Coxen Hole Roatan
Cruise ship terminal
February: Roatan, Honduras.
We sailed into Coxen Hole Roatan just after daybreak after an overnight journey directly east from Belize City, and it was very nice to see green hills again after the totally flat scenery of Mexico, Louisiana and Belize. Roatan is a small island with an interesting history having been under British rule/occupation before it was exchanged for Belize. Consequently, many of the communities still have English names e.g. Coxen Hole is named after a 16th
Century English pirate John Coxen. Henry Morgan and Edward Teach (Blackbeard) also based themselves in Roatan at various times. It’s very small, only 20 miles long and on average a mile wide.
After docking we walked off the ship to see how much the taxis would charge to take us to a resort in the north of the island that had been recommended to us by an American girl we’d met on our jungle expedition in Belize. The price quoted to us by a couple of taxi operators was $120 one way (maybe the pirate influence lives on), so we hired a car for $70 for the day. The “car” was actually a rather beaten up Nissan pickup but it
was really quite comfortable and had automatic transmission so it was quite easy to drive. The low fuel warning light was on and the car rental representative said that $20 worth of petrol would be sufficient to take us all round the island. He told us where the nearest petrol station was and said that if we drove straight out of the petrol station this would take us north to the resorts area. We found the petrol station after an interesting and somewhat stressful drive through the small streets of Coxen Hole (no road signs and no apparent road rules or conventions). After putting in the petrol we drove straight out as directed and headed north: except that we weren’t going north and after 30 minutes we saw a name that we recognised and realised that we had in fact been going south. So we changed direction and ended up back at the cruise jetty in Coxen Hole. We then figured out how to head north and found a resort called Parrot Tree that had been recommended to us. Compared to the quite impoverished countryside we saw along the way Parrot Tree was first world; very nice and scenic but
without much charm. There was a man made lagoon which allowed for safe swimming and we spent a pleasant day there. Then it was back in the pickup for the 8 mile drive back to Coxen Hole. Because of the poor quality of the road and cavalier local driving standards it took us over 30 minutes to get back to the town and a further 10 minutes to get to the jetty; including driving the wrong way along Main Street which had no markings to indicate where the two way system ended and became a one way system. The car rental rep wasn’t at his stall so I left the car keys with a neighbouring stall holder. I hadn’t filled in any paperwork when we hired the pickup and nobody checked that it was still in the same condition – very trusting. Anyway we made it back to the ship with 15 minutes to spare.
We now have an overnight cruise back to Cozumel Mexico then a fast ferry back to the mainland and our hotel.
Note: if you click on any of the photographs you can get an enlarged image
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