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Mayan Princess Resort Beach Break in Roatan review

18 Dec 2018

Sailing to Roatan on a cruise means you are very likely in the market for a shore excursion that brings you to one of the beautiful beaches that this island in Honduras is well known for.  If a beach day, combined with optional pool time and all the food and drink you can enjoy sound like the winning combination to you, then the Mayan Princess Resort Beach Break might just be the right choice for you.


The Mayan Princess Resort Beach Break is a Royal Caribbean shore excursion that will bring you to an upscale beach resort about a half an hour away by bus from where your ship docks.

Like many Royal Caribbean shore excursions, you will meet onboard the ship and be escorted off the ship to buses that are waiting to take you directly to the resort.

On the way to the beach, a tour guide narrates the trip with information about the history, culture and traditions of Roatan.  If you have taken group tours before in the Caribbean, this should feel quite familiar.

As you arrive to Mayan Princess Resort, you are greeted with a welcome drink and then taken on a quick tour of the resort to provide an overview of the layout.

Mayan Princess Resort is a hotel resort that works with the cruise lines to offer day passes to its guests.  You have the choice of spending your time between pool area or the beach. 

The 250-foot-long Mayan pool is quite large, and offers various depths with a lovely design.  There is some seating by the pool, but it is quite limited so if you want to grab a seat, you ought to get one quickly.

Most guests spend their time by the beach, which offers a lot of seating.  Beach umbrellas or palapas are not available, but the lush vegetation around the beach means there is plenty of shade if you need it.

The beach itself is quite large and getting into the ocean was smooth enough that water shoes were not a necessity.  

Photo by Billy Hirsch

There is seating towards the back of the beach, as well as seating along the beach itself. Despite the large cruise group visiting, there was ample seating for all.

Mayan Princess offers an open bar that serves up a selection of local beer, spirits, fruit punch and soft drinks. This means waiters are happy to come around and take your drink order, or you can head to one of the bars and grab it yourself.  

Upon arrival there was a snack area for those that were already hungry.


Lunch is served buffet style and featured a fairly typical island barbecue menu.  There was enough variety offered to satisfy picky eaters too.  The menu features coconut chicken and fried plantains, as well as signature burgers, fish fingers and hot dogs.


In our cruising experience, group excursions to beaches have been hit or miss for us, as often the experience can be crowded with other cruise guests to the point that it is hard to overlook.  Nonetheless, Mayan Princess broke that mold and offered a relaxing day for us to enjoy.

First and foremost, I relish excursions that offer a pool and beach option.  For families, having the choice is a great equalizer for the unpredictable moods our kids can be in, and/or weather conditions. The pool was chilly, but the kids did not seem to mind and eventually we all got used to it.  As mentioned earlier, seating by the pool is limited, so if you want to sit there, grab a spot early.

The beach was lovely and provided the kind of Caribbean vibe I think most look for in a beach excursion.  There was a band playing island tunes, reasonably sized waves, cool breeze and palm trees all around.  

Photo by Billy Hirsch

It is worth noting that there were quite a few vendors that would walk up and down the beach selling goods and services.  This is not uncommon in the Caribbean, especially since the beaches are open to the public.  A simple "no thank you" and the vendors move on.

Mayan Princess includes drinks and food.  The waiter service was adequate, although not quite as regular as some other all-inclusives we have been to.  Nonetheless, the staff was friendly and the bar was never far away. The quality of drinks provided certainly met our expectations.  The lunch buffet was also pretty good, and I enjoyed the variety of food offered.  It is always a relief to see some basic fare (hot dogs or burgers) served up along side local cuisine, so no one went hungry on our visit.

Overall, Mayan Princess Resort Beach Break was a day well-spent in Roatan.  By the time it was time to leave, I think we all wish we could have had another hour or two to enjoy just a little bit more fun while there.  That is usually a sign of a good time.

Cost: $99.00 per adult or $49.00 per child. Infants are free.

Excursion Focus: Parrot Tree Beach Resort in Roatan

21 Feb 2014

Roatan, Honduras is one of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean to visit and Royal Caribbean has more and more cruises stopping at this island paradise on their western Caribbean voyages.  If you're looking for a less crowded, yet beautiful beach to visit, it's hard to go wrong with Parrot Tree Beach Resort.


Roatan's west end is well known for its beaches but because of its popularity, the beaches fill up fast and feeling like a sardine on a beach isn't my idea of fun. Enter, Parrot Tree, which is a beach resort on the east end of the island, about a 20 minute car ride from Royal Caribbean's dock without traffic.

