On Roatan, most visitors only get to see the west side of the island. West Bay is the heavily touristy area with expensive resorts. West End is filled with locals and expats especially those that are in the dive industry. Then there is area of Sandy Bay which is where I stayed. Another hostel guest and myself really wanted to see the east side of the island and see more of the secluded beaches. After much debate, we decided to rent a car and take off with our map.
Initially, we thought about renting scooters to tour the island. But…the roads are super windy and the drivers are a little crazy based on what we are used to in the States. Plus many of the side roads are gravel. Scratch the scooter idea. Next, the suggestion of 4 wheelers came up. I could not see myself traveling beach to beach via 4 wheeler. Finally, we decided on the car rental. If you decide to do this, try renting at around the airport in Coxen Hole. We heard it was cheaper. Our car rental came from Captain Van’s in West End. They also have a location in West Bay.
We had a general plan of attack for the places we wanted to visit based on others’ suggestions.
First up…Palmetto Beach. At first I was a little leery because they had armed guards at the gate and they held my driver’s license. We went in anyways. So pretty and only one other family partaking of the beach.
Next up, Pristine Bay. The Black Pearl Golf Course is located here as well as several fancy condo buildings and beach club house. We had no idea if the public was allowed to use the facilities so we “snuck” onto the property and pretended we were rich and could afford to stay at the $500 per night hotel. Again, a beach all to ourselves. We didn’t stay too long here because we were worried about security. On a side note, a few days ago I discovered that the area is open to the public. So go and enjoy.
After driving through Oak Harbor looking for an ATM, we happened upon Paya Bay. It is a resort that takes up the whole little peninsula and it is home to the only nude beach on the island. My friend fell in love with this resort. It is a beautiful building with multiple trails and hideaway places to sit or nap. More on this place to come.
We stopped at Havana Beach prior to Paya Bay. Isn’t it gorgeous? I love those weird-looking trees. They looked and felt like grass. This beach has a $5 entry fee. It had a several people playing volleyball and swimming. They also offer horseback riding along the beach then out into the water to circle their little island. Originally, they said price was $45 but we had been told it was $10. After turning down the $45 price, they came up to me and reoffered the $10 for a half hour ride. I took them up on that offer. One downside to Havana: lunch. Skip eating here. It was disappointing.
That was the end of our east side beach tour. Very enjoyable day. I highly recommend renting a car and touring the island.
West Bay is not on the east side but is my favorite beach area on Roatan. The water is so clear. I am not an ocean swimmer in the slightest bit. Sharks, ya know. They scare the heck out of me. But here, you can go so far out over your head and still be in water that seems like you are swimming in a pool. I love it!
Only 6 days left here in paradise. More of Roatan to come.