Over the Christmas/New Year holidays, I went on two cruises--each a week long, back-to-back--
Let's discuss Roatan.
Roatan is basically a big mountain in the ocean, surrounded by some little wisps of beach.
Besides snorkeling and diving, the big activity on the island is zooming through the forest on ziplines. I can barely ride an escalator without passing out, so I did NOT elect to hang from a wire and slide down to the beach. But from the top of the mountain, the view is nice.
So here's the deal with Roatan: the island is very poor, but that is part of its charm. The locals keep it pretty real, yo.
...and when it's a nice day, why not bathe in the front yard?
Roatan is virtually untouched by corporate behemoth hotels and restaurants, so the island is very laid-back. Of course, away from the watchful eyes of tour guides, it can be a little dicey; allow me to give you some pointers:
1) If you come in on cruise ship, at the port you will be accosted by hooligans hawking overpriced cabs, scooters, and what-not. As there isn't a significant tourist-friendly infrastructure on the island, engage their services at your own peril. (The cruise-sponsored excursions are more expensive, but they may be less stressful.)
2) You will also find occasional sex workers wandering around, particularly of the male gender and the transgendered persuasion; women are available in bars down the street from the port, it's a more organized affair with the ladies. Prostitution is legal in Honduras.
3) If you choose to strike out on your own, when you leave the port be sure to walk to the right, into town. Don't walk to the left. It's all residential, and you will look like you don't know what you're doing. Cabs are registered with the local government; a ride anywhere will cost about $20.
4) There isn't much to see/buy "in town." Instead, take a cab to a little village called West End, which has a few bars, owned by ex-patriots/stoners, which get busy at night. During the day it's sleepy but cute.
5) There are various beaches around the island; the most touristy is West Bay. Although the touristy beaches are more crowded, they are often sprayed for"no see-ums" (aka sand fleas), which will make your life more pleasant. If you find a romantic secluded beach, and don't see anyone laying on the sand, don't you be the first person to run out there and lay down.