See allSeven Affordable, Under-the-Radar Beach Destinations

by , SmarterTravel Staff - January 12, 2009
Roatan, Honduras - Restaurant over water

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, a minnow-shaped island within Honduras' Bay Islands, attracts divers who come to experience the world's second-largest barrier reef and those looking for an affordable, laid-back beach vacation in the Caribbean. The island is one of Central America's once-hidden-now-on-the-rise beach destinations, but thankfully it still lacks big chain resorts and some of the other trappings of mass tourism.

Most Roatan tourists come for the diving and snorkeling, which is among the best in the Caribbean. Besides the coral reefs, you can explore shipwrecks and go on dives specifically to swim with sharks and dolphins. You can also visit the Roatan Tropical Butterfly Garden ($7), go horse-back riding ($35) on the beach, shop at local art galleries, or just relax at one of several open-air seafood restaurants and bars.

The top-rated (according to Trip Advisor, our sister site), hotel on the island, West Bay Lodge, charges a mere $80 a night (based on a four-night stay) for private bungalows with kitchens. The rate includes daily breakfast, a welcome drink, and airport transfers for stays of four nights or longer.

(Photo: iStockPhoto/Devon Stephens)

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