In-the-know cruisers love Roatán, Honduras, for its lush, untouched beauty, its wildlife and marine life. Ships visiting Roatán dock at Mahogany Bay, where cruisers can ride the famous “Magical Flying Beach Chair” to reach Mahogany Beach. That’s just one of the many ways to enjoy this beautiful Caribbean outpost. Here are the top 10 things to do in Mahogany Bay (in no particular order—we’ll let you pick your favorites).
Fly Through the Air
Imagine a chair-lift system like the ones you see at ski fields. Now, imagine no snow, but lush landscape, crystal-clear waters and white sands below your feet as your ride. That’s the magic of the Magical Flying Beach Chair, which transports guests from the port’s welcome center to Mahogany Beach. Guests must be at least 32 inches tall to ride, and the price is $14 for adults and $8 for children aged 4–12. Kids 3 and under ride free. Get a sneak peek at the magical chairs in action here.
Paddle into Nature
Kayaking is a popular activity in many cruise destinations but the beauty of trying it here is that you can do it in a clear kayak for the best views of what’s beneath you. Mahogany Bay kayak tours typically take in beaches, jungle areas and coral reefs. You can also combine a kayak tour with snorkeling and a visit to Gumbalimba Nature Park for even more eco exploration.
Snuba is an ideal way to see the beauty beneath the surface, without the need for scuba diving training or certification. This unique blend of snorkeling and scuba diving can take you to greater depths than snorkeling (a maximum of 20 feet), without the need for heavy scuba equipment, not to mention expertise. Mahogany Bay has a rich marine life for you to explore and a colorful coral reef teeming with tropical fish. Check with tour operators for age and health restrictions.
Meet Local Flora and Fauna
One of the best things about Roatán is the abundance of animals and lush vegetation. Mahogany Bay has plenty of ways to experience it all, starting with a visit to Gumbalimba Park, where you can take a zip-line Canopy Tour or a regular park tour to observe birds, insects and local creatures such as capuchin monkeys and capybaras. There are more birds at the Roatán Butterfly and Bird Park, and the region’s plant life is just as extraordinary: see exquisite orchids and other exotic varieties at Carambola’s Gardens.
Swim with Dolphins
Sure, there are marine parks where you can swim with dolphins but imagine playing with dolphins in their natural environment. You can, in Roatán, with a tour to Anthony’s Key and the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences. There are also shorter encounters available, where you can simply stand in the water and meet local dolphins as you learn more about their daily lives. For more insight into how dolphins communicate, check out this National Geographic article.
Ride a Cat
To see the full beauty of Roatán’s coastlines and coves, it’s best to hit the water. Take a catamaran sail tour and you’ll get to experience ocean breezes, up close glimpses of the coral reef, and postcard-worthy views of the island’s lush landscape. Catamaran cruises also include time for snorkeling and a buffet lunch onboard so you can refuel after your adventures.
Shop for Crafts
You’ll find the big-brand duty-free shopping at the pier as soon as you disembark, but Mahogany Bay shopping also means hand-made crafts and jewelry. West End Village is a great place to browse boutiques and art galleries and pick up Honduran coffee. Popular items to look for when shopping in Roatán include cameo and shell jewelry, wooden bowls and vases, tapestries, and black clay creations.
There are your classic beach eateries at the cruise port—where your best bets are fresh catch of the day and coffee made from Honduran beans—but you can also eat the local restaurants in West End and West Bay. Fresh seafood is the area’s specialty, with lobster, shrimp, blue crab and conch all on the menu. Spicy food lovers will enjoy dishes seasoned with mutton peppers. Above all, don’t leave Roatán without trying some fresh fruit from one of the many open-air stands dotted across the island.
If you’re a history buff or simply love to learn about local cultures, look for a tour that incorporates some background of the area’s Garifuna tribe. You can catch a traditional dance performance, learn a few words in the Garifuna language, and learn how local dishes such as Cassava Bread is made.
Upgrade Your Beach
The Magical Flying Beach Chair will take you to Mahogany Beach, but if you’re looking for shade and VIP perks, you’ll want to consider renting a beach cabana. Air-conditioned cabanas come with two lounge chairs, a hammock, beach accessories, Wi-Fi and waiter service in a semi-private beach area. For something even more exclusive, the Blue Lagoon package lets guests enjoy the beach in a private, serene zone with floating platforms and a high-end lounge area with day beds.
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.