Parrot Tree is a resort that offers day passes to cruise guests.  This isn't an all-inclusive resort, just provides access to their facilities.  Like all day-pass destinations, the advantage is smaller crowds and well-manicured grounds.

Arriving at Parrot Tree is like driving into an exotic and exlusive resort you might see in a James Bond movie set.  The road is paved with bricks that resemble something Cortes would have seen on his way to Tenochtitlan (Aztec capital city).  

Parrot Tree is on the ocean but they have built a lagoon that lets sea water in without all the waves.  The lagoon is surrounded by a white sandy beach with palapas and chairs laid out perfectly every dozen or so yards, giving each group their own private space.

Each palapa location offers 3 beach lounge chairs, a table and a beach bed.  There's also waiter service to bring you food or drink.  You can also walk to the nearby bar to get your own food and drink as well as use the free internet WiFi.

The food at Parrot Tree is a blend of traditional American food and a few local creations.  Burgers, fries and chicken nuggets are available along with the fresh fish of the day.  There's also plenty of drinks to choose from, including drinks that come in a hollowed out coconut.

The lagoon offers little to no waves, which is great for those who aren't strong swimmers or just someone who wants to relax in the water without fear of a large wave surprising them.

Because it's a private beach, there aren't any beach vendors offering you things to buy although we did see a woman offering massages, whom we assumed worked for the resort.


Given the price of admission ($15 per adult), it's really hard to beat what you get for the money.  Having your own private beach spot and far less crowded than other beaches is a wonderful treat.

The hidden gem here is the beach bed, which is perfect for laying down to enjoy the breeze, read a book or even take a nap.  For our 3 year old daughter, it made for the perfect nap spot and that isn't easy since she rarely naps at the beach because there's rarely anywhere comfortable for her to lay down.

In terms of the food and drink, we found the food to be quite good and good prices.  The chicken fingers were breaded in something quite good and the fried fish was particularly delicious.  You can charge food and drinks to a credit card, which means less of a need to carry as much cash on you.

The lagoon is quite nice to splash around in or just sit down and enjoy.  It's not very deep but great for wading and enjoying the view.  While the ocean is on the other side of the lagoon, there is no beach to speak of, just a lot of rocks so swimming there is likely not an option.

The web site for the resort claims your admission also includes access to their pool, although we were not aware of that and did not use it. 

The appeal of Parrot Tree is somewhere to go for a relaxed, low-key beach day.  For those that like to have a drink and enjoy a day in the sun, this is the place for you.  The grounds are beautiful and the value for the cost is really quite high. 

Address: Parrot Tree Plantation Roatan, Bay Islands Honduras, Central America

Cost: Adults: $15; Children 6-11: $5; Children 0-5: Free

Planning a Royal Caribbean cruise: Roatan

06 Jan 2014

We're continuing our trip planning process for our upcoming Navigator of the Seas 7-night western Caribbean cruise on February 9, 2014 by taking you along for the planning process.  Today, we're looking at what to do on our first port stop of Roatan, Honduras.

You can read all about the plans we made for our last port of call in Belize City too.

Photo by Craig Dyni


Roatan is new to us, having never been here before.  That being said, I've heard nothing but good things about the beauty of this island.

More than any other stop we are planning, Roatan seems like the perfect beach day excursion and so when we sat down to plan things out, special attention has been made to see which beaches would be our best bet.

Roatan is also our last port to visit and I think we're all looking forward to this stop the most, so there's some added self-induced pressure for this to be a really good time.

The Options

Little French Key

Right off the bat, Little French Key jumped out at us from every review we could find about Roatan.  It's the number one ranked thing to do in Roatan according to TripAdvisor and it screams toes in the sand with a tropical drink while the kids play in the surf.

Photo by Sasha Fenix

Little French Key is a private island that seems to cater to cruise guests mostly.  The reviews rave about how beautiful the beaches are, opportunities to take photos with monkeys and jaguars (animals, not the cars) and so forth.  

I can't say Little French Key is the cheapest excursion I've ever seen.  The basic package is $55 per person, with optional upgrades to bring the price per person up to $148.  My 3 year old daugher is 50% off so at ther very least it could cost $138 for the family before drinks, food or anything else a la carte.

Pros: Pictures look beautiful, great reviews, simple plan

Cons: Expensive, Could be Crowded, Food and drink extra

West Bay Beach

Looking for slightly more affordable beaches, our next option is West Bay Beach.  Depending on what you read, this is either a beautiful beach or an overcrowded tourist trap.

