Thieving Monkeys, Three-Toed Sloths, Iguanas and Other Adventures In Roatan, Honduras

View from a hill in Roatan, Honduras: Our Adventures in Roatan, Honduras

On our recent cruise trip to the Western Caribbean, our second port of call was the island of Roatan, Honduras. Roatan is located just a few miles east of mainland Honduras. In recent years, Roatan has become a hotbed of tourism, especially for cruise ships. Located nearby is the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is the second largest barrier reef in the world, next to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Near the port at Roatan, Honduras: Our Adventures in Roatan, Honduras

We *think* this might be red algae? Anyone else know?

Roatan’s history reaches as far back as 1502, when it was discovered by Christopher Columbus, however there have been natives, known as the Payas, who lived there long before then. Roatan was also a haven for pirates primarily in the 17th and 18th centuries.

View from the ship in the port at Roatan, Honduras: Our Adventures in Roatan, Honduras

View from the ship in the port at Roatan, Honduras: Our Adventures in Roatan, Honduras

We arrived during the rainy season, unfortunately. It didn’t rain the entire time we were there, but when it did rain, it was very heavy downpours. We didn’t let that dampen our spirits, however. Our guide met us at the entrance to the port of Mahogany Bay, where our ship was docked. He was a native of Roatan, born and raised, and he seemed to know quite a bit about the island. He told us that the island was approximately 36 miles long and 5 miles wide at its widest point.

View from a hill in Roatan, Honduras: Our Adventures in Roatan, Honduras

Our guide took us to one of the highest points on the island, where we could see the cruise ships in their ports, overlooking the town of Coxen Hole, the largest town on the island. From there he took us to Arch’s Iguana Farm, where we witnessed countless numbers of iguanas basking in what sun there was and more than happy to munch on a native plant leaf, straight from our hands.

Iguana in Roatan, Honduras: Our Adventures in Roatan, Honduras

Iguana Stew, Anyone?

Arch’s Iguana Farm is an interesting story in itself. You see, iguanas are supposed to be a protected species on the island, however iguana stew is still a popular local dish, which of course requires iguana meat. Therefore, poachers still abound and they still hunt the iguana for its meat. Arch’s Iguana Farm takes in any wild iguanas that can make it to their land, where they can live out their days protected from hunters.

Iguana in Roatan, Honduras: Our Adventures in Roatan, Honduras

Our guide also took us to many local shops where we could, and did, buy souvenirs to take back on the cruise ship. We bought some authentic Honduran coffee (which is quite delicious, by the way), authentic Honduran money, some beautifully decorated ceramic lizards and some handmade coasters for our home.

Capuchin Monkeys in Roatan, Honduras

Jay with a Capuchin Monkey in Roatan, Honduras.

Who Knew Monkeys And Sloths Were So Cool?

We also went to a monkey farm, where Dawn and I got up close and personal with some white-faced Capuchin monkeys. They jump right on your shoulders and try to steal anything they can that is loose {glasses, cameras, etc.}. We knew about the thieving monkeys from our research before the trip so we were prepared. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Perhaps the highlight of the entire trip was a three-toed sloth named Sid, that Dawn and I both got to hold. Unfortunately, just as we got to hold Sid, the skies opened up and a huge downpour of rain prevented us from getting any pictures of him. He was as docile a creature as I have ever seen, and Dawn absolutely fell in love with him. I think if she felt she could have gotten away with it, she would have slipped him inside her backpack and took him home!

View of typical housing in Roatan, Honduras: Our Adventures in Roatan, Honduras

The most interesting part of the tour, for me, was learning about the Honduran culture first-hand. We could tell that there were not a lot of people with money on the island and the infrastructure definitely could use improvement. Also, most of the houses we saw were basically shacks, though quite colorful. However, the locals all seemed quite happy, smiling, honking and waving at each other on the roads. Our guide said that most everyone knew everyone else on the island. They seemed oblivious to the problems of the rest of the world, and content to be right where they were.

We found this island quite enjoyable. ๐Ÿ™‚

After picking up a couple more souvenirs back at the port, we got back on our ship and got ready for our next port of call, Cozumel, Mexico, which we will be writing about soon.

About Jay Crawford

Jay enjoys cooking, music {his favorite artists are KISS, Def Leppard, the Eagles and a lot of the newer country music}, and sports {Carolina Panthers, Tarheels and the Appalachian State Mountaineers}. He also enjoys grilling out and cruising around with the radio up and the windows down.


  1. What an amazing trip! I really have the itch to go somewhere exotic. Hopefully we can make it happen next year!

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      I think visiting somewhere that isn’t necessarily a typical vacation destination is a great idea. You can really learn a lot about a culture that you may otherwise never even hear about. I hope you get to go somewhere very cool this year.

  2. Wow! What an adventure! You can really learn a lot of history of the world by stopping at different ports on a cruise!

  3. I love that the people in the culture seemed happy! It does sound like a nice place to visit (and cool picture of the iguanas!).

  4. That sound so neat, what a wonderful opportunity. It’s a shame that people are poaching the iguanas if they’re supposed to be protected.

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      I agree. I think that iguanas are such cool and fun animals. In my experience, they are incredibly docile.

  5. I have never heard of Roatan but it looks so lush, even with the fog. I hope something can be done about the iguanas.

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      It was so full of rich plant life. That is definitely one of the things that I first noticed about Roatan. And I agree with you about the iguanas. I have always thought they were very cool animals. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Wow it looks simply amazing. I would love to get to hold a sloth.

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      It was so sweet and very still. It just wrapped it’s arms over my shoulders and I just held it in my arms. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. This looks like such an amazing place to visit! I don’t know if I would be brave enough to have the monkey climb on me, I think I would chicken out.

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      It was really lights and not in the least bit mean. The only thing was one tried to take my hair down. I had it in a bun and it’s super long so it couldn’t get it down. If you have a sensitive scalp it might hurt, but I thought it was funny. I read online about the monkeys before we went, so I knew they liked to try to steal things. So, since the monkey couldn’t get my ponytail holder out, I felt like I had punked the monkey – and I got a good laugh out of it. Ha!

  8. That looks like an amazing trip. And those iguanas!

  9. That looks like a beautiful place to visit. My daughter would love the monkey hanging on her while my son would be all over those iguanas

    • Dawn McAlexander says

      It really was beautiful. The monkeys are silly – jumping from shoulder to shoulder. But they are light, so it didn’t hurt or anything. ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. […] a ton of iguana pictures at Arch’s Iguana and Marine Park, which we visited while at ourin Roatan, Honduras port of call. Iguanas roam freely around this park as well as many species of birds. We were […]

  2. […] we took a ton of iguana pictures at Archโ€™s Iguana and Marine Park, which we visited while at ourย Roatan, Honduras port of call. Iguanas roam freely around this park as well as many species of birds. We were […]

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