of the Bay Islands is a tropical blend of islanders, who call
themselves "Caracoles", immigrants from mainland
Honduras and expatriates from a vast assortment of nations.
are believed to have been the exclusive domain of the ancient
indigenous Paya. The forest still hides relics of the people
that once inhabited the isles. Evidence of indigenous presence
on the islands dates as far back as Pre-Columbian times. several
sites have revealed archaeological tresures of jade jewerly,
pottery and tools. The Paya are believed to be an extension
of the Maya empire of Mesoamerica. Thousands of years later,
the islands were rediscovered by incredible individuals that
ranged from explores to the sword-wielding pirates.
The islands have
a rich past of exploration and discovery; of treasures and
cargoes; and of pirates and their ships. The dispute regarding
ownership of the Bay Islands, Belize and the Mosquito Coast
surged in the late 1600s and gave rise to the pirates. Days
of lawlessness descended on the warm tropical countries for
almost twenty years. The days of pillaging took their toll
and with a increase of British militery presence in the area,
the pirates' era came to an end.
Sugar cane, pineaple
and bananas soon became cash crops for the once-marauding,
now-retired pirates. During the 1800s an influx of settlers
from grand Cayman of English and Scotish descent arrived on
the islands and called them home.
Today the blend
of cultures has solidified into "La Vida Islena",
the islands life. Held togather by tradition, history and
unity among the island residents, the Bay Islands are fast
becaming one of the most interesting destination for travelers
about being surrounded by ocean that is compelling. The sky
and the horizon tend to blur into one another and there's
an irrepressible need to be in the water. Whether it's snorkeling,
diving, kayaking or fishing, the ocean's the place to be.
the way to go for non-divers. Beautiful underwater sculptures
are formed by the colorful and richly textured coral. You'll
find pillar, fire and elkhorn, to name a few. Massive brain
corals nestle in the sand and a profusion of anemones and
colorful clown fish. Be mindful of the current and the rise
and fall of the waves when near the reef.
Hit the beaches
when in search of sea kayaks. Rental outfits set up right
on the beach and will rent per hour or per day. Ask around
for tips on the currents and the best spots to visit, everyone
knows of a particular spot that they will recommend.
If you don't
dive and are interested in PADI certification, diving outfits
on the islands are plentiful and flexible. No matter what
day of the week you arrive, you'll surely find a class to
start within a day or two. For divers and snorkelers alike,
underwater activities are spectacular.
There are marine
parks found off the coasts and are an adventure to explore.
Follow park rules and help the areas continue to be a source
of awe and wonder for its future visitors.
Dive sites include
visits to drop-off points of world renown. Check out the daily
dives posted around town and choose from a variety of sites.
Dive instructors and dive masters are more than eager to pass
along good infornation.
The island of
Roatan is known worldwide for its pelagic sightings. Whale
sharks are often seen feeding off the currents of nutrients
rising from the depths beside drops in the ocean floor. According
to a Roatan local, some divers are lucky enough to see several
in one dive. These drops are also excellent places to see
free swiming schools of plankton feeding fish such as yellow
fin jack. Their colors are brilliant.
When not sumerged
in the nether regions of the water, take on the islands tour.
Rent a car or a bike but take a few hours to meander through
the streets on the islands. Be part of the island life for
has increased in popularity. Whether its just to lazily pedal
your way to the comfortable cafe down the street or push yourself
to ascend the nearest hilltop, take the physical approach
to the vacation and sweat out the toxin.
search for healthy enviroments, secluded spots and a certain
communion with nature. This island of Roatan, beckons to the
traveller that wants to forget about deadlines and meetings.
This is a place where the sun takes longer to travel across
the sky. Time doesn't pass in a blur of meetings and calls,
but inches along in the lime-colored stripes of the parrot
fish. Dark lilac sea fans wave slowly in the current beneath
the waves and the sun's rays pierce the water in sharp shafts
of luminecence. Take a few deep breathes and savor the moments
as you glide through another world-an island world.
The largest of the Bay Islands, Roatan is one of the most
popular of the islands that lie along the Caribbean coast.
Only 30 nautical miles off the coast of Honduras lies this
world unto itself. Hard work by concerned islanders has made
this jewel into a mecca for travelers ensuring the protection
of their natural resources. The reef system that surrounds
the islands is part of the second-largest in the world. It
possesses a wealth of marine life. The Sandy Bay-West End
Marine Park offers excellent snorkeling and dive sites. It
begins on the east side's Lawson Rock and extends down the
entire coast to Key Hole. It offers hours of exploration.
Respect the rules set by the Island authorities regarding
activities within the park.
If you want to
stay on dry side, you can take a ride in the glass-bottom
boat. Handy field guides on board give you the edge in identifying
the myriad of colorful fish you will see.
For a unique
experience,take the dolphin snorkel. After an informative
15 minutes hands-on session with the dolphin and one of his
trainers, you hit the water! You're free to swim, dive and
enjoy being so close to these incredible complex creatures.
The visual experience alone is enough to last a lifetime.
Below are some
recommended sites. If you have a Roatan business and would
like to exchange links, please contact