About Roatan - Caribbean Island Culture, Tourism, and History
About Roatan - The Caribbean Island

Roatan is a tropical Caribbean island with real estate offered for sale with stunning views of the sea with its shades of blue, lush vegetation, and gorgeous sunsets.  Roatan has the shape of a gentle mountain ridge rising from the sea and stretching from the southwest to the northeast.  Roatan is the largest island of the Bay Islands of Honduras, lying about 40 miles north of the Honduran mainland.  

Tourism is the primary industry for Roatan, which is the most prosperous region of Honduras. Roatan draws enthusiasts from around the world for scuba diving.  The reef surrounding Roatan attracts beautiful tropical fish and snorkelers alike.  Roatan scuba diving attractions include sea walls, shipwrecks, and night diving.  Discover a vivid array of brilliantly colored fish, sea turtles, dolphins, and whales which swim in the waters of Roatan.  One of the resorts offers a marine aquarium with dolphins.

Even if you do not scuba dive, you may still enjoy the underwater wonder world of marine life and beauty by snorkeling. Remembering the history of Roatan and that pirate gold has been uncovered on the island makes snorkeling even more exciting. Could there still be a Spanish gold piece lying on the sandy bottom, uncovered by a recent storm?

Parrots, iguana, and monkeys live in the wild on this tropical Caribbean island.  An iguana farm east of French Harbor provides a refuge for thousands of iguanas and is open for tourists. Iguanas have been a culinary delicacy for inhabitants of Roatan for generations.  Hunting and eating iguanas has been a part of Roatan's culture for many years. The Honduran goverment has laws to protect wildlife and the reef to preserve Roatan's ecological heritage into the future.

Tourism thrives on Roatan, with thousands of tourists travelling here each year, not just for the sea, but for enjoying the local culture, the mild climate, and the fascination of Roatan's colorful history. Tourism also benefits the neighboring Caribbeans islands of Utila and Guanaja, which are more remote from conveniences and give the traveller the feeling he has stepped back in time.

Coxen Hole is the largest town on Roatan.  It is home of government offices, the airport, and the cruise ship dock.  It streets are narrow and crowded with people and honking cars.  Street vendors offer peeled oranges, a variety of other fruits, newspapers, and souvenirs for sale to tourists. Taxis and minibuses are very dependent on tourism, lining the dock area when cruise ships arrive.

French Harbor is the second largest community on Roatan.  It is a thriving business center, with one of the largest grocery stores, banks, real estate offices, shrimp boat docks, and shipping companies.

Punta Gorda has the largest settlement Garifuna people. The Garifuna have a fascinating culture, preserving their African roots and entertaining tourists with their colorful native costumes and drum beating.  The British exiled a couple thousand Garifuna to Port Royal, Roatan in 1797. The Garifuna culture is demonstrated at a tourist stop with thatched roof huts toward the east end of the island.

West End is the tourist side of the island, with scuba diving centers, hotels, restaurants, and tourist shops. West End has rental properties and condominiums available for travellers who choose to stay longer on Roatan.

The Honduran government has proven itself as a stable democracy.  Honduras recognizes the value of the island of Roatan's tourism and foreign investment to the nation's economy.  Accordingly, Honduras passed laws protecting the environment and encouraging foreign investment and ownership of property.

You may spend either Honduran Lempiras or American dollars on Roatan. Exchange rates vary from merchant to merchant.

Roatan is a home to a diverse people - Spanish speaking, English speaking, and Garifuna speaking.  These people find their roots in Spanish conquerors, Mayan Indians, African slaves, English settlers, and European pirates.  Over the years, these cultures have intermingled and married.

The island is developing - phone service is spreading.  Cellular towers are being erected.  Internet is now available.  More and more customers are supplied with electricity.  The population of Roatan is growing too.  The real estate and building industries are booming.  Land prices are rising with time.

Roatan History

Roatan is an island in the Caribbean Sea just north of the Honduran mainland.  Roatan has been the home to Mayan Indians, pirates, English settlers, descendants from African slaves, and Spanish conquerors.  Pirates buried and forgot gold on Roatan.  The Spanish and English battled for control of the island.  The Spanish battled the pirates living on Roatan to establish control of the sea for safe passage of gold bearing galleons.  Roatan has a rich cultural heritage and remains the home of a diverse group of people.

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