Beaches on Roatan
The beaches on Roatan are quite different depending upon your location on Roatan. All beaches on Roatan are supposed to be open to the public but some resorts "think" they own the beach and can make you feel unwelcome by charging $10 to 15/person to enter their property. The West Bay resorts are the worst for charging even to use their restaurants! West End however is wide open and there are no entry fees on the beach. If you really want to get to West Bay, either pay the fee or take the water taxi for a few dollars from West End and arrive at the public beach in front of the West Bay resorts. Here's a hint to enjoy West Bay and avoid the entry fee charges. Go to the San Simon Beach Club which is the same area as the cruiseship tours in West Bay. They have an excellent restaurant and you can catch water taxis, the para sailing tour, or just go snorkeling. They also have a beach right next to the cruiseship beaches. The southern shore of Roatan, as a generalization, can be characterized as a volcanic rocky shore with limited water access. There are a few sandy beaches at some of the "private" resorts (you have to pay to get in .... you have to cross a small bridge with a guard) along the southern shore. The western and northern shores of Roatan have mostly sandy beaches and a few mangrove and volcanic areas. From a tourist perspective, most tourists head to Half Moon Bay, West Bay, West End and the many less crowded beaches along the northern shore line. Tabyana Beach Resort and the Henry Morgan Resort in West Bay are considered the "hot spots" for cruise ship passengers. Half Moon Bay is the second hot spot for the cruise ship passengers. The beaches in the West Bay area offer beautiful sand and good snorkeling but tend to be very crowded on cruise ship days. The first two beaches below are near the Henry Morgan Resort area in West End. The pictures below are during an un crowded time of day. Expect large crowds when a cruise ship is in port.
On the other hand, there are many other readily accessible secluded beaches on Roatan. Tanya shown below found a beach without the crowds. Please note that at many of the beaches there are no services so bring your own supplies as you may be the only person there. There are many beaches along the northern coast and a taxi drivers can easily find you a remote beach. Best to "hire" the taxi for the day because when I say remote, you will need to have the taxi driver wait for you while you play and snorkel at the beach. Expect to pay about $100 to hire the taxi (price for typically up to 4 people) for the day tour. You can explore on your own and easily find an un crowded beach. Please be mindful of using public access to get to the beach and taking your trash with you.
Snorkeling in West Bay can be difficult if you are not a good snorkeler. You may find the best snorkeling in approximately 25 to 30 ft of water just on the other side of the shallow coral heads and formations. Be careful not to touch the coral as you find you way to the deeper water where you will find a good variety of sea life. If you want to get away from the crowds, you could seek out one of the many tour boats for a snorkel trip to a less crowded beach. One tour operator that specializes in small groups is Crystal Beach Cabins.
You can find more maps in greater details in the locator maps on this web site. Resort beaches are easily accessed from Lawson's Rock to Anthony's Key and from Half Moon Bay to West Bay. You should contact the resorts directly to see what services are available. There may be costs associated with using their facilities and you will need to hire a taxi or take the bus to the resort. Water taxis are readily available in the area from West End to West Bay to visit the crowds. You will want to check the costs of taxis land and sea on this link.
Note: We do not "book" or make
reservations for the above activities.