Hi my lovely readers!
Mahogany Bay, Roatan Island is one of those manmade and purpose build cruise ports in Honduras build and owned by Carnival Corp. Carnival and the sister brands have access to this port.
You can find anything here for a perfect beach day such as the beautiful beach with crystal clear water, eateries, shops for duty free and souvenir shopping and all set in a lush green and well looked after surrounding. A little bit of paradise for one day.
But if you are like me, one full day at the beach is not really satisfying, well at least not always. I often get too hot laying around all day long and I actually am prone to getting heat or sun strokes very easily.
Therefore, I like spending half of the day sightseeing and doing something around the cruise port and the other half relaxing and swimming in the water.
Here is how I spend my day in Mahogany Bay.
CARAMBOLA BOTANICAL GARDENS AND TRAILS
I started the day by visiting one of the local sights close by, the nature park Carambola Botanical Gardens and Trails.
There are bigger and more known parks around the island and some that are suggested by the cruise lines, but I often like to support local and less known parks. Also, this one was easily accessible by cab from the cruise port and not too far away either.
Carambola Botanical Gardens and Trails opened in 1985 and its primary purpose and aim is the environmental education of the children of the Bay Islands of Honduras and of course visitors alike.
The site showcases 40 acres of almost untouched nature. There are several trails and paths to explore the vast collection of exotic plants. I have never experienced a nature park like this as it is completely wild and nature is left to its own devices. You will not find neatly cut and pruned trees, but rather a jungle in which you might feel like Indiana Jones.
Some of the plants you can see include different palm trees, ferns, trees like cashew, teak and cinnamon, different herbs and spices as well as beautiful and colourful exotic flowers such as orchids.
There is a definitely a wide selection of plants that you might not have seen before and that are just super interesting to read and learn about and a feast for the eye.
Additionally, there is plenty of wildlife that can be spotted and observed in the park as lizards and other animals, see picture, run around freely.
The highlight of visiting Carambola Botanical Garden and a must to do is climbing to the top to reach the summit of Carambola Mountain and taking in the amazing views from the top.
There is a deck to sit, relax and most importantly recover. The hike is not long at all, but the climate is very humid. I have never sweated so much in my entire life and by the time my partner and I reached the summit, we were completely soaked and knackered. However, the view of the sea and a little of the island was all worth it.
I would recommend to bring a hat, plenty of water, sunscreen, possibly a cloth to wipe your face and neck and, if you have it, a small fan.
Additionally, wear proper footwear such as trainers and definitely no flipflops or sandals with heels as the ground is uneven and can also be slippery from the leaves.
- Opening times: Open Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm
- Admission: Adults $23; Children $16 (aged 4 to 12)
- For more information please visit: http://www.carambolagardens.com/index.html
- How to get there: By cab – There are plenty of cabs by the cruise port to take you to the Garden and back. There will be some cruise reps around to assist you with the cabs, too. Be aware of the cab prices though as the drivers will try to charge more than is advertised.
- (Prices were valid at the point when this post was first published)
After the visit to Carambola Botanical Garden, we decided to head back to the cruise ship to change first of all as our clothes were just sticking to us and to have some lunch.
As it was very hot that day, my partner and I decided to stay on the ship a little and visit the beach later in the afternoon when it would be a little cooler and less crowded. That gave us the opportunity to spend more time on the ship and enjoy the amenities while everyone else was at the beach.
There are plenty of things to do at the beach and it is pretty much up to you how much extra or how little money you want to spend.
When we got of the ship in the afternoon, the first attraction we saw and tried out was the chair-lift. It takes you all the way to the beach, which is the perfect way to get to the beach for anyone who cannot or does not want to walk.
Moreover, you get great panoramic views of the island and can see the cruise ship from a different angle and perspective, which I absolutely enjoyed. I also managed to see some fish and rays from the chair-lift, which was great. The water was so clear that they could be easily spotted from up high. I could not stop taking pictures.
The chair-lift currently costs $14 for adults and $8 for children 4 – 12 years old and can be used all day long as often as you like.
If you want to upgrade your beach experience, want a bit more privacy or have a more pampered experience you can rent beach cabanas. For those that are more active, water sports equipment can be rented for kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkelling and much more.
If you are into snorkelling, I would recommend bringing your own equipment though as the rentals can be a bit pricy. Also, there are some Western Caribbean itineraries that stop in Cozumel and if you are into snorkelling, you might want to visit Chankanaab for some snorkelling.
I just sat in the beach chairs a little, read my book and went for a swim. Most people had left by the time I got to the beach so I had it almost all to myself, which was awesome.
I did not book an excursion or rented any beach equipment during my stay as there was no need for it.
If I remember correctly Carambola Botanical Gardens and Trails was part of a shore excursion, but it was cheaper and better to pay for the cab to get there and pay for he garden admission directly rather than to book it through the cruise line. And I just wanted to relax by the beach and be lazy.
However, if you want to see and experience sights that are a bit further away from the cruise port and you want to see more of the island, the cruise lines can help as they offer some excursions. Or you can book it yourself of course, up to you.
I found this website Mahogany Bay that has a list of excursions that you can book at an extra cost and that are offered directly by the cruise lines.
- Carambola’s Gardens & Island Tour
- Catamaran Sail & Snorkel
- Certified Dolphin Dive
- Certified Two Tank Dive At Anthony’s Key
- Clear Kayak, Snorkeling & Gumbalimba Park
- Discover Roatan
- Dolphin Encounter
- Jolly Roger Sailing Catamaran & Gumbalimba Park
- Kayak & Snorkel Adventure
- Pirates, Birds & Monkeys of the Caribbean
- Roatan West Side Island Tour
- Semi-Submarine & West End Village
- Tabyana Beach Day
- Beginner’s Scuba
FINAL THOUGHTS …
I had such a nice time in Mahogany Bay and if you are there just for the beach, that is totally fine. But I am so glad I made some effort to explore a little part of the island.
The first time I saw a cashew tree and learned how cashews grow was in Carambola Botanical Gardens and Trails. That view from the summit top was breathtaking and I will forever cherish the climb to the top. It was an adventure to find the path to the summit and I felt like a real explorer as the park was so wild.
And the beach as well as the setting it was in with all those palm trees, crystal clear water, shrubs and beach huts just made me feel like I was on holiday, if you know what I mean. It was the perfect setting for a beach day. It was what a day at the beach is all about.