Carnival doesn't make it easy for independent operators or taxis to get the cruise passengers at Mahogany Bay but it's not as bad as some make it sound. Be sure to print out the directions from your excursion or follow the line of people that are not looking for the cruise ship tour signs. You have to go up and down a hill, once you see the taxi lot, you will also see the independent tour operators holding signs with their names on it.
On the return trip, they do allow the taxis and vans to go right up to the area just outside of duty free.
Please don't buy any of the woodcarvings in Isla Roatan no matter how beautiful they are and no matter how tempted you are to bring home one of the most beautifully carved jewelry box or table or mementoes.
If you buy, you are encouraging the people to cut more of their trees and cause deforestation. Once the woodcarving business becomes popular, more and more people will cut the mahoganies in the island and there will be no forest left for other people to see...There is no government protection that I know of to protect the environment in Isla Roatan...
If the people start cutting all the trees to cater to tourists who support this business, then it will result to the denudation in Isla Roatan. If there are no trees left in the forest, it will cause siltation to the ocean and destroys the coral reefs. And if the coral reefs are gone, there will be no more sanctuaries for fishes which will affect the subsistence fishermen...It has a rippling effect...
While we were shopping in the city of Coxen Hole, five children came to us and asked money. I was warned by our cab driver not to give them any money because it encourages them to skip school.
One of the kids kept following me and my daughter and I finally spoke to him why he was not in school and he told me that because they don't have school the whole week. We were there the end of the first week of December.
Monkeys at the Mayan Jungle Canopy are mischievous. While we were in their cage, one of the monkey incessantly tried to pull out my water bottle out from my backpack and open my backpack.
Good thing though was that the monkey cannot open my backpack although he tried it so hard and he can't lift my water bottle either because it was attached to one of the ropes of my backpack. (one of the safety features of not losing a water bottle).
I tried feed him peanuts- which was given to us by our guide to calm the monkey down. I was more tickled by him more than anything else.
Bringing a purse or any kind of jewelry will just bring you trouble when you decide to go ziplining in Honduras. First of all, there is a safety issue. Second, you might end up losing your possessions while you are up ziplining. Thid, if you leave them at the registration booth of the ziplining company, you end up paying an extra $5.00 to be stored in a safe. That's an extra expense you will incur on top of paying the ziplining fee.
It is better to bring a small belt bag. Have your passport, ID, money and credit cards safely kept on your belt bag and tuck them underneath your shirt.
My daughter Rainier was very stubborn. She brought her purse with her no matter how much arguments I made with her. I was just thankful that her purse didn't cause her any problems in the end.
Honduras is a new port (for Carnival), and overall a poor country. Just outside the cruise ship terminal (where locals are not allowed), is a shopping area. Be aware that there are children everywhere who follow you around, trying to be your tour guide, or shopping guide, or SOMETHING. They will engage you in conversation, follow you around, retrieve items from the vendors if you show an interest. For all of this, they expect to be tipped or compensated. Some found it charming - I found it to be obnoxious...
be aware, the taxi drivers on the island quoted prices per person, even if you just wanted a taxi ride.
And you should always negociate. After spent the day on the beach, we wanted to go back the port from West bay, the taxi driver asked for $24 since he was the only one avaiable then, and did not want to lower his price, we started walking, then there were few more taxi showed up, we were able to pay $10 back to the port from West bay.
Identities have been hidden, but this was not one of us. As you can see the damage that mosquitoes can do can be quite extensive. Therefore I recommend DEET repellant and if you're staying at Anthony's Key Resort I do suggest the air conditioned rooms out on the key. They keep you much more protected and to be honest I hardly ever had a single encounter with a mosquito. Others, obviously, were not so lucky.
Many people get to this destination by a cruiseline. They do not realize that the country knows when a ship is in town they are going to work on getting money. There will be people asking for money as soon as you get off the ship and fighting for your attention to get a taxi. Watch your purse or wallet. Theft is common anywhere in the world. Be smart.
The people are all very friendly and helpful, it is just many travelers don't understand that tourism is their main source of income.
Before you go I think it is only fair to warn you about all the beggers you will encounter. Many of them are small children so it's hard to turn them down. They will also try to sell you things, like conch shells, for $20 or so. It gets a little rediculous.
Watch out for these - perhaps the only annoying thing about the island. Always wear insect repellant spray (as strong as possible) as these things are invisible but leave multiple bites all over if not protected. We got hit badly on our first day when walking on the beach and also taking a boat taxi.
The sand flies can (obviously) be found on the beaches so, as said above, always wear repellant!
Apart from that, enjoy an incredible place.
Watch out for the kids that hang around the town near the cruise ship port. They usually hang out next to one of the shops coming in from the main gate in port.. They'll start approaching you, offering you to show you the town and stuff. Meanwhile, they just want to sell you weed or something else illegal. Obviously you just say no or ignore them and keep on going.
Here there are mosquitos, like in any other tropical place. No problem, just a mosquito repellent. The real troubles are the sand flies. They live into the sand on the beaches and wait...for the tourists... to bite them... they are so small you can't see them, but in short time you'll find many little red spots on your body...so you look like to be affected by measles!
Their bites aren't dangerous, but you don't make a good impression! The only remedy is to smear oil all over your body. Try a baby oil, smear it abundantly and frequently, they are so small that can't reach your skin.
You don't see them you don’t feel them but they are there the sand fleas. As a result of my baggage problem I did not use insect repellent. On the flight home I noticed little red spots all over my legs and the following week it itched like crazy. To prevent this be sure to use insect repellent with a concentration of at least 6.5% DEET every time you go out, after swimming and repeat at least every two hours.
When people ask me how I could buy a place in Central America and what about the crime I tell them to read their local paper. There is very little violent crime. Most are crimes of opportunity. Would you walk dark streets alone in most cities in the US? Then why expect to be able to do that anywhere.? Do not flash cash when in an area where unemployment often exceeds 50%. Ask prices if you are not sure. I keep most money in one pocket so when I need to pay I can take just a little out of the "pay pocket" again Common Sense!!