If you're looking for a safe, economical and quiet place to enjoy some of the best beach snorkeling in the Carribbean, it would be hard to beat Hobbies Hideway on the eastern end of Sandy Bay, Roatan. If you are looking for a party scene or to be pampered, you should stick with West Bay. Hobbies' outdoor amenities included a private beach, big grill, and two story dock at your doorstep, with complimentary kayaks, paddleboats, and snorkel gear supplied for our 9-night stay. Hobbies was far enough from West End/West Bay to get away from the crowds but close enough to have easy access to the reef, good roads, and safe/dependable transportation. No offense to the cruise ship guests but at Hobbies you dont have to deal with the 8,000 -20,000 cruise ship guests that bombard the island one to three days a week. We did not rent a car and had no trouble with catching taxi's from the main road. Hobbie was also nice enough to let us know when he was going to Coxen Hole for some shopping. The apartment is clean and functional with a back porch that is like no other with hand made mahogany chairs, a bar, and plenty of room to invite the neighbors over for a drink.
We went deep sea fishing early in the trip and caught mahi, tuna, and barracuda. The fillets easily paid for the 4 hour trip and kept our family of four in fresh fish for the week. Hobbie showed us the best places to buy groceries and fresh fruit. The Blue Parrot is the only restaurant within walking distance but the jerked chicken and curry chicken are excellent. We ate some good meals in West Bay (Foster's lobster tails) and West End (Splash Inn - risotto), but we ate mostly at home experimenting with new spices, fruits, and vegetables from the market. However there is no doubt our best meal was lunch at Marble Hill Farms..... yellow tail snapper with olives and tomatoes. Their home made salsas, jams, and freshly baked chips were also unforgettable.
For the most part, we stayed around Hobbies for great snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking. We explored the nearby mangrove thicket just to the east of Sandy Bay Point by kayak several times. We also did the zip line and jungle tour at Gumbalimaba Park near West End. The monkeys, reptiles, and insect displays were all happy and well tended. The tour was well worth the time. We learned about the history, flora, and fauna of the island in detail. Gumbalimba monkeys were all running free and were nice as long as you dont grab them or let them think you have food. The Macaws were also incredible!
We were also lucky enough to get Hobbie to give us a one day tour of the Island. Be prepared for some rough roads if you want to venture to the east but Punta Gorda, Marble Hill Farms and Paya Bay are worth the dust and pot holes. Most regular taxis wont even go that far.
The bugs are everywhere in Roatan. Save yourself some bug goop money by bringing some loose pants and shirts to wear if you are going to be on the beach around dusk or dawn when the no see ums are most active. They can swarm you with dozens of bites in a manner of minutes and they wont itch immediately. Be diligent and you wont have any problems. We used Bullfrog sun tan/bug lotion product that worked great. But its pricey. We came home with lots of bites but nothing serious. We didn't get any additional inoculations for the trip and had no problems. The most likely health concerns for Roatan are bad tap water and mosquito borne illnesses like dengue and malaria, but we had no problems.
Easy access to the near-pristine reef is what makes Roatan unique. Plan you trip around that and you cant go wrong. If you are looking for the night scene, discount malls, and a miracle strip then you will come up short in Roatan. But we couldnt have asked for a better place than Hobbies for the family to relax and explore at our leisure. It is a one of a kind hideaway on Roatan. And Hobbie, Sue and Vodoo (the dog) are one of a kind managers who really care about your stay. I just hope it doesnt change before I get to go back! On a final note.....Do not listen to the youtube videos of realtors saying you should only stay at West End or West Bay....they just want you to spend your money with them. There is great snorkeling all along the north shore, you just need to find a good base of operations that suits your needs.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
July 20, 2013
Hello Gary, thank you very much for your professional reporting on the true nature of Roatan. We certainly appreciate the facts. Hobbies Hideaway does indeed try to make our quests comfortable and provide needed orientation of island attractions. We also advise to stay away from the pandering taxi drivers that are so accommodating at double the normal fare.
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As you realized part of our package amenities are all not advertised. We do like to surprise our guests sometimes .Of course the fishing provides meals on the BBQ. Thank you again for the great review. On your return we hope to have more surprises for you and company' It was a pleasure to have you stay with us. Sincerely Your hosts,John and Sue
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.