Back to Roatan...

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Aug 13, 2011

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Flag of Honduras  , Bay Islands,
Friday, August 12, 2011

We boarded Capt Vern's catamaran at 7:30am for our return trip to Roatan.  We had a much smaller group of about 12 passengers and most slept as Vern played music including an Austin favorite of ours Robert Earl Keen.  We began talking with a couple from England on the boat.  They were looking for a hotel and wanted to know where we were staying and if we had any suggestions for them. 
We shared a taxi to our hotel, Sueno del Mar.  It was a little more than they wanted to spring for, so I had another idea from our planning that I thought they should check out.  We stopped in with our new friends at Cannibal Cafe again for some more Mexican food before strolling down the road to check out the Posada Arco Iris Hotel.  It was just what they were looking for.  We continued our afternoon further exploring West End, before stopping for a pizza.  The sun was long gone when we began to see lightning on the horizon.  Before long all of the lights in West End went out.  The lighted restaurant was quickly turned into a dine by candlelight setting.  The music that once blared from every dive shop and restaurant was quickly replaced by locals with guitars strolling the streets.  It was an amazing transformation back to the a time not too long ago when there was no electrical power on Roatan.  A window into the past if you will.  We finished our pizza and headed back to our room ahead of the oncoming storm.
We love watching lightning storms and we had a great vantage point from our patio overlooking the ocean as the pitch black was occasionally interrupted by the blinding flashes lighting up the horizon.  The storm rolled on and on until we finally decided to get some sleep.  It wasn't easy.  Between the rumbling thunder, the random flashes of lightning, and the hot, sticky room longing for the air conditioning, we laid unable to sleep until about 2:30 am when the power came back on.  We shut off the lights, turned up the AC and quickly fell asleep.
We awoke the next morning surprisingly refreshed and ready for some breakfast.  We followed the sign for breakfast to room number 201.  We walked in and were met by Ray, owner of Sueno del Mar.  Room 201 was his personal home on the island and he quickly invited us to make ourselves at home at his table.  He gave us a variety of options for breakfast before we decided on the French Toast and Bacon.  He prepared our meal right in front of us as we asked him what brought him to the Island and how things had changed over time.  His story was great.  He was on a diving trip in Central America and saw Roatan on a map.  He said they should check it out, so his group made there way to a pretty much locals only island paradise with no roads, no electricity, but great reefs.  He never left.  He and his friends started a dive shop and as Roatan began to grow, he ventured into building a dive resort (Sueno del Mar) near some of the best coastline on the island.  Now he makes breakfast everyday for his guests and dives whenever he wants to.  Needless to say, breakfast was great and in the spirit of Ray, I certainly didn't want to leave!
We decided we had just enough time to make the trek south down the beach to West Bay.  The hike was quiet and cool.  We stopped often when we came to beachfront lots for sale and dreamed of what life would be like in this Caribbean paradise.  We arrived at a picture perfect beach with huge crowds.  This was a happening place.  Food stands, water activities, parasailing, etc...  We enjoyed a stroll along this wonderful beach before making the return trip to Sueno del Mar for our transfer back to the airport.
Our trip was coming to an end.  As we rode to the airport, we reflected on our time on the Bay Islands. 
Roatan has it all.  You can be as isolated or as "in the middle of things" as you want to be.  You can dine with a local and experience the way of life and culture of the first inhabitants of this island.  It is still a developing destination, but one in which I think will eventually be up there with the best in the Caribbean.  As more people discover Roatan, the word will continue to spread more and more rapidly. 
Utila is a quirky little gathering of various cultures with one thing in common, diving.  Utila itself appears to have little to offer when compared to it's bigger brother Roatan, but value is it's draw.  It is a great place to learn to dive or continue your dive experience.  There is nothing flashy about it, but that is what makes it what it is.  I think when combined, The Bay Islands of Roatan and Utila are the perfect compliment to each other, offering something for everyone and they are only a short catamaran ride apart.
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