We spent five weeks in a condo in West End, Roatan, Honduras, without a car, so we stuck pretty close to our neighborhood. It’s a very authentic little village, though also with lots of tourists. We liked it better than nearby West Bay because there are no big resorts in West End. Just a cool local vibe. Our Airbnb condo (see it here) was about a half a mile walk (with a very steep hill) to the center of the tiny town of West End. We did the walk nearly everyday and sometimes more than once. Over the course of our time we got to know the village pretty well. So here are our favorite things in West End, Roatan, Honduras.
The Main Drag
Just walking along the main drag is entertaining. West End is in a protected bay, so many of the dive, snorkel and fishing operators are based here. The water taxi to West Bay is also based here, and they tie up the boats here at night. This creates a nice nighttime scene with lots of bars and restaurants, although it never seems too noisy. West End was originally a fishing village and remains focused on water activities, although the town is bursting at its seams in its small one and half mile stretch of road that fronts Half Moon Bay.
Half Moon Bay
There are just a couple beaches to swim from in West End, the best one is the public beach at Half Moon Bay. A very narrow beach with easy water access that feels safe. Nice sandy bottom makes it a great place for families or those who just want to float around. Palm trees provide beach shade and the sargassum grass and trash are cleaned up each morning.
Because I suffer from extreme motion sickness, I can only snorkel on a calm day. While the weather is usually calm, Roatan, like the rest of the world, was having some unusual weather during our visit and we experienced a lot of wind. But we managed to pull off a wonderful hour long snorkel right off the beach in West End on one of the best weather days. Very calm and sunny as we did an afternoon snorkel of the Blue Gulch that we booked through Roatan Tour Guide Association. We highly recommend working with Dani from RTA who was very helpful and understanding for my concerns. We had a great snorkel.
Rent a Kayak
We didn’t need a guide, although there are guided kayak tours as well as kayak snorkel tours. We just wanted to leisurely paddle around beautiful Half Moon Bay. So we rented a kayak from Harry’s Hideaway in West End for $18 an hour. It was just perfect to get out and enjoy the water on a calm day and get some good photos looking back at the village of West End.
Even if you have no reason to go back and forth between West End and West Bay we still recommend taking the water taxi just for the fun of it. The $5 one way charge is reasonable and gives you a great view from the water side. The Water Taxi runs all day long every day and is located right in the middle of West End.
As I have said before, I am not a big shopper. Mostly because we have no room in our suitcase, but also because I just don’t love shopping. We did however visit a few shops that were fun, such as Rusty Fish, which is a recycled art store. My favorite shop in West End however is an absolute don’t miss… the beautiful Waves of Art Gallery. Unlike most the other shops it is full of LOCAL artists works and I bought some beautiful handmade baskets from the Lencan Indian Tribe of mainland Honduras.
I also visited the Roatan Chocolate Factory on several occasions to pick up something from the bakery on the main floor. And then on my birthday I took a chocolate making class in their upstairs kitchen and museum. The class was $40 and I was the only person in the class. It was great fun to learn the process from bean to bar.
There are several “mini-marts” offering beverages, snacks, toilet paper and some other essentials but no meat and very little produce. The nearest supermarket is in the larger town of Coxen Hole, about a 15 minute drive. But we used Roa Market for must of our smaller needs and they had the best selection.
There are a couple of fruit markets in the village and we stopped in about every other day for fruit, tomatoes, avocados and occasionally we could find lettuce. Our favorite was Frutas Verduras.
So Many Restaurants
There are so many restaurants in this little tiny town. Really amazing. When we visited West Bay there were not nearly as many restaurants, except for the ones in the resorts. Another reason we loved West End. We cooked most of our meals, but ate out a few lunches, a couple breakfasts and about once a week for dinner. Our last five days we were out of food so we ate out each night, and we never ate anyplace twice…we wanted to try them all. Here is a list of our favorites, with links when possible. Most restaurants use What’sApp for reservations.
Roatan Oasis – hands down the best meal we had. Definitely get a reservation.
Blue Thai Elephant – very authentic and delicious Thai food. Reservations recommended.
Stowaway Gastropub – teeny and delicious little place. Reservations recommended.
Calelu’s – open breakfast, lunch and dinner also great take-away. This is THE place for baleadas, the favorite food of Honduras.
Gingers – delicious seafood and Caribbean favorites with a nice waterfront location.
Lorettas Island Cooking – an absolute must for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Local and delicious.
Pazzo – our driver Dario recommended we go here. Without his recommendation we would have overlooked it. Authentic Italian pasta and more. Possibly the best beef carpaccio ever. Cash only and bring your own alcohol.
Tijuana Taco Stand – friendly proprietor right on the beach, very authentic Mexican food to eat at the picnic tables or take away.
La Ruta Del Sabor – is a teeny place that front an abandoned hotel but where you will find the most authentic and delicious El Salvadorian pupusas. I’m drooling thinking about it.
We don’t spend a lot of time in bars, but we did stop into a few places, watched football at a few places and enjoyed mostly the local beer called Salva Vida. We visited the Sundowner (nice view and they also serve food), Blue Marlin (also nice view), Tequila Jack’s (beautiful view and some appetizers), Harry’s Hideaway (fun bar and restaurant on the water), Tita’s Pink Seahorse (an awesome hidden beach bar worth searching for) and Booty Bar (great for football and excellent food).
There are no sidewalks. It’s kinda annoying. Unless it’s early in the morning, most cars drive pretty slow, because the heavy traffic requires it. But you are walking in the street with cars, busses, taxis and scooters. This is true in most places in the island. So be prepared and stay aware.
We always felt safe, but that said don’t carry a lot of cash or unnecessary valuables.
Use bug spray. The tiny sand fleas (also known as midges and no-see-ums) are prolific, and not just on the beach. Bites are painful and take 7-10 days to heal. Also don’t forget your sunscreen.
US Dollars are widely accepted but your bills will not be accepted if they are torn, written on, old or damaged. Carry fresh pristine bills…but try to use the local currency if you can.
There aren’t really any addresses, so having a good driver is useful. Currently there is a ton of road construction going on, widening the main road that runs through the island. That work will continue into 2024.
We used Omar’s Tourist Transportation and our driver Dario for several trips we made. We highly recommend them if you want a safe and reliable transfer service. Reach them at email@example.com
Taxis are abundant and there is also a funky little bus system. Not actually busses but vans. Flag them down. Cheap too.
If you don’t already, download What’sAp to use during your visit. It is the communication tool all the locals use including for dinner reservations.
Don’t drink the water. Filtered water is easily available and very inexpensive.
Thanks for reading our post Our Favorite Things in West End Roatan. It’s a safe and wonderful option for visiting Honduras. We hope to visit this tiny place again someday.
See last week’s post Twelve Things to do on Roatan for Non-Divers.
See our Sixth Annual Travel Awards 2022 here.
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