When is the best time of year to visit the Bay Islands?


Any time is the best time to visit the Bay Islands! The majority of people from North America and Europe visit from December through April - seeking a warm, tropical break from the cold temperatures. The slow season is from May through November, when better deals for hotels and travel are available. There are only two seasons on the Bay Islands: the rainy season from October through April and the dry season from May through September. However, as in any tropical island, isolated showers may happen any time of the year, any time of the day.


What is the local currency and what payment forms are accepted?


The Local currency is called the Lempira. The exchange rate as of March 2016 is approximately 22.64 Lempiras per U.S. Dollar. However, there is no need to worry too much about the exchange and buying Lempiras since the U.S. Dollar is widely accepted in the islands, even by street vendors.

Credit Cards are accepted in most major establishments, but keep in mind that surcharges are often applied to credit card transactions. Read this article for more financial information.


What bank services and ATMs are available?


All of the local banks have branches in Roatan, but no U.S. banks are available. However any bank will be happy to exchange your U.S. Dollars and provide cash advances on your Visa or Master Card cards. Some of the bank names you will see are Atlantida, Fichosa, Futuro, Lafise, Occidente, Banpais and Credomatic, among others.

ATMs are available at the airport and both cruise docks, as well as in West Bay, West End, and most bank branches in Roatan.

In Utila, there are 2 ATMs that provide cash in Lempiras only.

In Guanaja, there are two banks that will take credit cards for cash withdrawals and there is an ATM located near the Immigration Office.

Please do keep in mind that any of these ATMs might not be working at any given time, so when planning your trip always have enough cash with you to pay for your meal and drinks. And as always while traveling, keep your cash and valuables in a safe location at all times. Read this article for more information.

Please note: You will need your PASSPORT to exchange U.S. Dollars into Lempiras at the bank, and you will not be able to exchange Lempiras to U.S. Dollars.


Airport departure taxes and immigration procedures


The taxes for international departures are USD $39.97 as of June 2015, and for local flights Lps. 47.45, which equates to a little more than USD $2. Most airlines are now including the departure tax within the ticket price so you no longer need to pay upon leaving the airport.

To enter Honduras, if you are from the U.S., Canada, EU, or Latin America, no visa is required. However a valid passport is required and it cannot be expiring within six months of travel. Citizens of neighboring countries (members of the CA-4 initiative: Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua) may use their national ID to travel within these countries. You will be required to show proof of return or ongoing flights out of the country, and your entry permit can be valid for up to 90 days, at the discretion of the immigration officer.

For other countries, we advise that you contact the nearest Honduran Embassy for updated visa requirements. Departure taxes apply the same regardless of nationality.


How Much Should I Tip?


Many of the more established businesses will include the tip or service charge in your bill, so please make sure you check or ask. However, if you choose to leave more on top of the usual 10%, no one will complain!

At other establishments where a tip is not included, a minimum 10% is recommended if service is satisfactory - more if service is great or outstanding. For services where the tip will be divided amongst several people (such as on a dive boat), 15%-20% is recommended.

If you are not satisfied with the service provided and the tip has already been included, you may reduce the amount or not leave a tip. The tip is a reward for good service and not a mandatory item on your bill, however, on the islands you will find that most staff is eager to serve and to chat with you!

Read this article for more information.


What Should I Bring on My Trip to the Bay Islands?


Due to the Bay Islands' warm, tropical climate, make sure you pack lightweight clothing, bathing suits, and sandals. The more laid-back atmosphere of Guanaja, Utila, and the touristy areas of West End and West Bay in Roatan often offer a no-shoes, no-shirt, no problem policy (check first,  because there are exceptions!). Other more formal establishments will require a shirt, or no wet clothes for example...but we have yet to find a place where sandals are not permitted!

Sunblock is very important since the UV factor is very high most of the year, and mosquito repellent (bug spray) will come in handy as well. A combination sunblock/insect repellant seems to work best for most people. Please do keep in mind how fragile our coral reef system is, so if you are going diving there is no need to apply these extra chemicals prior to entering the water. If you are snorkeling and want to prevent sunburn, wear a rashguard or thin long-sleeve shirt to protect your back and arms.

And of course...don't forget your camera and charger!


Medical Services on the Bay Islands


In Roatan, there is a fire department, which is very active and well trained for emergencies. There are also two medical facilities in Coxen Hole, which is the main town by the airport, and two by Sandy Bay, plus several other medical clinics available throughout the island. A large hospital corporation from the mainland of Honduras is also building a new hospital in French Harbour. There are several drug stores (farmacias) on the island, and medical evacuation options should an emergency occur.

In Utila, there are two medical clinics in town, and Guanaja also offers some medical attention services.

If you have a particular medical need, it is important that you inform yourself prior to your trip and bring the medication you require.

It is also very important to always travel with medical insurance with worldwide coverage - even better if it covers medical evacuation back to your home country. Obviously, nobody can predict when a tragedy might happen, so it's best to be prepared while traveling.

If you require medical attention during your trip, please contact the staff at your hotel or your vacation rental manager, as they would be your first point of contact to guide you.

If you need to find medical attention please also consult our Member Directory for our Medical Services listings on this site.

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