Owned by Carnival Corporation, Mahogany Bay, located on the island of Roatan, is a popular port for cruise ships to dock. Among the cruise ships that stop at Mahogany Bay are the Carnival, the Princess, the Holland America, the Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Costa Cruises, Thomson Cruises, and P&O Cruises. The reason Mahogany Bay is included as part of the itinerary for most luxury cruises is that there’s so much to do at the port. Right from a local marketplace that’s brimming with life to a number of beautiful beaches where you can relax or try something adventurous like zip lining and snorkeling, the Bay has something to offer everyone. Read on to find out about the top seven reasons you should visit Mahogany Bay.
Magical Chair-Lift Ride
Most cruise bays have in-house transportation like electric cars, trams, or even horse-drawn carriages. But at Mahogany Bay, the transportation gets a tad bit more innovative. Guests from different cruise ships are carried straight from the welcome center to the Mahogany Beach through a novel chairlift system that offers the best views of the bay. There’s a pink kiosk at the welcome center where you can board the chairlift. The ride to the beach lasts for around ten minutes, during which you’ll be suspended at a height of approximately 67 feet from ground level.
The ride takes you over the lush treetops and the grassy regions that are strewn across the bay. The best part is that you also get to fly over the crystal-clear water surrounding the land. If you’re lucky enough, you might even get to spot some sea creatures beneath the translucent waters. Once you alight, you’ll find yourself on the sands of Mahogany Beach, where you have a variety of options to explore. You can relax on the lounge chairs and floats, engage in a game of volleyball, or take part in other adventurous activities and watersports. An all-day pass for riding the chairlift costs $14 for adults and $8 for children between four and 12 years old.
See the Marine Life by Scuba Diving
Going to Mahogany Bay and not scuba diving should be a crime. The bay houses are a part of the largest coral barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea. If you're ever in the area, this is something you definitely should check out. Guests are first offered an introduction to the sport of scuba diving. PADI instructors conduct a classroom session, after which you receive a certificate for completing the ‘Discover Scuba Diving’ program by PADI. You can then test your skills in shallow water, and practice techniques like breathing under the water, using the regulator, swimming with fins, and removing any water that may have gotten into your mask.
Once you pass the test in shallow water, you’ll be taken to the actual diving area, where you can scuba dive up to 40 feet below the surface. You can enjoy gliding gently above the surface of colorful and vibrant coral reefs. You will swim alongside other sea creatures like tropical fish, sea turtles, and maybe even stingrays. For people who aren’t sure whether they can pull off scuba diving, there’s always snuba, which combines the safety of snorkeling with the thrill of scuba diving. The best part is that there’s a team of local photographers who’ll dive down with you can capture your experience under the waters.
Relax on Mahogany Bay Beach
If adventurous activities like scuba diving aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps you’d prefer a more quiet, relaxing vacation. If so, Mahogany Bay has something for you as well. The beach on Mahogany Bay is an 850-foot-long manmade stretch that is covered in breathtaking white sand. A few feet away are the warm waters of the ocean. All along the beach, you can find hammocks or beach lounges where you can simply lay back, put your feet up, sip on your favorite drink, and enjoy the view. If you’re seeking a vacation where you can lounge under the sun and get some much-needed peace with the sound of the waves in the background, Mahogany Bay is the place you’ll want to be.
If you’re lounging on the beach, you needn’t even get up to grab yourself a drink; there are waiters who roam the coast taking orders for snacks and refreshments to make you feel at home. You can have a quick bite when you’re hungry and then dip your feet into the gentle waters. In fact, the waters are so clear that you can see your own feet! There are also several stores along the beachside where you can shop for everything from jewelry and clothes, to other knickknacks like local gifts and beach seashells.
Swimming with Dolphins
Dolphins are fascinating sea creatures; and while you can interact with them in many fenced, secluded pools around the country, Mahogany Bay is where you can experience dolphins in their natural habitat. For first-timers who are a bit apprehensive about the experience, there’s something simpler called the dolphin encounter, where you can pet them and study them in their natural waters. The dolphins are fed and cared for, and are not restricted to certain areas alone. Instead of having them brought over to you, you’ll be allowed to interact with them dolphins in the sea.
For the more adventurous folks, there’s also the opportunity to swim with the dolphins. At Antony’s Key Resort, you can become a part of a natural school of dolphins and swim and snorkel with them. You can also take a dorsal ride, where you’ll have to hold on to the dorsal fin of a dolphin and speed through the waters as they swim along freely. This ride gives you an idea of the speed at which dolphins swim when they’re unrestricted and free. At the end of the experience, you can collect your videos and photos, so you have a record of the beautiful memories you made.
Kayaking on a Clear Vessel
Ordinary kayaking is for other islands. In Mahogany Bay, even this routine watersport gets an innovative twist because of the use of clear kayaks as opposed to regular boards. The kayaking routes begin at the beachside where you can paddle along the white sands on the shore. You can also take the bus to Gumbalimba Nature Park, where you can ride the clear kayaks across the water, passing by slopes of the hillsides covered with jungles and forests. The highlight of riding along on a clear kayak is that you get an uninterrupted view of the marine life under the waters. It feels like you’re gliding along on the water, with no barrier between the board and the waters.
At the end of the kayaking trip, you could even spend some time with other land creatures like monkeys and toucans at David Johnson’s monkey park. As for the terms and conditions involved in the clear kayaking sport, children ages eight or above are allowed. Children between eight and 11 years should sit in front of an adult in the same kayak; only children aged 12 or above are allowed to paddle. Each kayak can handle up to 350 pounds.
Incredible Food and Drink
Mahogany Bay is a culinary paradise. In fact, figuring out where to eat can be quite a challenge, because there are so many great options that you certainly don’t want to pass up. You can begin by eating the way locals do, at the quintessential beach eateries dotting the cruise port. In these places, you get the fresh catch of the day coupled with coffee made from Honduran beans. If that’s not your scene, there are countless other local restaurants in West End and West Bay, from where you can sample a variety of daily specials and signature dishes. For lovers of seafood, the options are aplenty, ranging from lobster and shrimp to conch and blue crab.
If it’s street food that you crave, baleadas and pupusa are a must-try. Horchata, which is a creamy and delicious drink made from ground nuts, melon seeds, and grains like rice, is another popular drink in Mahogany Bay. For meat-lovers who want to try something besides the seafood, you have mutton peppers and cuts of beef, which is the country’s most popular kind of meat. The local outlets dotted on the seaside also serve the most divine cocktails, mixed in delightful combinations.
Touring the Traditions
Mahogany Bay isn’t just all about the beach and the adventure. For travelers and tourists who love to delve into the culture and history of their destination, there’s also the option of taking a tour that introduces them to the traditions of Roatan. If you're someone who is interested in understanding the lifestyle of the locals, then this is the tour you should take.
There are excursions for history buffs and for people who love learning about different cultures. These programs introduce you to the history and background of the locals and Garifuna tribe. They also include performances of the traditional dances of the Garifuna people. You can even learn a few words (or more) in their native language, sample their cuisine, and learn how some of the local dishes are created.
This is simply a small sampling of all the fun you can have on Mahogany Bay. Aside from the adventurous activities and ideas explained above, you can also choose to tour the chocolate and rum factories strewn around Roatan Island, or check out the various tours they have for travelers seeking different things from their journey to the bay.