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PortsBahamas and CaribbeanUltimate Guide to Mahogany Bay Cruise Port in Roatan, Honduras

Ultimate Guide to Mahogany Bay Cruise Port in Roatan, Honduras

Mahogany Bay is the stunning cruise port located on Roatán Island in Honduras. It is a popular destination for Carnival Cruise Line ships. With its sparkling white sand beaches and warm Caribbean waters, it’s easy to see why so many travelers love Mahogany Bay. For many it is their favorite port of call, and we are going to see why with this guide.

This guide offers helpful information about what there is to do and see at the port and around Roatan. Visitors who come here can enjoy a variety of activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, which will give them access to the area’s colorful marine life.

Other popular activities include kayaking through the mangroves or taking an island-hopping tour. Cruisers can also take advantage of the shopping opportunities available at Mahogany Bay’s bustling marketplaces. There they can find souvenirs and local hand-made crafts.

Note: Although the port is operated by Carnival it is recommended that you take your passports and photo IDs off the ship with you. Also you should bring some cash as you will not be able to charge purchases to your onboard account.

Mahogany Bay’s Cruise Ship Port

Mahogany Bay cruise port shops
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Remember that not every cruise ship visiting Roatan will use the Mahogany Bay cruise port. Roatan, Honduras has two separate cruise ports, depending on which cruise line you’re sailing with: Port of Roatan and Mahogany Bay. The Coxen Hole cruise ship dock ( Port of Roatan ) is used by cruise ships from Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages, MSC Cruises and others.

The Mahogany Bay cruise port that we are covering today is only used by ships owned by Carnival Corporation. These ships are from cruise lines that include Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Costa Cruises. The Mahogany Bay Cruise Center has two berths where two cruise ships can dock at once.

The piers and terminal can get busy and crowded at times with over 8,000 excited passengers ready to explore the welcome center and isle of Roatan. As you exit the pier you will be guided through a duty-free shop. The shop sells a variety of items including beach necessities such as water shoes and sunscreen as well as popular duty-free things. Prices are comparable to those on board the ship.

As you exit the store you will see the walkway leads to an open air plaza with lots of shops. This cruise center is where many of the excursions will meet. You can also book excursions here as well.

Where is Mahogany Bay?

where is mahogany bay

Mahogany Bay is located on the west end of the isla Roatan in the country of Honduras. It is about 5 miles from the island’s capital, Coxen Hole, which is also where the other cruise port is situated. Roatan is one of three islands that is 31 miles off the coast of mainland Honduras. Roatan is the biggest and most populated of the three.

It is about 140 miles east of Belize. The island is part of the Western Caribbean Cruise itineraries and is one of the most popular destination ports for Caribbean cruises. From shopping, to eating out at local restaurants, to exploring nearby attractions such as Gumbalimba Park or Blue Harbor Tropical Arboretum – there’s something for everyone to enjoy! There are also plenty of beaches and water activities available for those looking for some fun in the sun.

How Big is Mahogany Bay?

Being only 5 miles wide at its widest point and 38 miles long, the Roatan island offers about 20,000 acres of beautiful nature to explore. Mahogany Bay is just a small part of the island and acts as the entryway into the gorgeous isle.

The cruise center covers about 20-acres of land and Mahogany beach takes up 10-acres of private land.

Note: Mahogany Bay is just the cruise port portion of the island of Roatan so there is much more to explore outside of the port. This article will focus mainly on the port of Mahogany Bay but will mention a few things outside of the area as well. You can check out our article on Roatan here.

Things to Do in Mahogany Bay

mahogany bay port tips
The view of Mahogany Beach area from the ship. (Photo Credit © Davidebner | Dreamstime.com)

There is something for everyone at Mahogany Bay. Whether you want to relax on the beach in your beach chair or take part in some exciting shore excursions, there is always something happening.

You can take a dolphin cruise, go snorkeling along the coral reef, or even try out kayaking in the bay. For those looking for more of an adventure, you can dive into the depths of Gumbalimba reef with a scuba dive or sail off on a catamaran tour from West End.

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One of the cool things about this port of call is that you can enjoy an amazing beach day without having to spend any money at all. That’s right! The first thing on our list is totally free. Or rather, it CAN be. If you wish to explore the outside area of the cruise port you will turn left and if you wish to visit the beach area turn right.

Here’s our list of top things to do when on a cruise to Mahogany Bay:

Mahogany Bay Beach

mahogany beach right near the cruise port, showing pier for snorkeling

Mahogany Bay Beach is for cruise passengers only, and it’s free to access. You will need to show your cruise card at the entrance. No transportation is needed to get to the beach as it’s right near the cruise port, although you can try the chair lift to make it easier (more on this later).

