The Caribbean island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras, is one of the world’s premiere destinations for scuba divers. Even if you’re not a fan of diving yourself, there’s plenty to see on this beautiful tropical island.
Roatan is particularly famous for its scuba diving thanks to the reef it sits on. The Bay Islands sit close to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world. But while there’s plenty to see and do on the island, knowing the best time to visit Roatan will help you make the most out of your trip.
We’ll show you the overall best time, the least busy, the cheapest, and the worst time to visit Roatan. But first, let’s break down the three distinct seasons on the island:
Main Season (High Season)
- Dates: Roughly November-April (excluding Christmas/New Year’s and Easter week)
- Highlights: Perfect weather, sunny skies, calm seas, ideal for diving, snorkeling, and beach activities. Bustling atmosphere with plenty of events and nightlife.
- Downsides: Crowded, especially during Christmas/New Year’s and Easter. Higher prices for flights and accommodations.
- Dates: May-August and September-mid November (excluding Easter week)
- Highlights: Pleasant weather, fewer crowds, lower prices compared to peak season. Still good for diving and snorkeling, though occasional rain showers are possible.
- Downsides: Some businesses might have reduced hours or be closed. Rainy days can interrupt outdoor activities.
Off Season (Low Season)
- Dates: Mid September-January (excluding Christmas/New Year’s)
- Highlights: Rock-bottom prices for flights and accommodations. Fewer crowds, giving you a more secluded island experience. Lush greenery due to the rainy season.
- Downsides: Most rain occurs during this period, potentially affecting outdoor plans. Fewer flights available, making travel logistics more challenging.
- Semana Santa (Easter week) is considered peak season, regardless of the actual month. Expect higher prices and a spring break-like atmosphere.
- Direct flights to Roatan are more frequent during peak season.
- If you prioritize low prices and don’t mind some rain, the shoulder season offers a good balance.
- For the best weather and guaranteed sunshine, aim for the main season, knowing it will be busier and costlier.
Overall Best Time to Visit Roatan
The best time to visit Roatan is during late winter and spring, when the weather is the best for outdoor explorations and diving.
The Bay Islands, in which Roatan is located, have a unique microclimate that is slightly different from the Honduran mainland and from the rest of the Caribbean.
The temperature is uniformly warm throughout the year, with average highs of 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter months, and 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. The main difference between seasons is in the precipitation.
Like most parts of the Caribbean, Roatan has a wet and dry season. The dry season occurs between November and May, with February being the month with the clearest skies.
Meanwhile, April receives the least precipitation. If you are planning to spend time on the beach or go hiking in the jungle, then you want ideal outdoor conditions.
Winter and spring, before the weather becomes wetter, almost guarantee good weather. Weather conditions are particularly important for diving, one of the main draws for Roatan.
According to PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the best time of the year for diving in Roatan is during the dry season, which runs from the end of December to mid-May.When there is less rain, the visibility in the water is the best.
The migration patterns of local wildlife are also important factors if you are planning a trip to Roatan. One of the most spectacular dives in Roatan is the opportunity to scuba dive with whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea.
Whale sharks migrate north towards the Yucatan Peninsula in the spring and reverse the journey in the fall, so the best time to see them is in March, April, and May, then again towards the end of the year.
Spring is also the season for important diving competitions, such as the Caribbean Cup Freediving Competition (although this event’s date tends to change every year) and the Golden Buoy Dive Shop Olympics, which takes place at the end of May and raises money for charity.
If you’re looking to connect with other passionate divers, these festivals are the best time to visit Roatan. One thing to keep in mind is that winter and spring are definitely the high seasons in Roatan.
The island receives the most visitors during this time. Prices are also the highest, with average prices at about $150 a night for a hotel during the high season, increasing around Christmas and Easter.
Although Roatan sees the most crowds during this time, there are still ways to avoid the crowds even when visiting during the high season. Stick to the east side of the island, which is less developed and generally sees fewer crowds.
Many visitors to Roatan are cruise ship passengers that are only there for the day, so if you head to the beach late in the afternoon or early in the morning, you will still have it to yourself. The best time to visit Roatan is definitely during the dry season, even though that is when you get the most tourists.
