Most tourists flock to Roatan to escape from it all. Whatever “it all” in fact is, depends on who you’re talking to. Work, school, the city, family, friends, your constantly pestering significant other, you name it. Yet when one arrives here on Roatan the hustle and bustle most tourists are running from seems more in-your-face than ever with taxis speeding along, tour guides yelling at you from every which way, or the controlled chaos that envelope certain centers like Los Fuertes. One may even think it safe to stroll along West End during the morning hours only to be consumed by the pounding audible ricochets of dance music pouring from one of the numerous drinking establishments. The question must be asked: Is paradise lost on Roatan Island? A place which finally paved its roads not much more than a couple decades ago? Fortunately the answer is a decisive “no.” To the amateur Roatan visitor, the name Santos Guardiola sounds like a different island altogether, and those of us who have experienced the island of Roatan to its fullest, would be hard-pressed to be in disagreement. It’s true, Roatan’s two respective municipalities look and feel like two completely separate landscapes. And when one returns from the East End, communities like Sandy Bay and Flowers Bay seem like bustling, urban environments.
This is what the island’s landscape has proved over time, that it is always subject to change. Camp Bay, a quiet beach community that supports around 80 residents is a great example of Roatan’s pristine environment untouched by flashy and expensive resorts. Supporting nearly two miles of beach, and a reef with little interference from diving expeditions, it is the perfect location for those who truly “want to get away from it all.” Restaurant and bar owner of La Sirena de Camp Bay, Jimmy Andrade came to Roatan almost five years ago looking for that special spot in the Caribbean but was ultimately turned off by the Americanized aspects of area likes West End and West Bay. After tapping in to his adventurous spirit, Andrade explored what else the island had to offer. He stumbled upon the tranquil community, and it has since been his home for over three years. Yet, Andrade is cautious in his rhetoric, he doesn’t want to make it seem tourists are not welcome here, quite the contrary indeed. The Camp Bay Adventurers Lodge is currently in motion, offering potential guests Camp Bay’s first hotel accommodations. With miles of white beach and pristine resources, Camp Bay appears to have many advantages for tourist destination developers. However, with many other resorts nearby, it’s not like Roatan’s “East End” has gone totally undiscovered. Developments like Marble Hill Farms, and Paya Bay Resort are among some the island’s best places to visit, already holding much of the east end tourist market. Camp Bay would indeed have to be something special given the distance one must travel for the amenities any tourist would expect, a trip of nearly an hour from Mahogany Bay Dock and the exhausting ride along Roatan’s non-paved roads (about which there have been talks between mayors in both municipalities for years.) But this discussion has arisen once again as of late and it seems that both Roatan’s Julio Galindo, and Santos Guardiola’s Perry Bodden are very serious this time around.
This road will no doubt change the scenery for the region. However as the hilltops grow higher and the spaces get less and less crowded the further east you drive, those impacts are certain to slow as everything else does along with it. For now at least, Adventurers are definitely welcome… [/private]