Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Roatan - A Fool's Guide to West End and West Bay

Roatan was awesome!!

beach, sun, sand, ocean
West Bay
So it's been far to long since this Fool meandered anywhere...and Roatan was the choice of places to break that drought.  Tropic Air  did an amazing job getting us there and back.  We all saved 10% on our flights by using the Tacogirl.com discount code!  The voyage started as a two man show - me and Pops, Easton.  My friend Heidi heard about the voyage and wouldn't be denied access to this lovely idea either - so along she came.

When a hotel is ranked 12 of 14 on TripAdvisor...there is a reason.  Don't let your friends tell you otherwise...choose another hotel.  Night one will go unmentioned as we all know I won't blast people and places; there are price points for all types, I can respect that.  Really it was a good thing I learned quickly that West End isn't my scene.  We spent night one there; it is a crowded part of Roatan, lots of people and things going on...something I wanted to escape a bit more.  After night one East and I bid Heidi adieu and struck out on our own - bound for West Bay...and my vibe!

Beach bar, drinking, Roatan, Honduras
Beach side at Paradise Oceanic

There we found the lovely Paradise Oceanic compound, and after being shown around by the lovely Cristy (on her day off no less) we dropped down the card to checked in (by 'we' I totally mean East bought...like a good Pops does for his son).  My office for the few days had a pretty stellar view as well.  With that settled the fun was to begin...

West End (WE) v West Bay (WB)

Roatan, Honduras, beach, sun, dive,
West Bay to West End
As stated earlier WE was a much 'busier' place.  Don't get pictures of high-rises and highways...it's one street.  It is just a packed street.  Bars, restaurants, dive shops, gift shops, people...everywhere!
It is very well done though.  I live in San Pedro, the thick of "fun" on Ambergris Caye - I wanted seclusion.  I will saw that if I lived on Roatan I would certainly visit often for food and fun!  WB was certainly the vibe I was looking for.  Spacious resorts, beach front access by those resorts, and the only throngs of people were on the beach during cruise ship hours.  The resorts were quiet, and the best part was at night - dark beaches; the moon and stars were the nearly the only lights.  It was amazing.

WB really only has beach restaurants that are part of the various resorts, so that the only 'real' nightlife is up in WE (once again I am on nightlife avoidance currently).  WB still has great places; my favorite was Thirsty Turtle and Pizzarama, both part of the Banarama property.  The pizza was amazing - East and I split a medium and it filled us for $14 US.  Great taste.  The sunsets viewed from the place were pretty amazing as well...made better by the 6 pack of Barena we went through all too easily.

There are many other little burgs on this magical island of Roatan.  Though I spent some time in all the major ones - I really can't say I got a good feel for them.  Certainly WE and WB were the two tourist and expat hubs, but plenty of other stuff to venture too.
meat, dinner, food porn
Steak special at The Landings
One of my best meals was at the Landings, part of the Beach House up in WE - a lovely spot that is the only place right on the Beach, everything else is across the street.  I had the steak special; a delicious ribeye perfectly cooked and lightly sauced with a horseradish spread.  The steak is SO much better in Honduras.  A huge stack of Al dente sauteed veg and a chunky mashed potato that had a caramelized and lightly crisped stack of onions on top.

We really didn't spend much time in any of the other areas of Roatan, least not a basis that lends to anything exciting to say.  Don't get me wrong - there are a lot of awesome little places, but we were in and out and on with our lives in most of them.  So...I guess I need to go back and do more 'research' on them right?!

The biggest, most easily noticeable difference in the people was a pride for their country, and a real ownership for their part in it.  I did see once instance of a person littering, but other than that - they all cleaned!  I lost count on how many people were out front sweep the streets and sidewalks in front of their businesses.  If you can believe it - I saw NO ONE peeing on anything?!  Well, I did see myself pee in the bathroom but that's not really the point people. Recycling is common on Roatan.  These bins were common, and even more common were plan big metal bins.  They were designed to be filled with plastic trash - and a guy just comes around and collects it.  Wish we did a bit more of that here.

Most interesting time of the trip - ask Easton...it's his story to tell and involves a beautiful Stealth Ninja Penis Wrangler

A few more pics...

My office view from Paradise Oceanic