Visitors to Roatan are often overwhelmed by this mountainous island’s
beauty and the friendliness of its people, both native Roatanians and
those who have decided to adopt it as their home. Roatan is the largest
of the six Bay Islands and is located in the Caribbean Sea approximately
35 miles off the North Coast of Honduras. It is 32 miles long and varies
in width from one to three miles across.
The Bay Islands are surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in
the world, making it an underwater paradise for divers and snorkelers.
Roatan is largely undeveloped, especially on the unspoiled East end of
the island. Port Royal, on the far Eastern end, has a beautiful pristine
deep-water harbor with the only pine trees on the island. Also on the
East end are Oak Ridge and Jonesville, which are small towns, based on
fishing. Toward the center of the island is French Harbour. This town
is home to both our real estate offices and a very modern food store.
On the Western half of Roatan, you'll find Sandy Bay, West End and West
Bay. These areas are where most of the tourists visit and have more restaurants
and nightlife. One of the most amazing things about Roatan is the incredible
diversity from one end to the other.
The weather is truly tropical with prevailing trade winds, keeping
the island cool and comfortable, but it gets warmer in April and May,
and rainy in October and November. Roatan is outside of the general hurricane
Enjoy the colorful history of a colorful multicultural people.
Eight diverse cultures have influenced the island, Antillean,
English, Garifuna, Honduran Payan Indian, Spanish and Carib.
During the Maya reign in Central America 4th – 10th centuries,
the Paya Indians populated the Bay Islands. The Paya Indians
artifacts found on the Island are referred to by the locals as “yaba
ding dings.” The island Indians fashioned mined jade and
made jewelry and made pottery, which they took in small boats
to the mainland or Belize to trade for tools and other items.
A recent snorkel adventurer spotted an Indian artifact.
During the 13th–14th centuries the Spanish conquistadores
came across the islands. By the 17th century Roatan was a base
for pirate looting. At times 5,000 pirates took shelter, names
like Morgan, Coxen, Morris, Van Horn and other Sea Dogs battled
for control of these islands. The islands were used for food
and wood supplies, safe harbor and slave trading. Old British
forts and towns are named after infamous pirates. There are rumors
of hidden treasures in the mountains. Also stories of the Indians
watching the pirates bury their treasures then waiting till they
leave to dig the treasures up for themselves.
The British eventually established a colony controlling the
Bay Islands until 1858 when Honduras officially
A Garifuna tribe still maintains their own culture and language
at Punta Gorda.
Today enjoy a blend of many cultures and the Caribbean English
accent impossible to imitate and unique to Roatan. Some claim
that they can hear individual accents of towns on Roatan and
surrounding islands. You will find the island people to be friendly
and helpful and bi-lingual!
The Lempira is the official currency of Honduras. Major credit cards are widely
accepted and cash advances can be made with credit cards at most banks. American
Express Travelers Checks in US dollars are also accepted.
Roatan’s population almost all speaks Caribbean English and Spanish.
The current population of Roatan is approximately 50,000, which is a mix of
a growing ex-patriot community, native islanders and immigrants from the mainland.
The principal island road is paved. Feel the sea breezes and
see both sides of Roatan at the island’s highest point approximately
900 feet above sea level. Trade winds cool the island and rain nourishes
the flora October thru December. Enjoy seeing the island from tip to
tip. Rental cars can be rented in Roatan or at Sea Vue with a valid US
driver’s license. We recommend that you make a reservation in advance
to reserve a car.
For any medical emergencies, both Woods Clinic (a small hospital) in
Coxen Hole and a new, modern, 24 hour clinic on the East end are available.
A decompression chamber for divers is located at Anthony's Key Resort.
It is recommended you bring an insect repellant, like Off or Cutters,
to Roatan and that you use it in the late afternoon. Sand flies can be
common on beaches. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen.
You'll find a full set of services on Roatan. There are several high-speed
Internet providers, both cable and satellite TV providers, and a cell
Roatan is a great destination for lovers of the great outdoors. The
islands activities are so varied and continue to grow as the island develops.
For the water lovers there is PADI diving courses and snorkeling on some
of the Caribbean’s best dive sites, mangrove and sea kayaking,
sailing locally or to nearby islands, deep sea and fly fishing, glass
bottom boat rides and of course relaxing and swimming at the beach.
For the land lovers there is hiking on tropical rainforest trails, horseback
riding, you can rent a bike or moped to explore the island, take a canopy
tour or just walk and explore the miles of beaches. With so many activities
in Roatan the biggest question is, what will you do first?
Roatan is home to a wide range of restaurants, which offer local and
international style cuisine. Fresh seafood and Honduran beef are a specialty.
Roatan and the Bay Islands are only a short flight away for the mainland
of Honduras. The closest major city is La Ceiba a 15 min flight, where
you will find an international airport, a large downtown area and shopping
center, a variety of Restaurants and nightlife and the Pico Bonito National
Park which is the second largest National Park in Honduras. The Pico
Bonito mountain range makes La Ceiba one of the most visually impressive
locations in Latin America due to the fact it rises from sea level to
an altitude of over 2500 meters in a very short distance. The Pico Bonito
National Park is also a gateway to some of the best Ecotourism activities
in Central America such as white-water rafting on the Rio Cangrejal,
Canopy Tour, Bird Watching and Hiking.