5 adventures in Roatan, Honduras

A tranquil island off the coast of Honduras, Roatan boasts the best of both the Caribbean and Central American cultures. Whether you want to experience the colorful local scene or just engage in a little (or a lot) of R&R, you can do both in this fascinating yet undiscovered destination.

Roatan is about a 20-minute plane ride or hour-and-a-half ferry ride from the Honduras mainland.

Snorkel around a sunken ship
Legend has it that a ship called The Snigg was coming from Belize, missed the entranceto the channel and sank in the reef. You can check out The Snigg for yourself: Rent gear with Mike at Black Pearl Divers (www.blackpearldivers.com) and prepare to start humming the “Titanic” theme. The boat — not enormous but a sight to see regardless — sits in shallow water, so it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. Once you take it all in, though, poke around and see how an abundance of fish and coral have made the vessel part of their habitat.

Where to stay: This excursion is only open to guests at Las Verandas (www.las-verandas.com), which had a soft opening last year. The sprawling property is part of Pristine Bay Resort, a larger development featuring a beach club, residences, a spa, restaurants and a marina. At Las Verandas, you’ll wake up to the waves lapping outside your beachfront villa. Start your day or end your night with a dip in the hotel’s luxe infinity pool, or your villa’s own private pool. Into golf? The Pete Dye-designed course is ranked No. 1 in Honduras (and boasts an eccentrically wonderful pro in Thom Gilfoil). On your first night, you’ll probably be tired from traveling, so take it easy and dine at the property’s Las Pergolas restaurant. The produce comes from Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum, a bustling hydroponic farm on the island.

Beach it on your own private island
Hop a ferry to Pigeon Cay,a private white-sand island, for a day of undisturbed relaxation. Try not to step on one of the island’s many conch shells (but don’t remove them — it’s illegal). Before you head out, swing by a gas station (yes, you read that right) to pick up a baleada for lunch on the beach. It’s like a Honduran take on a breakfast burrito: eggs, chorizo, beans, avocado, cheese and sour cream wrapped up in a flour tortilla. The locals eat them at all times of the day.

Where to stay: For a truly off-the-grid experience, book a stay at Mango Creek Lodge (www.mangocreeklodge.com). Welcoming managers DD and Doc run the small group of waterfront huts that boast just the necessities for the perfect warm-weather vacation: a bed, a bathroom and a hammock. Take a break from your private deck to hang out with the two parrots in residence.

Get down and dirty on a dune buggy
The guides leading the Sand Blasters Dune Buggy Tour (http://roatanmjtours.com) are knowledgeable and friendly, but the real star of their show is Panchita, their domesticated pet monkey who will happily sit on your shoulder if you’d like. Sand Blasters’ go-carts look like they would easily roll over, but are surprisingly stable. And for good reason: Your first course takes you up rocky mountains that don’t have roads. From there, you’ll traverse the jungle, a mud pit (we suggest wearing clothes you won’t mind leaving behind) and the private Palmetto Beach, which only the locals really know to visit. Rinse off in the crystal-clear water before the tour ends.

Where to stay: The tour will bring you to eco-friendlyPalmetto Bay Plantation (www.palmettobayplantation.com), a resort that, like Mango Creek, also has private huts. Hit the outdoor restaurant for a banana smoothie and to take in the view. Does it look familiar? “Temptation Island” filmed there in the early 2000s.

2 more adventures

Soar to new heights

The operators of Caribe Sky know that you’re probably terrified to zip-line, but they’ll crack jokes to get you through it. And you’ll be glad to conquer your fear: The views of the treetops below are indescribable. You and your small group will soar 12 times through the forest, on routes that are both quick and luxuriously lengthy. You control the speed on your line, so you can opt for a thrill ride or a more relaxed glide. Bonus: Your guides will take pictures of you while you’re in the air, so you can brag to your friends upon your return home.

Explore out west

Start your day on the beach at West Bay, and break for lunch at Vintage Pearl, which is run by Sarah Benke, an expatriate from Oregon. Asked why she decided to uproot her life, all she does is point to the beach and say, “This.” After lunch, hitch a water taxi to West End, where you can wander the local streets and souvenir shop. We like Waves of Art (www.waves-of-art.com), featuring jewelry, pottery and textiles made in Central America.

More information

Getting there: American Airlines flies to Roatan from Miami on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays; and from Dallas/Ft. Worth on Saturdays.

Where to eat: Jack’s Harbor View Grill (www.facebook.com/jacksharborviewgrill)
Jack Mitchell, formerly of South Carolina, infuses flavors from his Southern upbringing into the steaks and fish he serves at this waterfront restaurant.

See the sights: Book a shuttle bus tour with the knowledgeable and charismatic Emsly Hyde (www. hydetoursroatanhonduras.com), who will give you an insider’s view of Roatan’s many villages.

Bring this home: The banana rum cake from Roatan Rum Company (www.roatanrumcompany.com) will give your friends a taste of your island adventures. But maybe buy two so you can keep one for yourself.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.