Helping on Holiday: How You Can Make a Difference on Roatan

Occasionally, guests coming to Barefoot Cay ask for information about helping out around Roatan, either through donations that they can bring down, or through their time while they’re here. We love it when guests want to help our beautiful island, and there’s lots of helping that you can do!
One of our favourite non-profits on the island is Clinica Esperanza, http://www.clinicaesperanza.org This health care clinic is growing in leaps and bounds, thanks to generous individuals and businesses that donate their time, money and supplies. The health care on the island is an area that needs improvement, and the clinic is making a huge difference in the lives of many. It operates as basically a walk-in clinic, open from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and has a women’s health doctor on staff for pre-natal check-ups and women’s health, as well as a GP, pediatrician, and dentist. Many medical and nursing students come down to volunteer and learn, and medical professionals offer their assistance throughout the year. If you’re a doctor or a nurse that would like to volunteer a few days of your stay, they’d be happy for your help. Not a medical professional? No problem. You can be a great help to the clinic by bringing down a few things from their needs list on their website, stuff like ibuprofen and children’s vitamins are always needed and don’t take much space. There’s also a few more days to participate in their fundraising auction. Done once a year, many businesses on the island, including Barefoot Cay, donate stays, meals, dives, activities etc to be auctioned off, with all the proceeds going to the clinic. The live auction has already taken place, but the internet auction runs until Sept 7: http://www.roatanauctions.com There’s a stay at Barefoot Cay included on there :)

If you’d like to help out with educational needs on the island, Partners in Education Roatan (PIER) http://www.pierroatan.org is working hard to better the education on the island. They have the SandCastle Library, e-learning program, book-mobile and more. They welcome donations of school supplies, and if you’d like to volunteer a bit of your time, you can drop by to offer homework help or read with kids at the library.
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There are many other wonderful non-profits on the island making a difference. When you come to Roatan to enjoy the beautiful Caribbean water, amazing reef, gorgeous beaches and all the fun activities, enrich your trip by lending a hand.

When the Lights Go Out

Interested in Roatan nightlife? Definitely there are lots of bars, spots to go dancing, but some of the best nightlife lies just off of the island, on our coral reef. Night diving involves a whole new cast of characters, as nocturnal animals come out to play, and daytime creatures take their rest.
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Which creatures are nocturnal? Octopuses are one of my favourite night-time finds. Their amazing ability to change colours and get into the smallest of spaces is fascinating. Crustaceans such as shrimp and lobsters also like to come out at night, their eyes glowing red. Another sight at night common on Roatan are the glowing string of pearls, as well as the sparkles of bio-luminescence, little micro-organisms that look like fairy dust when disturbed by a kick of a fin or a waving hand. Night dives are an incredible experience. If you’ve never been on a night dive, Roatan is a great spot to get started. A night dive can start just as it’s starting to get dark, so your eyes can get accustomed to the diminishing light. If you’re interested in continuing your dive education, a night dive can be part of your advanced course. If you’re not a diver, you can still enjoy the night life by going night snorkeling with a dive light.

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After the dive, coming up to the surface, you’ll be amazed at how brightly the stars shine, when you’re out in the water away from any lights. And since the reef is so close to shore, it’s a quick ride back to the resort for a few post-dive cocktails poolside, while you share with other divers all the new sites you’ve seen.

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Highlight Barefoot Cay Kitchen – Best of the Menu

When I think back to various trips, one of the memories that stand out the most is what I ate, and I don’t think I’m alone on this. The delights of experiencing new foods are a big part of the travel experience. At Barefoot Cay, there are several familiar menu items, if your taste buds aren’t adventurous, as well as many new dishes that you might not have tried before.
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One of our most popular lunch items is the tropical salad. Ingredients that don’t sound like they’d go together somehow fuse together for an amazing taste sensation. Succulent shrimp, juicy mango, spicy jalepeno and crisp peppers all work in harmony. If you’d like to try dishes typical to Roatan and Honduras, join us for our pig roast on Wednesdays, or for our flavours of the island buffet on Thursdays. If you’d like to take a look through our menu, it’s on our dining page.

