The Bay Islands can be a very affordable destination - even for backpackers. If you're considering backpacking the Bay Islands, here are a few tips on getting here from mainland Honduras and how to keep costs down. If you're backpacking through Central America, the Bay Islands should be included on your itinerary.
Backpacking in Honduras
Honduras is a beautiful country filled with endless adventure. You can enjoy hiking, history, beaches, and beer all within the same small area. Many backpackers opt for the popular route heading south through Antigua, Guatemala, down to Copan, Honduras. Another option is the route heading north via Nicaragua - but both options offer plenty of places for backpackers in Honduras.
Backpackers in Utila
Utila is the most common destination for backpackers in the Bay Islands. The island is famous for offering backpackers incredibly cheap deals for extraordinarily good diving. The cost of living is very low, so accommodations and dining are both affordable for backpackers.
If you're planning to visit Utila as a backpacker, the cheapest option is to take the ferry from La Ceiba. Stay in town so you can walk everywhere you need to be and check prices at the dive centers for the type of diving you want to do (courses or fun diving).
Off-season is the best time to travel for potentially better deals. Visiting during the winter is the busy season, so expect dive centers to be busy and accommodations to be more limited.
Backpackers in Roatan
Roatan is more expensive than Utila, but also offers more variety of activities and price points. Similarly to Utila, the ferry is the cheapest way to reach Roatan from mainland Honduras.
If you're trying to keep costs down, there are multiple hostel options throughout West End and Sandy Bay. Remember that if you stay in Sandy Bay you will have a farther walk or will have to take the bus into West End to do any activities or for bars and restaurants.
Backpacking the Bay Islands
If you're planning to visit the Bay Islands while backpacking through Central America, there are a few ways to keep your costs down. Islands are always slightly more expensive than the mainland because of import costs and limited resources. But that doesn't mean a trip to the Bay Islands will break the bank.
Visit during low season if you can. The cheapest time to travel to the islands is September through November, before the busy season starts up over the holidays. These months offer more opportunity for special deals and discounts.
Street food in the Bay Islands is affordable and delicious! Grab yourself a baleada for breakfast, tacos for dinner, and maybe even another baleada for a late-night snack. Just also remember that baleadas aren't the healthiest option in the world, so maybe fill the gap with fresh mango or an apple banana.
There is live music somewhere basically every night - just ask around to find the best spot to head to and enjoy the show!
If you plan to snorkel a lot, bring your own gear. Saving a week-long rental cost on snorkel gear could be enough for another week of travel on the mainland. If you don't have gear and have to rent, rent for the week for a better deal than a per-day rental.
A quick final tip for all backpackers in the Bay Islands: Don't forget to tip. It's easy to cut back and spend less while backpacking, but if you partake in an activity during your visit, or you go out to a restaurant or bar, remember that these are service industries. And, no, a beer doesn't count as a tip - although it wouldn't be refused!
Have you been backpacking in the Bay Islands? What tips can you share with others? Use #Go2Roatan on social media!