The sun had already set on Roatan Island when we arrived, but there, with a sign, was Barefoot Cay team member Werner, and he drove us through the fresh Caribbean night to Barefoot Cay Resort. We stepped aboard a stylish motor-raft which carried us across a small channel to the private four-acre cay. Our late arrival meant that we did not see what it was that surrounded us at our beachfront villa but knew that if it was as wonderful as our accommodation, with colourful cushions to compliment the chalkwash-painted wooden rooms and a full kitchen to prepare meals (or not), we were in for a real treat. An invitation to welcome cocktails at the restaurant was welcomed, and the tropical flavours were a toast of promise to the days ahead. The paper straws that we sipped from were a reassuring detail that provided confidence that Barefoot Cay was a resort that took its responsibility to the environment seriously. We were completely relaxed in the intimate setting of the boutique restaurant, the lighting gentle, the decor reminding us that we were guests to island life, and the louvred windows brought in the soft sea-breeze. Sitting at the bar, we quizzed Roatan Islander, and Barefoot team member, Carlos about the marine life of this Caribbean island, which has the world's second largest barrier reef running alongside of it. Carlos was extremely knowledgeable, happy to talk, share stories, and his Caribbean charisma was charming. We retired to our rooms with the kind of excitement for the morning that is usually reserved for Christmas Eve.
Since the morning light was skilfully kept out of the bedroom by louvred windows, a gentle pull on a wooden handle re-positioned the wooden slats and the present of our view was unwrapped. The sea lapped up onto a private sandy beach and the break, not so far away, indicated the location of the reef. A long-legged heron stood still in the water. The scene was irresistible, so I picked up my camera, concertinaed back the wall of doors in the living room and the view became part of our home. The heron had flown, my eyes still searched for it. Hammocks hung on the beach, but I chose to sit in a chair on the patio, giving me a wider view of this gift.
Opting to take a walk before breakfast, I crept along barefooted hoping to see that beautiful heron once more. Instead, I found myself walking along the palapa dock to just sit and enjoy the sights and sounds. A map at the palapa reminded me that the house reef was just a stride off of the dock, I decided to find my husband, get breakfasted and sign-out our gear from Barefoot Divers' Dive Shop. We had some snorkelling to do! And if you dive, or want to start diving, I can't think of a better place to jump into the deep.
Despite my eagerness to don a mask, snorkel and fins, we didn't rush through breakfast. The restaurant has such a bright and breezy charm, that you can't help but get comfortable and feel as though you have all the time in the world. After all, you are meant to wait 30 minutes after eating before you start swimming, right? When we did get to the dive shop, Soguey got us kitted out in no time. What a thoughtful policy to have complimentary snorkel gear available to guests at the resort. Whilst Barefoot Divers can guarantee you great service with a smile, they can't guarantee that visibility will be at its optimum, especially if you are visiting during the rainy season, but the temperature was warm and the swim was enjoyable. Luckily for us, with each subsequent day, the water just got clearer and clearer until it was a sparkly jade colour allowing us to just pear over and follow the fish whilst staying dry. But why stay dry, when you can jump into that environment? The sunken boat in front of the palapa creates a marvellous artificial habitat and is home to some amazingly colourful fish. I particularly love spotting the damselfish. I turned away from the wreck and headed towards the second artificial habitat on the property, a VW van. I did not get that far... a young eagle ray was in front of me and it was magical to watch it fly through the water. Adoration!
The palapa dock was our preferred place to hang out, literally... hanging out on the hammocks. It was so peaceful to watch the sun go down and the cranes come in to the mangroves. But my first choice was to peer down and look out for the eagle ray, and whilst I was waiting, any number of fish would come up close to the surface to keep me smiling. For some recommended activities on the island, the resort has a great A-Z directory of suggestions. Barefoot Cay proved to be a luxury choice, whether you choose to go barefoot or pull on some fins.
For more details, please visit barefootcay.com