Jul 7, 2011

Kicking back on Roatan, Honduras

Located on the world’s second largest coral reef, Roatan is off shore of the Honduran mainland. Normally, John and I fly to Roatan but this time we decided to take the ferry from La Ceiba to Roatan. The boat and service were excellent. We were picked up at the port by the staff of the Mayan Princess Resort of West Bay. Our first visit to Roatan was in the mid-90s. Back then there wasn’t even a road to that part of the island. Roatan was a quiet, laid-back island best known by the dive crowd. The airport had a small runway and tiny terminal with a picket fence. There were a couple upscale resorts namely Anthony’s Key best know for its dolphins. Then they build a new airport and charter planes began to arrive from Europe and Canada, that in turn led to more resorts but what really changed the island was when the cruise ships arrived. Today Carnival Cruise line has its own dock and there is another dock used by the other cruise lines. With the cruise crowd came more things to do – zip lines, day beach resorts, and other activities. Some of the cruise crowd got what John and I call “Tropical Fever” and they returned to buy a house or a condo. Now the beaches are lined with excellent accommodations plus there are some very exclusive private residential communities.

This was the first time we stayed at the Mayan Princess Resort. Our room, actually more like a spacious suite, was beautiful with a living room, kitchen, dining area plus a balcony. The first two days at the resort the cruise crowd showed up for a couple of hours. Even so there was plenty of room on the beach and in the lovely free-form pool. While some of the day visitors enjoyed the beach others went kayaking, parasailing, snorkeling and all the other fun in the sun things to do. Then mid afternoon they were gone and we basically had the place to ourselves. The contrast was interesting and we liked talking to the cruise people. Without exception they were having a wonderful time.

One of my most favorite days was at Maya Key. It was built especially as a day spot for the cruise crowd but we went in the afternoon after day-trippers had gone back to the ship. The island is just off shore and beautiful. They have an animal rehabilitation center, a great Mayan center with a replica of the Hieroglyphic Staircase and Jaguar Stele from Copan, Honduras’ premiere Mayan site. I went snorkeling, something I love to do. I like to float, watch the reef for the fish to come out of hiding. I saw many beautiful fish plus a conch, urchin and lobster.

We lived the good life – swimming and just hanging out. I relaxed even more with a Noni Treatment at the Mayan Princess Kukut Spa. The juice from the noni fruit is purported to have excellent curative powers. My treatment made use of the leaves.

The food at the Mayan Princess was wonderful featuring plenty of fresh fish and fruit. One evening there was a Garifuna dance show. The Garifuna are an Afro-Carib people who have lived on the island and coastal mainland since the 1700s. Another night there was fire dance show on the beach. All too soon it was time to leave and return to reality.