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It may not seem possible to those that are following along with my seemingly never-ending coverage from this adventure, but my four months in Central America felt like they truly flew by. As my plane touched down in Roatan, it felt like just yesterday that I’d landed in Managua. It was a meaningful place to end my trip.

In 2010, I visited Honduras for two weeks — it was the cheapest and easiest place to get to from the Cayman Islands, where I was spending the summer working as a photography intern. I spent two weeks diving on Roatan, partying Utila, and rafting and ziplining at a jungle lodge outside La Ceiba. Five years later, I found myself back in Central America, and in a fun little full circle twist, I decided to end my trip using that same flight route in order to visit my ‘ol photography guru Heather, who is now a close friend and frequent travel buddy.

Barefoot Cay, Roatan

Roatan

I loved that first trip to Honduras, but outside of Copan there weren’t many other new destinations in Honduras left that I was absolutely itching to visit. There was, however, a person — my girl , who I’d been online friends with for years but had yet to meet in person. As soon as I booked my flight out of La Ceiba, I knew a meet up in her adopted home of Roatan would be in order.

Rika knows everyone who’s anyone and knows everything that’s anything about this little island. At first, I was just planning to crash with her — by her invitation, of course — but then, shortly before I arrived, she asked if I might like to check out some of the island’s most beautiful boutique hotels instead. TWIST MY ARM, RIKA. Twist my arm.

And that’s how I found myself, after another travel day from hell (stay tuned to a future roundup for a recap of that particular disaster), melting into island bliss at .

The Beach House Roatan

The Beach House Roatan

The Beach House Roatan

I knew from my previous week on Roatan — when my ex-boyfriend and I had balked at the price of the local hostel and spontaneously rented a spare room from a local divemaster — that bohemian West End was much more my style that built-up West Bay. Yet The Beach House is the perfect blend of the best parts of both, laid back and luxurious.

Basically, I was pretty pumped to find that those looking for gorgeous digs needn’t relegate themselves to West Bay to find them. With studios starting at $95 a night, it’s a pretty darn decent deal for being beachfront in the Caribbean. Roatan in general is one of those fantastic destinations that offers Caribbean perks at Central American prices.

The Beach House Roatan

The Beach House Roatan

The Beach House Roatan

The Beach House Roatan

With a private dock, a waterfront restaurant and bar, and a cute beach boutique, The Beach House is a one-stop shop for style. West End is loaded with amazing restaurants and chilled-out beach bars, yet I think it would be hard to tear oneself away from , where I had some of the best salads and specialty cocktails of the trip.

The Beach House Roatan

The Beach House Roatan

The Landing Roatan

Speaking of salads, Rika and I had a big ‘ol laugh over comparing the food photos we put on Instagram versus the food photos we very pointedly don’t. Like this gorgeous mango avocado salad lunch I enthusiastically posted, and the carbohydrate bonanza dinner monstrosity that we devoured privately in shame — until now. Sorry Rika!

The Landing Roatan

Bar on the Bay Roatan

When we weren’t at The Landing, I loved that we were walking distance from West End’s best dining and nightlife. Neighboring Utila might be known as the party island, but Rika showed me that Roatan knows how to get down as well. We had one very fun Saturday night out, a decision that we did pay for for most of Sunday. Unlike some tropical destinations (ahem, Koh Tao), Roatan actually does have a distinct weekend where the bars and clubs are significantly more lively than they are on weekdays, which vacationers should take into account.

Roatan Nightlife

Roatan Nightlife

At least we had a gorgeous place to recover in the next day.

The Beach House Roatan

Three nights in West End went by in a blip, but we didn’t linger — Rika wanted to show me the East side of the island, which on my previous trip I’d only breezed through by motorbike. This time, we camped out at the beautiful , a mecca for divers and design lovers between French Harbour and Brick Bay.

Barefoot Cay sits on a teeny four acre private isle just a stone’s throw from shore, but you still need to hop on a thirty second boat ride to reach it, which I think just increases the charm. In my next post, I’ll show you some of the beautiful dive sites we visited while diving with the Barefoot Cay boat. But first, a look at the sweet little island that we decompressed on, pre and post-dive.

Barefoot Cay, Roatan

Barefoot Cay, Roatan

Our room was a one-bedroom suite with a separate living room, full kitchen, spacious porch, and small desk area in the bedroom — perfect for editing photos after a dive! Barefoot Cay is somewhat isolated and so having a kitchen onsite is a nice way to mix in some low-key homemade meals with the ones offered in the onsite restaurant, though those were so good I admit they’d be hard to pass up.

I can’t imagine a more beautiful base for a week of diving — or just relaxing.

Barefoot Cay, Roatan

Barefoot Cay, Roatan

Barefoot Cay, Roatan

Barefoot Cay, Roatan

Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side for my week in Roatan — again, stay tuned to a future roundup for all the details — but suffice it to say that it seriously messed with my plans (and my head!) Turns out, a freak weather pattern hitting Central America was going to wreak all kinds of havoc on final days, forcing me to flee Roatan early rather than get stuck there, and nearly canceling my flight to the Cayman Islands and causing me miss the festival I’d specifically planned my trip around. That stress kind of followed me throughout the week, as did the ominous dark skies warning of the storm to come. Between the bag weather and the crop burning on the mainland, we rarely had a blue sky or a hint of sun.

