Roatán is the largest and most developed of the Bay Islands. Long and thin (50km long, but only 2km to 4km wide), the island is (like neighboring Utila) a real diving and snorkeling mecca – virtually its entire coastline is fringed by an astonishingly diverse coral reef teeming with tropical fish. On land, exquisite white-sand beaches like West Bay, a mountainous interior of pine-forested hills and the remote wild east of the island (once a pirate hangout) beg to be explored.
Roatán attracts a far more midrange crowd than Utila, with few budget options for sleeping and eating. The vast majority of backpackers base themselves in West End, where there's at least a smattering of hostels and affordable eating options.
Unsurprisingly, this natural beauty hasn't been ignored by property developers and tour operators: a slew of resort hotels, a shopping mall and a cruise-ship terminal have opened in recent years.