04 – Roatan

Houston | At Sea | Cozumel | Roatan | Belize | Cancun | At Sea || Ship Details

Day 4: Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras

The island of Roatan.It was too foggy for a good sunrise today. Bummer!
An interesting small island off the coast of Roatan.
Roatan was our favorite destination by far. It seemed the least affected by westernized progress and was more like a jungle than any of the other stops. I guess that’s also a way of saying it was the poorest of the countries. People there were much friendlier as a whole than the other stops we went to. And even though there was quite a bit of poverty in some areas, we always felt safe.

Apparently Roatan got its start a couple hundred years ago when escaped slaves landed on the island. Their unique culture still showed signs of their African descent. Most people there spoke English. There was one other language that a few of the locals spoke. Not all the people there knew this strange language.

Friendly people greeted us at the docks. Like Cozumel (and all the other ports), there were independent touring companies wanting to take us on different tours. One guy offered submarine rides to take you down to over 1,000 feet below sea level in a special sub. All for just $250. Not bad! Turns out that the waters just off Roatan go as deep as 5,000 feet. I’m still kicking myself for not going!!

We took a ship excursion for a mountain hike. Our tour guide was Darla and the driver’s name was Junior. He was pretty cool. On the way to the mountain hike, we crossed their “big bridge”. It’s the only bridge on the island of any significance, and was about 70 feet long.
Teachers are well-paid in Roatan: $15/day. Doctors are among the best paid: $25 per day. And it costs $20 to have a baby there. I think our tour guide made a lot more than that. ..but I don’t know how many tours she works a week. She said that her home, like most, doesn’t have hot water. Cold showers only.
Darla pointed out the island’s only jail – the yellow building in the background. It could only hold 30 people.For a population of 50,000, I was impressed that they only had 20 or so police.

It took about 45 minutes to get to the mountain in question.

Did I mention the lush vegetation?Our mountain guide’s name was Lex. He was 17.

It was a fairly steep climb, but it was absolutely gorgeous! In the garden at the bottom of the mountain were some spectacular plants. Orchids, tall palm trees (plenty of those on the trail, as it turns out), huge dracaenas and yucca plants. It had to be seen to be appreciated. Note the plastic lawn chair in the background here. This palm tree was a good 30′ tall.

I wonder how much Home Depot would sell this plant for?
This spider was about 4-1/2″ from tip to tip. Darla thought it was dead. I blew on it – Darla was wrong.
This tree grew large (2-3 foot) clusters of nuts kinda like a coconut. Each nut was about 2-3 inches tall, roughly in the shape of a football. It had 2 shells (like a coconut) and when you broke through the inner shell, you got a coconut-like substance. Instead of hollow with coconut milk, it was solid all the way through. Tasted like dried coconut – except it was fairly moist. Not terribly delicious.
Termites. This clump was about the size of a basketball.
Darla, working her way up the trail.
There was one kind of palm tree that had huge thorns in it. The thorns were at least 3″ or 4″ long.
Once we were at the top of the mountain, we had a fantastic view of the ocean and small islands below.
From one spot, we could see another group of people from our ship that were in a dolphin petting show.As we made our way down to the bottom, we were able to see even more wild plants and strange plants. There was one tree that was about 4 feet wide and only about 1-2 feet thick. There was one tall tree that had a huge palm tree growing out of it… 50 feet up. The palm tree itself was a good 30′ or taller, making the entire “tree” about 80′ tall.
This is a chocolate tree.
After the “eco hike”, we made our way to a beach area called “La Palmas“. This is a walkway that connects all the little shops on the beach area. Nice, neat, clean!
The beach had nice sand, but once you get to the shore, the sand turns in to crushed sea shells. Don’t let that stuff get in your sandals! Egads!!
It was kind of cool driving down the streets. They didn’t keep much distance from people walking or biking down the street.This is an MPEG video – coming soon.

Houston | At Sea | Cozumel | Roatan | Belize | Cancun | At Sea || Ship Details