This was the first morning I decided to get up at 5:30 AM to catch the sunrise and boy was it worth every minute of lost sleep! I haven’t seen a sunrise on this level in a long time! Over the next few days when I did get up early, the results were very rewarding. I should also mention getting adequate sleep on a cruise is no small task.
Roatan, Honduras was a real treat. When I first heard of places like Honduras and Belize, I didn’t know what they would have to offer. I had heard good things about Roatan, but didn’t know what to expect. I was blown away at Roatan and how pretty the island is. I think Roatan was my favorite port of call on the trip. The white beach was gorgeous and the tour of the island and local cities with Victor Bodden Tours was excellent. Our tour guide aptly named, Welcome, was very hospitable and welcoming. She even came back to pick us up after letting us stay on the beach a couple hours longer as everyone else wanted to return to the ship!
As soon as our ship docked at about 7 AM that morning, we were off to join our tour. We walked through Mahogany Bay and down a hill where there were a bunch of tour operators and hustlers looking for potential customers. It was packed with people and waiting vans and cars. One the drive back at the end of the day, I barely recognized the deserted spot on the road that was filled with people earlier that morning.
Our first stop on the tour was of French Harbor. We drove through some small cities and villages, learning about the history of the island and the culture. The island is quite poor, with tourism being the predominant industry after the fishing industry took a big hit when it moved to the mainland. There were a few recognizable American businesses.
The place we stopped in French Harbor had all these smiling kids that ran up to us. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the mind to bring some little candies or chocolates from the ship to share with them.
Next up was a local souvenir shop and then the tour headquarters where Victor has built a private animal park with tons of monkeys, birds, and other exotic animals.
After a tour through all the wildlife, it was time to hit the beach at West Bay. The beach is about a one mile stretch of sandy white beaches and crystal clear water. On the south end of the beach, is Tabyana beach where all the best snorkeling and reefs are. Unfortunately, they dropped us off at the northern end and when we realized where the best part was walking down the beach, it was time to head back to the ship.
By the time we got back to the port, we had a little bit of time to walk around. The port is called Mahogany Bay, and unless you’re sailing with Carnival, you’re not likely to end up on this part of Roatan as all the other cruise lines dock at Coxen Hole a bit further down. Carnival leases this property and built their very own port, complete with shops, their own private beach, and cable cars. I must say, a great deal of thought went into designing the port from the landscaping, the decor, and the shops. If you’re looking for local Honduras, this isn’t it. It’s 100% tourist.
While walking through the port, I spied a bunch of people hanging around an outdoor cafe with their phones and laptops in hand. I figured that there must be free wifi somewhere, so I started scouting on my phone. I noticed that there were a handful of networks, but that they were all locked. I decided to man up and ask this young guy what network he was using and the password he used. He had told me that he had randomly tried various networks until he found a key that worked. It turned out the password was 12345678 which was probably a default or just an easy password to give out. So if you’re ever looking for internet, most are 8 digits, and it’s worth trying to guess.
After being reunited on the internet for a few minutes to elate my withdrawal, my stomach got the better of me and we went back to the ship to have a really late lunch. It was about 4 PM and dinner starts at six every night. There is something nice about separating yourself from the internet and not being forced into checking emails, news, or status updates.
Sunset as we were pulling away from Mahogany Bay was pretty incredible. Not quite on par with sunrise, but still pretty cool nonetheless. There was even a hoard of other photographers vying for prime real estate on the side of the ship.
A few highlight dishes from dinner that night: a chilled peach creme soup, Tiramisu, and fruit plate!
Lastly, our pet frog for the night.
Day 5 is Belize, stay tuned!