Adventures in Roatán, Honduras

Mrs. ItchyFeet with ocean view

Back in the Before Times (2018), Mr. ItchyFeet and I took a crazy trip to Roatán, Honduras. Roatán is a tiny island in the Caribbean that is great for snorkeling and scuba diving. We went during the off-season as it meant fewer cruise ships to the island and cheaper prices. We ended up with an entire two-bedroom, two-story house with a pool and a view of the ocean!

Lessons learned

We learned an amazing amount on this adventure. The first being that the place you are renting is not always located where it looks on the map. We chose the west end of the island, intending to be right by the amazing beach in that location. We ended up on the other side of the ridge from the beach. It was still a gorgeous house on a hill with an amazing view of the ocean. However, it was a for-real hike to the beach.

Ocean view from our deck
This is the amazing view we had from our deck!

The manager of the house picked us up at the airport. Mr. ItchyFeet’s suitcase didn’t make it from LA, but the manager was so nice and let us know he would make the trip back to the airport once it arrived. When the suitcase finally found its way to our doorstep, it was missing a brand new pair of shoes. I’m hoping someone got some good use out of them! The lesson here is to pack new items on the bottom so they are less likely to wander off. Recently, we invested in some locator tags so we at least know where our bags are.

As a side note, security at the airport in El Salvador took Mr. ItchyFeet’s expensive (easy to liquidate) plastic coated scuba trim weights. The guy claimed we could use them as a weapon, which makes no sense as we had heavy metal water-bottles that would have worked better – if we were those kinds of people. Which we are not. We could not make him see reason. Hindered, I’m sure, by a language barrier. New pair of shoes stolen on the way in and expensive weights stolen on the way out. Not our favorite travel experience.

Who needs hot water in the tropics?

The place we rented was the first place we ever stayed that didn’t have hot water available. Hot water is a luxury that is not really needed in the tropics. It was so hot outside that a cool shower was really refreshing. We saved a lot of water as well, a precious commodity on a tropical island. It’s not comfortable to just stand in a cold shower, wasting water. Instead, you quickly get wet. Turn the water off. Soap/lather up all your bits in the warm tropical air. And then rinse. Done.

Sunburnt legs from snorkeling
This is what happens from wearing a shorty wetsuit while snorkeling in the tropics. This sunburn hurt so bad!

Too bad we couldn’t drink the tap water. That is also a luxury. Lucky for us, the rental unit brought refills of drinkable water right to our door. We didn’t rent a car, so getting water would have been hard. We would get these giant five-gallon plastic bottles of water dropped off at our door and then we would laboriously lift that heavy thing onto the water dispenser. It was a learning experience. I feel like we didn’t drink as much water because of it, but we got better at drinking more and staying hydrated during our time there.


Roatán has agouti! In fact, they have their own unique species of agouti. They are the coolest looking rodents. They look like a cross between a guinea pig and a capybara and they eat coconuts. We would sit in our rental house on the side of this hill and hear coconuts bounding down, smashing against rocks. Or we would hear this loud crunching, ripping sound. Look outside and it would be an agouti getting breakfast. So fun!

Agouti eating a coconut
This is an agouti. They are so cute! We decided not to eat them.

The locals call their agouti ‘rabbit’. The locals will also occasionally eat them. We didn’t worry too much about it, as it didn’t look like they were scarce, but found out later that they are being threatened by habitat loss and hunting. We noticed some restaurants served rabbit. Um. We had seen no rabbits on the island. Is that bunny rabbit or agouti ‘rabbit’? We decided not to risk it as the agouti are really cute. I don’t eat alligator for the same reason.

Are those bats?

My favorite part of our trip to Roatán was seeing all the bats. I LOVE bats! We would wake up each morning before the sunrise, make coffee, and go outside to watch the bats. The mosquitos loved us and the bats loved the mosquitos. It was a perfect relationship! The bats would swoop around our heads getting all the bugs. We would just sit as still as possible to see how close they would get. Occasionally they would get VERY close. It was really cool.

We would try to repeat this at dusk, but there were a lot more mosquitos and not as many bats. It wasn’t a winning combo for us. Plus, we usually go to bed early. We mostly kept our bat observations for sunrise. Nothing better than a cup of coffee on the deck, watching the sunrise over the ocean with some thrilled bats. Get the bugs!

If you like critters, click here to see more posts!

Roatan beach at sunset
The beach was so gorgeous. This is on the West End of Roatan.

The beach!

The beach was absolutely amazing. White sand. Crystal clear blue water. Perfect temperature. Swimming distance to a gorgeous coral reef. Each morning, we would put on coconut oil mosquito repellent (ocean safe!) and hike over the hill. We did a bit of trespassing with a hop over a fence at the suggestion of our property manager. It felt safe enough, and we didn’t die. Most days, Mr. ItchyFeet would meet a scuba guide for his own adventures while I walked around people-watching on the beach.

After lunch (Caribbean food is the best!… oh and the ceviche!), we would do a bit of snorkeling. As we swam about, we would get these zaps on our bare skin. There were gooseberries everywhere, so we just assumed it was them. I’d see one, try to swim away, and get zapped somewhere else. Zap! Oww! Swim. Swim. Zap! Oww! It wasn’t so bad that we got out of the water. It was just surprising.

I get hurt a lot

Turns out those gooseberries don’t sting. There had been a pretty big storm right before we got there. The theory is that it broke up some jellyfish and we just kept running into little broken bits of stinging tendril. My lips got zapped the most, as they were the front swimming bit of exposed skin. By the end of our vacation, my bottom lip really hurt and swelled up. I thought it was a weird cold sore, but my medication wasn’t working.

Mrs. ItchyFeet with lip bacterial infection
Turns out it was not a cold sore. At least it healed okay.

My lip just kept swelling and swelling. It was pretty horrible. I could really have used a face mask at work during that time period because it was embarrassing. I could not even imagine what skin disease I had just come back with from Honduras. Leishmaniasis? Sporotrichosis? Buruli ulcer? Favus? Do NOT Google images of these! So gross.

Anyway. I’m pretty lazy and very cheap. Instead of going to see a doctor, I just used some old antibiotic cream I had left over from when I had MRSA. That cleared that sucker right up in no time. I should have started with that and saved myself a world of hurt! It took a while for the nerves to grow back, but at least I kept my lower lip. Stupid bacterial infections. Lesson learned.

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  1. It is so much fun to read about your experiences.

  2. Thank you for your latest article about your visit to Roatan I enjoyed reading it. I also remember your poor lip. Felt so bad for you and looked very sore.
    Much appreciated 😉

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