Exploring Roatan on a Cruise: A Comprehensive Safety Guide and To-Do List (And What to Avoid)

Welcome to our comprehensive safety guide and to-do list for exploring Roatan on a cruise! As frequent cruisers ourselves, we understand the excitement of arriving at a new port of call and discovering all that it has to offer. However, we also know the importance of being aware of potential safety hazards and avoiding common tourist scams. In this guide, we’ll provide you with the necessary information and tips to enjoy your time in Roatan while ensuring your safety and avoiding any unwanted situations. Let’s dive in and discover the best things to do (and what to avoid) on this beautiful island!

Exploring Roatan on a Cruise: A Comprehensive Safety Guide and To-Do List (And What to Avoid)

Roatan is a beautiful and popular island destination in the Caribbean with pristine beaches, fantastic diving spots, delicious food, and friendly locals. As a cruise traveler, it’s essential to plan your visit carefully to make the most of your time on the island while staying safe and avoiding common tourist scams. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share our experience exploring Roatan and give you tips and recommendations on what to do and what to avoid.


Our first visit to Roatan was on a cruise, and we were thrilled to step off the ship and explore everything the island had to offer. We’ve been on many cruises to the Caribbean before and knew that booking a shore excursion would be the best way to maximize our time and ensure our safety. After researching and reading reviews online, we ultimately decided to book our tour with Victor Bowden Tours, a local company that specializes in private shore excursions. We picked the “Monkeys & Sloths, Beach, Island Tour & Rum Tasting” package, and it turned out to be one of the best experiences we’ve ever had on our travels.

Safety First

Before we get into the specifics of our tour, let’s talk about safety. Roatan is generally a safe place, but as with any tourist destination, there are a few things you should be aware of to avoid any unpleasant situations.

  1. Be cautious when walking around the port area, especially if you’re on your own. It’s better to stick with a group or book a shore excursion with a reputable company like Victor Bowden Tours.

  2. Don’t carry large sums of cash or valuables with you. Petty theft and pickpocketing can happen, so keep your belongings close to you.

  3. Be wary of people offering you drugs or engaging in other illegal activities. Roatan is a conservative community, and these activities are not tolerated.

  4. As with any beach destination, be aware of the water conditions and follow lifeguard instructions. Some areas may have strong currents or underwater rocks, so always stay within designated safe zones.

  5. Finally, make sure to wear sunscreen, hat and stay hydrated throughout the day. The sun can be brutal, and you don’t want to ruin your vacation by getting a sunstroke.

What to Do in Roatan

As we mentioned earlier, Roatan is a beautiful island with a lot of things to see and do, but since your time might be limited, here are our top recommendations.

Monkey and Sloth Sanctuary

The Monkey and Sloth Sanctuary is an animal rescue center that’s home to a variety of adorable creatures, including monkeys, sloths, parrots, and macaws. The facility is located in the heart of Roatan’s lush jungle and offers visitors the opportunity to interact with the animals directly.

Our experience with Victor Bowden Tours were fantastic. The driver picked us up from our port (Coxen Hole) on time and was friendly, welcoming, and knowledgeable about the island. He also provided us with cold beers and water to keep us hydrated throughout the day. On the way to the sanctuary, we drove through some of the island’s main towns and beaches, and we enjoyed learning about the culture and history of Roatan from our driver.

Once we arrived at the sanctuary, we met our guide, who took us through the different areas to see the animals up close. Our guide was friendly, enthusiastic, and had an incredible rapport with the monkeys and sloths. We learned a lot about the animals and their habits, and our guide answered all our questions patiently. One of the highlights of the tour was hugging a sloth, which was an unforgettable and humbling experience.

If you love animals, this is a must-see attraction in Roatan, and we highly recommend booking a tour with Victor Bowden Tours to make the most of your visit.


Roatan is famous for its beautiful beaches, and there are several options that you can explore. Hiring a sunbed, snorkeling or diving gear, and relaxing under the sun is a perfect way to spend a day on the island.
Some of the more popular beaches include West Bay Beach, Mahogany Bay Beach, and Sandy Bay Beach.

Island Tours

The island of Roatan covers just 31 miles by 5 miles, but there’s a surprising amount of diversity in the land and its culture. There are many tour companies like Victor Bowden Tours, offering group or private shore excursions, or rentals for those who prefer exploring the island on their own. Some of the main attractions you can see on the island include:

  • Isla De Las Palmas
  • The towns of French Harbour and Coxen Hole
  • The Garifuna Community in Punta Gorda
  • The Carambola Gardens
  • The Butterfly Gardens
  • The Roatan Museum

Rum Tasting

Roatan offers some great opportunities to taste some of the island’s famous rum. Many tours include a stop at the Rum and Chocolate Factory, where visitors can see how rum is made and sample some of the products. It’s a good way to appreciate the local culture and explore the flavor of the Caribbean.

What to Avoid

While Roatan is generally a safe place, there are a few things you should avoid to ensure your enjoyment and safety.

  1. Don’t wander too far from the beaten path. Exploring off-road trails or unfamiliar communities can lead to danger.

  2. Don’t buy or eat food from vendors on the beach or streets. Always opt for reputable restaurants or cafes.

  3. Be wary of scams. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  4. Don’t forget to tip. Tipping is customary, and the people of Roatan rely heavily on it.

  5. Don’t litter or destroy natural resources. Roatan is a beautiful island, and it’s essential to preserve it for future generations.


Roatan is a fantastic travel destination, and with proper planning and precautions, you can have an amazing experience on your next cruise. Remember to stay safe, book your excursions, and explore the island’s culture and natural beauty to make the most of your trip.


  1. Is Roatan affected by the pandemic?

Roatan, like many other destinations, has been affected by the pandemic and local authorities take appropriate actions. Visitors should follow the guidelines to stay safe and prevent the spread of the virus.

  1. What is the best time to visit Roatan?

The best time to visit Roatan is from December to April when the weather conditions are ideal for outdoor activities. However, it’s also the peak travel season, so expect higher prices and larger crowds.

  1. Can I rent a car in Roatan?

Yes, there are car rental companies on the island. However, local transportation companies or companies like Victor Bowden Tours usually provide a better experience and more cultural perspective.

  1. What currency is used in Roatan?

Roatan uses the Honduran lempira (HNL), but US dollars are widely accepted.

  1. Are there any other activities to do in Roatan?

Yes, there are plenty of other activities to explore in Roatan, including snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and fishing.