More about Bananarama Dive Resort
love'in bananarama, roatan
Excellent, wonderful, the best....having been there before I was extremely happy to see what the new owners have done and what is in progress for the future. The food, bar, rooms and employees were the best. Also great friendly atmosphere where I met great people from other states. I did a dive with Marco and had a fantastic time, he was professional and personable, more than I have experienced at other resorts. I'm already booking for next year. I just can't wait!!!!! David from Calif.
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful week long dive trip at the Bananarama. While this is not a swanky five star hotel, we found that the resort had clean, comfortable accommodations and a great location on West Bay Beach. There are a few things to be aware of: the water pressure in the shower was low (maybe not always, but during our stay), and the cable TV was often out. However, our overall enjoyable experience with the resort, the staff and the other guests overshadowed these minor details. Everyone from the bartenders, owners, and front desk staff were very pleasent and offered us personal attention.
By far, the best thing about this resort is their dive operation, which is why we came to Roatan. Bananarama's dive shop was professional and well equiped. The divemasters and boat captains were a pleasure to dive with and felt like friends by the end of the week. We also spent some time relaxing at the nearby wine shop in the West bay mall, highly recommended. The owners are knowledgeable of wine and their cheese plates are very good.
The location of the Bananarama is excellent. The beach is beautiful, and there are good resturants within walking distance. The sand fleas and other bugs did not bother us, as we wore bug repellant.
The overall experience, and ambiance of this resort was definately a positive and memorable one. We would recommend the Bannaramma to others and would stay there again.
Outside of its beautiful location, we found nothing exceptional at all about this hotel. Breakfast is skimpy and not that tasty, the room we were in was run down. The cable was out, which normally would not be an issue on a beach vacation ,but I was sick one day and spent the entire afternoon in our room close to the bathroom. There was no apology for the cable not being available as advertised. I think you could do better since there are resorts lined up side by side all along the same awesome beach.
Stayed an extra week! Convenient, beautiful, rustic -- amazing location!
Bananarama Dive Resort was absolutely perfect. It is not a fancy resort - but had everything we wanted. It was in the best location - smack in the middle of West Bay Beach - and the cabins were set back from the beach just a little bit, letting the palm trees, hammocks, a cute little bar have the ocean view.
I did not dive, however, my boyfriend did - and we found the convenience of having the dive shop right there to be a real plus. He bought a 5-dive package (netting us 20% off the room) and liked the staff so much he decided to enroll in 2 advanced dive courses (including a Nitrox course). I snorkeled everyday, and the divemasters were great about letting me come along on the boat. However, that wasn't really necessary because the most spectacular snorkeling on the island was right off the beach! Towards the far southern end of West Bay Beach, you could swim out about 20-30 feet and you'd be on the reef! Swim out another hundred or so and there was the reef wall, plunging down into the depths. It was incredible.
We stayed in the queen garden cabana which was great because it was actually a 2-room suite with a futon in the front room. The air conditioning worked, the bed was comfortable, and there was english-speaking satellite TV (if you're interested in that).
My only word of caution is just to remember that not all advertising was completely true - for instance their website boasted bikes, kayaks and a 400-dvd library... we found no bikes, kayaks that leaked (though we still used them and had a blast), and maybe 15 dvds. Also, the free breakfast left something to be desired... though I appreciated the unlimited help-yourself Honduran coffee. Regardless, we fell in love with the place and decided to extend our stay there for another week!
Just a word of advice on restaurant choices -- I must highly recommend Cannibal Cafe (mexican) in West End. DELICIOUS. Avoid the Lighthouse - overpriced and not very good.
Many TripAdvisor reviews warned us of the horrible mosquitoes and sand fleas -- we didn't have any problem whatsoever, though we were fairly good about wearing bug spray in the evening (DEET). Bring extra sunscreen, particularly if you need high SPF -- its not so easy to find and the sun here is INTENSE.
Go to Roatan before it gets too developed... I can't wait to go back!
Nice resort, great diving!
I stayed at Bananarama for eight nights and thoroughly enjoyed my visit. Like some other reviewers, I took advantage of the 10-dive package and received a room discount. The diving was great – colorful, healthy reefs and fish life. The divemasters were extremely knowledgeable on the dive sites, underwater species, etc. and ensured that diving was safe but still fun. In addition to the normal two-tank dives, I did the Deep Dive module (for the PADI Advanced OW certification) and was able to dive deeper than normal and see the wreck “El Aguila.”
I had an oceanview queen with an extra twin and liked having the extra space in my room. Most of the windows, however, faced west and the afternoon sun made the room pretty hot, regardless of whether the A/C was running.
Which brings me to the situation regarding the ever-present power outages, which were numerous during my visit (July 21-29). I will not rate Bananarama lower because it is not the resort’s fault, but when the power is out, Bananarama’s back-up generator will power anything in the rooms except to pump water (so you can use the sink, take a shower, and flush the toilet). For me it wasn’t a huge issue because I was there to dive and enjoy a vacation away from the stresses of work. For others it might be an uncomfortable inconvenience, but personally I did not hear complaints from other guests. People seemed happy and took the situation in stride.
