The Roatan island dress code. Fashionistas be warned!

Date Posted: February 10, 2014
Posted in: All About Roatan

So you’re planning a trip to Roatan? Awesome! Now you want to know what to pack? No problemo, I’ve got you covered. Just promise me you’ll pay attention and heed my words…

Don’t pack. Packing involves stuffing stuff into a bag that can barely contain the amount of stuff you’ve stuffed into it. Stop packing stuff.

You will need 10% of what you actually think you need. Seriously. You will wear the same shorts, the same shirt, the same bathing suits, the same dress all week. No joke. Everyone who comes here admits the same thing: I packed way too much crap.

You’re on an island! Who are you trying to impress?? You want to know what we wear all the time? The same shorts, the same shirt, the same bathing suits, the same dress…all YEAR.

This place is casual, and we’re not talking Casual Friday where you still have to wear a shirt without stains or holes and a skirt that hits just above your knees for decency and shoes that say “I just threw these on this morning” but in reality scream “I’m the unwanted alternative to flip-flops but the closest thing deemed acceptable in the office.”

We’re talking seriously casual, like I’ve seen so many old dudes walking down the street in speedos the past four days that I never want to lower my eyes from the horizon again kind of casual. I’m scarred. But you know what? That’s cool. It’s cool that while I might cringe a little because it’s just way too much exposure for an old dude, he’s comfortable wearing that walking down the street. He and all his buddies. Because for some reason we’re inundated with speedo-wearing older gentlemen right now. Good for them!

Old dudes aren’t the only ones setting the standard low – a sarong is perfectly acceptable to wear at all times of day or night, in any manner of tying, with as little as absolutely nothing on underneath. Seriously. Bras are beyond optional around here. Shoes? Psshhh cmon. A bikini/boardshorts is work-appropriate attire for 100% of the population here. Even if they don’t work in the water! And it’s ok!

You will wear the same thing all week. I promise. Most of the time it’ll be one of two bathing suits you bring with you and then some sort of additional coverage, either a shirt for guys or a dress/sarong for girls. Don’t bring heels, don’t bother with makeup, forget the hairdryer, and leave the multiple purses and wristlets at home.

Dudes, no joke, if you bring anything more than a small bookbag with a few things thrown into it, I don’t even know how to handle you. Unless your bag is full of dive gear, in which case come over and we’ll dive together.

I know you think I’m exaggerating, so let me reiterate: one shirt, one pair of shorts, two bathing suits, one dress/sarong for girls, one pair of flip flops. That is all you need for a week in Roatan. I’m not pulling your leg to see how many people read this and believe me and then look silly wearing the same thing over and over again. I’m being for serious here, people!

Consider this your warning: if you bring more clothes, you will be branded a tourist so you will never receive local prices and you will be constantly hounded by vendors and cabbies.

Don’t be that guy. I mean, you’ll still stick out like a sore thumb, but at least show me some effort. I’m just trying to help!

So you’re planning a trip to Roatan? Awesome! Now you want to know what to pack? No problemo, I’ve got you covered. Just promise me you’ll pay attention and heed my words…

Don’t pack. Packing involves stuffing stuff into a bag that can barely contain the amount of stuff you’ve stuffed into it. Stop packing stuff.

You will need 10% of what you actually think you need. Seriously. You will wear the same shorts, the same shirt, the same bathing suits, the same dress all week. No joke. Everyone who comes here admits the same thing: I packed way too much crap.

You’re on an island! Who are you trying to impress?? You want to know what we wear all the time? The same shorts, the same shirt, the same bathing suits, the same dress…all YEAR.

This place is casual, and we’re not talking Casual Friday where you still have to wear a shirt without stains or holes and a skirt that hits just above your knees for decency and shoes that say “I just threw these on this morning” but in reality scream “I’m the unwanted alternative to flip-flops but the closest thing deemed acceptable in the office.”

We’re talking seriously casual, like I’ve seen so many old dudes walking down the street in speedos the past four days that I never want to lower my eyes from the horizon again kind of casual. I’m scarred. But you know what? That’s cool. It’s cool that while I might cringe a little because it’s just way too much exposure for an old dude, he’s comfortable wearing that walking down the street. He and all his buddies. Because for some reason we’re inundated with speedo-wearing older gentlemen right now. Good for them!

Old dudes aren’t the only ones setting the standard low – a sarong is perfectly acceptable to wear at all times of day or night, in any manner of tying, with as little as absolutely nothing on underneath. Seriously. Bras are beyond optional around here. Shoes? Psshhh cmon. A bikini/boardshorts is work-appropriate attire for 100% of the population here. Even if they don’t work in the water! And it’s ok!

You will wear the same thing all week. I promise. Most of the time it’ll be one of two bathing suits you bring with you and then some sort of additional coverage, either a shirt for guys or a dress/sarong for girls. Don’t bring heels, don’t bother with makeup, forget the hairdryer, and leave the multiple purses and wristlets at home.

Dudes, no joke, if you bring anything more than a small bookbag with a few things thrown into it, I don’t even know how to handle you. Unless your bag is full of dive gear, in which case come over and we’ll dive together.

I know you think I’m exaggerating, so let me reiterate: one shirt, one pair of shorts, two bathing suits, one dress/sarong for girls, one pair of flip flops. That is all you need for a week in Roatan. I’m not pulling your leg to see how many people read this and believe me and then look silly wearing the same thing over and over again. I’m being for serious here, people!

Consider this your warning: if you bring more clothes, you will be branded a tourist so you will never receive local prices and you will be constantly hounded by vendors and cabbies.

Don’t be that guy. I mean, you’ll still stick out like a sore thumb, but at least show me some effort. I’m just trying to help!

About the author

Amanda Walkins

Serial expat Amanda Walkins is a freelance writer and blogger. She has lived in 7 different countries, traveled to many more, and loves helping people explore the world through slow travel and living overseas.