Living on an island has its challenges and travel can be a big one, lucky for me I just found the perfect escape from Cayman- even if it is another island.
With every break I get from work there is always the struggle to decide where to go and how long I'm willing to travel to get there. From my home airport in Grand Cayman it used to be only Jamacia, Cuba, or some random city in the US, usually intended as a layover, that had direct flights. Anywhere else and I'm looking at spending at least 12 hours traveling and even up to 48 so, you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear there was a new flight out of town.
With no plans and only a week left until my next break I figured now would be the perfect time to finally check out Roatan on Cayman Airways new, direct flight. Somehow, using only my cellphone for research and booking, I managed to stumble upon the perfect guest house with an onsite dive shop in the ideal #backpacker and #solotraveler town of West End.
When I arrived at Hotel Chilles and Native Sons Dive Shop in Roatan I knew this was my kind of place and officially my new last minute getaway spot. The vibe- relaxed and tranquil with hammocks everywhere, a small book store and cafe up front, and cabins set back in a lush garden. The dive shop was right in front of it all and boat just across the street on the beach. Everything I need all in arms reach, I won't carry on any further because if the secret gets out I'll be back at square one.
Let's talk Diving
Okay, so before heading to Roatan I had heard some very mixed reviews on the quaity of diving. I'm not here to preach that everything with the ocean is doing fine (there was a bit more trash in the water than back home and some noticeable but recovering coral bleaching) but I honestly think the diving in Roatan is lush and marine life diverse. Some things that stand out in my mind were the massive schools of Blue Tang feeding on the reef, cool swim throughs, killer tall Pillar Coral, and an abundance of Lobster (peep my album on Roatan to see for yourself). We even came across a pod of Rough-Toothed Dolphins on our way out to a dive site that played in the water with us for a good 15 minutes before swimming off.
Wild Dolphins surrounded our boat as I hurried to get my camera ready and mask on to join them for a swim.
Almost better than the wild Dolphins had to be the Waihuka Shark Dive. Being so close to those big girls is a humbling experience and the small amount of fish brought along to get them close is nowhere near enough to change their normal feeding and hunting habits. The best part- you can swim around with them about halfway through the dive if the currents aren't too strong. I was obviously inching forward from the group and prepared to launch as soon as the divemaster gave the signal. While this may have been the priciest dive I did in Roatan ($95 plus tip and taxi) it was absolutely worth it and I would do it again.
With that said, #Roatan I'll be seeing you again very soon. Until then..✌️