Roatan is a mountainous strip situated 30 miles north of the Honduran coast. It can take five hours (total elapsed time) to fly by TAN or Belize Airlines jet from Miami or New Orleans to Honduras and then by DC3 from the mainland to the island, but it may require an extra hour or two since delays are not unknown once you arrive in Honduras.

The island is tropical and that means hot. Picture year-round St. Petersburg summer and you get the idea. The rainy season runs September through January. Though there are no poisonous snakes, no dangerous animals and relatively few mosquitos during dry season, the sand flies take up the slack. A strong insect repellent is absolutely necessary. The main tourist activity is scuba diving on the incredibly encrusted coral reef which rings the entire island. Underwater visibilities are nearly always more than 100 feet and occasionally hit 150 feet.

The main towns include Coxen Hole, French Harbor, Oak Ridge and the two large north-side villages, Punta Gorda and Sandy Bay.

There are 10 hotels, ranging from the spartan but clean Solebod House for $12 double a night to Spyglass Hill, $80 double a night, and Anthony's Key Resort, $90 double a night (including food and most activities). Medium priced hotels which also offer scuba diving are Pirate's Den in Sandy Bay, Reef House in Oak Ridge, Roatan Lodge in Port Royal and the Buccaneer Inn in French Harbor. Food is tasty but unspectacular.

For more information on Roatan, write Instituto Hondureno de Tourismo, Apartado Postal 154-c, Tegucigalpa D.C., Honduras, C.A.