Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands in the Caribbean Sea. The island is officially a part of Honduras now. Apart from the usual spectacular Caribbean island white sand beaches and exotic food and music, Roatan has something unique. It has a history as a pirate port and has the world's second largest barrier reef standing guard in the waters offshore. It comes as no surprise that Roatan has some of the most famous wreck and dive spots in the world and attracts cruise ships, scuba divers, and snorkelers. The island itself has plenty to offer for tourists, including the capital city of Coxen Hole and quaint attractions like an iguana farm, butterfly garden, and a cameo factory. If you intend to make up your own itinerary and explore the island, then you will need to get a car for hire in Roatan.
The system for getting a car for rent in Roatan is a wee bit different. For the most part, rental cars can be obtained at most of the major hotels on the island, if you are staying there as a guest. You can also get a rental vehicle directly at Roatan International Airport (RTB) when you land. There is one agency which has a counter at the airport. To ensure you have a vehicle available, you can book it online right now.
Roatan meets the south end of the Meso-American Reef system, which provides access to the coral reefs from all angles. As a result, there are over 170 quality dive sites with multi-colored fish darting around in the corals, mingling with dolphins, sea turtles, and eels. A short boat ride may be required from shore to reach the dive sites, but the reef in many places is close enough to be just a few yards away from land. Ordinary tourists staying at one of the resorts who know nothing about scuba diving and snorkeling can get training lessons. The Roatan Marine Park, created to protect the delicate coral reefs, provides a lot of help, including specialty dive resorts.
As with most other Caribbean islands, Roatan cuisine, too, makes liberal use of rice, boiled plantains, beans, fish, lobsters, and other seafood items. Lobster dinners and conch soup are very popular. But the thing that makes Roatan standout is their love of iguanas. Love in this case means both as pets and as food. Strangely enough, the island has thousands of iguanas and has a hunting season. Iguana meat is an island delicacy. On the other hand, the Iguana Farm in French Harbor tries to rescue and rehabilitate injured iguanas.
Roatan is not just about dive sites and the coral reef. You can hire a car in Roatan and explore the island. Start in Coxen Hole, because you are likely to be there anyway. Visit French Harbor with the Iguana Farm and maybe do some shopping. The Garifuna people live in Punta Gorda, and mixing it up with their strange language will be an interesting experience. Most tourists can be found in the West End, which is where all the hotels and dive resorts are to be found. You can hop over to the Utila and Guanaja islands on either side or maybe to La Ceiba on mainland Honduras.
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