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 diving and snorkeling paradise – 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, and has less budget options. Nearly all backpackers base themselves in West End, where most of the shoestring places are located as well as a lively and fun traveler's scene.
Gigantic cruise ships visit Roatán regularly but dock at Coxen Hole or Mahogany Bay. You'll probably see minivans full of cruise-shippers around the island's hot spots during the day.