Yet we still layed out under the muggy skies — can’t blame a couple of girls for tryin’!

Barefoot Cay, Roatan

Snorkeling in Roatan

Gorgeous as the Barefoot Cay pool may be, there was another spot that captured our attention more — the palapa. We spent hours here, snorkeling and swimming, reading and hammock swinging. And of course, goofing around with .

Snorkeling in Roatan

Snorkeling in Roatan

Snorkeling in Roatan

So, it turns out this trip to Roatan wasn’t about doing and seeing it all. But you know what? I’d done that once before, and that’s the beauty of going back somewhere for the second time. Instead, this trip to Roatan was about soaking up my last few days in Central America in style, checking out two gorgeous hotels on each side of the island, and endless giggles with a fun new friend.

And while it was unintentional, I feel like we nailed the perfect Roatan itinerary — a few days in West End checking out the lively restaurant and nightlife scene, and a few days over on the East coast enjoying some solitude and scuba.

Barefoot Cay, Roatan

Barefoot Cay, Roatan

Snorkeling in Roatan

Stay tuned for one more post about our diving adventures,
my final dispatch from Central America!

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Many thanks to The Beach House and Barefoot Cay for hosting me in Roatan. As always, you get my honest thoughts and opinions regardless of who is footing the bill. And muchas gracias to for being the best tour guide a girl could ask for!

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42 Comments...
  • Shaun's Cracked Compass
    August 17 2015

    Rika’s blog is excellent, I always like seeing these meet ups in the real world. Freak weather eh? Maybe el nino? Nothing wrong with having a different kind of trip than the first time you were there. Especially when you make the best of it.
    Shaun’s Cracked Compass recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      Yeah I’m not sure what it was… I feel like someone told me it was a ‘nor easter but I have no idea what that it so I just squinted and nodded like I did, ha. I do know there were local news stories all over the place about the crazy storm that was coming!

  • Allison
    August 17 2015

    Your underwater pics are amazing, you definitely inspired me to consider visiting Honduras! It wasn’t really on my Central American list until now,but the diving pics had me sold!
    Allison recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      Just wait till Friday’s post šŸ™‚

  • Kacy
    August 17 2015

    Both of those hotels are so charming! It’s funny, I tend to instagra my fattier meals over my healthy ones, I’m not sure why that is.
    Kacy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      Ha, I think I’m trying to subconsciously train myself to eat more salads…

  • Camels & Chocolate
    August 17 2015

    I have a photo of me in that very hammock taken during our own Barefoot Cay adventures in 2011. Looking forward to comparing our Barefoot dive pics! Spoiler alert: Mine were super cloudy as it was monsooning up top while we dove!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      Ugh, I’ve been there and done that. People are always like, “doesn’t matter if it’s raining, you’re going to get wet anyway!” And I’m like, no. Ha. No natural light = I don’t want to dive.

  • Izy Berry
    August 17 2015

    Great post!! Roatan is beautifull great choice for summer vacations with your friends a lot of fun
    Izy Berry recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      I’d love to come back here with my family! Definitely a great choice for visitors of all ages.

  • Jason
    August 17 2015

    Your photos are getting more and more impressive all the time. If The Beach House and Barefoot Cay get free access to even a small fraction of these photos, I’d say they should offer you free accommodation for life!

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      Hey, I wouldn’t complain! šŸ˜‰ Thanks Jason!

  • As usual, Meihoukai, your photos are amazing. I love the yellows in a lot of your shots! I have been hanging on every word of your Central America posts, so I am bummed to see them come to an end. Ha! But hopefully one day I will be able to put together a trip of my own.
    Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      That makes me so happy to hear, Amanda! Not that you are sad, of course, but that you have loved this series of posts. I hope they do serve as inspiration for a trip of your own someday!

  • Marni
    August 17 2015

    I love that hammock! I would definitely want to be in it if I was there. Your pics are awesome.

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      Thanks Marni! It was definitely my favorite spot in all of Barefoot.

  • Colleen Brynn
    August 17 2015

    Yeah it’s so cool you guys met up! These pics look like a dream!
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      It is so awesome when you’re friends with someone online for so long and you finally meet and click as well as we did. Rika is the best!

  • Mel
    August 18 2015

    Beautiful photos, Barefoot Cay looks stunning!
    Mel recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      Thanks Mel! I’d add it to the Central American bucket list for sure šŸ™‚

  • Britt
    August 18 2015

    Oh wow I have never even heard of this place. There are just so many islands in that part of the world that I get adding to my list. But who has a travel bucketlist that isn’t neverending?

