Frequently Asked Questions
Common questions by guests visiting Roatan
Are There Any ATMs?
This is a common question asked by guests visiting Roatan. West End has 2 ATMs location: Coniahs Mall in the middle of West End. There is also an ATM in the gas station store, a 5 minute walk out of West End. While these ATMs allow you to skip the notoriously slow lines at Coxen Hole’s banks, they only allow small transactions per day and the local currency Lempiras. If you need to withdraw a large sum of cash, plan several days ahead or venture into Coxen Hole (closed sundays).
WHAT IS APPROPRIATE ATTIRE?
Casual clothing is the norm, t-shirts, shorts, beachwear and sandals are acceptable everywhere. You might want to bring long pants or a dress for finer dining (totally optional) and you would definitely want a rain jacket and a long sleeved shirt for rainy season.
SHOULD I BRING BUG REPELLENT AND SUNSCREEN?
It’s a good idea. Locals claim that the sand flies and mosquitos can smell new blood, but you probably do not want to test that theory. Also, bring reef safe sunscreen. Avoid sunscreens with high levels of Titanium Dioxide. This mineral does not biodegrade and is found to react in warm seawater to form hydrogen peroxide which is harmful to all sea life.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate, the two chemicals recently banned in Hawaii and are believed to cause coral bleaching.
Avoid sunscreens containing petrolatum, commonly known as mineral oil, which takes years to biodegrade, and are known to be harmful or fatal to aquatic life and waterfowl. In a nutshell if you don’t have the right sunscreen, don’t use it. Wear a rashguard and a hat.
CAN I RENT AN UNDERWATER CAMERA?
We have a variety of underwater cameras on site for rental. From 1 dive to multiple days we have you covered. Available to rent is a Canon G11 $15 for 1 dive or $30 for the day. A Canon G16 is $40 for the day, $10 extra for strobes. Also contact Alexandra who is the in-house photographer for rental details or a private hire for the day.
CAN I DRINK THE LOCAL WATER?
You might regret it if you do. Fortunately, we keep purified cold water at the shop and on the boats. Bottled drinking water is available for about $1/gallon at the Coconut Tree Mini shop. It is a great idea to bring your own drinking bottles as every plastic bottle consumed here ends up in our landfill waste disposal.
WHAT ABOUT CELL PHONES AND INTERNET?
No, you will most likely need to get a local SIM card to use the network. Some unlocked smartphones may accept local SIM cards that can be loaded for internet access. There are also an increasing number of places offering free WiFi.
WHAT IS THE OFFICIAL CURRENCY?
The official currency of Honduras is the Lempira, locally referred to as “lemps”. US Dollars are accepted everywhere on the island, though you may sometimes struggle to find change for larger denominations. Lempiras are currently exchanged at 24:1 to the US Dollar, though exchange rates may vary by operator.
WHAT LANGUAGES ARE SPOKEN?
Although Spanish is the national language of Honduras, English is the native language of the Bay Islanders, as the Bay Islands are a former British colony. In practise, most islanders are bilingual. In areas of the East End, the traditional Garifuna Language is still spoken by some people (Punta Gorda).
WHAT KIND OF TRANSPORTATION IS AVAILABLE?
Taxis are everywhere on Roatan. Typical airport to West End fees are $25 per person, though it is possible to negotiate lower prices outside the airport. Taxi rides to Coxen Hole should cost in about 30-35 Lempiras per person, while transportation to Sandy Bay is typically 20-25 Lempiras per person. Alternatively, you can catch a colectivo (community van) to Coxen Hole for 25 Lempiras per person. Direct fares, where they do not pick up other passengers on the way, are higher so be sure to agree the price ahead of time.
Water taxis ferry you between West End and beautiful West Bay beach for around 100 Lempiras per person. Water taxis stop running after sunset. Be sure to pre-agree your taxi rates at night, as they are not the same as the day time.
Cruise ship visitors wishing to arrange transportation should look at Murphy’s Roatan Tours. If your looking for a reputable taxi driver on the island, the community driven roatan taxi directory is a good place to look.
WHEN IS THE HURRICANE SEASON?
Hurricane season starts mid-summer and lasts through early November. Roatan’s location in the southwestern Caribbean basin usually keeps it out of harm’s way. Storms commonly divert northward to Cuba or the Yucatan Peninsula. We survived the devastating 2005 hurricane season relatively unscathed; Hurricane Wilma, our most serious storm of that season, only caused minor cosmetic damage. Our last direct hit was Hurricane Mitch of 1998. Given that hurricanes and tropical storms are wildly unpredictable, be sure to check your weather predictions before scheduling a vacation.
WHAT SORT OF CLIMATE CAN WE EXPECT?
Roatan offers a favorable tropical climate all year round, where the temperature generally ranges between 77°F and 88°F (25°C and 30°C).
All during the year the weather patterns change frequently on Roatan. Mid-October to December or mid-January are the rainiest times on Roatan. However, rainfall is often periodic and a typical day or week in the rainy season can include days that have full or partial sunshine. April and September tend to be the hottest months.
The summer months are warmer and typically there is less breeze. It’s easy to cool off on even the warmest days with a short swim in the Caribbean Sea. The heat on the mainland of Honduras in the mid to late summer months sometimes causes night time electrical storms on Roatan.
See Weather Underground for current weather conditions.
WHAT VOLTAGE DOES ROATAN USE?
Roatan uses the same electric voltage as the U.S.: AC (60Hz), 120/240 volts. The local electric provider RECO has outages from time to time, but they typically do not last long.
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO SEE UNDERWATER?
Water, coral and fish! Seriously though, Roatan is home to over 95% of all known Caribbean coral and fish species. No matter where you dive, you are bound to see something amazing!
WHERE IS THE HYPERBARIC CHAMBER?
Roatan’s Hyperbaric chamber is located at Cornerstone Medical Center at Anthony’s Key Resort, a 5 min taxi or boat ride from the dive shop. See the Medical Facilities section for more details.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN COURSE COSTS?
Course costs include all equipment rentals, tank fills, boat transportation, guiding, instruction and certification fees. PADI requires that all students purchase their own books for the core courses; read the course information specific to you to find out the breakdown of prices. We also support and encourage the optional USD 10 donation for the Roatan Marine Park. We hope this helped you with some common questions asked by guests visiting Honduras.
WHAT ARE THE “THREE LIES OF ROATAN?”
1. I’m leaving tomorrow.
2. I’m not drinking tonight.
3. I love you (but honestly, we really do love you guys!)