good and some bad, that I really never know what to believe. My trusted resource however gave me some good insight and once I reached out to Victor Bodden at Victor Bodden Tours I knew we had made the right decision.
The tour we decided to take is called the Fun -N-Sun-Excursion. The tour starts off with a pick up at your port, which you have to walk to them. Remember to really research what you are doing and never take a chance with just any company, go with those trusted companies.
Now on to the good stuff. Your first stop is on top of a beautiful mountain which overlooks West Bay Beach. The view is grand and there are a few vendors here. We managed to get a few hats for as low as $5 a piece. These vendors will bargain with you, and they want you to, so make sure to counter offer! This was glorious. As a side note, our driver allowed all of us to keep our bags on the bus, and he sat with them, so we had minimal stuff with us so it made it easier to get out there shop, take photos and enjoy.
Once we shopped for 30 minutes, the bus then took us to Victor Bodden’s Monkey Business Farm. Here is where you pay CASH ONLY for your day of fun. This is just a little building, you go in and pay and get your armband(for our tour) so we could use the bathrooms and changing facilities at the West Bay Beach. Then you go onto your Monkey Tour where you get to interact with little monkeys and a very large Parrot.
Here’s our visit with the monkeys.
It is fun and the monkeys are so darn cute. You do have to listen to your host about not moving around, or grabbing them, just let them come to you, and they do! No worries!. IF you take this $5 additional fee time with the monkeys and the parrot and then the deer, squirrels, etc., do know there is a tipping area after which they would like gratuities (bring plenty of $1’s)
After you leave here you board the bus and you are off to the beach. We loved it here. The beach is the last part of the trip and the sun is awesome as is the water, The blue skies, the drinks and the music, I would have gladly stayed forever it is paradise, but your 2 hours goes quickly.
The ride was quick to get to the beach and there is food and a bar. IN addition, you will find a changing area, and you each get a beach seat. The two hours goes very fast, but the water is great, the sun was fantastic and it was just paradise.
You get changed and you take the bus back to your port, where you are DRIVEN back into the terminal this time, so all you have to do is get out and you can shop as you are now back in the port of call. I believe that Victor Bodden Tours is very organized and is a good tour to take, but this is based on my experience. As I said, we needed something we could all enjoy and this was the best mix for us while on Roatan. This is my tale Lavishly living life out loud and my tips for traveling to Roatan when visiting via cruise ships.
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