By Yuki Hayashi
For us, there’s plenty to do at Gumbalimba when the monkeys get bored, between zip-lining through the hills (photo), touring the gorgeous botanical gardens, spotting iguanas and Jesus Christ lizards (so called because they can run on water), and touring a pirate exhibit. Pirates, including the notorious Henry Morgan, once made the islands home, and many believe there are long-lost treasures buried throughout Roatan.
A short drive away is West End. Stand by the road and wave your arm: most passing cars are unmarked cabs. Besides a beach and handful of restaurants, including Thai and Mexicali joints appealing to the peripatetic scuba crowd, West End has the lovely Cannibal Café with its second-floor deck affording front-row views of the main drag. Dive shops outnumber souvenir stalls, and wet-suited divers strolling barefoot down the dirt road are a common sight.
A trip to Coxen Hole, the main city (the Roatan Island Airport is here), can be sobering. Yes, you can get a great meal by asking a cabbie to take you to one of his fave haunts, but you’ll also see grinding poverty. Coxen Hole is home to Familias Saludables, a maternal-and-child health group that provides food, medicine and hygiene products to families with AIDS. With advance notice, you can drop off donations of these items. You can find their wish list and address online at roatanchildrensfund.com.
Honduras is a country on the cusp of a big tourism breakthrough. The question isn’t will Honduras develop, bu