I ate some meals at Bananarama’s café. The food tasted fine, the portions were generous, and prices were competitive with other nearby restaurants. The complimentary breakfast was a nice feature, especially for those taking the morning dive. It’s not a buffet, the food is a chef’s choice each day and is brought to you in a common eating area.
In general I had a great time and would definitely recommend Bananarama to others, especially those who are looking for simple, clean, basic accomodations with an on-site dive operation. The owners, Jamie and Louis, bought the resort several months ago and work very hard to make everyone’s visit enjoyable and memorable.
Bananarama felt like home
I was very pleased with my stay at the Bananarama. As other reviewers have pointed out, this is not a luxury resort--this is a more rustic place to stay with its own charm. The reason to stay here, as opposed to a big mega hotel, is that you feel like family. The rooms are pretty plain, but they are clean, and the beds are comfortable. We chatted with the owners and got to know the other divers staying at the resort. Going to breakfast felt like dining with my new extended family of people ready to share their experiences from the day before.
The dive shop was terrific. They stored my gear for me so my room wasn't crowded with wet stuff. Marco was patient with novice divers, and Mal gave us good tips on improving our diving skills. Luther is the best (and tallest) dive boat captain and will even carry your stuff back from the boat if you look pathetic enough. We were able to take a class on deep diving, which enabled us to dive the El Aguilar at 110 feet and which gave us confidence for future deep dives. The diving itself was awesome--we saw turtles, eels, parrotfish, and a dramatic spotted eagle ray swimming by.
Bananarama is located right in the heart of West Bay. You don't have to go into West End to eat--there is good food available at Bananarama if you need some coconut shrimp after having one of Julie's excellent pina colaras--or there are several places to eat nearby the Bananarama. Excellent snorkeling is a short walk down the beach (the reef is right off the shore). We usually ran into fellow Bananarama guests wherever we went, which made the island feel like home.
Our only issues were things that weren't the Bananarama's fault. Daily power outages on the island affected everyone. We had some trouble with a cab driver overcharging us when he brought us back to the Bananarama, and the ATMs never seemed to have money in them (and few places in West End take a credit card). The one thing I would have them fix is an overly noisy air conditioner in one of the rooms. But overall we had a wonderful time, and we hope to return soon.
Bananarama offers the best of Roatan!
We stayed at the Bananarama for our honeymoon and had an amazing time! The Bananarama isn't a "Hilton on the beach" type resort you might expect when thinking of a Caribbean getaway, so if that is what you're after, you might want to shoot for Sandals in Jamaica. The Bananarama is a smaller resort where you can expect cozy cabanas, smaller crowds, and a more personalized feel. The staff is friendly and accomodating, the food was excellent, and there is no shortage of fun things to do. We loved the cabanas, which were well maintained and clean, as well as an excellent deal for the price. There were a few minor problems with the power, which was a problem originating with the island power company itself and not the resort, but when traveling to a third world country, those are things you have to expect. The beach is just steps from the resort where we took advantage of the resort's ocean kayaks and snorkeling. The Bananarama scuba dive staff is also incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, as this was my first diving experience. If you're looking for a singular experience on one of the most perfect beaches in the world, the Bananarama is a sure bet. We will definitely be going back as soon as the opportunity permits. Just be sure and stock up on the bug spray, and maintain a sense of humor when it does nothing to deter those island mosquitoes.
Wonderful spot on a great beach.
Scale of 1- 10 (based on what I expect for the price...a 10 here is different then a 10 at the Four Seasons)
Dive Shop: 9
Front Desk Clerk: 5 (no nearly as friendly as owners)
Will I return: YES!!!
Bananarama is a great place for the money. The owners are very nice and will try to accomodate you with any needs. The food was good and the location is perfect. I also used the dive shop for diving and had a great experience with the dive shop. There was one inconvenience that Bananarama could not control...the electricity went out several hours every day we were there and they don't have a generator. The owners said that a generator is high on their list of things to buy. The current owners have only been there about 7 months and they have been doing an amazing job of updating and building. They are building a lovely new restaurant and bar that should be finished soon (if it is not already finished by the time I write this). I would highly recomend Banarama and will return on my next trip to Roatan.
awesome dives but definitely FOR divers
We just returned from Roatan (missing the hurricane by 2 days). Bananarama was a perfectly-located dive resort right on the beach. The location for the night dives from shore was only 50 yards west, so we put on our tanks and just walked from the dive shop straight in to the water for a fantastic night dive.
The boat dives were all great, and all the DM's were knowledgeable about the sites. Mal and Sophi were both patient, but Marco went way too fast and lost the group twice on a dive through complicated swim-thrus.
Our room was "interesting". The A/C was incredibly loud but whenever we turned it to fan-only, the room temp skyrocketed and we couldn't sleep. Finding cockroaches in our room as large as my thumb made it a little tough for my wife to sleep, too. Usually about one a day.
Breakfasts were included in the room plan, and were simple and brought out pretty leisurely considering the morning dives were all scheduled to start 30 minutes after breakfast started.
Price-wise, the dive packages were terrific (30 dollars per dive for 5 dives, 24 dollars/dive for 10 dives). My wife and I dove 9 times in 3 days and loved all of them.
Overall, we loved Roatan and would dive there again in a second, and enjoyed the experienced divemasters at Banarama. Room-wise, we would definitely look around and consider staying somewhere else, though.