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Islas de la Bahía

Travel Guide Central America Honduras Islas de la Bahía

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Introduction

Incomplete dock in Sandy Bay, Roatan

Incomplete dock in Sandy Bay, Roatan

© All Rights Reserved GregW

The Islas de la Bahía rest off the coast of Honduras and they are a wonderful series of islands. These islands are home to amazing unspoiled coral reefs, which divers come from far and near to swim in. For those not interested in diving there is also great beaches to relax on and to enjoy the sun. The island of Roatan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Honduras although the smaller are worth a visit also.

Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover the islands in 1502, although the islands did not stay in Spanish hands for long. The British took control of the islands in 1643 and held onto them until 1860. The lasting legacy of the British can be felt on the islands, with some residents never even learning Spanish. Today it is very easy to travel to the islands and among the different islands.

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Geography

The 5 main groups of islands have very different geography and and a distinct flavor to them. Even culturally they are different from the rest of Honduras. The largest island of Roatan has a mountain range down the center while the other islands tend to be flat.

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Islands

  • Roatan is 60 kilometres long making it the largest island and has a mountainous backbone with stunning beaches along the coast.
  • Utila is a flat island and has become a backpacker hangout in recent years. There are also amazing reefs around the island that are home to the rare whale shark. This is also one of the cheapest places on the planet to get a PADI certification.
  • Guanaja was damaged during Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Its Caribbean pine covered interior is largely undeveloped although it had a rich history of being the hideout for 17th century buccaneers.
  • Cayos Cochinos is a protected marine area and home to great reefs.
  • Swan Islands is a small island located 120 kilometres north of the main islands.

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Sights and Activities

Me with a barracuda

Me with a barracuda

© All Rights Reserved monkyhands

  • Diving is the main attraction here. The world's largest reef system is alive and strong off the coast of these islands and divers come from all over the world to experience it.
  • Beaches are a great way to relax and the amazing beaches here just want to make you go relax on them.

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Weather

The weather is generally ok, but not always that nice. October to February is rainy season, with a smaller rainy period in June and July. Temperatures are between 25 °C and 30 °C most of the year, but some nights can be cool with temperatures dropping to around 15 °C in January.

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Getting There

By Plane

Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport (IATA: RTB, ICAO:MHRO) is also known as the Roatan International Airport. This airport has regular service to La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, Belize City, San Salvador, Miami, Houston and Atlanta. There is also seasonal service to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Newark. There are direct flights with Blue Panorama Airlines to/from Milan.

Utila and Guanaja have small airports with connections from Roatan and San Pedro Sula on mainland Honduras.

By Boat

M.V. Galaxy provides ferry service to Utila and Roatan from the mainland. Between Roatán and La Ceiba there are economy/first class for US$21/26.50, taking 1¼ hours. There are daily departures from La Ceiba to Roatán at 9:30am and 4:30pm, and from Roatán to La Ceiba at 7:00am and 2:00pm. For Guanaja, the ferry leaves from Trujillo.
From La Ceiba and Utila, the Utila Princess leaves for Utila at 9:30am and 4:00pm and from Utila to La Ceiba at 6:20am and 2:00pm, taking around 1 hour. Prices are the same as for Roatan.

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Getting Around

By Car

You can rent a car on Roatan and motorcycles on all three of the islands, starting at around US$50 a day.
Collective taxis are available on Roatan and Utila for around US$1-2 per ride.

By Boat

There is regular ferry service among all the different islands and their are private boat owners providing rides as well. Water taxis are used on Roatán and Guanaja. On Roatán, they are useful for getting between West End and West Bay. On Guanaja, you need a water taxi to get between the main village and the island proper.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Roatan Bed and BreakfastWest EndGuesthouse94
Villagio Verde B&BVillagio Verde West End Gibson Bight Calle PrincipalHotel-
Westbay Bed and BreakfastWestbay beach, Roatan Island, HondurasGuesthouse90

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This is version 7. Last edited at 12:57 on May 14, 13 by Sander. 4 articles link to this page.

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