Guanaja - The Secret Haven
If you don't know where Guanaja is, take this article and walk to a globe. Look for the Central American country of Honduras, then move your finger up a bit to the Bay Islands. You'll probably recognize Roatán - a diver haven since the 1960s, and nearby Utila, famous for its low-key vibe and whale sharks. Find Guanaja at the far-eastern edge of the Bay Islands. It feels more like a South Pacific island than a Caribbean secret. It's surrounded by a barrier reef of coral, dotted with little islands called "cays." The main island shoots straight up into the sky from a blue lagoon. It's high, lush and green, and almost nobody lives on it - those who do choose the small city island called Bonacca Town. This island awaits discovery, and you could be one of the first to join the savvy expats who have already found Guanaja (only a handful to be sure).
And most importantly for divers, you'll be right at the doorstep of the same kind of diving that has made nearby Roatán famous, and you'll most likely have it all to yourself. There's a great variety off Guanaja, too. You'll find one of the Caribbean's best, but little-written-about, wrecks like the Jado Trader. There are walls and pinnacles and coral gardens, all of which have been little affected by dive traffic, and they are only about a 5- to 15-minute boat ride away.
Owner of Clarks Cay, expat Bill Pullum from Navarre, Fla., has taken this island under his philanthropic wing. He flies down doctors, plumbers, craftsmen and teachers to help build the human infrastructure of this island gem, and also to give the island's population complete self-sufficiency. He's building some of the first homes that will be available on what will surely become a true haven in the Caribbean for divers looking to embrace the dream.
For diving, accommodations and land tours, stay at Coral Bay Dive Resort (coralbay.ca). Clark Cay is a four-acre private island dive resort (clarkcay.com). For full-on diving, accommodations and real-estate experiences, stay at Nautilus Hotel and Dive Resort (guanajaproperties.com). Expat information can be found at escapeartist.com.