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Where Is Roatan

Maps show world view, relationships to United States, Caribbean, Central America, villages and towns. Discover Roatan culture, location, tourism, language and history.


Where is Roatan you ask.   Roatan Map of villages and towns.   "Roatan" is located off the coast of Honduras. In the Western Caribbean specifically in the Bay of Honduras. Honduras is located in Central America.



"where is Roatan"?

"Whre is Roatan", (16.34°N 86.33° W) it is located between the islands of Utila and Guanaja, is the largest of the Honduras Bay Islands. It is approximately 60 kilometers long, and less than 8 kilometers wide at its widest point. Although there is some debate on the actual size this is the most popular belief. Located near the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea (second largest worldwide after Australia's Great Barrier Reef), Roatan has become an important cruising and diving destination in Roatan Honduras. Roatan tourism and commercial fishing are the two critical economic producers.

"Where is Roatan's" capital it is Coxen Hole (once called Roatan town). It is the most highly populated town. It is located in the Southwest of the island. Other important towns include French Harbour and Oak Ridge.

1998 Hurricane Mitch, and 2005 Hurricane Wilma, brought only minimal damage. Sadly, CNN and other news agencies reported extensive damage, temporarily paralyzing most commercial activity. This had a negative impact on the Roatan island economy. Roatan tourism and other commercial activities suffered needlessly because of this negative press.

International Roatan

"Roatan" is served by Roatan International Airport.

The island was formerly known as Ruatan and Rattan.

Where is Roatan tourism and environmental impact

While tourism has strongly contributed towards the economic development of the island, it has also altered Roatan's fragile ecosystem. Land clearing for the construction of residential areas, as well as improper sewage and garbage disposal methods, have inflicted considerable damage to the island in a time span of less than a decade.

Several efforts by environmental organizations have helped to reduce the adverse environmental impacts. Still, the long-term success of these efforts is uncertain because the inflow of tourism is likely to increase with the completion of a new international airport in the neighboring island of Utila.

In 2006, the number of Roatan tourists is likely to reach 250,000. With a population of only 65,000, considerable effort is now being directed towards new environmentally friendly septic systems as well as energy and water conservation programs.

"where is Roatan"?


Where is Roatan Language and History

Although Spanish is spoken in mainland Honduras, the main language on Roatan is (creole) English, due to the fact that the first modern population originated from parts of the British Caribbean. In general, the history of The Bay Islands was driven by the various larger political, economic and cultural forces throughout the entire Caribbean and Central American region.

The Pre-Columbian residents of Roatan and the Bay Islands are believed to have been related to Paya, Maya, Lenca or Jicaque, which were the cultures present on the mainland. Christopher Columbus, on his fourth voyage (1502-1504) discovered the Islands as he visited the neighboring Bay Island of Guanaja. The Spanish soon after, began using the islands for the purpose of slave raiding, and no original Roatan Native American communities survived.

Throughout European colonial times, the entire Bay of Honduras attracted a diverse array of individual settlers, pirates, traders and militarists, engaged in various economic activities and playing out political struggles between the European powers, chiefly Britain and Spain. Roatan and the other islands were used as frequent resting points for sea travelers, and on several occasions were the subject of military occupation.

In a fortuitous event in 1797, the British defeated the French in a battle for control of the leeward Caribbean island of St. Vincent. The British rounded the St. Vincent Black Caribs, the native culture which had sided with the French, and deported them to Punta Gorda on Roatan, the northern coast of Roatan. The Black Caribs, whose ancestry included Native American (Arawak) cultures, African "maroons" (former slaves) and Europeans, remained on Punta Gorda, becoming the Bay Island's first permanent settlers. They also migrated from there to parts of the northern coast of Central America, becoming the foundation of the modern day Garifuna culture.

The main permanent population of Roatan originated from the Cayman islands near Jamaica, arriving in the 1830's shortly after the end of slavery in British territories disrupted the economic structure that had maintained Caymanian culture. Caymanians were largely a seafaring culture and were familiar with the area from turtle fishing ventures and other activities. Former Caymanian slave-owners were among the first to settle on the seaside locations throughout primarily western Roatan. Former slaves continued to arrive during the 1830's and 1840's, and altogether, the former Caymanians became the largest cultural group on Roatan island.

In the 1850's for a brief period the Bay Islands were declared a colony by Britain, who within a decade ceded the territory formally back to Honduras.

Roatan island populations grew steadily in the latter half of the century, and new settlements became established all over Roatan and the other islands. Individual settlers came from all over the world and played a part in shaping the cultural face of Roatan island. A fruit trade industry started by islanders became very profitable and by the 1870's was taken over by American interests, most notably the New Orleans and Bay Islands Fruit Company. Later companies, the Standard Fruit and United Fruit Companies, became the foundation for modern day fruit companies, the industry which gave Honduras the pseudonym "Banana Republic".

The twentieth century saw a continued population growth resulting in increasing economic changes, and then environmental challenges. Roatan had a population boom which began with an influx of Spanish-speaking settlers from the Honduran mainland, who in the last decades tripled the original resident population. The Spanish settled primarily in the urban areas of Coxen Hole and French Harbor. In these areas Spanish is common, with English being more common to the families of original residents as well as in the other areas inhabited chiefly by Roatan islanders rather than former mainlanders.

But in terms of population and economic influence, the mainlander influx was dwarfed still by the overwhelming tourist presence in most recent years. This trend originated via a number of American, Canadian, British, New Zealand, Australian and South African settlers and entrepreneurs engaging chiefly in the fishing industry, and later, providing the foundation for tourist trade on Roatan. The rapid and dramatic demographic changes that Roatan has experienced in the twenty-first century has contributed to the complexity of the environmental challenges that the beautiful and historical island of Roatan now faces.

Where Is Roatan?

Roatan is in Paradise: Where is Roatan it is inside the reef as it is our guaradian.



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