The Caribbean island of Roatan features roads and driving techniques that are similar to many other islands. If you've never visited an island before, you're in for a wild ride! If you've seen the narrow, winding roads of other islands populated with a mixture of rushing taxis and uncertain tourists, then welcome to Roatan. Do take heed of our driving advice for Roatan roads.
Driving Advice for Roatan Roads
In Roatan, we drive on the right, just like in the rest of North and Central America. But, unlike where you might be from, there are no strictly enforced requirements here for licensing nor vehicle registration. There is also no necessary insurance for the car or driver. Take these statements into consideration when you're driving around on Roatan.
Always leave space between you and the vehicle in front of you. You never know when a bus or taxi might suddenly stop - there are no designated bus stops and taxis will stop on a dime to drop off or pick up another passenger. Additionally, with no vehicle regulations, many cars are missing brake lights, so you'll have no warning to slow down or stop.
Beware the many bends in the road. There are side roads and driveways everywhere along the main road, so always be careful coming around a bend to ensure no other traffic is merging or turning off the road in front of you.
Share the road responsibly. There are scooters and motorcycles, cars, trucks, cyclists, and pedestrians all on the same road. Add into that mix the occasional cows, horses, dogs, and cats, and you can see why driving cautiously is recommended!
Rental Cars and Scooters
There is one central road on Roatan that runs east to west, generally staying along the central ridge between Coxen Hole and Oakridge. Off of that one paved road are many smaller roads leading into neighborhoods. Some of these may be paved, others are not. Some may be a very steep decline from the central ridge down to the shore - keep that in mind when renting a vehicle.
If you are staying in a vacation rental, be sure to ask the property manager about vehicle access and necessity before you go. If you do require a vehicle, make sure you get the best kind for the terrain. You might require 4WD, and you might want to consider your skill level balancing a clutch on our steep dirt roads before renting a manual.
Renting a scooter is not ideal for most tourists as they tend to be very nervous and don't drive with the speed of traffic. If you do feel comfortable driving at appropriate speeds on a scooter, ensure that you stay vigilant while driving to avoid potholes and oncoming traffic, and beware vehicles passing you in unsafe areas.
Public Transport in Roatan
There are plenty of buses and taxis on Roatan so you don't have to drive yourself if you don't want to do so. Anytime you plan to drink alcohol, don't risk the drive back home. Take a taxi and stay safe. A holiday in paradise is not the time to test your limits. Your hotel concierge or vacation rental property manager can supply you with taxi numbers, or simply hail one anywhere along the main road as needed.
Please stay safe and be careful while driving on Roatan's roads. We want you to have a fantastic vacation so you can come back again soon. Tell us what you love about Roatan using #Go2Roatan on social media!