Anywhere you travel in the world, it's important to understand your destination in terms of safety. Whether you travel to a city near your hometown or to a foreign country, if you're unfamiliar with an area there are certain steps you should always take. Safety in the Bay Islands is just like safety back home - use common sense and be aware of your surroundings.
Are the Bay Islands Safe?
Yes, the Bay Islands are safe. As a visitor to Guanaja, Roatan, or Utila, you will be one of many thousands of people visiting the Bay Islands on a daily basis. Like anywhere in the world, there are issues that can happen here, but most you can try to prevent. We'll go through each island to best explain possible issues that could arise.
Is Roatan Safe?
Yes, Roatan is safe. Roatan is the most populated and most visited of the Bay Islands, including thousands of cruise ship visitors arriving daily.
A common issue for tourists in Roatan is health. You must keep in mind that Roatan has a tropical climate with high temperatures and high humidity. If you are not accustomed to this climate, please take it easy and realize your limits.
Sunburns can be very debilitating, drinking alcohol will dehydrate you, and water sports are indeed sports. If you are not active at home, know your limits when it comes to swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, etc.
Another consideration is specifically for our cruise ship visitors. If you book a shore excursion that leaves early in the morning when you dock, please try to get some good rest the night before. Partying all night and then going out on a boat often don't mix very well for tourists.
Please be very careful if you rent a scooter. The roads in Roatan are narrow, winding, and there are many potholes. Beware of traffic, including sudden stopping as taxis pick up and drop off, as well as vehicles passing at all times. You must, however, drive at the speed of traffic. Locals are not expecting to round a corner and suddenly come up behind a scooter going 5mph. It is dangerous for you and for other vehicles.
A final consideration is watching your belongings. Please be aware of your purse, wallet, fancy jewelry, and electronics. Leave what you don't need back at home - we're on a casual island where you don't need to impress anyone! If you go out snorkeling, please don't leave your purse unattended on the beach. And if you're at the bar all night, only take what you need so you don't accidentally leave your fancy camera on the bar when your favorite song comes on and you want to dance.
Is Utila Safe?
Yes, Utila is safe. As with Roatan, use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings. Don't leave your smartphone sitting on top of the bar while you're chatting and dancing. Don't leave your camera on the beach while you snorkel. Don't leave your laptop by the open window in your room at street level. Taking basic precautions as you would anywhere will help to prevent issues.
Is Guanaja Safe?
Yes, Guanaja is safe. As the more difficult island to reach, please keep in mind you will not have immediate access to medical care at a hospital on the island. If you have health conditions, Roatan is better prepared with multiple medical facilities to handle your problems.
Guanaja is more remote, so keep that in mind when you plan your vacation and when you pack. Again, leave the valuables at home. There is nobody to impress here, just pack your swimsuits and relax!