First let me say I am all for conservation of and endagered animals. That said, me being a newcommer to the Island of Roatan I was very interested in meeting as many local people as I could. Sure I met some Americans and Europeans and such but it was the people from the little village of Flowers bay that I wanted to get to know better. My house is just on the ouskirts of this area. While at the beach bar one night everyone in the place was wonderful, all three of them. After spending many hours that night having a beverage or two, listening to mostly country music, and playing cards I was invited the next night to Join in a Mccoy or Macoy, i am not sure of the spelling. A traditional stew like meal consisying of some local fruits and Veggies as well as Island Rabbit, Chicken and Iguana. I was happy that they were nice enough to Invite me and was truly excited about it. Things stewed many hours and flavors were very good, A little spicy . Had a great time. Wherever we visit we try to take the time to meet locals and learn local customs. This was truly a memorable experience.
During my many years in the US, I have visited many shelters, charity organizations, and other places to help the needy, but Child Sponsorship International really touched my heart. Brad and Debbie Warren are the directors of this orphanage in Roatan and they are really community leaders helping all of the children in Roatan. If you are visiting Roatan, please visit their site if you are interested in bringing additional supplies with you on your trip. As a friendly reminder, if you pack an extra suitcase full of donations... it magically gives you extra room for souvenirs on the way back!
To check out more about CSI Roatan, please visit their site: http://www.csiroatan.org
Flowers Bay it self is a little off the beaten path as there is no paved road and the dirt road that is there does not go anywhere.
The town does not have any real industry and is made up of small homes around the bay. The loacls here are very friendly and we found them to be most helpful when called upon for assistance.
The church seen in the picture is one of the oldest on the island and has been used durring bad storms as a shelter.
One of the more interesting parts of Roatan we visited was "Little Venice," so named because the major means of transportation between the homes and businesses here is by water. Brightly colored houses stand on stilts out over the water and many of them apparently can only be reached by boat.
When we took our boat tour through the mangrove tunnels we began here in Little Venice. Before we ventured into the mangroves, our guide stopped at a rustic service station jutting out over the water and asked for one gallon of gasoline. There was no pump or tank. The gasoline was stored in cans and jugs, the largest of which held only a few gallon.
Little Venice was nothing at all like its namesake in Italy. However, we did find it a very picturesque and colorful community which was very interesting to see.
On the northeastern coast of Roatan, well off the beaten tourist path, we came upon the very small village of Punta Gorda. This is the only only true Garifuna community on Roatan, and it was the first Garifuna settlement in Central America.
Garífuna refers to both the people and language of the Garínagu. They are ethnically descended from Amerindian and African people and their language is a dialect of a native Brazilian language from the Arawkan family. A total of about 500,000 Garifuna people live along the Caribbean Coast in Belize, Guatemala (Livingston), Nicaragua and Honduras on the mainland, and here on the island of Roatán. The Black Caribs or Garifunas where marooned in Roatan by the British in 1796 and first settled in Punta Gorda.
We enjoyed a very interesting and tasty lunch at the only restaurant here in Punta Gorda. See our restaurant tip.
DO the Iguana farm just past French Harbour-signs on the road, but are small so look close on the right hand (South)side of the road as you go. If you hit Parrot Tree (Big Entrance) you've gone too far, but might stop there to try out the white beach and coffee shop anyway. Sorry. I digress. Sherman's lizard pets number 3,000 he says, I don't doubt it. The farm is his home, so when you pull up and think, "is this the place?" Yeah, it is. Some are person-sized HUGE critters in red, green and orange. Ask to meet Big Red and take a photo, otherwise no one will believe you when you return home.
Donation of a few dollars simply pays for his food to rescue these animals that are hunted here for meat. Again chip in extra buck or two if you can.
Go at noon any day for feeding time and bring a camera. You WILL we amazed!
Iguanas can not feed without sunlight to digest food. If it's cloudy that day plan for another day when the guys will come out of the trees for a snack at lunch. Also ask to see Sherman's other pets in the sea, huge fishy fellows!
Tip provided by:
Waylon and Sandy Sims
Coral Beach Inn's Photos
Go to visit the Iguana Farm, or Iguana Hideout. Here a family are trying to breed many iguanas. There is also a lagoon where there are some fishes and turtles. With a little contribution to provide for the animals maintenance, you'll can visit the farm, where you'll be surrounded by the iguanas, which eat leaves from your hand. I advise you against the visit if you don't like those animals. I like them very much, they have a strange ancient charm...that it seems to jump in the dinosaur age!
Once again, as with the mayor's house, not technically a part of the beaten path since almost everything in Roatán's by the roadside, but everything is Roatán is out of the way anyway that I consider it all off the beaten paths.
This picture is some sort of shipwreck. It appears this place has a couple. Not sure if anyone goes out there but it's very interesting to see.
According to our guide, this house surrounded by beautiful scenery is supposedly the mayor's house here in Roatán. I had to have a picture of it! It's not very secure as there's a simple chainlink fence surrounding the perimeter of the place. It's located near the roadside.
Fresh fruit is plentiful on the island. Here is Coxen Hole it is pretty cheap. It does not look pretty, but it tastes much better than the spray-painted junk we get at home. Peel it yourself, and let those juices dribble down your shirt...
Despite it being a natural beauty and wonder, Roatán still has it's share of troubles. Some houses were simple shacks, tucked away inside the natural setting. Not to say it's a bad thing, you'd have to be very close-minded to not appreciate the beauty of this place just because of something like this.
There is a lift that goes from the Mahogany Bay Mall to the Mahogany Bay beach. It cost $16.00 per person. My daughter Rainier and I took a lift because I wanted to see the aerial view of the Mahogany Bay. To me, the money I paid was worth it since I know that I may not come back in the next couple of years here. The view up on the lift was very beautiful. My daughter and I enjoyed our short ride.
For a really nice sunset view, go to Tres Flores, a restaurant on top of a ridge overlooking both sides of the island. It is said that sometimes the sun sets into a green sky. Green only for a second or two. It is sort of hard to get here, mainly to find the road. Basically, as you head east, the road, a dirt trail on the left side of the main road, which makes you take basically a v-turn, winds up and up. There is a hairpin turn, and eventually you come to a place where the road splits. Go straight (left) shortly thereafter is Tres Flores. They are closed, but I don't think they'd mind you looking over their rail. They had such a nice restaurant, but very few customers. I will warn you, though, that the road can get a bit difficult, so enjoy!
If you like offroading, there is a nice road somewhere off the above-mentioned road. It is quite difficult, and if you get stuck, you have no one to help you out, so you had better make it in one try. It is private land, so I wouldn't recommend it.
Paya Bay offers a boat trip to some of the other islands nearby. It costs a little bit of money, but a good lunch is provided, and you get to see that part of the island from a different perspective. So much of a place we see only from one perspective, and it is good to see the island from the sea. This boat trip takes you out, in the waters protected by the reef, to the islands east of Roatan (whose names I'm blanking on Utila and...)
Anyway, you land on a deserted beach where you eat lunch and pick up the black/green smooth rocks on the sandy bottom. Then, you get back in the boat and head around the island, landing on a tiny desert-island. Well, it's more tiny and deserted, but has some trees on it. You stay there for a while to snorkel or walk around (it's not very big-300 feet by 80 feet or so?)
We met two guys traveling together who had brought their own Zodiac boat and were traveling Central America by that boat, or something like that.
After a while, you get back in the wooden boat and head home, going through, on the way, a sea of mangrove swamps. Ah, fun!