Roatan Insider Tips: Transportation Around the Island

So you’re coming to Roatan and want to know how you’ll get around the island. Here’s your breakdown on all things transportation whether you’re visiting or moving to Roatan.

Taxis on Roatan

Cabs are numbered and registered so you clearly know which vehicles are taxis. They are all white, 4-door cars with their registration numbers on the side doors. Taxi fares are set – for the most part. Here’s the caveat: you can either take a private taxi or a colectivo. If you take a private taxi your costs will be higher. If you are taking a colectivo, the car will stop periodically to pick up other passengers so don’t be surprised if you stop several times along the way for pick-ups or drop-offs. You also may end up holding someone’s child or bag as you squeeze in together. The more the merrier!

The cabs take the same routes as the buses, staying on the main road with set costs for travel between specific points along the way. If you go off the main road (getting dropped at your house instead of on the main road at the entrance to your neighborhood), the driver will charge more at his or her discretion so it’s best to agree upon a cost before getting into the cab. Otherwise, each taxi should have a copy of the price list if you need to consult it. Right now it costs L45 (about $2) in a colectivo between West End and Coxen Hole. And don’t think you’ll cut costs by sharing a cab here – you pay per person in a colectivo. It is always best to clarify costs before getting into a cab. Also keep in mind that prices go up at night and are no longer set according to the price list. Check out’s breakdown of the most recent price list for taxis in Roatan.

Public Buses on Roatan

Buses in Roatan are actually 14-passenger vans. They typically say the route (e.g. Coxen Hole-Sandy Bay-West End) on the front and/or back of the van, but not always. They are cheaper than taxis and take longer than taxis, but they run frequently and are really convenient. The route between Coxen Hole and West End will stay on the main road except for one turn-off into the Colonia where the bus simply enters and turns around after a quick stop at the shops. A bus between Sandy Bay and West End is currently L18 (less than $1). These are set fares as well, but the bus will not veer off its set path at all, so no door-to-door service here. Yell out “baja” (say: ba-ha) or “gracias” when you want to get out, and pay the driver upon exiting the bus.

Renting Cars/Trucks on Roatan

If you’re coming to Roatan on vacation, you might want to rent a car. If you’re staying right on the beach in West Bay or right in West End and you don’t plan on leaving much, you don’t need one. If you’re renting a house outside of those areas you will most likely need it. And if you’re staying anywhere else in West Bay off the main beach, you will definitely want a rental car. Most expats who live here and own a business or a home have vehicles. Check with your hotel/property manager if you’re renting a house to see if they recommend a rental or not. Bonus tip: also ask them if you need an SUV with 4WD as some roads are steep and unpaved around here.

Scooters/Motorbikes on Roatan

The majority of expats who don’t own a business use scooters or motorbikes for basic transportation. Scooters are the cheapest option for those of us living here long-term without much need for carrying large items. More convenient than walking and cheaper than public transportation, a scooter is an excellent option if you’re living a little outside of the main areas like we are. If you are here on vacation and think it’s a cute idea to rent a scooter and putz around the island on it at 5mph, you are the person I fear most. You must drive with traffic – I cannot emphasize this enough. There is only one main road and nobody is expecting you to be driving at snail pace, so please help us prevent accidents and drive responsibly. If you are too scared to drive a scooter at normal speeds, do not rent one. That’s for your safety and everyone else’s. I really don’t recommend that tourists rent scooters, but it’s your decision. If you’re moving here it’s a great option (even taking into consideration my little pothole issue).

Walking on Roatan

If you’re coming here on vacation and you’re staying in West End or on the beach in West Bay, you’ll likely walk everywhere you need to go. One thing to keep in mind: the roads here are fairly narrow and curvy so walking on the main road at night is not recommended. Also keep in mind that the main street in West End is not a pedestrian path. Traffic is moving through there quite heavily at times so you need to be aware of where you’re walking.

Hitchhiking on Roatan

While not recommended for tourists, if you’re staying here for a few months and don’t want to invest in your own form of transportation, you can hitchhike as needed. There are tons of pick-up trucks on this island, so hopping into the back for a free ride is fairly common. I do not recommend getting into a vehicle unless you know the person. The bed of a pick-up truck, however, is a great way to get around for free!

Boats around Roatan

Water taxis run between West End and West Bay for $3 per person (minimum of 4 people to run the route, so you may have to wait for others to join). If you’re staying somewhere in West End, West Bay, or Sandy Bay with a dock, you can usually get a ride directly there for a higher negotiated rate. We get dropped off at our dock from West Bay for $5 each, which is cheaper than a road taxi and a lot more fun. Additionally, there are places on the island that are boat-access only, which is pretty cool! There are water taxis available from Oak Ridge out to Port Royal and other neighboring areas. Ask at BJs Backyard in Oak Ridge for more info.

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9 thoughts on “Roatan Insider Tips: Transportation Around the Island

  1. Hi Amanda, I have been told some taxis are not safe and I should call a friend with the taxi number before I go with them , is it really this bad? Are there better ways to get around? When visiting I will not be able to just call a friend to tell them the details on the taxi but this is what all the Roatan Facebook pages suggest , What if we do not have friends on Roatan or a phone


    • Hi Person Who Keeps Using Fake Names,

      I have never been told to call someone if I’m in a cab, so I’m not sure where you’re reading that information. I have never once felt unsafe in a taxi on Roatan. But if you just trust your intuition you should know if a situation doesn’t feel right for any reason.


  2. what kind of rates and cars are available for longer terms like 3 months to a year? Do you know about costs and hassles to import a car from the States? Are there mechanics and auto parts stores on the island?


    • Hi Jim! Thanks for reading and commenting! There are several mechanics and repair shops, but they are best able to repair the popular cars here, which is something to consider if you’d prefer to import yours. There are restrictions on importing vehicles, for example an import cannot be older than 10 years. In terms of the legal paperwork and process for registering an imported vehicle in Honduras, you should contact an attorney to be sure you have all of the correct and current information. If you’re looking for long-term rentals, you’d have to contact a few of the companies on-island as their rates vary widely. There are the standard Avis and Dollar Rental, and then there are locally owned companies like Roatan Rentals. It would be best to compare rates for whatever time period you’ll actually be here to see what they can offer. Different times of year will likely be more expensive as they are busier with tourists. Hope that helps!


  3. Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for the posts, they’ve been informative. I arrive at the end of the month and was told by the b&b that someone would be at the airport to pick me up, to take me to West End and it would just cost me $20.. I wrote back saying no thanks, I have no problem tipping but I just thought that was overdoing it. I hope I wasn’t penny wise and pound foolish and my host doesn’t find a way to ‘punish’ me for not allowing her to take advantage of me. Oh Roatan.. I still can’t wait to put my feet in the sand.


    • Hey Mike! Thanks for reading and commenting! The standard fare for pick-up from the airport by your hotel or vacation rental is $20 to West End, so that definitely wasn’t an overcharge. You can of course choose not to be picked up and to find your own ride for less as long as you don’t have lots of luggage, but many people prefer to have a driver waiting for them so they know they’re set upon arrival. I hope you enjoy your trip! Get those toes into the sand ASAP 🙂


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