The Last Resort

Roatan, Honduras - Winter 2008

Inn of Last Resort.

When you're looking for a place to spend a week in the Caribbean, do you really want to consider a place with a name like that? Unless you're searching for any available room at the last minute on an overbooked island during a holiday, why would you resort to "the last resort"? And what rum-soaked marketing professional thought "The Inn of Last Resort" would be a good name for attracting visitors?

Those were some of the first questions to cross my mind when I first heard of this resort. After reading some favorable reviews online, however, the irony became obvious. At least I hoped it was irony. In any case, I'm adventurous, so I put down my money and headed back to Honduras with Oceanblue Divers.

I'd been to Roatan, the largest of Honduras' Bay Islands, only once before. Back in 2004, Roatan was just one of many stops during a three-week "homecoming" visit to Honduras. This time, the trip was all about Roatan and its famous scuba diving.

The island boasts some of the best diving in the Caribbean, and shares the world's second-largest barrier reef system with nearby Belize. The reef—and all of its dive sites—lies just offshore, and the wall quickly falls off into the Cayman Trench, nearly as deep as Mt. Everest is tall. What makes Roatan's reef so distinctive and exciting to explore is its "spur and groove" structure, which features lots of crevices and swim-through tunnels.

When the 21 of us finally arrived at the resort (after slogging through 170-mph headwinds and losing several bags during our connection in Houston), we were happy to find a lush jungle hideaway, air-conditioned rooms and a bar manned by eager-to-please bartender Ziggy. Certainly no indication on the surface that this was "the last resort."

Sun-baked manager "Captain Ed," looking more salty than the nearby ocean, gave us a briefing on the resort and its dive operation. Our fellow traveler Chuck described him well when he said, "If Jimmy Buffett were a diver, he'd be Captain Ed." (Chuck would later go on to scrawl a warning on the resort's graffiti-encrusted bar: "Be careful, you're two drinks away from becoming Captain Ed.") But in my view, Captain Ed's own words gave the best insight into his personality: "My ex-wife took my money AND my girlfriend."

When we started our week of diving the next day, it quickly became apparent that Captain Ed was a metaphor for the Inn of Last Resort's dive operation: the boats had seen better days, the organization was haphazard, we didn't know what to expect from day to day. After the first two days of diving, in fact, we began to doubt whether the boats would even make it back to the resort after every dive. Turns out the resort's name wasn't so ironic after all. [Read my Trip Advisor review.]

Nevertheless, 21 divers on vacation together in an island paradise can't help but have a great time. Ziggy made a signature chocolate piña colada, the lagoon offered snorkeling that was almost as good as the offshore diving, and the weather was near-perfect the second half of the week. As we debated whether to make the trek to West Bay Beach on our last afternoon, or simply stay at the resort and relax at the lagoon (we chose the latter), we realized that, "last resort" or not, we should have booked two weeks instead of one.

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Content, photography & design © 2001-2008 Michael Strickland
All photographs digitally watermarked
· Unauthorized use prohibited

Photos


Topside


Underwater


Marine Life

More Photos

Pictures by
fellow traveler Simon

More pictures on
Oceanblue Divers site

Pictures from my
2004 visit to Roatan

 

Video Clips

Swim-Through (1:58)

Spooky Channel (0:24)

Lunchtime for
Tiger Grouper (0:14)