Semana Santa in Roatan, Honduras

Semana Santa AKA Holy Week-  A week of religious celebration that leads up to Easter Sunday.

Two years had passed since my first solo trip to the island and in between that time, I went through what I label ‘Roatan Withdrawal.’ Maintaining contact with those that I met in 2011 during my stay and being asked the question ‘when are you coming back to see us?’ only intensified the withdrawal symptoms. While the desire was always in my heart to revisit, my debt to income ratio and getting approved time off from work kept me from returning sooner.

I heard about Semana Santa previously and decided this would be a great time to kick the hiatus in the nads and GO! I envisioned the week as being ‘one big island block party’ engulfed with tons of cultural festivities for all to enjoy. I daydreamed about people verbally and physically proclaiming their love for this week throughout the streets of Roatan. I could ‘see’ churches extending their hours to the public, welcoming all to come in, hear sermons and sing songs about the significance of Semana Santa.

So in December 2012, I purchased a flight specifically for the week of March 25 to March 31, 2013.

Super excited about what I was going to experience, I emailed a friend who has lived in Roatan for over 12 years to inquire about the cultural festivities that would be happening during that time. Her email reply had me scratching my chin:

‘There are not many cultural activities here during Semana Santa, people basically celebrate by drinking a lot on West Bay beach.’

Fa Real?? But wait, this is HOLY WEEK!!!!

She also explained that it is usually very crowded, businesses close early during the week, and many people spend time with their families.

Wha??? Are you sure? Say wha ‘na?

The fantasy bubble of the ‘huge block party celebration’ burst and turned into mental droplets of a bunch of people hanging around getting drunk, me pushing my way through rowdy crowds, traffic being backed up for miles, and grocery stores being closed for several days.

Oh and guess what else? I completely forgot that since this was a holiday week, hostels, resorts, and hotels charged almost DOUBLE what they normally request.


I wanted to cancel this trip, but I didn’t. I decided to extend my stay so that I could experience the wildness of that week then the calm once it’s over. I am so glad I did because…

Neither extreme I envisioned  about Semana Santa in Roatan was true.

Yes, West Bay Beach was crowded on Good Friday, but it wasn’t unbearable:
Yes, people were drinking and partying in West End and West Bay:

But there were moments of peace, too:
baysittingYes, some businesses did close, but if you needed essentials, you could still purchase them somewhere else.

Remember!!! 20 Lempiras (L. 20) equals $1!!!
Remember!!! 20 Lempiras (L. 20) equals $1!!!

What was DEFINITELY true about this holiday week was the family aspect. While walking around, I saw a family singing hymns and reading from Bibles in front of their home in celebration of Semana Santa. I witnessed families enjoying each other on beaches. Several people went to other cities in Honduras and to other countries to spend quality time with their loved ones and vice versa.

For me, while I didn’t have family there before, I certainly do now! One family I’d NEVER MET BEFORE in my life treated me like their long, lost,  loved relative to the extent of welcoming me into their home for conversation and good home cooking!!!


Fresh Queenfish!
Fresh Queenfish!

Plus This:

Beans, Rice and a Boiled Banana

Resulted in This!


Semana Santa in Roatan, you are alright with Sista :) ¡Me gusta usted mucho y le veré en el futuro!




Related posts:

2 thoughts on “Semana Santa in Roatan, Honduras

    1. I really don’t know what’s the best beach in Honduras. I’ve been to one private beach and two public ones in West End and West Bay. The latter two are very touristy, but if I had to choose to spend my time on one, it would be West Bay because it’s longer and a tad bit wider than West End. I haven’t been to the other beaches there, but I am sure they are lovely.
      No, I didn’t do any snorkeling, but I will when I go back for sure!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *