Melmelfish, we stayed at Fantasy Island last January and it was a wonderful week. The island is small and we saw it all within two days. The snorkeling is awesome right off the gazebo at the resort. We also saw an airplane and ship not far from the gazebo…it was that clear 40 feet down. Tipping was the same as any other island…none were expected and the service was good with or without. We never exchanged any money. American dollars are acepted everywhere. You can travel on the local bus from right outside the resort for one to five dollars depending on how far you travel. The capital city is about a half an hour drive from the resort; this is where the huge cruise ships dock. A little further west is the very interesting town of West End with its pretty little shops. The main road through town is still a dirt road. Everyone is so friendly…I love the people of the little island of Roatan.
The monkeys at the resort are very entertaining, especially at lunch time around the open air buffet/grill. Even if it rains and lunch is served from the main dining room, the monkeys sit on the varandah and look in the door hoping for a banana. I was able to feed one a banada and it let me touch its leg. The little hands were so soft. The other animals scurry away.
The weather last January was hot; the water was like bath water. I imagine December isn’t much cooler.
Sunburn, we stayed in the block of rooms just to the left of the Dive shop in your picture. We walked by there several times a day. There was a resident tortoise shell cat that lived on our varandah on the handouts that people brought back from breakfast, lunch or supper. She never strayed to the other parts of the resort. She was pregnant in January. I often think about her. There was also a little orange kitten that stayed under that white bench at the dive shop in your picture. Did you happen to see it when you were there?
They have all levels of diving; there are 10 or 12 dive boats that go out three times a day. I saw several one-on-one teaching sessions at the gazebo. My DH and I only snorkeled and we saw many varieties at the gazebo and on the coral reefs close to shore. When I went to Roatan, I was hoping I would get to see a seahorse; they are there but only divers get to see them as they stay about 50 feet down. What is cool about Fantasy Island is that every night at 6:30, they show the day’s diving videos in the lobby and everyone gathers around to watch. The food at the buffet is really good too and they end the week with a grand buffet that includes fresh lobster. What a memorable holiday Fantasy Island, Roatan was.
Melmelfish, the only downside to Roatan are the sand fleas but that can be alleviated by using bug spray, especially on your ankles and lower legs…they are extremely itchy and you don’t even feel it when you get bit.