Originally we were just going to relax on Roatan, since we had already booked so many things (including a long day tomorrow in Belize). Carnival built a whole port and beach area (with of course the requisite shops and restaurants) on Roatan Island called Mahogany Bay, and ostensibly we could have done the whole day there for no fee, just relaxed on the beach and whatnot. However, the more I did research and the more I thought about it, I really wanted to see the rest of the island and not just the Carnival part. Plus the day before was a beach day in Cozumel, and I didn’t think Chris would like the beach too much (turns out in his “old” age he is much more amenable to lying around, but oh well!). I learned we could book a private driver for the day and get a tour for a pretty reasonable rate (compared to other places, for sure) so I decided to do that. I wanted to do some sightseeing and eat some authentic food.
There were a couple of companies on Roatan that offered similar looking products. I decided to go with the highest rated company, Victor Bodden tours. The only unnerving aspect was that we would have to meet the tour guide outside of the grounds and evidently it would be quite the walk up a big hill (this is Carnival trying to make it harder for you to book independently and just spend money on their property.)
The ship was scheduled to dock at 11:00 am and it was just a little bit early. The odd thing is that the ship almost backs into the port. I got up early and watched this all from the balcony. We got off the ships shortly after 11:00 and walked through the port, Mahogany bay, up a big hill, down a big hill, and finally met our tour guide for the day. His name was Frankie, and he was very personable.
Originally I didn’t know what we wanted to do. I’ve never been there, so how would I know what to see? I potentially wanted to zipline, but figured with a private tour, and having done parasailing and jet skis already that we had had enough adventure. And this is something I should have thought of: Victor Bodden of Victor Bodden tours owns his own zipline on his property (tourism is booming, I guess!). It is also part of a place called “Monkey Business” which is a little zoo with birds and monkeys, a petting zoo of sorts. I had said we did not want to do this, because Chris and I thought it sounded creepy and exploitative.
Frankie drove us around the island for a bit. Like I said, he was very personable. He pointed out many different places, took us through several villages, some VERY poor. He drove up a very long hill/dirt road to the highest point on the island–you could see all around you. Just to let you know, Roatan is a very lush, hilly island. Grand Cayman is very flat–Roatan Island is the opposite.
After about 1 to 1 1/2 hours of driving around, Frankie took us to the Monkey/zip line place. I guess we had to go there, since I thought we had already said we didn’t want to zipline. However, we decided to just pay the $5 zoo fee and spend some time there. It ended up being pretty neat.
After the zoo we went to West End Beach. We could have stayed there for awhile, but we decided to just walk around a bit, and then we wanted to have lunch. The water was beautiful!
The beach was pretty small but beautiful, and jammed with rustic looking restaurants/resorts. Evidently the scuba and snorkeling are great, but we didn’t do any of that. We had already had a good beach day, so a little walk was good enough. We were quite hungry by this point, so we wanted to get some food.
Our guide recommended a place, and told us that his favorite food was iguana–a delicacy in the area. We invited him to join us for lunch, and we ordered “off” the menu. I forget the name of the restaurant, something to do with Creole’s something (should have taken a picture). Frankie and I ordered the iguana and Chris went with the stewed chicken. Both dishes came with rice and beans, and plantains. Frankie was worried I wouldn’t like the iguana, but I ended up really liking it! (Plus I am just not a very picky eater and love to try new things.)
After lunch, we just wanted to do a little shopping. We went to a gift shop type place where almost everything was “50 percent off!” (Pretty sure it was always that way…) We got some awesome smelling coffee and a beautiful wooden plate. Finally our guide dropped us back off at the pier. We said thanks for a great day and gave him a nice tip. Overall it was a great tour, though I might try a different company next time as I felt like Victor Bodden had a little bit of a racket going on!
We walked around Mahogany Bay for a bit and poked our heads in a few of the shops. We also tried coconut water (directly out of a coconut), which I had heard was really tasty. For the record: it was NOT very good.
Finally we got back on the ship. We hit the gym (ran a bit…gah…so hot on the treadmills!) and then went out to the sun deck for a little while. We just relaxed, had a frosty drink, and got ready for the show before dinner.
The show was “the Physical comedy of Max Winfrey”. It was EXCELLENT. He was very funny, did a lot of juggling, and some other stuff (knife throwing) all with a witty sense of humor. I did not have high expectations, and I thought the show was just fantastic.
We went to dinner, and then after dinner there were two new comedians: Dobie Maxwell and Eddie Capone. We attended both “R rated” shows with our tablemates, and they were very funny. I liked Eddie Capone the best–he would make fun of audience members and himself.
Next stop: early morning in Belize, Mayan ruins tour!