Is Roatan Safe? The Secret Most People Don’t Know

There is story circulating all the Roatan message boards lately.  The story goes: Family takes a rental car out for a spin in Roatan.  A masked and armed man begins to shoot at the car.  The driver reserves the car and ends up crashing it.  The armed man holds the family up at gunpoint and took their money, camera and iPhones.  It has really gotten the Roatan travel community in a stir, and happened shortly after the U.S. issued a travel warning to Honduras.

The incident that caused a stir

What the article fails to tell you is that the driver ventured off to the worst area of Honduras, where rental companies stress not to go.  The article also fails to mention that a rental car is NOT recommended and necessary for those traveling to Roatan.  It is a very unfortunate incident, and I can’t imagine going through what the family did.  BUT BUT BUT it is a isolated incident that could have been avoided and is not representative of the island’s crime levels.

Although concrete statistics are hard to come by, Roatan is an incredibly safe place to visit.  Of the millions of tourists that have visited Roatan, there have only a handful of incidents.  More often than not, the tourists involved in incidents were doing at least one of the below:

  • Walking alone at night.
  • Wearing and flashing around expensive jewelry and watches.
  • Venturing to remote and unfamiliar locations away from other tourists.

Are there travel advisories for the country of Honduras? Yes. Is Roatan part of Honduras? Yes. Does Roatan have the same safety concerns as mainland Honduras? Absolutely not. West Bay is the safest area on Roatan. Roatan’a economy depends on tourism, and because of this the locals are more often than not very courteous and protective of tourists.  I live in Manhattan and each time I come back from Roatan, I an uneasy on the streets because Roatan feels and is so much safer.  And the area I live in is one of the safest parts of Manhattan per capita!

With that being said, being in a unfamiliar location, you should always remain vigilante. Try not to venture to unfamiliar areas in the middle of the night, always carry a flashlight, and don’t walk around alone.

Be safe. Be smart.  And don’t let a few isolated incidents cloud your judgement and excitement to travel to Roatan.


Want to learn more about Roatan?  See my West Bay Roatan Travel Guide.
West Bay Guide

The Guide includes:

  • Roatan secrets only the locals know
  • Hand-drawn maps to help you navigate West Bay
  • Detailed information about the best resorts, restaurants, and activities
  • Money saving tips for Roatan
  • And MORE!

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