In addition to great food, an amazing setting makes everything taste even better! Dine under the stars at our garden pergola, or enjoy the company of other resort guests in our main dining area next to the pool.
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Best Times to Stay at Barefoot Cay

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We recently made the cover of Islands Magazine, for the article on ‘Best Islands to Live On’. Unfortunately, making a move might not be in the plans for everyone. A visit of a week or two might be more logistically possible. If you won’t be here year-round, how can you decide the best time of the year to come?
1. The weather factor. Our rainiest months are October to January. Does this mean you should avoid these? Not necessarily. Even when it rains, it never gets too cold, normally not dipping below 20 C (68F). This more mild temperature can actually be a relief for those who aren’t used to the sometimes intense heat of the tropics. Normally these months are a mix of rainy days and sunny. Sometimes we’ll get a few days of round the clock rain, followed by a few gorgeous, sunny days. The diving is great this time of year, as the winds shift, so the south side of Roatan, where Barefoot Cay is located, is very flat and calm. You can pack along a dive light, as the cloudy days to mean that the reef colours don’t show as intensely. February to July is generally sunny and usually dry, though in the tropics, weather is never a guarantee, and downpours can happen any time of year. August and September are very still and hot. Our rooms are air-conditioned, and if you’re like most our guests, your days will be in the water, snorkeling or diving, so you’ll be able to keep your cool.
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2. Consider the critters. Whale sharks occasionally pass through Roatan, and even more frequently by the neighbouring island of Utila. The most sightings are usually in March and August.
3. Plan around local events. Are you an avid fisherman? You might want to come mid-September, when the annual fishing tournament is held in West End.
4. Avoid the crowds. The quieter months on Roatan tend to be May and early June, as well as late August through to mid-December. At Barefoot Cay, there’s never a crowd, as we have just 11 accommodations, but if you’ll be venturing out to explore around the island, it’s nice to come when it’s not too busy.
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5. Take advantage of specials. If you visit our website, http://barefootcay.com/contact-us/ , you can sign up for our e-mailers, so you’ll get notifications of any specials running.
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How to Pull Off a Destination Wedding

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One of the biggest days of your life- would you want to have it in the Caribbean? Deciding on whether or not to have a destination wedding can be difficult. On the plus side, destination weddings are much more bang for the buck. For the cost of a moderate size wedding in the US that will last a few hours and cost at least $30,000, you could pay for your wedding and a few nights stay in a tropical paradise for family and friends! Most wedding couples just cover the cost of their own stay and wedding expenses, as well as a few fun group activities, and guests cover their accommodations and flights, so for a small-medium size wedding, you can easily keep your costs to under $10,000, including your honeymoon. That makes financial sense to many couples who will be covering their weddings costs themselves, as well as to couples that are planning a 2nd marriage and want a more intimate setting. For brides who stare with dread at a growing guest list, spiraling out of control with the addition of distant relatives and family friends, a destination wedding means that it’s easy to extend the invite to everyone, but only those who really want to be there will invest in the cost of coming.
Other than the cost factor, a destination wedding means that you get to spend real, quality time with the people you love most. Instead of a winding reception line, exchanging just a few words with guests, you’ll have a few days to spend with them, whether it’s relaxing on the beach, or heading out together for a day of sailing. A destination wedding means an incredibly beautiful backdrop: in Roatan, the lush vegetation is filled with blooms such as hibiscus, plumeria and heliconias, and the sparkling turquoise water and white sand beach creates a truly magical setting. A destination wedding is a unique expression of who you are, and will be a memorable event for everyone that attends.
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Factors that need to be put into consideration are whether any of your closest acquaintances would be unable to attend due to mobility issues (such as grandparents that may have a hardship with flights), or due jobs, children or other commitments that they may not be able to get away from for several days. Many wedding couples who opt for a destination wedding also have a party at home to celebrate their union with anyone that wasn’t able to make the trip.

