The Bay Islands of The Honduras: Paradise Revisited

Plenty of Caribbean islands have been labeled with the daydream-inducing word: paradise. If your definition of paradise includes empty beaches, no crowds, and not having to dress for dinner, consider packing your bags for an easy-access option you might not have considered: the Bay Islands of Honduras.

These islands give visitors a taste of what the Caribbean was like before development surged: a laid-back getaway with turquoise water, lush tropical vegetation and an easy transition into island life with no high-rises, no traffic and no stress. The Mesoamerican reef system that rings the Bay Islands like a jewelled necklace is second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef.

There are direct flights from Houston, Atlanta and New York to Roatán (RTB), with flight times of 2 hours and 40 minutes, 3 hours and 25 minutes and 5 hours, respectively. The next-best option is flying to San Pedro Sula (SAP) on the Honduran mainland, which tacks on perhaps 30 minutes to the international flight. National flights connect from there to each of the three islands.

Honduras mainlanders often refer to the English-speaking Bay Islanders as caracols, or conchs—a shellfish found in local waters. Islanders consider the label a reference to their relaxed lifestyle. The islands have a mañana culture: businesses close for siesta, posted schedules sometimes mean nothing and nobody rushes around. If you’re a Type-A person, you have no choice but to chill out.

Roatán

Roatán is the largest of the islands, with the widest variety of hotels, restaurants and activities. Water adventures cover everything from swimming with dolphins at Anthony’s Key Resort to fishing, kayaking, diving and glass-bottom boat tours. Visit the Roatán Butterfly Garden to check out native island wildlife.

Towards the eastern end of Roatán is the fishing village of Oakridge, where motorized canoe tours of deep mangrove tunnels allow views of island wildlife. Nearby, in the Garifuna community of Punta Gorda get a taste of freshly made cassava bread and shop for traditional handicrafts from these descendants of Carib Indians and West Africans…

Read more: Lonely Planet

 

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