Get to Know Roatan, Honduras
Honduras at a Glance     About Roatan     Culture     Climate


Honduras At a Glance



Area
112,492 sq km (43,870 sq mi)

Languages
Spanish, Amerindian dialects.

Religions
Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority.

Public holidays
January 1 - New Years Day.
March/April - Holy Saturday and Good Friday.
April 14 - Americas Day. May 1 - Labor Day.
September 15 - Independence Day (1821 from Spain).
October 3 - Soldier Day.
October 12 - Ethnic Day.
October 21 - Army Day.
December 25 - Christmas Day.

Newspapers
Diario Tiempo | Honduras This Week | La Prensa | La Tribuna

Industries
Sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products.

Capital
Tegucigalpa

Currency
21 lempiras (L) = $1 U.S. (9/2014)

Climate
Subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains.

Geography
111,890 sq. km. Mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains.

Population
8,450,000 (2014); Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%.

Geographic coordinates
15 00 N, 86 30 W

Natural resources
Timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower.

Agriculture Products
Bananas, coffee, citrus, beef, timber, shrimp.

Administrative Divisions
18 departments; Atlantida, Choluteca, Colon, Comayagua, Copan, Cortes, El Paraiso, Francisco Morazan, Gracias a Dios, Intibuca, Islas de la Bahia, La Paz, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Olancho, Santa Barbara, Valle and Yoro.

Exports
The economy is based on agriculture; bananas and coffee are the most important exports. The vast banana plantations, established by U.S. companies, are mainly along the northern coast...Seafood, gold and other minerals, palm oil, fruit, lumber, and beef are also exported. Other important food crops include corn, beans, rice, and citrus.




About Roatan



Roatan, the largest of The Bay Islands, at 30 miles long and 3 miles wide, is part of the Bonacca Ridge, which is a submerged mountain range. The tops of the mountains form the islands which are surrounded by the world’s second largest barrier reef, with world-class diving and snorkeling. This archipelago is just 30 miles off the north coast of Honduras in the western Caribbean.


The Reef
Just a short distance off shore is the southern end of the world's second largest barrier reef, which has made Roatan famous with divers. There is no better place to dive than the crystal clear warm waters surrounding the Bay Islands. Be among the first to explore the untouched virgin dive sites of Roatan.

Surrounded by the Great Western Barrier Reef, Roatan's waters are full of spires and towers of Star, Starlet, and Lettuce Corals, and the best selection of sponges found anywhere in the Caribbean. You'll be delighted with the seascape of overhangs, canyons, fissures, and maze of tunnels along the walls of continuous reef. Excellent underwater visibility gives way to a myriad of invertebrate and fish species.

The reef’s coral wall extends almost from the surface to a depth of 35-50 meters. The visibility is often in excess of 30 meters allowing you to observe deep water fish while observing the diverse reef ecosystem.

Roatan enjoys a reputation for having an amazingly rich ecosystem. At Castaways Cove, you can investigate this ecosystem -- snorkel around the vibrant coral gardens located close to shore or take one of our kayaks on a five minute paddle out to the reef or through the mangrove tunnels.

With a tropical mountainous terrain over-looking the dramatic shore coastline and beautiful sandy beaches, interrupted only occasionally by small villages, Roatan offers the ultimate vacation experience.

And although the spectacular diving and snorkeling draws thousands of tourists here, Roatan remains one of the last undiscovered islands of the Caribbean. Unlike many Caribbean islands, Roatan has not suffered extensive commercialization and retains its laid-back charm. With its colorful history of pirates and indigenous Mayan culture, the Roatan of today offers a wonderful fusion of past and present. Of all the treasures that have been lost here, there are many more still to be found.

Enjoy this quiet corner of paradise by the sea, with the finest diving, snorkeling, sailing and fishing.

Fast Facts
  • Honduras means " deepwater" and the reef create natural breakwaters and an ideal, calm pool for diving, fishing, swimming and sailing.

  • The Bay Islands cover about 92 sq.miles and include Utila and Guanaja, the smaller Morat, Barbareta and St. Helena, just east of Roatan.

  • About 70,000 people live in Roatan. The people are friendly, easy going and approachable. Native Roatanians speak English.

  • The main industries are fishing, boat building and tourism.

  • Waters are clearest for diving when there is the least rain (January through mid July).Temperatures are in the 80s all year ( 28/30 degree centigrade).

  • Roatan is not as commercially developed as other islands in the Caribbean so you may not have some of the conveniences you are used to, but this is part of the charm of this paradise island.



    The Bay Islands Culture



    The beauty of the culture of the Bay Islands, as is with Honduras, is that it was formed through a fusion of the many cultures that first inhabited the islands, a mixture of European, African and Indian races. About 90% of the Honduran population is Mestizo, a mixture of Indian, African and European, this is also known as Ladino.

    In the 16th and 17th centuries, the islands were home to more than 5000 pirates and buccaneers, and this resulted in English being the predominant language on the islands. European pirates like Henry Morgan, Coxen, Morris and Van Horn used the island as a base for raiding Spanish ships beginning in the 1600s. They took refuge in the many hidden ports on Roatan, spending time hunting and fishing and lazing about in the tropical sun.

    After the Spanish eventually depopulated the islands, the Bay Islands were re-settled first by the Garifuna, who settled in Punta Gorda on Roatan, and later by British-descended settlers from the Cayman Islands, who set up colonies in Utila, Roatan and Guanaja.

    The Garifuna story began to unfold a thousand years ago when the Arawak, A South American tribe of hunters and gatherers, moved up the Orinoco River, through Honduras and into the Caribbean Sea, where they traded with the Caribs. The mixture of Carib and Arawak created a new people who came to be known as ´Island Caribs`.

    In the 1500s, Europeans brought African slaves to the islands. The Island Caribs defended their islands but lost much of their territory. In 1635, two Spanish ships bringing slaves to the West Indies were shipwrecked near St. Vincent. The slaves on board escaped and took refuge with the Island Caribs. The Africans adopted the language and culture of their hosts, and intermarriages brought a new culture; the Garifuna.

    In 1797, Britain (the ruling power at the time) exiled the Garifuna to the island of Roatan and although some dispersed along the mainland coast from Belize to Nicaragua, many stayed behind to live on the beautiful island of Roatan.

    Today, Islanders speak predominantly English with a strong island accent, and part of the attraction of the Bay Islands is their authentic island culture that still manifests itself in its people, their language and the architecture of their towns.

    The Garifuna people exist today as they did back then. They will welcome you warmly into their community, speak to you in their native tongue and delight you with their music and dance – it is in their music and dance that you will find evidence of their African heritage.

    All these cultures have brought their own mix of art and culture to the islands



    Climate


    • The climate in Honduras varies between the mountainous interior and the coastal lowlands and between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

    • The average temperature in Roatan year round is about 80º F, or 28º Celsius with the trade winds providing a gentle breeze. The relative humidity averages 72%.

    • From March until October, the weather in Roatan can be compared to that of Florida; lots of sun with occasional showers. During the rest of the year it will rain more often but rain rarely compromises the diving.

    • The weather on the islands varies between tropical sunny days and the wet seasons. The wettest months are from September / October to January / February.

    • The tourist season on the Caribbean coast is between December and April, during the U.S. winter.

    • The average water temperature for the Bay Islands is approximately 29°C, or 84°F


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