The capital and administrative centre of the department, Coxen Hole, or Roatan City, is on the southwest shore. Planes land and boats dock here and you can get transport to other parts of the island. It is a colourfully scruffy little town with not much of tourist interest but some souvenir shops are opening.
A short journey from Coxen Hole, en route to West End, is Sandy Bay, one of the quieter towns on the island. Five minutes by road beyond Sandy Bay, the popular community of West End, at the western tip of the island, is the most popular place to stay. It’s a narrow beach on a palm-fringed bay with a distinctly laid-back atmosphere. The Sandy Bay/West End Marine Park protects marine life in the area and large numbers of fish have flourished along the coast creating spectacular snorkelling. At the western most point is West Bay. This is a beautiful clean beach with excellent snorkelling on the reef, particularly at the west end, where the reef is only 10-20 m offshore and the water is shallow right up to where the wall drops off 50-75 m out and scuba-diving begins.