Is Roatan Safe?
Roatan Safety Tips
Is Roatan Safe? Yes. That said, Honduras is a third-world country which is still a developing country. Many of the comforts and securities which many enjoy elsewhere are simply not available in Honduras. There are cultural differences which will enrich your overall experience but can also lead to frustrations and misunderstandings.
The income disparities between the majority of Hondurans and those visiting Roatan is noticeable. By in large, foreigners are viewed as belonging to the wealthy class when they visit Honduras. Even backpackers who normally travel on a budget are considered to be more well off than many hard workers in the local middle class.
Types of Crimes
The most common type of crime on Roatan are burglaries. These sort of crimes can be avoided by dressing down, being careful about where expensive belongings are left, and keeping to safe areas. Avoid wandering around local villages after hours.
Most areas around Roatan are safe. Roatan offers several residential living options as well, some safer than others. For instance, residents have an option of living in gated communities or stand-alone residences with a hired caretaker of "watchman."
In most cases, serious crime comes to those who have neglected their safety or have acted irresponsibly. In Roatan, like most of the world, if an individual gets involved with the wrong crowd, he/she stands a solid chance of getting in trouble. Hard drugs and prostitution are in general the two activities which lead to the most exposure to trouble. And to connect with individuals who dabble in either of these two activities, one must go out and look for them. It is not easy to find these individuals without a deliberate effort. Further, both the hard drugs and prostitution are illegal in Roatan.
But drugs and prostitution are not the only way to get in trouble. Others have gotten into trouble simply by showing off. A general lack of prudence or showing off large sums of cash can turn visitors into prime targets for a crime of opportunity.
As a general rule, visitors to Roatan should abide by the same safety rules they abide by at home. There are many communities around Roatan which are void of crime. Some of these include the areas of Palmetto Bay, Pristine Bay, Turtle Crossing, & Lawson Rock. Crime in these neighborhoods is prevented through a combination of gated layouts and security patrols.
Conversely, there are areas or town around Roatan which should be avoided after dark or in which extra precaution is recommended. Coxen Hole, Los Fuertes, French Harbour, are some of the main places where tourist and residents alike should keep a watchful eye.
Be careful when riding on scooters on the island. Scooter accidents are among the most common transportation accidents we see on Roatan. There is one main road which is poorly maintained, poorly lit, and often congested. Roatan is in a third world country, and as such, it is not unusual to find cattle, horses, erratic taxi drivers, large trucks, and other unsafe motorists. Law enforcement is also slow to respond, if at all. For this reason, we encourage travelers to refrain from taking long trips on scooters. If you rent a scooter, consider staying nearby and don't venture far.
Cybercrime is part of most third world countries. ATMs are Roatan, for the most part, reliable. However, there have been reported instances of credit card information being stolen at ATMs. For this reason, a good idea to use ATMs that are located in banks instead of using an ATM which might be outside and accessible to street pedestrians.
Roatan is a safe island. Crime can be easily avoided by taking basic safety precautions. What follows is a list of safety tips which you can adhere to when visiting our island. Stay safe and enjoy.
• Secure valuable items in a security box or safe if one is provided by your hotel, a resort, or vacation home. If you are living on the island, purchase a safe and keep your valuables inside of it unless you are using them.
It is a good idea to make a photocopy of your passport and credit cards so that you have a record in case the originals are lost or stolen. This is good for both tourists and residents.
• When at the beach, or in a public area, do not leave your bags unattended. This includes leaving handbags hanging on the back of chair backs or under a table.
• Exploring of isolated areas of the island is best done through a guided tour or a car, rather than on scooters. Even if you rent or own a car if you are unfamiliar with areas of the island it is best to ask someone’s advice before venturing off on your own. Obviously, there is no GPS here, so once you head off the main road, you are on your own.
• The beach walk between West Bay and West End should not be attempted alone, as muggings have occurred in this isolated stretch of beach. That said, this has not occurred recently. Additionally, there are several areas along this walk where there is no sand, and you must walk over very slippery rocks. It is safer, faster, and much easier to take land or water taxi.
• Avoid displays of money and valuables such as expensive jewelry, watches, cell phones, iPods, cameras, etc. Roatan is very casual, and by dressing casually, you will not draw attention to yourself. If you move here and get more comfortable and familiar with the area and the people, of course, you can feel at ease walking down West End road with your normal gadgets. But until you no longer look like a tourist, it is best to leave all of your electronics at home. Take the time to look around you and enjoy the scenery instead.
• The tropical sun is stronger. For this reason, you should apply sunscreen before exposing yourself to an extended period outdoors. This is especially true for children. If you are snorkeling, don’t forget that you may feel cool in the water but your back is exposed to the bright sun. Also be aware of dehydration, as the heat can be extreme – even once you’ve lived here for a while.
• There are sand flies and mosquitos throughout all tropical areas, and the bites can affect visitors. Apply repellent before going out. For sensitive individuals, use anti-‐ itch cream or coconut oil to alleviate itchiness.
• Be careful driving at after hours or at dusk as pedestrians do walk along the side of the road because there aren't sidewalks along most roads in Roatan.
• Be careful driving, especially near schools and day care centers during the day as kids walk to and from school along the main roads. There are usually speed bumps near all school zones, so be aware and slow down.
• After a rainfall, local the roads can be very slippery, and you should reduce your speed and take extra caution when driving. Potholes may be harder to spot after heavy rain, so it is always best to drive slowly and take your time.
• Please be careful overtaking on corners and hills when passing other vehicles.
• While many people will hitchhike on Roatan, you should avoid giving rides to or accepting rides from people that you do not know.
In the unlikely event that you need a medical evacuation from the island, the U.S. military base on the mainland provide those services. Here are the emergency contact phone numbers for all emergency services on-‐island:
• Public Ambulance 9919-‐8970, 2445-‐0428
• Air Ambulance/Medevac 8983-‐6822, 9535-‐9908
FIRE DEPARTMENT (BOMBEROS)
• Dixon Cove Fire Department 2445-‐0428, *198
• Oak Ridge Fire Department 2408-‐3794
HOSPITALS & CLINICS
• Cornerstone Medical Service – AKR 9450-‐3253
• Clinica Esperanza/Nurse Peggy’s Clinic 2445-‐3234
• Roatan Public Hospital – Coxen Hole 2445-‐1227
• Woods Medical Center – Coxen Hole 2445-‐1080
• GARM Clinic – Parrot Tree Plantation 2408-‐3544
• Municipal Police, Coxen Hole 2445-‐0416
• National Police Station in Coxen Hole 2445-‐3438, *199
• National Police Station in Oak Ridge 2408-‐3792
• Tourist Police in West End 8882-‐8325, 9795-‐5553, 9849-‐7737, 2445-‐4223
• Naval Police in Oak Ridge 2408-‐3793
• Dr. Santiago Soto 2445-‐2806, 9909-‐0595