Once you’ve made the decision, how do you plan a destination wedding? Here are a few guidelines to help you on your journey:
1. Do your research. This might even include a trip to the destination that you’ve been considering, so you can check out the various resorts and see their set-up. If you can’t make it ahead of time, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Look through the internet and magazines, send your wedding planner your photos of inspiration so she’ll know what you have in mind.
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2. Have a wedding planner. If you’re not at the location, is can be next to impossible to try and coordinate things yourself, and a destination wedding is supposed to be less work, not more! Having a good wedding planner is essential to your peace of mind and ensuring that there’s someone who has it all under control, so that you can concentrate on bikini shopping :) At Barefoot Cay, a wedding planner is included in our wedding pricing. Our wedding planner Steph, who’s our guest services supervisor, will work with you in the months leading up to the wedding, to make sure every detail is worked out, as well as while you’re here, checking in on your guests, and coordinating everything from the cake to the get-away vehicle.
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3. Examine your expectations, and modify them if needed. Part of the beauty of a destination wedding is the simplicity of it. Cake? 3 flavors to choose from. Flowers? Local tropical blooms. Music? Reggae, a steel drum band, a DJ? If you start getting caught up in too many little details and are on the road to becoming a bride-zilla, stop for a moment. Pull out the blender, whip yourself up a pina colada, put on some Bob Marley, close your eyes, and think about your feet in the sand, the sway of palm trees, the warm Caribbean sun caressing your shoulders, looking up into your future husband’s eyes and saying ‘I do’. Now re-think your list, and make sure to listen to your wedding planner’s advice- she’s done lots of weddings, she can tell you what works and what is available at the location that you’ve chosen.
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4. Have fun in the planning! Get creative with the parts of the wedding that you’ll be taking care of. Fun invitations, whether postcards, message in the bottle or in the form of a travel brochure, can be a great way to get your guests excited about the upcoming event. Planning to leave little gifts in everyone’s room when they arrive? Beach totes with water bottles, sunscreen, customized towels are all unique ways to say thank you to everyone for making the trip.
5. Get everything planned ahead of time. If you’ve got a wedding planner, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have any work to do! Your wedding planner will need lots of information from you, including dinner selections and seating plans, activities that you’d like to schedule, which providers you’d like to book for the wedding. If you get it all taken care of a few weeks before you get there, than you can just relax and enjoy your time away. Our wedding planner makes sure to have a printed itinerary for all the guests when they arrive, so that no one is hunting you down asking where they need to be and when.
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6. Plan for a few extra days at the resort with just you and your hubby, after all your friends and family have left. After all, this is your honeymoon too. It’s good to have a few days alone together in paradise, before you head back home as husband and wife.
7. Invest in photography and videography. This is even more important than if you were having a wedding at home, as there’ll be people that can’t attend that would love to see what your special day was like. While most wedding couples opt for photography, not as many opt to get a video done, but it’s definitely worthwhile to have your vows recorded.
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8. Relax and enjoy. Luggage didn’t show up? Forgot your special earrings at home? No matter how much planning is done, things can come up that don’t go exactly as planned. A wedding is meant to be a celebration of your commitment to each other, so celebrate!
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10 Reasons Why Barefoot Cay is the Best Place to Honeymoon

You’ve made the huge step, and committed to a lifetime together. All the months of stress and wedding planning will be over, and you want to pick the perfect spot to start your new lives together as husband and wife. A honeymoon is an incredibly special trip, and will create memories to cherish forever. There are beautiful places all over the world, so the decision making can be tough. We’ve decided to help you out! Though there are many, many reasons, here’s 10:
1. With just 11 accommodations and over 50 staff, you’ll always feel pampered at Barefoot Cay Resort
2. Our beachfront bungalows are private little cabanas right on their own beach, complete with hammocks
3. King size, Heavenly bed with high quality linens- these beds are so incredibly, wonderfully comfortable that many guests have ended up ordering one for themselves when they return home!
4. A romance package that includes champagne in your room on arrival, a couples massage out over the water at our palapa, a candlelight dinner on your porch, breakfast in bed
5. When you eventually get out of that king size bed after your leisurely breakfast in bed and want to explore, the Caribbean island of Roatan has lots of great activities, including scuba diving (our on-site dive shop offers lessons if you’ve never tried), snorkeling, ziplining, swimming with dolphins, horseback riding, sailing, parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding ….
6. Our staff love honeymoons too! As our dinner staff to prepare a romantic dinner out at our garden pergola, and you’ll be bowled over at the oasis they create.
7. Did we mention that we just have 11 accommodations? That means you don’t have to stake out a lounge chair, the staff all know you by name, and if you want to skinny dip off the palapa in the middle of the night, there probably won’t be anyone around to see
8. We have our own private cay. Our resort is located partially on the south shore of Roatan, and partially on a private 4 acre cay, across a 75 foot channel. The beachfront bungalows are on this cay, so you’ll truly feel a world apart. Access to the cay is restricted only to our resort guests.
9. You’ll get to make friends with our resident parrot, Chaccarron. He’ll wolf-whistle at you from the trees as you walk by, you’ll hear him chatting ‘how you doin’?’ when you’re by the pool.
10. Your honeymoon will be magical. We believe in letting guests set their own pace, so no one will be trying to recruit you to do water aerobics. Before you come, we’ll send you lots of vacation planning information, and our guest service staff is there to help with all your needs once you get here, but if you want to be away from the world, undisturbed in your newlywed cocoon, we get it! Room service is available, the bungalows have their own full kitchen if you want to keep any drinks or snacks in your room, and housekeeping service can be scheduled at a time that’s convenient to you. Treasure your escape from the world!"                               "

