For a relaxed, unique and personalized experience
It took us a while to convince ourselves to go kiting in Honduras. The country is well-known for its high level of criminality and some of its cities have recorded the highest level of violence in the world! Roatan Island, on the other hand, is a relatively laid-back and safe touristy island located on the Caribbean side. You will find there an uncrowded kite spot which will allow you to forget your stressful life.
We visited Kitesurf Roatan in 2014. The owners, Marilou and Chris, are both pro-riders and sponsored by CORE Kiteboarding. They are a very generous, friendly and smiling couple. They treat their clients as if they are part of the family. The kite spot is uncrowded and undeveloped. Don’t be surprised if there are only 8 other kiters. Chris admitted that his hope is to keep it that way, allowing him to offer a very private and unique experience for his visitors. Camp Bay Lodge, which is now owned by the couple, is where we stayed. The location is perfect; you are directly on the kite beach. They renovated the lodge since our visit so we can’t comment on its current condition. When we were there, it was a very simple and practical lodge: nothing fancy but comfy enough for our needs.
My greatest kiting memory:
Kiting at one of the nearby cays is probably one of my best-kiting memories ever. Booking a trip with Marilou and Chris there is well worth the extra money. The cay we visited was not even large enough to set up kite lines from one side to the other – this means that you’re kitesurfing in the middle of nowhere and it’s simply awesome! The surroundings and the color of the water are incredible, untouched and clean. To add to the magic, we swam with a family of dolphins on the boat ride there.
We also did a long downwinder with the same group on that day. Be aware that it may be more difficult than you would anticipate. On a group of 10 people, most of us ended up being rescued by the boat. Even the best kiters can be surprised by the change in the wind and water conditions.
Where to eat? There was a small crab shack on stilts located approximately 1 km from Camp Bay Lodge. We went there almost every night: cheap, intimate, fresh seafood, good portions for hungry kiters…it has it all! The food at Camp Bay Lodge was dreadful, but I bet that it is now a good option since Marilou and Chris bought the place. There was also a resort that was a short drive away that had good food: Paya Bay Resort. We did not rent a car, but some guys did. If you stay at Paya Bay Resort, you should definitely rent a car. Not necessary if staying at Camp Bay Lodge. I didn’t see heavy traffic, but some dirt roads were not great.
The locals are awesome. Chris and Marilou have a very good relationship with them and it provides good opportunities to meet great people with a different way of life. We felt very safe in our area, but I am sure that more precautions are needed around the cruise ship tourist traps.
On the downside: sandflies were plenty and hungry. I don’t know if it is still like that. Not as itchy nor as “in your face” as mosquitos can be though; my husband’s legs looked like they had fallen victim to a paintball machine gun hockey temper rampage, but he didn’t care. On non-windy days, we also found ourselves with very few options (bring a book). I guess we could have booked a road trip to visit the opposite side of the island which has big resorts and great diving. If you are single, looking for friends, nightlife and a new restaurant at every meal, Roatan is not for you.
Roatan was overall an amazing, relaxing experience. For couples or groups of friends, it’s ideal! I loved it.
Where to stay and kite: Camp Bay Lodge
GPS Coordinates: 16.429046, -86.292035
Kite School: Kitesurf Roatan
Closest Airport: Roatan’s international airport “Aeropuerto Juan Ramon Galvez”
Where to eat: Crab Shack “La Sirena”
Photos: credit to Caroline Gauvin/ OuiKite & Villa Caribou