Port of Entry Coxen Hole
There are two cruise ship terminals in Roatan, Coxen Hole and Mahogany Bay. Mahogany Bay is used mainly by Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines. Coxen Hole is used by Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Princess Cruise Lines.
If you land at Mahagony Bay, your best be is to arrange for a tour prior to your arrival. There are many tour operators and you can find them easily on the forums that cover Roatan cruise ship traffic. Tours and taxis will be expensive from the Mahagony Bay terminal but much more reasonable on the return.
If you are on the Roatan Coxen Hole Port (Town Center) and want to see the real island, you must venture away from the immediate area of the Coxen Hole dock pictured above. If you are taking a tour with an independent tour operator, they may be at a kiosk just as you leave the gangway or just outside the security gate. Getting taxis and mini buses is very easy once you walk a short distance from the Port Center. As you walk into town (not from Mahagony Bay!), you can get a different view from the trinket shops. You will only see a tiny bit of Roatan in town and, beyond the old shops, there is not much you will want to see or do in Coxen Hole. The picture below is what you will see as you enter Coxen Hole. Just were taxi #211 is pictured below is a concrete road that leads to the local "Mercado". Just beyond the taxi is H B Warrens grocery, the Captain of the Port office, and the post office. Beyond those locations there only a few shops and some small local restaurants. The restaurants here will be less crowded than the ones near the port terminal. You only have to venture a few hundred yards to see everything you might want to see. If you purchase items in Coxen Hole, just check around at a few of the shops before you make your purchase to insure you are not getting an inflated price. Most trinket shops offer a 15% if you ask for it.
If you want to see island's beauty, catch a mini bus as described below or negotiate a taxi or van tour. Go to West End or West Bay or have the tour operator take you to other areas of the island to see the island's true beauty! Going the West End or West Bay is a bit "touristy". West End has lots of restaurants, shops, and free access to the beach. West Bay is "little Cancun or Miami" and charges entrance fees to the public beach. You can easily get a water taxi between West End and West Bay. There are lots of things to do and see on Roatan and negotiating with independent tour operators is recommended. See the tourist guide page for some "suggestions". Some tours will be with taxis or mini buses that you will be with the entire day even if you are on the beach. Best to check www.cruisecritic.com or their forum as a validation of some of the suggestions. Try not to get stuck on a specific driver of a tour but the tour company itself. They have many drivers and they would be there if they were not providing you with the expected service. If you are self reliant, going out on your own is very easy with a mini bus to West End and very inexpensive. Hailing a taxi, be sure to negotiate the fare before going and the driver will be happy to suggest activities and locations.
Mini Buses and Taxis Update January 2014
There is a mini bus system (routes 1, 2, and 3) that operates daily from Coxen Hole to various locations throughout the island. Look for the small dark blue, red, or white mini vans. The mini buses stop by waving at them. You can get the mini bus from the center of Coxen Hole at a staging area next the Super Mercado (Municipal Market). To get to the Mercado, turn right at the port gates and walk about a quarter mile. Turn left before Warrens grocery (see the picture above where taxi 211 is located) store opposite the Hotel Coral and pass the Hotel Plaza Santa Maria on the right. The minibus Ruta Dos "2" to West End begins from outside the market on the right and runs every 10 minutes or so. The fare is 40 lempiras each and you pay when you leave the minibus. HSBC (just past Elodons grocery store) in town will exchange USD. Some mini bus drivers will accept US dollars but you must ask if they will accept them and how much for your destination. Alternatively, why not go into the market and buy some snack food such as plantain chips or a water bottle and pay in dollars and you will get lempiras in change. Use 5 dollars and you will have plenty of lempiras for the bus. This is a short walk from the Roatan cruise ship dock. You have to pay in lempiras! The Ruta 2 bus will take you via the side streets in Coxen Hole to the main road and the short trip to West End.
The mini buses stop along the main road by waving at them if you are walking. If you are on the bus, just as the driver to stop whenever you want to get off. On the return from West End, the Ruta 2 bus comes in Thickett Road and just ask the driver to stop at the Coxen Hole intersecting road for the short walk to the ship terminal.
Local Water Taxi Service
Water taxi service is convenient and easy between West End and West Bay. The fare is 60 Lempiras during the day. Look for the dock near the Eagle Ray Restaurant in West End. The return trip from West Bay has two pickup spots and you'll easily recognize where to catch a ride. Water taxis will go to other areas and be sure to confirm the fee before taking the trip. Note that the pricing increases slightly after 6 PM.
If you want to look for additional independent tour information, here is a link www.roatancabtours.com for a taxi tour company. These rates are high but at least they will honor the pricing. The typical rates are:
Cruiseship Dock to West End
and return – starting at $15 per person
Islander Tours or Carlos Rodriguez might be another choice for a taxi tour (small white taxi style car). He provides island, mangrove, jungle (hmmm, the eastern part of Roatan ----try the mainland if you really want to see a jungle), shopping, snorkel trips, and beach tours. His prices seem to be in line with reasonable rates. Check his web site at islandertours.com for reservations. Tours start $15 pp for 4 people.
If you are looking for a good tour operator with larger vehicles, also check out Victor Bodden at www.boddentours.com
"Tour rates" not
taxi fare rates
Check our locator maps for island locations.
Note: We do not "book" or make
reservations for the above activities.