West Bay Beach – Roatán’s Queen

She is the Homecoming Queen of beaches.

She is the one that everyone wants to spend time with, and brag to their friends with a proof-providing picture: “Look where I hung out last week!”

She is without doubt, the prettiest one around. She is one long, blond beach, with the softest and purest of sand. She is groomed meticulously, nary a speck of garbage to be seen. We are all jealous of the brilliant color of the water that surrounds Her – a bright turquoise that draws you in as if compelled by magnetic force – damn, I wish the color or power of my eyes were that brilliant.

She’s in all the glossy brochures, beckoning burnt out corporate slaves to part with their hard earned dollars in order to visit Her.

She is…West Bay Beach. And while we have been in Roatán for almost five months now, we have yet to utter a single word about Her on this blog. We have avoided the topic of this extremely popular tourist draw. In fact, we can count on one hand the number of times we have even visited Her.

Why? She’s got impeccable features and curves in all the right places, but that is not enough to keep us there. Like every Homecoming Queen, She has flaws.

Photo by: Flickr user scalkins

The glossy brochure picture is not accurate. It never happens that this brilliant stretch of beach is as enticingly empty as it is sold to be. Instead, it is constantly filled with cruise-shippers and other vacationers, all jockeying for a prime spot in the sand. There is an endless parade of vendors strolling up and down, loudly offering their wares at a bargain price. Her edge is lined with restaurants, resorts, adventure peddlers, and the like. On weekends when cruise ships are not scheduled to stop, the atmosphere is a little more inviting, with locals and expats bringing their families by to enjoy it after a hard week at work, but it still can be overwhelming.

We have found other unblemished and unvisited beaches on this island that we prefer. They may not have Her flash or Her style, but we typically can have them all to ourselves. No banana boat rides, no freshly blended drinks available, no opportunity to buy cheap sunglasses. Instead, we can easily be lulled to nap under a palm tree, with nothing but the sound of the waves to disturb us.

And that’s how we like it. Let the masses fight for their little piece of that paradise.

We were never really the Homecoming type anyways.

18 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • May 9 2011

    Ah, the joys of living in an environment like that. As a tourist, West Bay looks amazing, and should I be in Roatan for a day, I don’t think I would be disappointed to spend it there, even with the throngs of people and the vendors patrolling the beaches, as at the end of the day, it still is a very pretty, white sand beach in the Caribbean.
    Justin Hamlin recently posted..Foto Friday

    • Peter
      May 9 2011

      No doubt Justin, it is beautiful. but I just think it’s spoiled. It took us a couple of months to make our first venture down here. I get annoyed with the beach vendors. I like the stationery booths of art items that I can peruse on my own free will, but mobile vendors, not so much. There is only a certain number of times you can ask me to buy sunglasses before it gets annoying. Another instance I was lying catching some sun, and some random old lady came up and started massaging me asking if I wanted a massage, first 5 minutes free. It was quite awkward and I told her numerous times “no thanks” until finally I stood up and told her I wasn’t interested. Then she curses at me??

      We much prefer the untouched, unspoiled spots, even as tourists. We found our beauty elsewhere here in Roatán. Although it won’t be long until that is gone.

      • May 10 2011

        yeah, I have heard horror stories about places like that, with the agressive vendors and everything. Last place I experienced that was in Paris. There, you just learn to keep walking and not break stride, they eventually stop running backwards in front of you.

        Glad to hear that you found some smaller beaches to enjoy the beauty of Roatan while you are there.
        Justin Hamlin recently posted..Foto Friday

  • I like my beach to myself too 🙂 And if there’s awesome reefs for snorkeling nearby, it’s even better.
    jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..Cueva de La Vaca – From Caving Virgins to Caving Addicts

  • Christine
    May 10 2011

    I’ll take the quiet, plain beach over the flashy homecoming queen any day 😉

  • May 11 2011

    I agree! Nothing worse than trying to relax with a bunch of pesky people around you. I love small secluded beaches, or at least huge beaches with few people!
    Andrea recently posted..Wandering Around Old Colonia Town

  • May 11 2011

    @ Christine, Jill and Andrea – The only thing I would ask for at these beaches is a bathroom – ha! But, I’ll survive without it. Totally worth it! 🙂

  • May 11 2011

    Can see why that beach is popular but yes, it’s much nicer to have a stretch of sand (mostly) to yourself!
    Megan recently posted..Getting drunk on the road to Kathmandu

    • Peter
      May 11 2011

      Thanks Megan. It’s funny, but during the week when we are over for our morning swim and we see somebody come to the beach, a little joke we ask ourselves “hey, who’s that coming onto our beach, how dare they??” Cheers!

  • May 12 2011

    Looks very nice. I love great beaches, but not the crowds. One beach a lot of people overlook in the US is in Destin, FL on the panhandle. The sands are super fine and white. You have to really load up on sunscreen though, because the sand will really bake you.
    Don Faust recently posted..Island Eating- A Taste of St Croix

    • May 13 2011

      And here, at all beaches, we have to really load up on the DEET because the sand flies will eat us alive! I am sure i am going to need a detox when we leave here.

  • May 22 2011

    The beach looks gorgeous, even picturing it with many people, but I totally agree when you say you prefer less crowded spots. In Sardinia we have the Emerald Coast, which is truly breathtaking, and in summer time full of the so-called “beach brigades” coming from all corners of the world, all VIPs, singers, actors, politicians, it becomes so crowded that you can’t even feel you are in Sardinia. The island has a lot of other beaches that I totally prefer, like the one I go to most of the times, S’Archittu, that can be crowded on weekends, but very peaceful during the weeks, and by all means, nothing to envy to the Emerald Coast 😉

    • May 22 2011

      The beach IS gorgeous, and to swim there is way better then the beach that we have. But, for the few times that we’ve been there, if I had to hear one more person talk about how much money they had in their 401K, I’d scream. I MUCH prefer the serenity.

  • May 24 2011

    I love most beaches- but if we are by ourselves its the best ever!
    jade recently posted..Don’t Panic- 8 tips for a Stand-Up Paddleboard Newbie like me

  • Theodora
    May 31 2011

    I hate crowded beaches, too. The best ones are always the ones you have to yourself…

    • May 31 2011

      I agree! Although, it sure would be nice to have a bathroom there… 🙂

  • Tiffany
    September 15 2012

    We love Roatan too… dream of retirement there. We spent a month there last april.. and agree totally with your comments on West Bay. We stayed further east in a beautiful resort called Media Luna… complete serenity…We spent one day on West Bay Beach and couldnt wait to get out of there… the beach vendors were rediculous, If I got asked to braid my hair or massage my feet one more time I was ready to scream.. It was getting hard to say no politely at one point.
    It is my dream to do what you two are doing… Im so ready to sell our business for a slower life.. however i dont have the courage to do it yet.. My husband would do it in a second. He backpacked around the world for 2 years in his 20’s and would do it all over again…
    Hopefully one day i will have the courage to give it all up… its a small world.. maybe we’ll meet up one day!

    • September 18 2012

      The toughest part about our travels has been making that decision to go! Up until the first plane ride we were nervous wrecks, but once we were on our way, everything just felt *right*. Don’t wait too long to go, life will pass you by far too quickly!

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