The beach is about a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal. There are tons of water sport activities available. These include snorkel masks and fins, paddle boards, Zayak, Fun Cat, Sea Hammock, Aqua Cycle, Aqua Cycle Boat, Paddle Boat, Hobie Kayak, kayaks, umbrellas, and more. While the Mahogany Bay Beach is free for cruisers the equipment rental does have an extra cost. 

There are plenty of lounge chairs that are free to use, however. You just need to get there early to ensure access to them. If two ships are in port it might be more difficult to find an open lounger if you get there too late. Only a few lounge chairs are in the shade so those fill up fast. If you want to make sure you have some shade on your beach day you can rent a clam shell for $26 for the entire day.

Loungers and clam shells at Mahogany Beach

If you want to upgrade your beach experience you can rent a cabana. Air-conditioned cabanas come with two lounge chairs, a hammock, beach accessories, a small TV, a safe to keep valuable safe, Wi-Fi, and waiter service in a semi-private beach area.

There’s also a refrigerator stocked with sodas and water. Fully air-conditioned beach cabanas come with two lounge chairs, a hammock, necessary beach items, free Wi-Fi and waiter service in a semi-secluded beach area. The beach is over 800 feet long and offers some secluded lounger retreats, a dock for snorkeling, and a two-story gazebo that overlooks the pristine waters.

If you get hungry while hanging out at the beach there is an open-air restaurant right there. Fat Tuesday is also right outside the beach entrance and has an extensive menu with food and drinks. There are also 5 or 6 different places right in and around the main cruise center area.

There are restrooms and showers right there at the beach just near the restaurants, so you can rinse all the sand off before heading back to the ship.

loungers at Mahogany Beach with palm trees and clam sheels
The “I wish I could stay here forever” sign at the beach (Cruise Fever)

Take the Nature Trail

The nature trail in Mahogany Bay will take you to the free beach area. There is a more straightforward path to get there as well but the nature walk offers some interesting vegetation along the way, along with some good photo ops of your cruise ship.

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As the trail winds through the wooded area it bends around towards the water with only slight elevation. Having to step over tree roots that could trip you up, be mindful there is some loose gravel along the path as well. If you’re walking to or from Mahogany Beach you might as well try the nature trail during one of your walks just to spice things up a little.

Ride the Magic Flying Chairlift

magic flying chairlift in mahogany bay Tired of walking and just want a fun ride to the beach? At $14 per person ($8 for children) to ride the chairlift all day, this one can be a bit on the expensive side. And it might not be for everyone. After all, the walk to the free beach is only about .7 miles away and the walkway provides such lovely flowers and scenery along the way.

But the views from the Magic Flying Chair are pretty spectacular as well, and after a long day playing water sports at the beach you might just want to sit down and take in the stunning views of Roatan on your way back to the dock at Mahogany Bay.

Note: The chairlift will not save you time as it moves rather slowly. Also, you will be above the tree canopy which provides great views of the ship and water, but that also means you will be in the sun a lot.

Enjoy a Zip Line Adventure

A zip line adventure is a great way to experience the Caribbean! On your cruise to Roatan, you’ll be able to book a zip line excursion at the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center. The cruise center is within walking distance of the port and beach, so it’s easy to get there from your cruise ship.

The excursion takes you across the island, giving you a unique aerial view of Roatan that you won’t get anywhere else. If you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure while on your cruise, taking a zip line tour is definitely worth it. You’ll be able to see stunning views of the Caribbean and even make stops along the way for some fun in the sun.

You can book an zip line adventure both at Extreme Adventure Park and also Gumbalimba Park. Each will cost about $100 per person.

Snorkeling in and Around Mahogany Bay

There are some amazing reefs around the island of Roatan. And with over 100 miles of coastline you have plenty of options. But you don’t have to go far from the Mahogany Bay cruise port to find some great spots as well.

Though the beach is man-made there is some great beginner-friendly snorkeling locations right off the pier. The reef has some great coral and marine life that most casual snorkelers will enjoy. Here are some of the best snorkeling locations around the island:

  • Little French Cay
  • West Bay Beach
  • Maya Cay
  • Starfish Alley
  • West End Reef
  • Sandy Bay
  • Palmetto Bay

 

Explore the West End of Roatan

Exploring the West End of Roatan is an incredible experience. From the lush, tropical forests to the pristine white-sand beaches, it’s easy to see why this area is so popular with tourists. You can spend a day snorkeling or diving in the crystal-clear waters and then relax on the beach while watching the sun set over the horizon.

