Taking the Bar Home in Roatan

The Honduran island of Roatan lies off the country’s coast in the Caribbean Sea and was one of many fun places I visited on my tour through Central America. As can be expected for a Caribbean island, the fun revolves around beaches and rum, which is always good.

We stayed in a quiet part of the island just out of the town West End, however the best beach nearby is said to be at West Bay a few kilometres to the south (Yes, they’re both on the west end of the island). There are many things to do in Roatan including diving, but a group of us decided to just spend the day at the beach. Generally to get to West Bay Beach, you can either take the dull option of a taxi or the more entertaining motor boat that will putter along the shoreline. While we opted for the motorboat on the way there, we would find a curious 3rd option on the way back.

West Bay Beach Roatan

Arriving at the beach, our group pitched in for a few sun lounges and then went our separate ways, some running into the water and others choosing to walk along the beach and explore. After a while, the group gradually formed back together in the soothingly warm water. Not far from where we were swimming, a large wooden boat sat pumping out music in the middle of the water. At some point someone remarked that they wondered what the boat was. This naturally led to a couple of people swimming over to find out and learning that it was actually a floating bar – The Reef Rider.

Floating Bar Roatan

Getting a drink at the bar was a no-brainer but presented the challenge of how to bring our money over. The first attempt involved holding someone’s bag overhead as they swam which looked hilarious but was not the way to go. It then turned out that someone had a dry bag and so we piled our wallets into their bag and it was brought over. The rest of our valuables would later be brought over with the last of our group by kayak steered by one of the boat’s staff, our sun beds barely used throughout the day.

Aboard the Reef Rider they served a variety of cocktails but most popular was a particularly potent rum punch that we actually drank dry. And so, we whiled away the day drinking rum, chatting, dancing and for several of the group – jumping off the top deck into the warm water below. My nerves – even bolstered by rum – could only handle the jump once.

Floating Bar

As the day grew long, we were having too much fun to think about making our way back home. Tragically, the bar did close and we learned that they had to set off. We were about to make our way back to shore when we learned that the boat was in fact heading to West End, as it alternated locations every other day. And with that, the captain and crew of the Reef Rider took us home with their floating bar.

Roatan Beach


Have you ever had an odd or unusual ride home while travelling? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Short Story: Taking the Bar Home in Roatan, via @travelsewhere