Friday, March 20, 2015

Cruisin' - Roatan

We woke up this morning (Wednesday, Feb 25) just as the ship was maneuvering her way to the docks in Roatan.  I had a leisurely breakfast, went down to the 5th level to get myself a large cappuccino, and then loitered until the crush of passengers had disembarked the ship.

The small port of Roatan.  An intersesting rusting ship hulk
abandoned in the harbor.

View from the ship of the port plaza of Roatan

I have no plans for Roatan except to just enjoy the beautiful Mahogany Beach area and the cruise port plaza.  Of course, as I disembarked, I was captured by a band of pirates!  Love these little photo ops!

Not knowing quite what to expect as I walked the beautiful bricked sidewalk up the gentle hill toward the ship port plaza, I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it was, how spacious and nicely laid out, and how friendly the natives were.  I lingered for a few moments to listen to this little percussion band and to watch the dancers.

A very good percussion and dance troop greeted us in the plaza.

Then I wandered about a bit more and found these xylophone players under one of the canopies that led toward the taxi stands.  I had no plans to get a taxi, so just stood and watched and listened and dropped a dollar or two into their tip can.

Found this pair under the canopy near the taxi stands

There's a large marketplace at the far end of the plaza, where very nice, upscale native crafts and artwork are sold.  I spent quite a bit of time wandering through here. Everyone spoke English very well, and I could admire and discuss the items and the artwork with them easily.  There were no crowds here, so I could take my time and enjoy the atmosphere.

The open sided marketplace, where local artisans can sell their wares

A very good chocolate vendor.  She had raw cacao pods cut in
half where the brave (including me) could taste the white pulp
that surrounds the beans.  Very tasty, similar to papaya, and
the raw beans are the consistency of nuts and taste very good.

Beautiful painted ceramic ware

Rum cakes!

Hand-carved woodware

The little beaded animals there in the lower right corner

Cleverly painted and decorated terra cotta roof shingles

Nice wares

I had a bottle of water with me, but couldn't resist the site of a little thatched kiosk next to some shaded picnic tables.  Ice Cold Coconuts!  Yes, indeed!  A cooler chest filled with ice and coconuts beckoned me to try one.
OOOOOHH!  Ice cold coconut water!

The handsome vendor with a wide grin made quick work out of chopping the end of the coconut and then inserting a straw so that I could sit in the shade and sip the cold coconut water.

Chopping the top off of my coconut

He reminded me to be sure to return when I was done so that he could slice out the coconut meat for me to eat.  What a treat!
Nice spot in the shade to sit and enjoy the cool refreshing drink

As I drank my coconut water, I struck up a conversation with a friendly man standing next to me.  Turns out he was a passenger on my ship, a seasoned cruiser, having done over 20 cruises all over the world.  He was a retired Navy man, a surgical technician.  We chatted as we enjoyed our coconuts, him telling me about being a little boy in the Philippines and climbing trees to get their own coconuts.  It was a delightful interlude!

Fellow shipmate and pleasant man to chat with

As I headed toward the walkway and bridge that would take me to Mahogany beach, I passed another kiosk selling little sailboats hand-carved out of wood or coconut.  The artist was working on a pumice stone carving as I admired his work.  I bought a little boat for my grandson.

Artist working on a coconut hulled boat

Another kiosk was selling gorgeous little beaded animals, birds, butterflies, as well as some interesting and unusual paintings done on feathers.  I chatted with this vendor and learned that all of the items were made by single moms and that proceeds from sales went to support them and their children.  I bought several beautiful beaded items, including a little frog and a butterfly for my granddaughter and a parrot and a hummingbird for myself.

The story behind the artwork at this little kiosk

Some nice wares, made by single moms

Then it was time to walk across the bridge to Mahogany Beach to have lunch at Fat Tuesday's.    Along the way there were some interesting and random sculptures and items that caught my camera eye.

As the path started to rise up a gentle hill toward the bridge, I spotted a sign that pointed me toward a nature trail.  Curious. I took the trail and found a wonderful, shaded path that rose up a small cliff and then followed the coastline, giving me gorgeous views of the water and of the ships that were at the dock.  It was a lovely diversion from the main path.

Start of the nature trail...a nice arbor to walk beneath

A random bench, situated along the trail with a great view of the harbor

I had lunch at the open air Fat Tuesday's restaurant, trying out the local beer as well, a Barena, right out of the can.

View of the beach from my table at Fat Tuesday's

Fat Tuesday's menu

Some chicken enchiladas, washed down by a local beer

View of our ship from Mahogany Beach

A very nice, relaxing day in the Roatan ship port!  Working my way back over the little bridge to the seaport plaza, I stopped at another Fat Tuesday's to have another beer and bellied up to the open air bar, where I struck up a conversation with the delightful young couple next to me.  Did they ever have a story to tell!  They, along with 35 other passengers from Minnesota, were delayed leaving out of the airport and missed the ship's departure in Houston.  So the airline flew them to Cozumel, via Atlanta, put them up in an all-inclusive resort in Cozumel, and then got them to the ship port to catch the ship as it came through.  They missed the first two nights on-board the ship, but they got a wonderful full day and night at an all inclusive Cozumel beach resort.  Nice!  They were given red wrist bands at the resort and the group decided to keep keep their bands on so that they could recognize each other - sort of a secret bond - while on-board throughout the rest of the cruise.

As I strolled back to the ship, I paused one last time to get another photo of this native percussion group.

One last goodbye from the little percussion/dance troupe

Back to the ship and, just as in Cozumel, a ship staff member was handing out chilled towels to the returning passengers.  Nice touch!

Chilled towel, Ma'am?

The gangway deposited me onto the same deck as the International Cafe, so I ordered myself a macchiato to enjoy as I worked my way back up to deck #11 and the room to drop off my purchases.

Once again, I had dinner at the Horizon Court buffet and sat with yet another delightful couple and enjoyed their company, the conversation, and my dinner. Afterward, I returned to my cabin and finished the bottle of champagne, enjoyed a few chocolates and called it a day....a very good day.

Tomorrow:  Belize


  1. What a great trip to shore. I love all the bright colors. I think the painted roof tiles were my favorite.

  2. I loved those roof tiles as well. Just couldn't figure out how to get them home without crushing or breaking. It was a very nice and photogenic port of call.