From incredibly fresh seafood to ethnic, fusion, and local favorites, food lovers will not be disappointed with the cuisine on Roatán or Bocas del Toro. Plus, you will be supporting small businesses that keep the places authentic and sustainable.
Roatán’s culinary style was born from the isolation of the island itself, and is centered around a base of foods that can be sourced locally from fresh seafood to local herbs, rice, flour, and beans. Take the Honduran “Baleada” for example. This local staple is eaten at all hours of the day, and consists of a homemade flour tortilla, smear of refried beans, and a sprinkling of queso duro (hard cheese). A simple meal, but the three flavors together are magical. Add some hot sauce to spice up your life, or eggs and chorizo for a breakfast treat.
As far as local seafood goes, try a whole fried red snapper rubbed with chicken consommé or cilantro. Or ask your chef to throw that fish on a grill (“pescado a la plancha”) and try it with coriander, pepper, or with lemon grass. Other local favorites include Wahoo steaks with onions and peppers, freshly caught Mahi Mahi, shrimp, king crab, Caribbean scallops, and calamari.
You can also find lobster on the menu in Roatán, but be aware that unless a lobster tail is at least 5 ½ inches in length, you’re eating an illegal juvenile lobster that has not had the chance to reproduce. Most reputable restaurants will not serve a lobster tail under 8 ounces. You can also support conservation in Roatán by ordering the invasive and destructive Lionfish when you see it on the menu. Local chef Kent Burnes of the Blue Bahia resort reports “Lionfish is one of the best fish I’ve tasted. Light and delicate, and takes seasoning well”. Great on salads, smoked, and rolled into fish balls…yum!
Bocas del Toro, Panama:
You only have to travel as far as this little slice of paradise in Panama to find a world of cuisine to choose from. In Bocas del Toro you can find Thai, Indian, American, and Japanese cuisine just to name a few. Freshly made pasta your favorite? We have that too! Are you looking to "go local"? You're not going to find more authentic dishes than coconut rice and beans, or the famous Rondon soup. In Bocas, you can "visit" a different country every day!
Feigning for something sweet? Cocoa is a burgeoning export crop in this region. The high quality, organic beans are in demand and you can taste them here straight from the tree. Take a tour of a cocoa community to see how chocolate was traditionally made, or just purchase one of the many local brands without leaving Isla Colón. Either way, you would be supporting a small business that is helping to keep Bocas green.
The fun doesn't stop at sundown in Bocas. If nightlife is your thing, there are plenty of options to keep your evenings entertained. From Happy Hours, Ladies Nights, live music, and DJs spinning Latin, Caribbean, and American hits, there's something for everyone. Relax and enjoy the vibes or dance till your feet hurt.