There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore in the area. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or local cuisine, you’ll be able to find something to suit your needs. Be sure to take a cable car ride up into the mountains for breathtaking views of Roatan’s stunning landscape!

Spend The Day At West Bay Beach

west bay beach, Roatan

Located just off the port of West End and close to Mahogany Bay, West Bay Beach offers some of the best white sand beaches and crystal clear waters in the area. And this does come with a cost. For entrance into the beach area the cost is $27 for children and $35 for adults. Children 4 and under are free.

The drive from the cruise terminal to West Bay Beach is about 25 minutes long and will take you across mountainous jungles and incredible views. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach day or exciting water activities such as snorkeling, West Bay Beach won’t disappoint.

The bay offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea and nearby islands, while the beach area has plenty of loungers and umbrellas to enjoy your day under the sun. The warm waters are also perfect for swimming and kayaking, making it an ideal destination for all ages. With so much to do and see at West Bay Beach, it’s easy to understand why it is one of Roatan’s most popular spots.

All-Inclusive Beach Club

Excursions to the all-inclusive beach club are available through your cruise ship. It’s a 30 minute bus ride to the private beach club and everything is included from towels, umbrellas, lunch, and unlimited drinks.

You will have a server who will bring you drinks and lunch so you never even have to get out of your lounger.  There are also over the water cabanas that you can book. There is a place just for kids and swings in the water if you want to get that perfect Instagram shot from your vacation. 

Excursions generally last about four hours at the beach club before heading back to the ship.

Visit the Monkey and Sloth Hangout

Located in French Cay, Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout is a family-run animal sanctuary. At the Hangout you will get to interact with the sloths and monkeys and learn all about these fascinating creators.

You will get to even hold a sloth, which is a unique experience in itself, and something you will never forget. Besides the animal sanctuary, the family-owned company also offers island tours, kayaking, hydro bikes, and snorkeling adventures. You can check out their website here.

Visit the Chocolate Factory

The Chocolate Factory in Roatan is located in the city of French Harbour. This popular factory offers a wide range of hand-crafted chocolates, from classic favorites to unique specialty flavors. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the factory and learn about the process of making chocolate from bean to bar.

The shop also offers an extensive selection of local and international selections, as well as free samples for guests to try. Whether you’re looking for a delicious treat or something special for a loved one, the Chocolate Factory in Roatan is sure to have something that will satisfy your sweet tooth!

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Check out the Roatan chocolate factory here.

Visit Mangroves and Iguanas

An excursion to tour the Garifuna Mangrove Tunnel will take you to the east side of Roatan to experience some local culture away from blatant tourism. You will get to see all kinds of things along the way, like the noncommercial French Harbor, French Cay, and the Iguana Farm with large green iguanas.

Then the tour will take you to an authentic Cayuco canoe where the guide will take you through the mangrove tunnel. With so much wildlife to see along the way this is definitely a tour for nature lovers.

Relax At Little French Key

Little French Key is a private island off the coast of Roatan, Honduras in the Caribbean Sea. It is best known for its picturesque beach and turquoise waters, ideal for snorkeling and kayaking. Visitors can take a Mahogany Bay Cruise from the Cruise Center to reach the island, which is also serviced by other day cruises.

Once at Little French Key, you can relax on the white sand beach or lounge on one of the many hammocks strewn around the property. There are several restaurants and bars that serve international cuisine and drinks for visitors to enjoy. Plus, there are plenty of activities such as swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and more.

If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway with stunning views and plenty of activities to enjoy, then Little French Key is an excellent choice.

Visit Gumbalimba Park

Gumbalimba Park is a popular destination for visitors to the Caribbean island of Roatan. Located in West Bay, the park is accessible by cruise ship for an excursion or via a taxi from other parts of the island.

At Gumbalimba Park, you can take a zipline tour through the tropical jungle canopy and explore the beaches while snorkeling in the crystal clear waters. The park also features a botanical garden with native plants and wildlife, as well as a replica of a pirate ship complete with cannons and rope bridges.

You can also enjoy live music and traditional Honduran cuisine at the on-site restaurant and bar. Whether you want to relax on the beach or get your adrenaline pumping on an exciting adventure, Gumbalimba Park offers something for everyone! Website for Gumbalimba Park.

Take A Scuba Diving Lesson

In Roatan, West Bay Beach offers some of the most beautiful and vibrant coral reefs in the world. Here you can take part in an amazing excursion where you can learn how to scuba dive and explore the barrier reef. With its crystal clear waters, abundance of marine life, and fascinating coral formations, it’s no wonder why so many people come here to take a scuba diving lesson.

