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One Day in Roatan: 1 Perfect Day in This Tropical Paradise

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Roatan, Honduras is a stunning island that has become a popular cruise port and vacation destination.

If you’re only spending one day in Roatan, this guide will help you make the most of your time and experience the island’s best.

I recently spent one day in Roatan on a cruise and fell in love with it. After traveling to over 80 countries, Roatan is in the top five on my list of favorite places.

Roatan will leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and excited simultaneously, and it will leave you wanting more!

Whether you’re looking to spend your one day in Roatan underwater or exploring the island above ground, there are a variety of activities that will suit all interests.

Without further ado, here is how you can spend one day in Roatan that’s sure to be one of the most memorable days of your life!


One Day in Roatan: How to Get There

An aerial view of the island with its emerald and blue waters with a panoramic view of the island for the best one day in Roatan.

You can get to Roatan via cruise ship, plane, or ferry.

Roatan is a beautiful island located in the Caribbean Sea.

It is a popular destination for cruise ship passengers, as it is one of the largest and most developed of the Bay Islands.

If you’re on a cruise ship, your ship will dock at one of two ports — Port of Roatan Towner Center (also referred to as Coxen Hole) and Mahogany Bay (which is more like a private island for Carnival).

Roatan can also be reached by flying into Roatan International Airport. There are several direct flights from major US cities, including Miami, Atlanta, and Houston.

Another option is to take the ferry from La Ceiba on the mainland. The ferry costs around $33.

Quick Facts About Roatan To Make the Most of Your One Day in Roatan

A cotton candy sunset with a blue door perched on a boardwalk for one day in Roatan.

Roatan is home to stunning scenery!

Located around forty miles off the coast of Honduras, Roatan is a warm and friendly island paradise.

The island is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical scenery.

Roatan is also home to a diverse population of animals, including howler monkeys, iguanas, and parrots.

The island’s coral reefs are teeming with colorful fish, making it one of the best places in the world for snorkeling and diving.

The currency in Roatan is the Honduras Lempira, and US Dollars are widely accepted.

The most commonly spoken languages in Honduras are Spanish and English.

Helpful Tips for Visiting Roatan in One Day

White powdery sand and baby blue clear waters for one day in Roatan.

A helpful tip for one day in Roatan is to visit as many beaches as you can. They’re all unique and gorgeous.

If you’re exploring Roatan via cruise, you’ll only have around seven to eight hours to explore the island.

I recommend choosing one activity you really want to do and prioritizing that. After you complete that activity, you can explore the island as you please.

Additionally, you should plan ahead and make reservations for any activities or accommodations that you may want to book before arriving on the island.

Such precautions will help you save time and ensure that the activity you want to do has availability.

How to Get Around Roatan

Underwater view of the ocean and shoreline showing how you can spend one day in Honduras.

The tropical paradise of Roatan.

The best way to get around Roatan is by taxi. Taxis are readily available and relatively affordable.

You can also rent a car, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re comfortable driving on the island’s winding roads.

Before you get into the taxi, make sure that the meter is working properly or that you negotiate a price.

What to Eat in Roatan

Tortilla filled with eggs and beans, known as baleada, which is a must eat during your one day in Roatan trip.

Sampling local, like this baleada, is a must on any one day in Roatan itinerary.

One of the downfalls of only having one day in Roatan is that you won’t get to try all of the delicious food that the island has to offer.

One of the best things to try in Roatan is baleadas. This is my favorite dishes, and it’s one of the most popular foods on the island.

Baleadas are a combination of flour tortilla, beans, and salty cheese.

They’re served with avocado and Mantequilla (Honduran sour cream), making it one of the tastiest meals you’ll ever have.

The best place for baleadas in Roatan is at Calelu’s in the West End. Their tortillas are homemade and their food is reasonably priced.

Other popular dishes in Roatan include ceviche, fried fish, seafood soup, conch soup, and Honduran tamales.

These local dishes will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

Map of Roatan

Here is a map of Roatan detailing all of the different areas on the island.

A map showing the highlights of one day in Roatan.

Map of the best places to visit for one day in Honduras.

What to Do During One Day in Roatan

Here are my recommendations for a perfect one day in Honduras itinerary.

This itinerary makes sure that you get to see the best of Roatan so you get a good taste of what this island is about!

Relax at the Beaches

A woman (me) standing on the beach with crystal clear waters behind her on her one day in Roatan trip.

Visiting West End Bay was my favorite thing I did when I was spending one day in Roatan.

The beaches of Roatan are truly something special.

With their pristine white sand and crystal clear waters, they offer a perfect place to relax and unwind.

The waters here are calm and inviting, making them ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Furthermore, the shoreline is dotted with colorful beach huts providing shade from the hot sun, as well as delicious food options for when you need a break from the waves.

Overall, the beaches of Roatan are a must-see destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty and tranquility of tropical paradise.

Powdery white sand and clear blue waters of West Bay Beach for a one day in Roatan itinerary.

West Bay Beach

West Bay Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island, and for good reason. It’s no wonder that West Bay has been rated one of the best beaches in the world.

My jaw dropped when I saw West Bay Beach. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen and one of my absolute must-dos while in Roatan.

I recommend renting a beach chair and an umbrella and enjoying the views for an hour or two before tackling the rest of this list.

Other beautiful beaches in Roatan are Sandy Bay Beach, Little French Key, and Camp Bay.

Go On An Island Tour

Going on an island tour is the best way to make the most of your one day in Roatan. Don’t forget a photo at this infamous sign!

When I visited Roatan, one of the first things I decided to do was go on an island tour.

