Roatan Island Times

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Getting Around Roatan

Categories: Transportation

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Getting around Roatan is relatively easy. Taxis are the easiest and most available. There are mini-buses which are cheaper, but do take longer. Car rentals are available at the airport. Scooter, motorcycle, and bicycle rentals can be found in popular tourist areas.

Taxis

Taxis abound from French Harbour to West Bay. Interesting though, unlike typical taxis in North America, taxis will pick up as many passengers as they can fit in the car! Current rates are 30 lempiras from French Harbour to Coxen Hole and from Coxen Hole to West End -- sometimes you may have to switch taxis when going through Coxen Hole. Rates vary for distances in between these points, but 15 lemps seems to be the minimum. If going to West Bay, the rate from West End varies from 75 lemps to 100 lemps per person -- you may have to negotiate, and make sure you have exact change. Often taxi drivers may offer to wait for you to bring you back -- getting a taxi at night in West Bay can be difficult. Night rates will also vary depending on how late, whether the driver has a return fare, the weather, and the desperation of the traveler! In general, tourists will be charged more than locals, so make sure you agree on a rate before you get in.

Taxis from the airport are a fixed rate and are on display near the airport taxi stand. Rates from airport to West Bay are around $20 per person, to West End $15 per person -- to other locations, you will have to check. If you do not have much luggage, you can walk to the road and hail a taxi from there and pay the normal rate. Note that if your destination is out to the East, rates can be significantly higher, and getting back by taxi should be arranged in advance. Resort and hotel operators can also arrange transportation, for airport pick up and drop off, as well as arrange day tours -- the rates are generally competitive and the hotels tend to favor reliable and dependable tour operators.

Bus

There are a number of mini-buses that operate during the day. They are hailed just like taxis and are marked with their routes. If you are not in a hurry, these trips can give you an inside look at the various 'colonias' where the majority of Honduran workers live. The rate is 15 lemps.

Car Rentals

Car rental operators are most common at the airport. Several of them will offer to bring you the car if you happen to be staying at a hotel in West End or West Bay. Note that parking in West End and West Bay is scarce and you may have to put it in a parking lot. Rates vary from $40-75 per day dependig on size and type of vehicle. During rainy season, a four wheel drive may be recommended for remote areas. Unless you plan to use your car everyday, it is probably better to hire taxis to get around and maybe rent a car for a day for a day trip. Note that caution is to be taken driving on Roatan's narrow and winding roads -- there are pedestrians out on the road at all hours, roads are not lit at night, and rainy nights are to be avoided. Other than the main road, most other roads in Roatan are not paved. Watch out for deep potholes, steep hills, and thick mud during rainy season. And do not park underneath coconut trees! ;-)

Scooters, Motorcycles, and Bicycles

Scooter rentals can be found in various locations -- see the Roatan Mobile guide for details. Note that there are significant hills in West Bay, so if planning on renting a bicycle, prepare for a work out!! Scooters rent for about $25 per day; however, driving conditions are rough -- potholes, gravel, hills, curves, and oncoming traffic regularly cause accidents. And many visitors ride in their bathing suits -- not very much protection during a fall. It is not uncommon to see tourists on scooters all over the road in busy areas holding up traffic. And every year somebody ends up dead. Unfamiliarity with the roads and local traffic combined with a few drinks and too much speed are usually the culprits. BE CAREFUL!!

Safety

While it is not talked about often, there are incidents of 'highway robbery' every year on Roatan, especially east of French Harbour in remote areas. Banditos have stopped people on scooters and even in cars and robbed them on site. Locals are more familiar with these areas and stay away from them. General rule of thumb is to not stop for anyone flagging you down. Avoid driving in remote areas and at night.

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