Least Expensive Time to Visit Roatan
The least expensive time to visit Roatan is during the fall months, from September to November, when the prices of hotel rooms and other amenities tend to be lower.
Fall is the low season in Roatan due to much wetter weather than the rest of the year. The intrepid visitor that decides to come during this time is rewarded with lower prices, although compared to other Caribbean destinations, the prices in Roatan are fairly reasonable all year round.
Hotel prices tend to drop in the fall in Roatan. The average price of a 3-star hotel in September, October, or November is about $80 a night, which is much lower than the low-season average.
You can also save money on other expenses you will encounter when visiting Roatan. During the low season, many dive shops offer deals and discounts to try and retain the few customers that are around.
Even if there is no deal posted, you can sometimes negotiate down the price of a dive tour since dive shop employees are more open to bargaining when there are fewer customers around.
Least Busy Time to Visit Roatan
The least busy time to visit Roatan is during the rainy season, which peaks in September and October, as the weather chases off many potential tourists.
The weather is the main factor that dictates Roatan’s high and low seasons. After a dry winter and spring, the clouds begin to gather in June, and the storms really pick up in earnest in August.
Summer still sees some visitors because of the summer vacations in the Northern Hemisphere, but by the fall, there are much fewer people in Roatan. A quick way to check when Roatan won’t be crowded is to look at the cruise ship schedule for the Port of Roatan.
While December and January sometimes see a dozen cruise ships in just one week, in September and October there are only a dozen cruise ships arriving during the whole month.
If you want to visit Roatan when the island is less busy, but don’t want to get completely rained out, then the best time to visit is November.
The rains start to peter out towards the middle of the month. Although the roads are still muddy, November is also a great time to explore the interior of Roatan because the rain makes the jungles erupt in lush bloom.
Worst Time to Visit Roatan
The worst time to visit Roatan is during September and October, when the rainy season makes it difficult to enjoy the island’s wonderful outdoor activities.
Like many Caribbean destinations, Roatan has a rainy season. It peaks in September and October, when most days get plenty of cloud coverage and heavy rain. The rain makes it difficult to explore the jungle or enjoy your time on the beach.
More worryingly, September and October are also part of the hurricane season in the Caribbean. Although Roatan is rarely affected directly by hurricanes thanks to its sheltered location within the Caribbean Sea, hurricane season means an increase in heavy rain.
Tropical storm season, which starts in August, can also make it difficult to get to Roatan because conditions at sea sometimes mean ferries get canceled. However, if you do decide to visit during the fall to get a deal on hotels, you can still have a good time.
Unlike many other Caribbean destinations, Roatan is not completely dependent on the high tourist season, and most businesses such as dive shops are open all year round. You’ll also see a lot of divers in Roatan throughout the year because diving conditions are that good.
Whale shark migrations run until September, so some divers come then to try and see these majestic beasts. Although the visibility in the water is much worse during the rainy season, it is still possible to enjoy a dive in the fall.
Although the rainy season does bring plenty of rain to Roatan, it is not as intense as in other Caribbean locations. That means that even if you visit during the fall, you can usually find pockets of clearer weather to enjoy the beach.
Roatan by Month: Climate & Activities
Still unsure about the best time to visit Roatan? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:
In January, winter temperatures in Roatán range from 20 to 27°C (68-81°F). January is ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling to explore the colorful coral reefs. Visitors can also enjoy water activities, relax on the beautiful beaches, and experience local culture.
Similar to January, February maintains pleasant temperatures between 20 to 27°C (68-81°F). It’s an excellent time for underwater adventures, including diving with whale sharks at certain dive sites. Visitors can also explore the island’s lush landscapes and enjoy outdoor activities.
As spring begins, temperatures range from 21 to 28°C (70-82°F). March is perfect for exploring Roatán’s botanical gardens, ziplining through the jungle, and attending local events and festivals.
Spring temperatures in Roatán range from 22 to 29°C (72-84°F). It’s an ideal time for snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters, visiting the Gumbalimba Park with its wildlife encounters, and enjoying the warm evenings with beachfront dining.
