The Bay Islands of Honduras were originally inhabited by the Paya Indians, an Indian tribe that traded with other Indian tribes, including the Mayans, traveling back and forth between the mainland and the islands. Later, both the Spanish and the British fought over the islands and used them as a safe haven to acquire supplies, dock ships and use a base for their pirate activities and slave trading. At one point, a group of slaves named the Garifunas refused to leave the island, and they made Roatan their home. The Garifunas still call the Bay Islands their home and maintain their ancestral culture and language. Eventually the British claimed control, and remained in charge until the 1960s when the islands were returned to Honduras.
Today The Bay Islands of Honduras enjoy a reputation as a vacation destination to millions of tourists each year. Pristine beaches, surrounded by the world's second-largest reef system with more than 4,000 species of fish, it's no wonder the area ranks as one of the best places to scuba or snorkel. The Islands may be officially part of Honduras, but due to their long -standing British occupation, residents speak primarily English, making the islands a popular vacation spot for English-speaking travelers to the Caribbean. There are several resources for finding out about Roatan's history and culture. Try roatanonline.com, roatanet.com or Wikipedia.
Roatan, the largest of the three main Bay Islands of Honduras, is also the most developed. At 49 square miles and 40 miles long, Roatan is almost completely surrounded by coral reefs. The temperature is fairly constant due to its location and the constant winds, making it a perfect vacation spot most of the year. There is a short rainy season where several downpours a day can be expected but they are usually brief and move across the island quickly. Due to the small size of the island, weather changes are usually temporary. Locals have learned to "sit out" inclement weather, because as they know, it will move swiftly and they can return to normal in minutes! But typically, the beautiful weather is one of Roatan's main reasons for remaining a top spot for vacationers and divers.
Also, see below for some helpful information about Roatan's climate:
- Temperature averages around 80-85 degrees year-round
- Rainy season lasts from October through November
- Water temperatures hover between 70-80 degrees
- Trade winds are a constant source of island breezes
- Less crowded during May and June