Roatan: An Island Paradise
Roatan Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
May 5th, 2008 – by: d00tchy
I've been working my butt off for about 6 months, hauling in almost 60 hours a week every week. Why? I wanted to switch into 6th gear to get back to the islands I dream about so much. I'm like many of you, who dream about being in the perfect place in the perfect time. Like you, I have been fortunate enough to have traveled and because of it, I have seen the "other side". That being the place, or lifestyle, we wish to pursue. What we have in front of us now: the things we do, the sacrifices we make, are all just a means to an end.
So I schedule my vacation and for a week I get to escape the realism of my life to be washed away with dreams of paradise, listening to subtle ocean waves underneath swaying palmtrees offering shade from a punishingly scorching sun holding rum-loaded coconuts with small colorful cocktail umbrellas.
GB and I flew from Oakland to El Salvador to Honduras to Roatan in about 12 hours. The weather went from cold and windy to hot and humid. One minute I had shoes on, the next I had on some very comfortable sandals. I love the islands. Usually what I noticed about traveling to the best off-the-beaten-path island destinations is that the smaller the plane gets, the more beautiful the place tends to be. In this case, the final plane to get to Roatan was a humble 20 seater on propellers with no A/C. Doesn't matter, paradise lies ahead.
There I was greeted by the beaming rays of sunlight and the hot and humid breezewinds and my 2 buddies who had made their way all the way from Cancun, to Belize, to Honduras, to Roatan. I had traveled with my boy DZ in the Philippines before but never with my other boy BK. But we all cool people so I knew that this is the crew I needed to enjoy the life with. And enjoying we did, as the first thing in my hand was an ice-cold can of Salva Vida beer, Honduras' pride and passion.
Honduras is a country of many indigineous crops. The coffee, for example, is the best I have ever tasted. Everything from the robust flavors to the savory aromas, Hondureno coffee beats Starbucks any day. And the beers seem like they have been brewed in a special formula made specially for the island experience. I mean, on a hot day where you spend most of your day sweating, it is immensely refreshing to indulge yourself with an ice-cold mellow lager beer that is not too strong yet not too watered down. The answer? Salva Vida, Port Royal, Imperial, and Barena. All four have Hondureno roots and all 4 have earned my highest marks for top-quality swills. Alot of discussion can be had about which is truly the best, but for me, I spread my love equally like a father loving all of his bastard children.
Instead of jumping into a cab, we rented a modest truck, because me, GB, and DZ will spend a week here and BK has an open timetable because he's on an extended 3 month vacation. We arrived in the West End, which is the busy beach side district where alot of the partying happens. In our search for a comfortable hotel, we passed up many resorts and bungalow cabins only to have found the most perfect spot for us to lodge at: the Dolphin. The Dolphin is nothing fancy, the experior looks crappy, and the owners do not speak Engish. But it's cheap, has A/C and TV (for those who think about watching it), is located right smack-dab in the middle of the rustle-and-bustling area, and we were able to get a front-side balcony. What else could you want? What's the point in a $100+ resort where you're cut off from all the action or bungalows so secluded that you don't even get to know other travelers? Perhaps something good for the introverts, but as socially extroverted animals that we are, we craved for action. Did I mention it was cheap? With the little Espanol that I knew mostly from Taco trucks and 99c Fleamarkets, I was able to barter a very attractive deal for that balcony room. Si....
So we had a stay and we had cold beers and plenty of duty-free cigarettes, it was time to get settled and relax. Play the mandatory island reqqae and some Hed Kandi Beach House on the iPod speakers as we ponder about life and whats for dinner. The secret to longevity in drinking is eating the right foods, and on an island you will definitely find the right foods for drinking. Grilled shrimp and lobster with beans and freshly made tortillas: Money! It was grubbin...
Then it was partytime, as by this time, satiated by the seafood and hydrated by the beer and countless shots of locally-stilled Flor de Cana rum, we were prime-time ready for debauchery. We entered in the Blue Channel just by following the sounds of blaring live music, and experienced musical talent at its finest. A man by the name of Brion James, lead guitarist and vocalist, and his 3 man band serenaded the tingling chords of my spine and percussion-caressed my eardrums as he rocked away on his guitar while the drummer bashed away on his set and the bassist laid down the funky basslines. This was it. Happiness at its purest.
Somehow hangovers and headaches don't hurt as much waking up on an island paradise than when at home. All we did was smile and talk about how awesome the night before was. Still piss-drunk from the night before and hazy from all the different kind of smokes, we embarked on a mission to cure us of our ailments. The best hangover cure, after all, is a dip in a beautifully pristine beach. Ahhhhh......
This went on for 6 days.
And in 6 days, we had done so much besides partying. There's just so much to do. Scuba diving around the island is fantastic. Home to the 2nd largest barrier reef, Roatan and its neighbors Utila and Guanaja carry the most lively and unique corral reefs and accompanying sealife. Beautiful sea-turtles: young and old, crabs: pregnant and not, barracudas: long and intimidating. Another great activity is to drive across the island in ATV's or scooters. Blowing by the hot humid air at 90 km/hr speeds brings chills down your spine. But most of all, all the activity you really need to do on an island paradise is to just chill. Enjoy and absorb every minute as it were your last. No picture or video can ever replace the image and feelings of your experiences. This is paradise. This is your paradise...
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