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A Private Island Wedding

We love to host weddings at Barefoot Cay – the joy and excitement of two people committing their lives to one another is always such a delight! Nicole and Jacob were no exception. They opted for our “Exclusively Yours, Private Island Wedding” package (see our Weddings page for package details), and brought all of their friends and family for a huge celebration! Congratulations, Nicole and Jacob, we wish you all the best in your future together!

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Images courtesy of Brooks Photo Studio

Unique Dining Experiences on Roatan – Best Eats Available

Baleadas, pastelitos, Monkey La las- sound foreign? These are a few of the great tastes to enjoy on Roatan.

A baleada is one of the most typical snacks here. It’s a flour tortilla, with refried beans, a salty cheese, and sour cream inside. That’s the most basic version, called ‘sencilla’. Baleadas are also available with the addition of scrambled eggs, or with chicken and avocado, or vegetables, meat.. lots of variations! At Barefoot Cay, we have an excellent crispy baleada on the breakfast menu: it’s stuffed with scrambled, eggs, vegetables and cheddar cheese, and the tortilla is lightly pan fried to make it crispy. Delicious!

A pastelito is a half-moon of deep fried dough, stuffed with either chicken, beef or fish, and sometimes rice. The dough can be either made of corn flour or wheat flour- either one are scrumptious.

Sampling the local food is great, but lets not forget drinks! There are several local beers- Port Royal, Barena, Imperial, and my personal favourite, Salva Vida (it means ‘life saver’). One of the most popular blender drinks is a Monkey La La- Baileys, Kahlua, Vodka, Coco Lopez and ice in a blender- mmm!

Experiencing new tastes is a great part of traveling somewhere new. If you’re not too adventurous taste-wise, don’t worry. There are plenty of familiar items on our menu, like surf and turf :)

Preparing for Activities at Barefoot Cay Resort

There are lots of different vacation styles- some people just want to relax in a lounger with an umbrella drink, and others want every day to be action packed.  If you’d like to do some activities around Roatan, here’s how you can make sure you’re ready.

Ziplining: make sure to pack shoes that won’t fall off your feet as you’re zipping through the jungle!  If you were only planning on bringing flip-flops, you might want to toss in a sturdier pair of sandals that have straps, or a pair of running shoes.

Snorkeling: the sun is hotter than it feels!  When you’re in the water, you don’t feel the sun’s heat as much, the sun gets reflected on the water, and there’s so much to see that you lose track of time.  The best defense is to keep on a t-shirt or a rash guard, so that you don’t end up in pain later on.

Diving: are you already certified?  If so, make sure to find your certification card and bring it along.  The dive shop can usually look up your certification on-line if you’ve misplaced it.  If you’re planning to try diving for the first time, a medical questionnaire will need to be completed, and if there are any medical conditions indicated, you’ll need a doctor’s clearance before getting wet.

Horseback riding: make sure to pack appropriate clothing/footwear if this is on your list of activities to try.

Touring the island: planning on renting a car?  Don’t forget your drivers’ licence, you won’t be able to rent without one!

The weather is normally warm all year round, and dress is casual, so the rest of your packing won’t take up much space.  If you’re not sure what activities are on the island, check out our A-Z guide on our website: http://barefootcay.com/resort/activities/

 

 

10 Things to Do Barefoot at Barefoot Cay

1. Enjoy a walk along the beach, soft sand under your toes.
2. Take a running leap off the end of the palapa into the turquoise water of the Caribbean.
3. Get comfortable in a hammock with a good book.
4. Find a patch of sand when you’re in for a scuba dive, take off your fins, and experience the sensation of being weightless under water. Do a few karate chops, back flips, a Russian dance :)
5. Dangle your feet in the pool, while sipping on an icy-cold Brick Bay Kiss
6. Go stand-up paddle boarding.
7. Head out exploring on a kayak.
8. Charter out a boat for a day of deep sea fishing- you can leave the shoes behind.
9. Luxuriate in a few spa treatments
10. Say ‘I do’ with a wedding on the beach- barefoot, of course!
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