Roatan is better known as “Coxen Hole” or “Mohogany Bay” to cruisers. Both are ports on the island of Roatan, which is a part of Honduras. The island cruise port is located roughly 30 miles from the mainland.
The port destination is one of the Caribbean’s most popular. As of 2017, a total of 18 different cruise lines made their way to Roatan bringing over one million passengers throughout the course of the year. This number is expected to increase for 2018.
Compared to other port destinations, Roatan is known to have more crime issues, so please keep a heads up. You’re bound to come across locals trying to sell stuff or asking for money. Some are very young. Just keep your valuables in a safe place and use extra caution when exploring Roatan.
What to do in Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Roatan has some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world. It’s close proximity to the “Mesoamerican Barrier Reef” (the second largest in the world next to the Great Barrier Reef), makes it a very popular destination for those wanting underwater exploration. If you’d prefer to stay above water, you can still take in the pristine beaches and amazing bays. You’ll find an abundance of water sports to choose from. For a calmer experience, you can explore the local wildlife or take in the island culture.
Roatan has some of the funnest tropical animals you can imagine. Think of your three top favorites first before we tell you what to expect. Ready? Did you think “sloths, monkeys and parrots?” If not, you’re crazy. But, that’s what you’ll find at Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout. If you’re more into “majestic” than funny, consider the Butterfly farm.
If you’re an angler, don’t miss this opportunity to take advantage of some of the best fishing in the world. Lurking just under your boat is a variety of popular game including Marlin, Tuna and Wahoo (appropriately named, because that’s what you’re going to shout when hooking one of those beasts).
The calm bays, warm waters, and white-sand beaches make for a great opportunity to rent some toys and to explore. Hop on a paddle board, jet ski, kayak, horse, para-sail, or other fun option to see as much of the island as you can.
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
It’s not often you get to dive the second largest reef in the world. We advise you take advantage of this underwater playground. You’ll find many tours offering access to the most scenic areas of the Mesoamerian Barrier Reef.
Shopping in Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Your ship will anchor in one of two cruise ports located on Roatan’s southern coast: Coxen Hole or Mahogany Bay. Both provide limited retail activity in their immediate surrounding areas. The island is less known for its shopping than it’s magnificent beaches, so you may want to make your bigger purchases at other port destinations.
Since “shopping” isn’t a major attraction to Roatan, you’ll also find cheaper prices. Expect to pick up souvenirs (wood carvings, leather, pottery, etc) for very little money. Bartering is expected too, so don’t be shy to ask for 50% off the listed price.
Here are a couple options if you’d like to pick up a thing or two while in Roatan.
Mahogany Bay Cruise Port
Built by Carnival in 2009, they didn’t forget to include the touristy shopping options in this cruise port. When getting off your ship (unless docking in Coxen Hole), here you’ll find jewelry options and retailers selling souvenirs. It’s fine for a “last-minute” gift item, but don’t expect anything profoundly authentic here.
Main Street in West End
Here you’ll find the most dense collection of retail shops on the island. This is where to go to peruse for knick knacks, souvenirs, and keepsakes. It’s nearby the West Bay Beaches, so you could make a day of beaching then shopping if that sounds like your fancy.
Beaches in Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
While Roatan has many beach options among its island shoreline, many aren't very inviting given their rocky or mangrove-covered terrain. Fortunately, you have several options for beautiful, white-sand beaches with all the amenities you'll need. Below are our best options for beaches near Roatan cruise port.
Northern Coast Secluded Beaches
To get away from the crowds, head to the northern coast of the island to find quieter beaches. The southern coast is rocky and not ideal for beach getaways, so stay north. You can hire a cab driver to find you a secluded spot for the day. You’ll want to agree on an upfront payment and make sure he stays for the day. It’ll run roughly $100 for the day for four passengers.
Camp Bay Beach
Much less popular with cruise passengers is Camp Bay Beach. Located on the north coast, you’ll find this two-mile stretch completely undeveloped and removed from the tourism trap. It’s free to access this beach other than the taxi cost to get there. There are no facilities, so bring food and don’t expect restrooms.
West Bay Beach
West Bay Beach is Roatan’s most popular beach for cruise passengers. Not surprisingly, it’s located on the west side of the island and offers “endless powdery white sand and dazzling blue water.” Within West Bay Beach, Tatyana Beach is very popular drop-off point. From the beach to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is just 70 feet you have to swim. Just make sure to wait 30 minutes after eating. The entrance fee to access the beach is $10 per person and includes a chair or drink and access to bathrooms and changing rooms.
Half Moon Bay Beach
Another of Roatan’s most popular beaches, Half Moon Bay offers great snorkeling, diving, kayaking, floating docks, beachside bars, and more. It also offers phenomenal sunsets in that it’s located on the west side of the island. There’s no fee to access this beach.
Attractions in Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Roatán, Honduras is an island located in the Caribbean Sea, near the mainland of Honduras. The island is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and world-class snorkeling and diving. Roatán is also a major hub for international trade and business, with many ports and other facilities located on the island. In addition, the island is home to a number of resorts, restaurants, and other attractions, making it a popular destination for travelers looking for a tropical vacation experience with a unique blend of natural beauty and modern amenities. Overall, Roatán is a vibrant and diverse island known for its beautiful natural surroundings, rich history, and modern amenities.
Best cruise excursions in Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
We've analyzed tens of thousands of cruise tours to find your ideal attraction while in port. Based on these reviews, here are the Best Cruise Excursions in Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras cruise port map
If you’ can’t picture Honduras’ location, think about it this way. Stand on the very southern tip of Florida and look directly south. Now turn right (west towards California) about 45 degrees. You’re now looking towards Mexico, Belize, and Honduras (about 500 miles in the distance). Roatan is a little island about 30 miles north of Honduras’ mainland.
When comparing it to other Caribbean ports, it’s one of the furthest southwest of all destinations. It’s roughly 200 miles south of Cozumel.
The island of Roatan is included with two others in Honduras set of “Bay Islands.” it’s the largest and most built out of the set. The long, skinny island measures about 37 miles in length, and just 5 miles wide. From overhead, picture a cigar-shape and that’s what it looks like.
Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras Cruise Port Terminals
Two terminals provide major cruise lines access to the island of Roatan. Both are on the south side of the island.
Coxen Hole is the oldest terminal in Roatan. Immediately surround options include a small shopping mall and some restaurants. But, there’s not enough to do in this immediate area to serve you for the day. You’ll want to participate in an organized event or find transportation on your own to explore other parts of the island.
This is Roatan’s newest port, built by Carnival Cruise Line in 2009. Two ships fit into this port and you’ll find it just east of the island’s airport. Nearby amenities include souvenir shops, jewelry stores, restaurants, and a convenience store. For just $14, you can get unlimited access to a chairlift from the port directly to Mahogany Beach (10 acre private beach). This is a great option if looking to beach it for the day. Otherwise, we’d recommend participating in an organized excursion or finding a way to get around the island yourself (rental car, ATV, scooter, etc).