- Swimwear. Roatan is known for it's incredible coral reefs and beautiful beaches, so chances are, you're going to be getting in the water. If you don't like putting on a wet swim suit, then stick a couple of suits in your bag- they're small and easy to pack.
- Sarong or quick dry towel. Towels take up a lot of space, and are a pain to pack along when wet, so I'd leave your full size towel at home (at the hostel, bath towels are provided in private rooms, and for guests staying in a dorm, can be rented for $1, and you can also rent a towel for the beach for $1, or pick up a cheap one at a souvenir store that you can always leave behind if you don't want bother with packing it afterwards). Sarongs are so versatile- they can be used as a towel, bed sheet/blanket, skirt, dress, and they're a great item to have in your carry-on in case the flight is cold.
- Underwear- pack enough to get by for about 5 days, and then just get your laundry done (if you're only coming to Roatan and not traveling elsewhere, and just going to be here for a week, then pack a week's worth, but otherwise a 5 day supply is enough). Don't bother with socks, other than to wear on the plane or if you're planning to go work out while you're here, as usually you'll just be barefoot or in sandals
- Footwear- as mentioned above, sandals are all you need, maybe with a pair of running shoes for the plane ride and if you're planning to do any exercise. No need for fancy shoes, or serious hiking boots. If you're planning on ziplining, you'll probably want something other than flipflops, as those can easily fall off.
- Clothes- a 5 day rotation is really all you need to keep you going for months, then just plan to do laundry when things get dirty. Shorts/t-shirts, maybe a sundress. If you're coming during rainy season (mid-Oct to mid-Jan) a raincoat or umbrella are good to have, as well as a pair of pants and a sweatshirt if it ever cools off a little, or you're going to somewhere with a/c. If you're planning to spending several months traveling and will be in a mix of hot and cold countries, it's still not worthwhile to drag around a lot of cold weather clothes everywhere with you. A couple of things that you can layer, and then you can always stop by a used clothing store to buy a few things for the cold when you arrive somewhere that you need it.
- Bathroom stuff- small shampoo, conditioner, soap. Contact lens solution (it's hard to find here, so if you'll be traveling longer term, you'll probably want to bring along a full size bottle, even if it means you have to check your bag). Tampons are also sometimes difficult to find, especially if you prefer a specific brand. Sunscreen and bug spray you'll want to have, but you can always pick up here if you need it (probably more expensive than at home, though).
- Flashlight, back up charger for phone. The power goes out on a semi-regular basis, so it's nice to have a little light source, as well as a back up way to charge your phone.
- Money, cards, passport. US$ are accepted everywhere, as long as they don't have any rips in them (even small rips aren't accepted). Sometimes bank machines don't work, so have some cash ready with you in case you have difficulties getting cash out. For your passport, make sure there's at least 6 months left until it expires, or you might be turned away on arrival.
Torn between wanting to pack light and not wanting to forget anything important? Here are some helpful suggestions for what to pack for a trip to Roatan- a lot of the time, a carry-on size bag is all you need.
Mel is a Canadian who's been living in Roatan for over a decade. Before being a single mom of 2, she used to travel around the world as a dive instructor. She looks forward to the opportunity to meet many other travelers in her hostel.