Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras. These islands are famous for the huge coral reef that lies right off the shore. The reef is excellent for diving, snorkeling, and fishing. The island also has some beautiful beaches. All of these outdoor attractions and the fascinating history of the island make it an interesting western Caribbean port of call.
Carnival Cruises and other ships in the Carnival family (e.g.Holland America or Princess) dock at Mahogany Bay, a private beach and shopping area on Roatan. In addition to the beach and large shopping area, Mahogany Bay has a chair lift, kayaking, bar, dock, snorkeling, and plenty of lounge chairs. This entire area is restricted to workers and cruise ship guests, and is spotlessly clean and lovely.
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships dock near Coxen Hole, the largest town on the island. Coxen Hole also has many shopping opportunities.
All the cruise ships visiting Roatan offer a number of diverse shore excursions, many of which are water-related or eco-adventures.
A driving tour of the east end of the 36-mile long island provides an excellent overview of the history of Roatan and its culture. This tour includes a small boat ride in the Dixon Cove harbor near Mahogany Bay, site of two modern-day shipwrecks, views of the island and its coral reef from the hillsides, and a visit to a Garifuna village, where you are entertained by Garifuna dancers and learn about their lives on the island.
The walk from the cruise ship dock to the Mahogany Bay village is just a short one.
Beach at Mahogany Bay
This view of the Mahogany Bay beach was taken from the Carnival Liberty, which was docked at the village/beach complex
New Mangrove Trees at Mahogany Bay
Carnival Corporation has planted this new grove of mangrove trees in the shallow waters of Mahogany Bay, Roatan
Mahogany Bay Chair Lift
This chairlift connects the Mahogany Bay shopping area with the beach. A day's pass with unlimited rides has a surcharge. The walk to the beach only takes about 10 minutes from the ship and is free.
Mahogany Bay Shopping Village
The shopping area at Mahogany Bay has several upscale shops, bars, snack areas, a pharmacy, and a nice handicraft market.
Mahogany Bay Beach
The beach at Mahogany Bay on the island of Roatan in Honduras is white and clean.
Kayaks at Mahogany Bay, Roatan
Those who don't like to sunbathe, swim, or sit on the beach at Mahogany Bay might enjoy the kayaking opportunities.
Mahogany Bay Beach with the Carnival Liberty Docked Nearby
Carnival Corporation ships dock very near the village and beach of Mahogany Bay, and guests can walk to the beach or take the chairlift.
Mahogany Bay Beach Dock
This isn't the cruise ship dock; it's the one used by swimmers and snorkelers to access deeper water at Mahogany Bay.
View of Roatan from Mahogany Bay
The island of Roatan has many trees, lovely beaches, and great reefs for diving.
Shops at Cruise Ship Pier in Coxen Hole on Roatan
There are numerous shops on the cruise ship pier at Coxen Hole, Roatan, Honduras.
Dixon's Bay Walkway on Roatan
Dixon's Bay has several interesting shops, all built on stilts near the water. A boat ride of the Dixon Bay harbor features views of mangroves and shipwrecks.
Dixon's Harbor is lined with mangrove trees. These "forests" are filled with wildlife and fish. They are fun to explore in a small boat or kayak.
Dancers at YUBU, The Garifuna Experience on Roatan
YUBU Garifuna Experience is found near the village of Punta Gorda on Roatan, about a 15-minute drive from French Harbor.
Visitors to YUBU learn about the history, language and ancestral traditions of the Garifuna. They see how casava bread, an important element of their their diet is prepared and baked in an authentic mud stove and have the opportunity to taste the bread. In addition, dancers entertain visitors to the beat of the Garifuna music.
Garifuna Dancer on Roatan
The Garifuna are descendants of African slaves who settled on Roatan in the late 18th century. They have retained many of their customs and dances.
The Garifuna male dancers wear ladies' dresses as a tribute to the Garifuna men who dressed as women during the Second Garifuna War from 1795 to 1796. The British thought they were women and the dresses helped them to avoid capture and execution.
An island tour includes a stop at a Garifuna village, where you see traditional huts that the Garifuna once lived in and have a chance to do a little shopping.