Just under two months ago, I went on an amazing adventure to Central America for my first time. Long story short: I went to Vegas, came up on some blackjack, and over night, had unexpected funds to go on a trip! And so did my boyfriend after playing poker all night. This never happens but I’ll welcome a surprise like this any day.

We put our funds together and booked a spontaneous trip to Roatan, Honduras. To be honest, I had never considered going to Honduras; it just hadn’t come onto my radar as a travel destination, even though I love traveling roads less traveled. I didn’t even know where Roatan was until I saw it on a list of cheap flights from SFO. Imagine my surprise, when I searched the place on Google and saw pictures of paradise. Once you envision yourself in paradise, it’s really had to settle for anything less. Even though Roatan was a tad pricier than going to some other popular travel destinations in the U.S. (the original plan), I did the math and estimated that we’d more than make up for that with the savings on hotel and food, and the thought process was right on.

Before we actually got to be sitting on this lovely beach called Little French Bay shown above, a funny story happened. My boyfriend Zach and I actually booked our flights back to back on the same laptop, separately but together. It turns out that we weren’t too carful about making sure we had the same flights, or even dates. Epic fail. Let’s just say Zach missed his flight by around 24 hours, and just a few hours before my flight, I was panicked, crying, thinking our first adventure abroad together would never happen. After some excuses, but mostly after some fees, we made it work and we were able to both embark on this journey.

Roatan is the largest of the Honduras Bay Islands, in the Caribbean. The island is split into a few different neighborhoods, including West End (fun, has bars, and affordable), West Bay (good place for beach time), Sandy Bay (think honeymoon status, too expensive, a little resort-y), and Coxen Hole (the city, the airport, the hustle and bustle).

While I didn’t come to Roatan for the nightlife scene, West End seemed like a place within our budget, but still in a good location. It was just about a ten minute “water taxi,” at $2 USD /head, to get to any of the surrounding, and nicer beaches. That is not to say West End’s beach wasn’t amazing too. It definitely holds its own.

While half of me wanted to go crazy and splurge on a nice hotel, I did the opposite and picked the number one budget hotel in Roatan, according to my friend TripAdvisor.  The place was called the Seagrape Plantation and it cost us about $65/night. If you get the chance to stay there, ask for a bungalow, which does not come with TV like the regular rooms, but DOES come with a hammock and ocean side views for the same price. Sounds like a win! The Seagrape Plantation was really lovely and clean, the staff was nice, and I would stay there again! It even has its own dive shop, if you’re into that. Just look at the views from our hotel.

Even if you are not  into diving (I am a total newbie too), Roatan is an affordable place to try and completely majestic, as it’s home to the second largest reef in the world. I had gone scuba diving once in my life, when I was around 15 years old. I knew I HAD to try it again but I didn’t realize how much my anxiety has grown in adulthood. Not only did I almost have an anxiety in the training session (I was so scared of breathing underwater), but I was also ridiculously terrible at clearing my goggles and kept coming up to the surface each time. Part of me thought I really wasn’t going to cut in underwater for 45 minutes, but the beauty around me kept me occupied and I was really proud of myself in the end. Diving is something I hope to get into in the future and it really is a whole new world.

Aside from the couple of hours we spent scuba diving, we mostly lounged around on the beach trying the local food and sipping on cocktails that we’d never heard of but now miss dearly. We even tried our hand at zip-lining. Watching the Word Cup in Honduras, during the Honduras game was also an experience. Honduras didn’t stand a chance at advancing but it was seriously fun to watch with locals and other foreigners alike.

One of the highlights for me was going to this little beach called Little French Bay. It turned out to be the windiest and coldest day of our trip, so I was nervous about things not going as I had planned out in my perfect world, but it was secluded enough that I felt like I had rented the whole place out for myself. Plus, the fact that the Caribbean water was really warm made it even more enjoyable.

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