ROATAN INFO

 

A Jewel in the Caribbean


The Island
Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands and is located in the Western Caribbean, approximately 30 miles off the coast of Honduras. It is 33 miles long and just 3 wide at its widest point. The Island is tropical with lush green rolling hills that offer spectacular views of the crystal clear turquoise waters and the surrounding reef. This pristine reef, which encompasses the island, is part of the second largest barrier reef in the world and is home to 97% of the coral species found in the Caribbean. A year round water temperature of between 78 and 80 degrees together with a host of life protected by a Marine Reserve make Roatan a favorite destination for divers. Sailors meanwhile, are attracted by the natural deep water harbours, a steady cooling S. Easterly Trade Wind and the protection offered by the Island.

Its History
Roatan was already inhabited by the Payan Indians when the Bay Islands were discovered by Columbus is 1502. The Island subsequently became an important provisioning post for the Spanish trade routes and thus attracted the attention of English pirates, many of whom settled in Port Royal. In the late 1700's the Garifuna community, which to this day survives intact in Punta Gorda arrived from St. Vincent. By the mid 1800's emigration from Grand Cayman and Britain ensured the dominance of the English language which still remains today, although to a lesser extent. Most Islanders are bi-lingual but of course the official language is Spanish.

Roatan's Infrastructure
Over the past few years we have seen major improvements in the Island's infrastructure with paved roads, power (independent from the mainland), telephones and of course, our new International Airport terminal. The airport runway has also been extended to cater to long haul direct flights and already we have direct non-stop flights on TACA AIRLINES from Houston and Miami. Short connecting flights from San Pedro Sula, on the mainland, link the Island to other major routes served by TACA AIRLINES, AMERICAN AIRLINES, CONTINENTAL and IBERIA. Honduras has now received approval for an Inter American Development Bank loan and the Bay Islands have been earmarked to receive a large share. The primary objective is to improve the environment. Projects such as waste management, water and sewage systems are planned together with enhancement of the existing marine and forest preserves.

The Business Environment
The fishing and shrimping industry has traditionally been the mainstay of the Island's income but tourism is becoming increasingly important. To further promote this trend the government has introduced a range of generous tax incentives to promote investment. The Bay Islands are classed as a Tourism Free Zone. Any tourist related business planned for Roatan is eligible to apply for a 10 year holiday on Income Tax and substantial saving on Import Duty.

 

The Real Estate Market
The improvement in the Island's infrastructure has led to a corresponding appreciation in land values, but this is still primarily reflected in the price of developed lots and beach front parcels. One only has to compare prices with other Caribbean Islands to see that there is very good value in the market. The real estate market here is still relatively young. It is only since 1991, following a constitutional change in 1990, that foreigners have been able to purchase property here. From an investor's viewpoint this means two things: First, most of the property for sale is undeveloped -- resales are just beginning. There are very few homes on the market and a high proportion of the properties are large in size. Secondly, and more important, Roatan is still relatively unknown as a "Caribbean Island." People will look back in the not too distant future and say "I wish we'd bought property there five years ago." And who hasn't said that before?


Helpful Links

Accommodations:


Baan Suerte Cottages - Private, secure, deluxe hideaway with private
pool, jacuzzi and beach, set amidst the lush natural beauty that is Roatan.