It was just another day in the life on Roatan…until I left. I’m writing this from another country, another home, and not even remotely another beach (unfortunately). But it was a morning in Roatan at least.
A morning filled with birdsongs and sunshine waking me up early, and coffee already brewing because my Irish-Colombian is simply the best person ever. His incredible bosses had given him the morning off to take me to the airport – and they also gave us their truck so we didn’t have to try to balance my bags on the scooter. Although we’ve certainly done worse, trust me.
We cleaned and packed and organized and relaxed. We walked the beach with Lina and snuggled her in bed despite the fact that she hates that. When it came time to leave for the airport, I said a tearful goodbye to my favorite little furball and we headed out.
Not all was sad this day though: I was provided with ample entertainment as my unlicensed Irish-Colombian drove the largest truck he’s ever seen through the narrow and windy main road of Roatan. He yelled at several people along the way, he cringed more than once as he thought an oncoming large vehicle couldn’t possibly fit next to us, and his hair resembled Einstein’s by the time we parked at the airport.
Roatan’s airport is international, taking in flights from the U.S., Canada, El Salvador, Belize, Cuba, and Italy, depending on the season. The airport is also still tiny. We parked approximately 20 feet from the main entrance, which consists of two automatic doors. The entirety of the airport outside of secure areas consists of the following:
- Approximately six rental car or info kiosks.
- Approximately five airline counters, all connected and taking up perhaps 50 feet of space.
- Precisely one coffee shop.
- Precisely one bar serving pizza slices and beers.
- Precisely one bathroom each for men and women.
- Precisely one bank.
- Approximately 40 cab drivers and hotel representatives waiting with signs.
- Precisely one location to enter the gate area past security.
- Precisely one location to exit from the arrivals area.
Like I said, it’s a tiny little airport. There are three parking rows, plus the drop-off/pick-up lane, and a bunch of motorcycles parked on the grass. That’s it! Roatan offers international service to conveniently close locations and unbelievably convenient access to enter and exit from the main road. It’s nothing compared to the major U.S. airports that require you to follow 15 signs to get toward the enormous parking garage near the terminal within which you still have to walk a mile from the door to the gate. None of that.
All this to say, when I arrived at the airport about 1.5 hours before my international flight only to find it was delayed, which the woman who checked me in at the United counter so kindly told me, we had time to go hang at the bar and grab a drink. Finally, about 20 minutes before I was supposed to board, we sauntered over toward the security checkpoint and said a long, tearful goodbye. For the first time, we’ll be apart for more than a week. I won’t be back on Roatan for many weeks, so indulge me while I moan a bit.
Exit taxes are now included in your ticket purchase price, so the only line you’ll experience is while you’re checking in, because you still can’t do that online ahead of time unfortunately.
Being the only person walking up to the security desk, it took a whopping 15 seconds to have the woman confirm my boarding pass and send me along. I waited perhaps another 20 seconds before being called up to the next available immigration agent’s counter, where I handed my passport over to be processed. A few fingerprints and maybe a total of one minute later, I was on my way through the metal detector. No taking off flip-flops, just easy breezy walk through and grab your stuff on the other side.
Inside the secure area there are three gates, but it’s really only one large waiting area with tons of seats. There are two little gift shops (little!) and one sandwich shop. Those sandwiches are actually delicious and enormous so go with an appetite! You will walk out onto the tarmac to board your plan, and pro tip: they usually have both the front and back doors open for large flights, so don’t wait in line up front if you’re sitting in row 25.
That’s it! That’s the whole Roatan international airport departure experience. It’s that simple and easy, requiring about as much effort as sitting on the beach all day.
So while I sit here and bemoan the distance between myself and my beach, my furball, and my love, at least I know when I finally get back home it will be a quick and easy exit from my little international airport to all three of them.
Make sure you sign up for my fabulous newsletter to stay updated!