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December 16, 2009

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                    Roatan, Honduras

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Roatan is an island 36 miles off the mainland of Honduras (there’s a 1.5-hour ferry to the mainland twice a day and daily air service). Honduras is a Spanish-speaking country because the Spaniards occupied this place in the late 1500s. However, the island of Roatan was occupied by the British so everyone speaks English as well as Spanish.

Only 2–3 ships come here per week and it was Princess Cruises’ first time. Everyone seemed to be looking forward to this port the most (including me) since it was a first for many. Besides, it’s Central America and Honduras just sounds so mysterious. Doesn’t it?

Just a couple days ago the U.S. Department of State officially canceled the travel alert for Honduras, which was still in effect when we were there, but we never felt unsafe. But then again, we weren’t on the mainland.

We arrived at 8:30 a.m. (1 hour time change). I opened my curtains and was amazed at the lush green scenery. It was pouring out and our guide later said that this wasn’t even rain. When it really rains in Honduras, which it usually does between November and February, you can’t see three feet in front of you. I believe her. Supposedly, two-thirds of Roatan’s 105 inches of annual rain falls between October and January.

Roatan has a brand-new port (a little over a year old). We docked for a couple hours then the boat had to push back and moor about a half mile out to make room for another ship (Carnival Valor). The port became packed with passengers, as all the tours left at the same time. It was a little difficult to find our guide since there were so many people—it would’ve been helpful if they had larger signs and hoisted them higher in the air. The only highlight of the madness was some locals dressed in traditional costume, playing music and looking (not aggressively) for tips.

We drove 25 minutes to Gumbalimba Park, which has beautiful well-kept grounds but wasn’t as authentic as I thought. Our guide toured us around the property for an hour in the pouring rain. Be sure to bring a rain jacket, poncho, and/or umbrella. Also bug spray, as we got eaten alive (I had a dozen bites in a matter of minutes). The souvenir sellers ran out of ponchos so the guy behind the snack bar kindly handed out plastic bags—the large ones worked well but by the time they got to our group he only had small ones left. Thanks to @Cajun_Mama’s husband, Brett, who was kind enough to give his to my dad. They are gentlemen in the South.

We walked maybe three quarters of a mile, and along the way we saw incredible trees, flowers, and hummingbirds. We then visited areas that had captive colorful parrots and chained cute monkeys—nothing was wild like I imagined. We then were led into a man-made cave for a history lesson—our guide who has never been to America spoke pretty much perfect English without an accent, and the history was interesting, but I couldn’t pay attention—my objective was to kill attacking mosquitoes.

From there we drove five minutes to Tabyana Beach. It was still pouring so we couldn’t tell how beautiful the beach was supposed to be but the water temp was warm—about 85 degrees. To pass the time we hit the BBQ included in our excursion: chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, rice/beans, coleslaw, fresh fruit (pineapple, watermelon, melon, and papaya). All the staff were super friendly and I downed about five lemonades and ice teas that had a uniquely tasty flavor. If the weather conditions were different it would’ve been a perfect spot to spend the day at the beach and listen to the talented live band, but instead most people hitched a ride back to the boat early. Overall everyone in our group still loved the tour, which can be reserved by the cruise for $109 pp.

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Note: This trip was sponsored by Princess Cruises.

Copyright 2009 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip




Roatan Port


Sucks To Have to Work


My Dad and Friendly Locals


Everyone Wants Off


Heavy Rain


Trash Bags


Souvenir Seller


Gumbalimba Park Parrot


Gumbalimba Park Monkey


Man-Made Cave


Cool Guy


Tabyana Beach



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