I am a serious TYPE A, planning-obsessed, slightly OCD (hubby may say more than “slight”, but it’s all good) person, and as a travel planner, it takes a lot for me to go rogue from a cruise ship! I always pay a bit extra to ensure we are guaranteed to get back to the boat on time. So, for me, taking the road less travelled is usually a challenge.
Having never been to Roatan, I was not sure what to do, but definitely wanted to experience the island. I was searching on the unofficial Facebook cruise page, and kept seeing people hugging sloths and playing with capuchin monkeys. Well, little did I know that G was looking over my shoulder, and with a “Mom, book that trip!” I sent an email to Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout, who coordinated a private driver to meet us at the port an hour after we docked to bring us over to the Hangout, then go snorkeling. The trip was considerably more affordable than the ship-sanctioned excursions, and we had a bit of time to wander through the port shops after heading out. It was charming that as we pulled into port, we heard local drummers from the deck! They put on a lovely show.
Jennie was waiting for us right outside the port and we headed over to her air conditioned car and took a lovely scenic tour through the island. She is a native (and as it is a family business, related to Daniel), and gave us some history and current news and information about the island and mainland as we drove. It was lovely getting to hear what was going on from a local, and she was so kind and pleasant throughout our journey. We hit a bit of traffic (the type A in me only got a touch anxious) and made it safely to the Hangout. What a cool place! There were small cats napping on benches outside, and we got super friendly with an adorable orange tabby, while we waited for our tour to begin.
I’m certain that the joy in the photos speaks for itself! Getting to hug Sid and Granny (yes, they were named after the Ice Age characters) was just so cool. They love being cuddled, and we may have given them a smooch or two! They smiled the whole time, which was so endearing. Every time I called the scarlet macaw a pretty bird, he’d climb higher to my shoulder. This sanctuary allows the animals to reside in their natural habitats, which is such a pleasure! The monkey peeking in T’s shirt was hilarious!
Following the animal encounters, we headed to the back of the property to board a boat for our snorkeling adventure. Roatan has the second largest reef on earth, and our group split off into 2 sections with tour guides pointing out different marine life, including a puffer fish, beautiful tropical fish, and conch! The reef was shallow (only 1-2 feet in some parts) and the water was crystal clear, so we had an excellent view of coral and a huge variety of native fish.
Once we were done snorkeling, we were all starving, and Jennie took us to Caribe Restaurant, a local open-air over-the-counter service dining location with beautiful views. We saw an iguana and some fish in this amazing area, and enjoyed authentic food. My picky G tore up a rotisserie chicken! I had coconut chicken and plantains with conch chowder and T had a different variety of chicken with rice and beans. Jennie was amazing at providing us a friendly and fun tour, and got us back to the boat in plenty of time (and we all took naps very soon after, thanks to our busy adventure!)
That evening, we dined at a signature location, Ocean Blue, enjoying the largest prawns we had ever seen, as well as some delicious lobster! That was our favorite onboard meal! I would have taken photos, but G wanted to chill out and play on my phone. A little light slot machine play, and bedtime for all.
We were definitely sad to leave Roatan, but excited about the adventure awaiting us on the private island of Harvest Caye in Belize!
For free planning and a no-obligation quote on a Norwegian Cruise, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s go somewhere! (May I recommend the Caribbean?)