Photo by thesledman

It's ranked #4 on TripAdvisor and most reviews sound great, but there are enough neutral to poor reviews to give me pause.  The most common complaint is it's overcrowded and not as beautiful as it once was a few years ago.

Less of a problem per se, is getting to the beach.  It sounds like most people find a taxi driver in port and take a ride out there, which is fairly common when going to do anything.  The upside to having to get a taxi is it allows me to explore the port area some more and get a more authentic taste of Roatan.  Plus, I've had good luck with drivers in the past helping find some good local places to eat.

Pros: Inexpensive option; Photos look great

Cons: How to get there; Some reviews cite overcrowding and demise in terms of looks

Hiring a driver

When I visit a port, I really try to get an authentic feel for where I am visiting.  I want to eat the local food, see what makes the port worth going to and feel like I didn't just see the sanitized tourist created zone.  

Photo by Petpics

Hiring a driver has been a good strategy in the past for me to accomplish this goal. The trick is to find a good driver who is affordable and friendly.  Some taxi drivers are only interested in taking you to the closest beach and then getting back to the port to make more money off the next tourist.  There are other drivers, however, that love to share what makes their home so great and show you around.

Finding drivers is never simple and I suspect if I go with this option, I won't be able to book anything in advance.  Getting to port and walking around to negotiate a rate seems to be the best strategy although the problem can be we may not find anyone good and/or waste a lot of time before settling for just going to the beach.

Reading some threads on the Roatan Cruise Critic board seems to indicate haggling for a taxi is the way to go, especially if you walk up the hill away from port.  The other advantage is I find this to be a little more adventurous and fun.

Pros: Sense of adventure; Opportunity to sample local cuisine and avoid tourists; Potentially inexpensive

Cons: Have to navigate swarm of drivers to find a good one; No guarantee we will find a good driver at reasonable cost; Potentially expensive

Palm Beach Roatan

After doing some more research on what to do in Roatan, I started leaning more towards something off the beaten path, and in terms of beaches somewhere with less tourists and yet beautiful.

Photo by edl803

TripAdvisor lead me to Palm Beach Roatan, which is descibed as, "a complete hideaway from the tourists and crowds".  

Most of the reviews talk about this beach being relatively uncrowded but still quite lovely.  The photos posted definitely backed up those opinions and it sounds like a good place for a simple yet lovely beach day.

Getting here is still a concern since I'll likely have to find a driver in port, which is good and bad.  Ideally I'd like to have my plans in place ahead of time but it's also not the end of the world not to.

Pros: Not a lot of tourists; Photos look great; Very good reviews

Cons: Have to find transportation on my own

The Decision

After considering our options, we ended up choosing.... Hiring a driver + Palm Beach Roatan.

Basically, it came down to cost and getting what I really wanted to do.  When I first started researching Roatan, I thought Little French Key was going to be an easy pick.  But the cost and lack of authenticity (my opinion, not necessarily the case) gave me second thoughts.  Personally, I love to feel like I'm getting a real taste of the island and that desire weighs heavily on me.

The more I thought about it, the more I'd like to find a driver to bring us to Palm Beach Roatan when we get to port so my daughter can get her beach fix.  Not to mention most places may not be open yet given the time we arrive.

After our time at the beach, hopefully the same driver can bring us back with a stop somewhere for lunch that is slightly more authentic than a Margaritaville. My family really loves Latin cuisine and I'd love to try the food here.  

Of course, finding a driver is always a concern but I've had good luck finding one in the past and truthfully I like the challenge.  I've heard enough good things about Roatan to be optimisitc at our chances for success.

Investment for second phase of Honduras port of Roatan received

02 Aug 2010

The port of Roatan in Honduras, whose major shareholder is Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, announced a new investment of $45 million for work on the second phase of its Town Center, as an extension of existing facilities at the destination of Islands Bay, on the Caribbean coast of this country.

According to El Heraldo de Honduras, the additional investment provides a new and wonderful atmosphere of entertainment and offers first-class commercial facilities to accommodate more and more cruise passengers who will be visiting Roatan.  Currently, Roatan covers 6% of the market share of Caribbean and this year is about 800,000 cruise passengers. The Roatan cruise industry generated about $ 50 million in foreign exchange in 2009 and should amount to roughly $ 80 million in 2010, according to estimates by the authorities.

According to a study by the Cruise Association of Florida and the Caribbean, Honduras is in fifth place in the ranking of 29 cruise destinations in the world.

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