Port Shopping

The shopping area at Mahogany Bay is filled with many unique stores that are sure to have something for everyone. From souvenirs to local crafts, there is plenty of merchandise to choose from in this duty-free shopping area. After you have finished exploring the shops, you can relax on the nearby beach or take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Roatan.

Take An Island Tour

If it’s my first time to an island on a cruise I often like to get an island tour to really understand all the port of call has to offer. A good tour operator guide also knows all the popular places and even off-the-beaten-path locations known mostly to local residents.

Swim With Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins at Mahogany Bay, Roatan is an unforgettable experience. During this excursion, you’ll be able to observe dolphins up close in their natural habitats. You’ll also have the chance to see other fish, turtles and even stingrays while you snorkel.

The knowledgeable guides will provide you with all the necessary equipment such as masks and fins. They will also be available to answer any questions and to ensure your safety during the entire duration of your swim with dolphins experience.

Catamaran Ride and Snorkeling with BOSS

A catamaran ride with snorkeling is the perfect way to explore the beauty of the ocean around Roatan. With BOSS Excursion, you can take a private or group tour and enjoy the amazing views of the Caribbean Sea. During your tour, you can experience snorkeling while exploring the underwater world.

You will also have access to a variety of activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming in clear turquoise waters. Moreover, you can observe dolphins and other aquatic creatures from above or below the surface.

All this is possible thanks to BOSS Excursion’s professional crew and well-maintained catamarans that provide a safe and comfortable journey for everyone.

Tips on Leaving the Port Area

If you want to really explore Roatan and all it has to offer you will want to get outside of the cruise center. There is one care rental company that serves the entire island or you can take a taxi. The entire island is broken up into zones by the local taxi association.

A trip to Coxen Hole from Mahogany Bay will cost around $20 and all other zones can range from $15-$25. >In Zone A taxi rates will be based on the trip, but as soon as you leave Zone A the pricing will be based on the number of passengers.

If you have a large group that you want to keep together you can take a mini-bus. They are called “Rapidito” on the island. These mini-buses can accommodate a maximum of 15 individuals, and they will ensure that your party remains intact while you travel throughout the island. Prices can vary but may be around $300-$400 for a 5 hour use. Carnival cruise ship in port with Mahogany Bay sign

FAQ on Mahogany Bay

What’s the weather like?

The weather in Roatan is typically warm and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from the mid 70s to mid 80s (Fahrenheit) throughout the year. The island experiences two distinct seasons: a wet season from May to November, and a dry season from December to April.

During the wet season there is often heavy rainfall and occasional storms, while during the dry season the weather is generally sunny and dry.

Who owns Mahogany Bay?

Mahogany Bay is owned by Carnival Corporation, the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line. The company operates Mahogany Bay as a private destination for its cruise ships. The bay was opened as an exclusive port of call for Carnival Cruise Line in 2014.

Since then, it has become a popular destination for cruise passengers looking for a unique Caribbean experience. The bay features a variety of activities and amenities, including shopping, dining, swimming pools, and beaches.

It also serves as a home-port to several of Carnival’s ships that sail from Roatán Island throughout the Caribbean Sea. With its stunning scenery and wide range of activities, Mahogany Bay has quickly become one of the most popular ports of call for Carnival Cruise Line passengers.

Is Mahogany Bay a tender port?

No, Mahogany Bay is not a tender port. It is a cruise port located in Roatan, Honduras and is used exclusively by Carnival Cruise Line. There is room for two cruise ships to dock at the cruise port and there is no need for tenders.

Is Mahogany Bay a private island?

No, Mahogany Bay is not a private island, but simply the cruise port for Carnival Corp. owned ships. It is located in the Caribbean Sea and is part of Roatan, an island in Honduras.

Does Roatan have an airport?

Yes, Roatan has an airport. The Juan Manuel Galvez International Airport (RTB) is located on the island. The airport serves both domestic and international flights, including from the United States.

It has three runways, two of which are paved and one that is a grass runway. The terminal building houses several shops, restaurants, and cafes.What hotels are near Mahogany Bay?

Conclusion

For those who want a relaxing beach day there’s plenty right at the cruise port in Mahogany Bay.  You don’t have to break the bank, and if you bring your own snorkel gear you can enjoy some really great reefs on the cheap. 

But of course Roatan has so much to offer for those feeling a bit more adventurous.  Either way, this amazing port of call is a great opportunity to turn that vacation into a fantastic memory.  Happy sailing!

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon got hooked on cruising after his first cruise on his honeymoon, and today he is always looking for cruise deals and reading information about the cruise industry. Jon lives in the foothills of North Carolina and wishes there were a cruise port that far inland. Jon can be reached at [email protected]
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