What about my health? What if I get sick over there? Make sure your immunizations are up to date, specifically Hepatitis A and B. In my city, there’s a company called The Shot Nurse and some Little Clinics/Take Care Clinics (in grocery stores) that can assist you, many times without an appointment.
If these are not available in your city, contact your health department or physician’s office to see if they can provide them for you.
Check out http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/honduras.htm for more specifics about health precautions required and recommended for travel to Roatan.
I wouldn’t drink that if I were you…
Only drink water that is bottled and/or has been treated while in Honduras.
Mosquitoes carry Malaria: – If you decide to take antimalarial medications, know their guidelines and speak with your doctor/pharmacist about which one would be the best choice for you. I took Doxycycline for its pros:
- Convenience (can be taken 1-2 days before traveling to a malarial area)
- Cost (with some insurance plans it’s free)
- Treats Lyme disease (carried by ticks)
- Increased photosensitivity. Plainly put, one would have to monitor/limit exposure to the sun (bummer!), use sunscreens, hats, protective clothing if on this medication
- Increased risk of esophageal damage if one reclines after taking
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (Fun Times!)
- Have to take it daily for up to 28 to 30 days
There are two forms of Doxycycline – hyclate and monohydrate. The hyclate salt is commonly prescribed in capsule form (also available in tablet form) and is cheaper than Doxycyline monohydrate. I chose to take the monohydrate in tablet form because it has less GI irritation. In the future, would I choose this medication? Probably not because I would rather take a weekly pill vs. a daily one, plus, I will be more prepared the next time. I was in a rush to have pretreatment, so I chose the most convenient option available.
Sand fleas: Literally fleas in the sand.
Very common in certain beach areas of Honduras. When I was there, I didn’t ‘see’ them (hence their other name ‘no-se-umms’), but I saw what they could do to your skin! Some people had several bites on their body. One lady I encountered itched so bad, I she was shaking! I ended up giving her some Claritin to control it. What’s interesting is that the people I talked to that were bitten by both insects, told me they used DEET containing insect repellants!
In all, I only noticed three bites on my body, from mosquitoes and sand fleas. While I did use a DEET product, I read some about some more natural prevention tips, and I think the following helped minimize the agony of their feedings on my succulent blood (hee hee):
- Cactus Juice Spray on the skin
- B-1 supplements
- Garlic supplements
As I think about it, maybe the garlic repelled other ‘parasites’ too, ha ha!
If you find yourself ill or injured…
There are clinics on the island for injuries/illnesses, but if your need requires a specific type of care, you may have to be transported onto the mainland of Honduras.
What’s the language?
¿Hablas español? Si es así, eso es bueno. Si no es así, tratar de aprender algunas frases de antemano.
If you didn’t understand the statement, read on.
While Roatan has its fair share of English speaking residents, there are some who only speak Spanish. I encountered housekeepers, taxi drivers, and concierge who spoke no English at all. It would be in your best interest to learn common Spanish phrases beforehand. Look into programs like livemocha (it’s free online unless you upgrade), You Tube, Google Translate (provides audio translations), and Rosetta stone to help you.
What about money? Should I exchange in my country or wait until I am there?
If you are a U.S. citizen, please know the conversion- $1 is equal to 19 Lempiras.
Exchanging money isn’t necessary (if you’re from the U.S.) because the dollar is widely accepted; however, I will repeat: KNOW THE CONVERSION!
How can I connect with those back at home?
Internet– Many resorts/hostels/hotels/bed and breakfast units have this access available, but don’t assume it’s included in the price for your stay. Some places include it and with others you have to pay as you go. If where you choose to stay doesn’t have internet availability, you can inquire about local internet cafes or other businesses that can provide it for you.
Cell phone/telephone use: Depending on where you choose to stay, some will provide you with a complimentary cellular phone to take around the island. You are even allowed to call internationally, but if you exceed the minutes provided, you will have to pay for the charges.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of roaming charges with your cellular company, there are 3 cell phone providers on the island to choose from: Digicell, Tigo or Claro. Some phones are pretty cheap ($25) and you can pay as you go!
What should I pack? What should I leave at home?
I.D./One or Two Credit Cards
Medications/Small emergency kit
International Calling Cards
Medical Alert ID Bracelet/Summary of medical issues
Expensive jewelry, accessories
Large sums of money