I wanted to get a sense of what island life is like and see all of the main attractions that this beautiful island had to offer.

It didn’t take long before I realized just how relaxed and laid-back life is on the island.

Everywhere I looked there were picturesque beaches and quaint villages, with people living their days at a leisurely pace.

And of course, no trip to Roatan would be complete without seeing some of its most iconic landmarks, including its majestic parks.

Though my time on the island was brief, it left me feeling deeply connected to this peaceful place and inspired me to explore more of Honduras in the future.

Plus, our driver/guide told me all about the local culture and customs, which is an integral part of visiting any new place.

Explore West End

A palm tree framing a photo of a building out on the ocean in West End, which belongs on every one day in Roatan itinerary.

West End is lined with restaurants and shops.

The area of West End in Roatan, Honduras is one of the most vibrant and exciting places on the island.

Located a short drive away from Coxen Hole, West End is packed full of shops, restaurants, and bars, making it a great place to explore and soak up the island’s lively spirit.

But what really sets West End apart is its stunning natural landscape.

Lined with lush, green jungle and endless stretches of white-sand beaches, West End provides visitors with an abundance of opportunities for hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and much more.

West End is also where most of the island’s dive shops are located.

Explore the Underwater World By Diving

A yellow/gold coral that you can see while diving on your one day in Roatan trip.

If you’re a diver, put diving at the top of your one day in Roatan to-do list.

Roatan is world-renowned for its diving scene, and it’s easy to see why.

The island is surrounded by clear, turquoise waters filled with marine life. And, the reef in Roatan is the second largest in the world!

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, there’s something for everyone in Roatan.

The reefs around the island offer a variety of opportunities for exploration, and there are plenty of shops and schools where you can rent equipment or take lessons.

What’s more, the best dive sites are only just a few minutes from shore. Diving in Roatan is a magical experience!

For a list of the best dive sites and their details, read PADI’S article about where to dive in Roatan.


Colorful blue fish surrounding coral for a one day in Roatan itinerary.

Even if you’re not a diver, you can still explore the beautiful underwater via snorkeling.

Roatan’s barrier reef is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second-largest reef in the world.

This means that there are plenty of areas to explore and a wide variety of marine life to see while snorkeling.

One of the best snorkeling spots in Roatan is West Bay Beach. The shallow and calm conditions make it easy to explore the underwater world, and it’s the perfect spot for snorkelers of all skill levels.

You’ll see everything from majestic sea turtles and schools of brightly colored fish to curious string rays gliding gracefully through the water.

Other incredible snorkeling spots include Sandy Bay, French Key, Half Moon Bay, and Starfish Alley.

No matter where you go snorkeling, you’ll be dazzled by all the vivid corals and gorgeous marine life.

Use reef-safe sunscreen when snorkeling or diving, as the chemicals in regular sunscreen are harmful to coral.


A woman (me) with ziplining gear attached to her standing on a cliffside with a view of a cruise ship and the ocean for one day in Roatan.

I never pass up an opportunity to zipline!

Ziplining is one of the most popular activities in Roatan, and it’s easy to see why.

The island is a zipliner’s paradise with its lush jungle landscapes and stunning ocean views.

There are many different companies offering zipline experiences, but not all of them are created equal.

Make sure to use a company with a good safety record and experienced guides.

We used Jungle Top Adventures Zipline and had a great experience. The guides were fun and ensured we were safe.

Most of the zipline companies in Roatan have an animal park/zoo attached with parrots, monkeys, and more in captivity.

I was sick to my stomach when I saw guides handing the monkeys and other animals off from tourist to tourist.

I understand that it’s one of the main attractions at the ziplining facility, but I urge you to skip this part because it’s exploitative and inhumane.

There are plenty of other activities on the island that don’t involve animals in captivity, so please don’t support this kind of tourism.

Best Tours in Roatan

The best way to experience Roatan is on a tour because they’re convenient and all the details are taken care of for you.

There are many excellent tours in Roatan offering a wide range of tours.

Here are some of the best tours in Roatan.


One Day in Roatan Final Thoughts

As you can see, one day in Roatan is full of endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.

Whether you’re a beach bum or an outdoor adventurer, Roatan has something for everyone.

But, one day is simply not enough and you’ll leave wanting more.

Roatan is one of those special places that stay with you long after you leave!

Have you been to Roatan? What was your favorite thing about the island? Let me know in the comments below!

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Thursday 16th of February 2023

Roatan is hands down our vacation spot we've found via cruising. I absolutely fell in love with it and now we go back at least once a year. We are headed back Saturday, in fact! You will not find an island with friendlier people and the scenery and weather are spectacular!!

Disha Smith

Friday 24th of February 2023

I agree with everything you just said, Jennifer! It truly is a special place. Enjoy your getaway there. Thanks for reading!

Steven Tucker

Tuesday 14th of February 2023

I've been to Roatan several times. Don't know how y'all come for one day and leave again...I was there for 3 weeks last March, and it was not enough to really settle in to the rhythm of the place.

I recommend that people give up on the idea that you need to see more places, and adopt the idea that you need to spend more time. We will forego a vacation in some years, so we can have a month or 6 weeks the next year, and we spend that entire time in a single place

When the local people know you will be there that long, they take more time to get to know you. It is not uncommon for us to be invited to people's homes, to birthday parties, etc. Our rule is, if you don't know the names and routines of the people at your hotel, and don't personally miss them when you leave, then you haven't been there long enough.

Disha Smith

Friday 24th of February 2023

I completely agree with everything you said, Steven! I initially visited Roatan on a cruise, and I couldn't get enough of it. Locals are so friendly and the scenery is gorgeous!