    Looks like my kind of place- the perfect mix of relaxation, beautiful sites, good food and even a little bit of partying šŸ™‚
    Britt recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      Who has a travel bucket list that isn’t neverending? Definitely not this girl! I feel ya, Britt šŸ™‚

  • Janice Stringer
    August 18 2015

    Hi again Meihoukai,
    Feel Like i’ve spoken so much to you this week! šŸ™‚
    I’m really enjoying seeing all the eclectic and interesting places you’re staying in. As much as I love bedding down in a big hotel, some of the larger chains have such a similar decor and style, it becomes a bit bland. I like to see something a little different on offer. Especially when it’s a rainy day in Southend (my home town) like today!
    Janice Stringer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      I could not agree more, Janice. Nothing makes my heart happy like a beautiful, local boutique hotel!

  • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
    August 18 2015

    This was such a fun week!! Still can’t believe we finished all that food at Bar on the Bay. Champions.

    So… see you in Koh Tao for the next one?

    xo!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..

  • Leah
    August 18 2015

    Looks like a perfect trip to me! Minus the cloudy/smoky sky…who knew Central America burned their crops too? Gross.
    Leah recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      It definitely ruined what would have been some otherwise great shots. So rude, right? Jk… kind of.

  • Laura
    August 18 2015

    What a gorgeous hotel!

    It might not be as pretty to photograph, but that second meal looks damn good!

    Laura
    Laura recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      I normally try to limit carbs as much as possible, so yeah, it basically looked like a big plate of heaven to me!

  • Joella
    August 18 2015

    Roatan looks great- love the timings of all these posts while I plan my own trip. Or maybe your posts planted the ideas in my head- not sure šŸ™‚ I am currently thinking of going to the Bay Islands after I spend a couple of weeks studying Spanish and currently trying to decide between Utilia or Roatan. I was learning towards Roatan because it looks gorgeous, seems like there are a range of budget options (hopefully!) and I could fly directly back to the US- although that option is several hundred dollars more than flying from anywhere else in Central America…so maybe not. Otherwise I might just carry on up to Guatemala too. Can’t leave my poor husband home alone forever though I guess hehehe… šŸ™‚
    Joella recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 19 2015

      If you have time, I’d definitely give both Utila and Roatan a look, even if you just pop over to one of them for a few days. They are such different islands! I really loved them both. And yay for supportive partners while we chase our travel dreams šŸ™‚

  • Steph
    August 20 2015

    Hi Meihoukai! Kind of a random question for you, just a curiosity I’ve developed while reading lots of different travel blogs. First off, let me say that I LOVE reading your blog regardless of what destination you’re in! But I’m curious why you (and most travel bloggers) aren’t as interested in Europe? Most bloggers just say something vague like “oh, Europe doesn’t capture me the same way,” which I guess I get if they really don’t like art. But I know you love art and went to art school — so Europe seems like it would be right up your alley. I used to assume it’s because Europe is so expensive (which totally makes sense, and readers could sympathize!), but I’ve really never heard a blogger say that, they just say they’re not as interested in it. Any reason you’re not as into it?

    • Meihoukai
      August 22 2015

      First of all, thanks for the kudos and for reading Meihoukai in Wanderland! As for your question, hmmm, well of course I can only answer for myself. I know tons of travel bloggers who adore Europe but I actually read a very very small percentage of what’s out there so not sure what the overall trends are. I definitely agree with the statement that Europe just does not capture me in the same way as Southeast Asia or Latin America (I think I’ve written that exact statement before!), and it’s hard to articulate why. Even when I was a kid and my parents were the ones footing the bills for our family vacations I was always begging to go the Galapagos, not Germany!

      I guess perhaps it feels a little more familiar culturally? And yeah, considering the prices, I’d have to REALLY want to go in order to justify the trip. I have loved the parts of Europe that I’ve explored (Iceland and Greece are two major favorites) but I admit that I won’t be rushing back. There are just areas of the world that I want to see so much more! Hope that answers your question, at least a bit šŸ™‚

      • Steph
        August 24 2015

        Thanks Meihoukai — it does! I am just always intrigued by how travel bloggers make their choices / set their itineraries, because your lives are so different from mine. Thanks for shedding some light on it šŸ™‚

  • Steph
    August 20 2015

    Why did you delete my previous comment? :'(

  • Steph
    August 20 2015

    Oops — I’m sorry, Meihoukai, I see now that my comment is just awaiting moderation. Technology fail on my part!

    • Meihoukai
      August 22 2015

      No worries! I have to manually approve the first comment from every reader to help prevent spam. From now on, all yours will be auto-approved! šŸ™‚

  • Naville
    August 20 2015

    I love that you came back to Honduras. Honduras is the best place for the tourist as it is cheap and can find many backpackers fellow friends. I recommend next time here to go to Intibuca, La Esperanza, Gracias, Lempira which are not beach side places but have the most cultural heritage. You can see people still wearing the Mayan traditional suites and experience a real life in a mayan community (which we have many). People always center just in Copan and Roatan but there is much more to see than just those two things. šŸ™‚

    • Meihoukai
      August 22 2015

      I bet there is! Latin America certainly has my heart, so I’m sure I’ll return someday and I’d love to check out those spots.

  • Leigh
    September 2 2015

    The Beach House looks fabulous, adding it to the list, which is growing longer and longer every time you post šŸ™‚
    Leigh recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      September 9 2015

      This comment made me smile! Thanks Leigh šŸ™‚