Congratulations, you’re almost on your way to our beautiful island! As a responsible tourism operator, we endeavor to keep Roatan as beautiful as when we first got here. You can help!
With Go Blue Bay Islands’ help, we’ve put together our Top 5 Tips before your arrival:
Support the Roatan Marine Park
The Roatan Marine Park operates with the support of grants and donations, so if you are enjoying our beautiful reef, you should certainly help support the work that the RMP does. We sell $10 yearly bracelets at our dive centers, or you can purchase a bracelet directly from the Roatan Marine Park stores in West End and West Bay. The RMP stores also sell RMP clothing, jewelry, chocolate, hot sauces and jams made by the local community, so there are plenty of cool gifts to take home. The proceeds of these bracelets and purchases help maintain dive moorings and run patrols to protect the local wildlife from poachers.
Want to do something even more special? Follow in the footsteps of some of our guests and purchase a dive site! The Roatan Marine Park is a registered 501(c)(3), and you can purchase a dive site starting at $1000 that you can name yourself. Roatan Divers’ staff and guests have purchased the following sites: Saaya’s, Gerri’s Gem, Liam’s Lair, Tortuga Terrace, Free Gordon Tour, Kristi’s Cove and Uncle Jim’s Pool. Let’s get even more sites in 2019!
Keep your sunscreen and bug spray reef-safe
In recent years, studies have shown that certain components of sunscreen and bug spray are harmful to the reef, particularly oxybenzone in sunscreen and DEET in bug spray. And if it’s not good for the reef, it’s probably not good for your body, either! Make sure that your sunscreen is reef-safe by purchasing those that contain physical protection instead of chemical, looking for ones that contain zinc- or aluminum-oxide. For bug spray, find sprays that contain essential oils like citronella and tea tree, which will both protect against bites and soothe existing ones.
Want to support the local community? We sell locally sourced and produced sunscreens and bug spray by Aegis! Aegis also sells toothpaste, soap, lip balm and even kombucha, all locally made and in reusable and refillable containers, so they have you covered for most of your island needs.
Just because you want to eat something doesn’t mean you should. Before you visit anywhere, you should research what’s green-listed and what’s red-listed on the menu. Figure out what’s caught sustainably, and more importantly, legally! Green-listed seafood on Roatan include locally caught lionfish, tuna, wahoo and mahi-mahi, while yellow- and red-listed items include lobster, conch, grouper, snapper, and definitely shark and turtle. Worldwide, shrimp is also a red-listed food because of its unsustainable fishing techniques, so as much as we all love coconut shrimp and shrimp scampi, you should try and stick with the sustainable options wherever you are.
On land, avoid iguana. Sure, they may be on some menus, but that doesn’t mean you should order it! Iguana is protected on the island, but restaurants will supply when there is a demand, so it’s up to the consumer to do the right thing.
While we’re on the topic of responsible consumption, let’s also discuss responsible, sustainable souvenir shopping! Just because someone tries to sell you a conch shell on the beach does not mean it’s legal or wise. It is illegal to take shells out of the marine park, so conch shells and even shells that you pick up on the beach cannot be taken off the island. These shells provide homes for marine animals and eventually turn into sand, so taking these shells out will have a massive impact on the environment.
Responsible souvenir ideas that benefit the Honduran community include locally made honey and Roatan Marine Park swag (all available at the RMP shops in West End, West Bay and the cruise ship ports), Aegis items, chocolate from Mayak Chocolate and Honduran coffee. Or make a donation to a local organization, like the Roatan Marine Park, SOL International Foundation, Roatan Animal Support or Roatan Operation Animal Rescue, in someone’s name! You’ll feel good giving these gifts knowing that it’s a gift that gives several times over.
Bring Reusable Containers and Bags
There is already too much plastic going into our waterways, so let’s work together to lessen the impact! While we have reusable containers, bags and cutlery available at the dive center for our guests, it’s also good to bring your own reusable water bottles, bags, and containers for takeaway food or leftovers. Most hotels and condos will have 5 gallon refillable water bottles that you can take water from, so buying loads of small, disposable bottles just isn’t necessary. A lot of restaurants are moving to paper takeaway containers, but the less trash there is, the better, so it’s still good to bring your own!
Learn more about our top 5 tips to live more eco-friendly here so that you can live responsibly on vacation and at home.
Bonus Tip: Support other local causes
Roatan may be a wonderful island community, but as with all communities, there are under-served demographics. If you have space in your bag, consider bringing medical or dental supplies, donations for vet clinics and animal charities, or school supplies like pencils and notebooks. We are fortunate to have a community that cares, but we could always use extra hands and hearts!
Thank you to Go Blue Bay Islands for their work to make the Bay Islands a model in responsible tourism. They work incredibly hard to help businesses become more environmentally aware, and we are grateful for their continued support of the community. Make sure to learn more about Go Blue Bay Islands and support other responsible business operators in the area.