Roatan is known as a very special place. Most notably though, it is not well known to most, and we think that is a good thing. You can come to Roatan and have an experience unlike most other areas of the Caribbean. Roatan is a lush tropical island which until recently was more or less undiscovered.
Roatan’s history is rich, spanning from the days of Indian inhabitants, to the days of piracy and looting, to fighting over which nation owns the island, to independence and modern times.
The local islanders, including those of the Garifuna culture, primarily supported themselves by fishing, and a small amount of subsistence farming. Although the island is a part of Honduras, it evolved as an English speaking island, and interaction with the Honduran mainland was limited. This allowed the island to develop a culture unique to itself.
Before the arrival of the Garifuna, the island was sparsely populated but was frequented by French and English pirates who terrorized the area and hindered significant development. Many tales of pirate treasures still existing in the caves along the islands shores are common.
In the mid 1900’s Roatan began its transition to a tourism based economy. First came the scuba divers who discovered the crystal clear, warm waters and its location atop the extensive mesoamerica coral reef system. Many dive resorts began to spring up and visitors arrived in large numbers.
Following the scuba divers came the fishing enthusiasts who discovered the abundance of fishing activities including deep sea fishing and fly fishing. It was also discovered that the long season of steady and predictable trade winds made the island an excellent site for kiteboarding.
Today, the island is known as a desirable location for vacationing, but is still not dominated by chain resorts, hotels and other types of development that is found throughout the remainder of the Caribbean. It is a place where you can experience small, family owned resorts and restaurants, each unique and unlike those in more developed tourist areas.
Roatan is now also a place for expats to relocate. The island is home to many newcomers from the US, Canada and numerous locations in Europe. They are attracted by the slow pace of life, the ease of access due to the international airport, and the reasonable cost of living.