This page will be an orientation of the island of Roatan and its geography. Roatan is located a short, two to a two-and-a-half-hour flight that lands directly on the island, from Houston, Miami, and Atlanta on United, American and Delta Airlines. There are also direct flights seasonally from Canada and Europe. Isla Roatan is the largest of 62 islands and keys that make up the Bay Islands of Honduras. Roatan is approximately 35 miles long and is two and a half miles wide at its widest location.
Unlike many other tropical islands, Roatan is not just a bump in the water, in that it has considerable elevations which are beneficial in many ways. The elevation increases from the west side of the island to the east side and increases from an estimated 750 ft above sea level, to about 11,000 feet. These elevations are great for both outstanding views of the Caribbean, and at the same time, provide great breezes predominantly from the southeast. Roatan is lush, with both green and flowing vegetation on much of the island.
The coral reef surrounds the island and is a part of the second largest barrier reef system in the world. The reef is very beneficial providing habitat to a huge community of sea life. It also provides substantial protection from the very infrequent hurricanes that are normally a threat in the eastern Caribbean islands. The hurricanes we experience on Roatan are most often not the ones that come across the Atlantic from Africa and end up in the eastern Caribbean, Florida and the east coast of the U.S. Or, in the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico and west to Belize. The storms we encounter most often come up from South America and are normally later in the season. That said, Roatan averages a hurricane about every 24 years. Roatan is not considered to be on any hurricane path.
Roatan's geography can be split into three distinct sections: west, middle and east. We will start with the western part of the island, geographically about a third or less of the total. This second of the island is where most visitors become familiar with Roatan. Whether it be from being on vacation or a while on a day visit on a cruise ship. This area includes West Bay, where the world-famous West Bay Beach, proclaimed to be one of the top 10 beaches in the world, by the International Living Organization.