The East End of Roatan
By Monish Welcome
The area from French Harbour to the east end of the island is less inhabited and consequently has fewer bars, hotels, resorts and restaurants. There are stunning views of beautiful aquamarine waters and from the mountain tops you can enjoy a simultaneous view of both the north and the south side of the island. The East side boasts undisturbed lush natural foliage full of a variety of birds, iguanas, armadillos, Watusi (island rabbit), and butterflies. Cattle, horses and island farmers selling melons, bananas, and plantain, wander along the road leading to deep water bights in Jonesville and Oak Ridge where fishing, lobster, and shrimp boats are moored.
The East End of Roatan is more “country” island living; original forest growth is interspersed with islander homes and beautiful island villas on larger properties. The East End appeals to those who are comfortable living outside a town or city and looking for a quiet, peaceful way of island life that is somewhat removed from the business of the tourism industry.
-The first development east of French Harbour, on the south shore, is Parrot Tree Plantation, a gated community with beautiful landscaping, stunning pool, condos, beach resort villas, large marina, Palapa Bar & Grill, gorgeous homes as well as large lots that are available for private home construction.
-Turquoise Bay Dive and Beach Resort on the north shore includes the Subway Watersports Dive Center, a pool, an international restaurant, and a Wednesday evening karaoke enjoyed by local expats and resort guests alike.
-Before reaching the Oceano development, a new resort on the south shore called Media Luna opened with 65 rentals in December 2010. The Terra Chula development is on the south shore on the road before the Politilly Bight entrance. Politilly Bight is a small local fishing community on the north shore.
-Just past Politilly Bight entrance is the road to Gumbolimbo Shores development, with the elegant “Fuego, Mariposa and Brisa del Mar” rental villas with diving, fishing and Spa services.
-Jonesville, is a quiet and quaint fishing community whose main attraction is the “Hole in the Wall” bar and restaurant, with the renowned Sunday all-you-can-eat buffet.
-Further east takes you to Oak Ridge, the largest town on the southeast side of the island. Oak Ridge is a charming community where many homes are built on stilts along the water‘s edge, and shrimp and lobster boats are often moored to the front porch. People use small boats to run errands and connect with Jonesville, Calabash Bight,
-Port Royal and other homes further East on the south shores. You can take a boat ride through the mangrove tunnels, or a water taxi.
-Look Out Hill Estates is a development offering smaller lots on the Main road as you enter Oak Ridge.
-Punta Gorda is across from Oak Ridge on the north shore. Punta Gorda is actually known as two towns by the local community. Punta Gorda is the western and English Town is eastern. Stop in at the Yubu Center on the main road on days the cruise ship is in Roatan, to learn about the Garifuna and watch them perform traditional dances. Punta Gorda property is strictly owned by the Garifuna community and cannot be sold. Many Garifuna people who have been working on ships, oil fields or other jobs outside of Honduras, have been coming back to Roatan and building nice homes for their retirement in Punta Gorda. The Punta Gorda public school has had young volunteer English teachers from Scotland for the past 30 years.The paved roadway ends at the “Y” split past Oak Ridge. The concrete roadway to the left goes into English Town and will continue westward through Punta Gorda back to the main road.
-Taking the gravel road to the right continues to the eastern most area of Roatan. A community of expats live in Punta Blanca on the north shore, located one half mile after Oak Ridge. Several reasonably priced waterfront lots are available in this tight-knit community.
-A mile further is Marble Hill Farms, an eco-resort offering one and two bedroom casitas as well as dorm facilities. Enjoy diving, kite boarding as well as a great lunch.
-Continuing east along the north shore dirt and gravel road, are two more of Roatan‘s stunning beaches, Paya Bay Resort and Camp Bay. Paya Bay Resort is a boutique resort that offers two long white sand beaches, hiking trails, private coves, snorkeling and an upscale restaurant for a tranquil private vacation experience full of hummingbirds and ocean sounds. Camp Bay Beach is a two-mile stretch of white sand beach where more homes are being built since electricity arrived in 2009.
-Port Royal is the last town on the east end, south shore, of Roatan and although the area is isolated there is a fly fishing lodge with a good restaurant that serves Cajun-style food (only open on Saturday) and a boutique hotel dive resort. These are only accessible by boat, but they will pick you up by boat at BJ‘s Backyard in Oak Ridge.A large portion of the central eastern end of the island forms the Port Royal Park and Wildlife Refuge, including mountains and a mangrove swamp area that is rich in wildlife such as the endangered Yellow-Naped Parrot and White Crested Pigeon. The remains of the famed pirate fortress can also be viewed in Old Port Royal.
-Helene is a sparsely-populated small island separated by a canal from the east end of Roatan; further east are Morat, the Pigeon Cays, and then Barbareta, which is privately owned.
Getting to any of these islands isn‘t easy, but dive operators and boat charters will take you. Or you can also hire a boat from Oak Ridge.
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