With two days notice, Jennifer surprises me by booking a trip to Honduras. I was so tired from ending the quarter at the high school where I teach, I pretty much slept the entire plane ride and had been too busy and burnt out to ask a lot of questions. Next thing I know we are on the ground and our friendly driver was there to whisk us away to a place called “Bananarama Dive Resort.” “Banana what?” I asked.
The driver was very accommodating took us to Eldon’s Supermarket in Coxen Hole to stock up on some supplies. Eldon’s is a large supermarket where you can get all your food, beverages, snacks and sundries. Just keep in mind, the grocery stores do not allow plastic bags. So, either pack one or you‘ll have to pay every time. (Jenn always brings a couple of crushable bags with us for this, that, or the other).
Coxen Hole is the town you fly into and it’s pretty much like it sounds. Poverty prevails and the taxi driver told us – it’s not really the place you want to hang out in too much for safety reasons. If we had had more time there, I may have checked it out anyway. Regardless, a 30 minute bumpy ride later, we ended up at Bananarama Dive Resort at West Bay and I began to lighten up.
The wonderful staff helped us with our bags, had us checked in in about 5 minutes and lead us down a white, sandy trail, through a lush tropical garden, to our home for the next ten days. Our Casita was wonderfully tucked into this magical locale, with white manicured sandy trails winding through the property to take you to the beach, just yards away, or other parts of the resort. It is mellow, beachy and, so far, I was diggin’ it.
The Casita was immaculately clean, had a wonderfully comfortable bed and perfectly pressed linens, towels, a small safe, huge jug of purified water and full size refrigerator. It had air conditioning and a large ceiling fan but the weather was so nice we slept with the windows open. I asked for extra pillows and they were there in 2 minutes. I also need to mention our favorite part of the casita was our beautiful porch complete with chairs and a hammock. I took off my sandals and did not put them back on for a week. Ok maybe once, but you get the idea…
Ours was a Garden Casita (#2) to be exact – we liked being off the beaten path – so I wouldn’t spend the extra money to be “beachfront” – if I ever go back there I would choose #4 – nicely tucked away from the hubbub.
We headed straight to the water, only yards away, out of the lushness emerges a truly spectacular beach. The ocean was like a sheet of crystal clear blue glass with the sun slowly setting straight ahead. We relieve ourselves of the 16 hours of travel by floating peacefully in this beautiful sandy bottom beach, perfect for swimming. We are on vacation.
After decompressing and getting used to the sites, sounds and smells of a new haven, we head on over to the bar for a tropical drink. The bar is called “The Thirsty Turtle” and it’s everything you would expect from a low key Caribbean beach bar. We had to try their signature drink, of course, and ordered up two Bananarama’s made with real fruits (Strawberry, Pineapple, Banana) Light Rum and coconut creme – $6 bucks). Let’s just say it wouldn’t be my last…YUM! Check out the happy hour specials too – great deals.
We didn’t even get out of our suits to eat lunch/dinner – Jenn just threw on a sarong and I put on a t-shirt..that’s about how it went for the rest of the trip. We’d overpacked. At least, she did…I am an ultra-light backpacker and we discussed how to turn her into one for the next venture. (we’ll see how she does…)
The food was good, although a lot of it was fried, but you can avoid that by ordering wisely, however, I couldn’t stop ordering the lobster bites. The lobsters are spiny lobster and have a toughness to them that cold water lobster does not….some people like it, some people don’t – didn’t stop me.
They also have a brick oven Pizza place on-site called Pizzarama that pumps out some pretty good pizza! And, they have all kinds of deals…like Monday nights are 2 for 1 pizza nights. I like cold pizza in the morning so I was down with the program. But, I forgot to mention that included in the price of your room – you get 3 different breakfast choices too – and they are all quite good.
The Vintage Pearl which has indoor dining, was a nice change of pace one night when we wanted a more intimate setting and a nice bottle of wine. Good food, American prices. After the sun sets the night’s at Bananarama light up a bit, literally with fire dancers, crab racing on the beach, movie night, karaoke night, etc.. etc.. and nice local music. It’s not over the top, but just the right amount of entertainment.
There are a lot of choices of places to stay on Roatán and quite frankly (sssshhhh..), I think my wife did a terrific job picking this random place for a variety of reasons. We don’t travel for the five star experience (well, most of the time) – we want the “real’ experience. This place was quaint, well-maintained, everything you need in walking distance and within hours, you feel like a local.
We poked our heads into several nearby resorts and some on the West End, however, if I ever go back, I will go to Bananarama: the beach is spectacular, just wide enough and with wonderful lounge chairs out front and shaded canopies. In my opinion, it’s just the right amount of people strolling the beach during the day and froliking in the water where you could people watch and not feel too crowded. It does get a little busy during the day. Jennifer would have preferred a few less people, but for me, it was just right. Yes, there is a steady flow of locals selling trinkets, sarongs, wood carvings, etc. they were never pushy or rude and simply were peddling their wares and Jennifer ended up buying some souvenirs so it wasn’t bad.
Never did we feel people were too pushy and Bananarama has a huge staff monitoring the whole facility, so there was no riff raff, no unwanted people approaching you. The Bananarama staff seemed to have the place nicely managed so you felt very safe there.
We don’t have any children but there were quite a few at the resort, seemingly having a great time and well behaved (not enough to feel overwhelmed by – after all, I deal with kids all day).
All in all, Bananarama is the place to go in Roatán!
Please feel free to leave comments about your own experience!