Traveling to Roatan on a Budget
Roatan is one of the premier diving spots in the entire world, but just because you’re passionate about diving and underwater exploration does not mean you have loads of extra cash to spend. Thankfully, travelling to Roatan doesn’t necessarily require you to empty your savings account. Here’s where you can save if you’re travelling to Roatan on a budget.
You can save a ton of money on transportation if you fly onto the mainland rather than flying directly to Roatan. You can land in the larger hubs of San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa then take a quick ferry or even a domestic flight to Roatan. The Galaxy Wave is a particularly attractive option for travelers because it leaves twice a day from la Ceiba.
Once you’ve arrived in Roatan, you can easily use the public bus system to get around. However, if you want a faster option, search for four-seater, carpooling taxis known as colectivo. They are air-conditioned and take you exactly where you need to go for a reasonable fare.
There is no shortage of luxury resorts in Roatan, but if you’re splurging on the diving course, you can book a room in a hostel in Sandy Bay or West End for as low as $10 a night.
Alternatively, you might consider renting an island home or villa as a group and splitting the rental. You can find villas that go for as low as $70 or $80 per bed with three or four beds. If you have some friends that want to join, you could easily slash the price for accommodation in half.
Diving and Activities:
Diving will be, without a doubt, one of your main expenses, but since Roatan sees thousands of divers on its shores every year, the tourist industry does its best to accommodate divers with different budgets. If you’re staying in a hotel, they might offer diving packages and classes. There are usually discounts available in the off-season and for diving groups of a certain size.
Local dive shops are also great options for budget travellers. Sun Divers Roatan is a superb dive shop that caters to families, couples and singles and does their best to make everyone feel welcome. They provide excellent customer service, pay close attention to details, and take safety very seriously.
Banana Nut Burgers Dive Shop is another local dive shop that offers unique dives from sites rarely visited by most tourists.
Otherwise, you should be able to profit from the endless, crystal white beaches lining the island. All beaches on the Mesoamerican reef are free and open to the public. When you’re tired of the beach, you can also explore the exotic wildlife in the surrounding tropical forest areas.
Skip the hotel’s restaurant and enjoy Roatan’s delicious street food. Not only is the fruit here fresh and sweet, but the baleadas sold from street vendors will make your mouth water.
Baleadas are a sort of soft taco wrapped in a flour tortilla and stuffed with refried beans, cream, cheese, and your choice of chicken, steak, eggs, or spicy sausage.
They’re cheap, delicious, and sold pretty much everywhere. Best yet, you can grab a quick bite while you’re on-the-go instead of spending an hour at a sit-down restaurant. If you’re looking for the best baleadas on the island though, we highly recommend Calelu’s.
Excluding the flight, backpackers can get away with spending about $44 per day if they’re willing to lodge in a hostel and allocate their activities budget to diving. That means that you can stay about three weeks in Roatan for under $1000 as long as you watch your spending habits.
Never let expenses get in the way of your dreams. Diving in the Bay Islands and coming face to face with some of the world’s most impressive underwater wildlife is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience you don’t want to miss.