Monday, April 18, 2011

Caribbean: Unknown Roatan island paradise

Even landing at Coxen Hole, the capital of Roatan, the visitor is clear what it is on and around the island in the western Caribbean is mainly: scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming. The plane approaches the water surface so that the passengers have the impression that the machine will plunge right into the turquoise water. Honduras is not known as an outstanding tourist destination. But the Central American country tries to change that. His answer is Roatan, the island paradise in the western Caribbean. See the impressions of the island in our slide show.

Excellent conditions for diving

Roatan is an island about 60 kilometers long with three densely wooded, rising up to 230 meters altitude. It is located about 50 kilometers off the coast of Honduras, in the center of the so-called Islas de la Bahia. These are in addition to Roatan the islands of Utila and Guanaja west to the east, but also numerous small Cayos that this is carried out. And then there are the Cayos Cochinos closer to the mainland. Roatan is still a paradise, especially for those who want to snorkel or diving to explore the underwater world. "Especially for beginners," says Dirk, a veteran diver from Switzerland. He is disappointed to have not encountered a whale shark to attract divers and snorkelers with Honduras attempted. The island is encircled by one of the largest reefs in the world. Around the islands there are the best conditions for diving and snorkeling. Who does not get wet and will not stop the air, the underwater world of marvel with glass bottom boats. Or it can be a mini-submarine in West Bay on the north side of the reef pass, then dive down to around 365 meters.

The historic island paradise

Tourist Roatan was revealed after Hurricane Mitch struck the region had 1998th To help Honduras, the World Bank supported the expansion of the runway of the airport. Larger machines should get a boost to the tourist the possibility to land on Roatan. At that time came many Americans, Canadians and English here, invested in small hotels, restaurants and dive schools. This led to another "Anglifizierung" Roatan, where English is still the most important language. Natives do not exist, since they are after the arrival of the Spanish 15th Century, introduced diseases perished. In the following centuries, the island was ever fought between Spain and England and a major haunt of English pirates. After one of them, John Coxen, the capital of Coxen Hole benannt.Die Siedung oldest is in the northeast of Punta Gorda is Roatan. This is where the descendants of black Caribs, the British at the end of the 18th Century by the West Indies island of Saint Vincent verfrachteten here. The slaves had rebelled there with the help of the French against the British colonialists. Most moved on to the northern coast of Honduras, where they created the unique culture of Garifunas ..

Roatan is to bring more tourists to the mainland

Honduras wants of tourists from Roatan to bring the sights on the mainland. "Our goal is to reduce the number of European tourists and in particular to increase the Germans," says Tourism Minister Nelly Jerez. 2010 were about 900,000 visitors, only 10,000 German. In particular, the surge of the cruise ships will be larger. Roatan on the music and the dances of the Garífunas have become an integral part of the colorful program, which is offered to the thousands of visitors who moor with the big cruise ships from Miami to Roatan. Shall enter the group of Rolando Hill to three days a week on the terrace on stilts above the ocean in Half Moon Bay restaurants built "Eagle Ray". Then, hundreds, if not managed thousands of ship passengers in small buses and taxis to the bays, beaches and sights of the island.
1500 B & B on the dream island

In the evening the Garifunas drive back to Punta Gorda, where you look today, that Hurricane Mitch in the village more than a decade has severely damaged. Some houses have been rebuilt, is still working on some. On the beach, two dugout, the Garifuna living from farming corn and beans and have the sole right to fish in the area off the reef. With their dugout they had on the sea was probably no chance. Most of the buildings on Roatan are made of wood, the hotels with their balconies and porches with wide projecting roofs that often hide under trees and in the luxuriant tropical vegetation, as they sought shelter from storms and water. Not counting the small hotels, the island currently has 1500 rooms.

Honduras wants to attract more European tourists

The flight from Houston in Texas lasts two and a half hours from Miami just over an hour. From Canada, the island is served. And once a week, a machine comes from Milan. From La Ceiba on the mainland there are daily ferries. It will not stay. There should be above all, more flights from Europe, as member of parliament and tourism entrepreneurs Romeo Silvestri of the newspaper "La Prensa said:" We are targeting tourists from central Europe who loves the nature, extreme sports and our vibrant cultures. "

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