May sees temperatures ranging from 23 to 30°C (73-86°F). It’s a great month for exploring the Carambola Botanical Gardens, taking boat tours to nearby cays, and enjoying the vibrant nightlife in West End.
Summer arrives with temperatures between 24 to 31°C (75-88°F). June offers opportunities for diving at the famous Mary’s Place reef, exploring the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences, and participating in local events and festivals.
July maintains warm temperatures from 24 to 31°C (75-88°F). It’s a popular month for snorkeling at West Bay Beach, zip-lining through the jungle canopy, and experiencing the lively Garifuna culture in Punta Gorda.
Temperatures in August range from 24 to 31°C (75-88°F). It’s an excellent time for water sports such as paddleboarding and kayaking, exploring the French Harbour market, and enjoying the diverse marine life.
As fall begins, temperatures range from 24 to 31°C (75-88°F). September offers a pleasant transition, with opportunities for diving at the wreck of the Odyssey, exploring the colorful reefs, and enjoying the laid-back atmosphere.
October sees temperatures ranging from 24 to 30°C (75-86°F). It’s a great month for hiking in the Carambola Botanical Gardens, visiting the Roatán Butterfly Garden, and attending local celebrations and events.
Fall temperatures range from 23 to 29°C (73-84°F). November is perfect for exploring the scenic landscapes of Roatán, snorkeling at the reef near West End, and attending cultural events in Coxen Hole.
In December, winter returns to Roatan with temperatures ranging from 21 to 28°C (70-82°F). December brings opportunities for holiday celebrations, enjoying the festive atmosphere in West End, and participating in water activities in the warm Caribbean waters.
Things to Consider
Here are some other things to keep in mind when planning your trip to Roatan:
- Avoid visiting during the holidays. The island is the most crowded and expensive around Christmas and Easter, and around national Honduran holidays such as Independence Day (September 15th). Hondurans and foreigners alike take advantage of holiday vacation times to go on a trip, so it’s better to avoid local and international holidays if you can.
- Head inland if you can. While the beach and diving are certainly the best things to do in Roatan, it would be a mistake to neglect the rest of the island. If you head away from the shore, you can learn about the local culture and the Garifuna people, explore the rainforest, and even visit a sloth sanctuary.
- Summer can get very hot and muggy. Many people visit during the summer because that is when they are on vacation, but the weather is not the best at this time. Although it is not as rainy as the fall, it is still very humid. Still, there are advantages to visiting during the summer, such as enjoying the best temperatures for the beach.
- Make reservations well in advance during winter and early spring. During the high season, Roatan doesn’t get unbearably crowded, but hotels and activities do fill up. If there is a specific diving tour or other activity you want to do during that time, make sure that you book it ahead of time to avoid being disappointed.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s always good to have as much information as possible before planning a trip, so here are some other questions people have asked that you may find helpful!
When is the best time of year to visit Roatan?
The best time of the year to visit Roatan is the late winter and early spring. The weather is warm and dry, making it the best time to explore the island. Plus, dry conditions are important to get maximum visibility when diving.
When is the rainy season in Roatan?
The rainy season in Roatan starts in September and runs until December or early January. Although you won’t experience hurricanes or sheets of driving rain, expect plenty of rain during this time.
What is the best month to visit Honduras?
Winter and early spring is the best time to visit the rest of Honduras, not just Roatan. Just keep in mind that the rainy season tends to start earlier on the mainland than on the Bay Islands.
What is the most affordable month to go to Roatan?
The most affordable month to go to Roatan is November, before the Thanksgiving holidays. Flights tend to cost less during this time, and you can save a lot of money on hotel rooms if you visit in the fall.
Why is Roatan so expensive?
Although it is more affordable than many other Caribbean destinations, Roatan is more expensive than the Honduran mainland. Part of that is due to the demand from tourists, which pushes businesses to increase prices accordingly, and part of it is because cost of living on the island is generally higher due to the cost of importing everything.
So, When Is the Best Time to Visit Roatan?
There’s a reason why the high season in Roatan is winter to early spring — it’s because December to April really is the best time to visit the island.
Enjoy warm temperatures and dry weather that is perfect for exploring, and you can even have the beach to yourself if you visit a more secluded part of the island. So, with so much to see and do, and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip to Roatan today!