It might surprise you to discover that for such a small island, Roatan’s biodiversity supports a tropical rainforest ecosystem that is home to a number of native birds, reptiles and mammals.
Plant enthusiasts will appreciate the native fruit trees including Strangler Fig, Hog Plum and Nance. Island native plants such as ferns, bamboo, orchids, bromeliads and palms can be seen in the wild and at botanicals gardens and parks. Walking Roatan beaches, you can expect to see coconut palms, sea grapes, almond trees and coco plums along with a variety flowering plants and vines.
Integral to the Roatan’s ecosystem is the mangrove forests found throughout the island. Not only do they protect the island from storms but also act as a breeding ground for many species.
Roatan is home to a number of native birds, reptiles and mammals as well as some rescued exotic species from the mainland. Several species of bat live here, important in controlling the insect population. You’ll likely see an Agouti or two during your stay – best described as a tiny-eared rabbit. Opossum and White-tailed Deer roam freely around the island.
Approximately 40 reptile species are found in Roatan including the endangered Hawksbill turtle. You also find six species of frogs, 15 lizard species and 13 snake species. The iguana farm is home to nearly 3000 of these reptiles.
Over 120 species of birds live on Roatan, approximately only 40 species actually live and nest on Roatan, the rest are migratory birds. The Yellow-nape Parrot is found in Roatan and is an endangered species. Canopy tours are a great way to observe bird life on the island.
Roatan's barrier reef, sea grass beds and mangroves house the island’s complex marine ecosystem. The Sandy Bay-West End Marine Reserve is a protected area encompassing many Roatan dive sites; some of the Caribbean's best diving. Those heading underwater may see dolphins and sharks, sea turtles and moray eels, caves, 1000-foot coral walls and spectacular sea sponges. These waters are one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks especially between May – September