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