Exploring the East End of Roatan
By Liz Riggs
Exploring and discovering the East End of Roatan in the Municipality of Santos Guardiola for alternative vacation options. East Roatan is a very different vacation experience from West Roatan. East End Roatan offers no crowds of people, fewer taxis, secluded beaches, yet provides high end accommodations with all the amenities that are thoughtfully blended with nature in providing a relaxing, stress free, vacation in a pristine natural environment.
East Roatan is generally thought of as being East of French Harbour. However, Roatan has two municipalities, Roatan which is the Western portion of the island East to Six Huts. East End Roatan is actually the Santos Guardiola municipality from Six Huts, East to the end of the island including the islands of Barbarette and Moret.
“Up East” is a popular saying because you drive up onto the ridge top of the mountains separating North Shore and South shore. The turquoise ocean views are spectacular as you drive on the paved roadway to Oakridge. Past Oakridge the road is no longer paved, but don’t let that stop you
Rent a 4 wheel vehicle and drive up and explore. There is one main road on Roatan - turn right coming out of the airport and come “Up East”! A taxi tour or Tour bus will only go as far as Oakridge.
Parrot Tree Plantation at First Bight on the south shore is the first development in Santos Guardiola. Santé Wellness Center is located on a private cay across from the Parrot Tree Marina. They will pick you up by boat for a day of serenity and relaxation.
The development Rohan by the Sea is on the North shore at Milton Bight. There are some homes available to rent.
Turquoise Bay Resort at Milton Bight, is a beautiful resort with 26 rooms, restaurant - with Karaoke on Wednesday nights that the East Roatan local expats organize to get together, but everyone is invited. Subway Watersports provides Diving and Snorkeling and will take you to dive locations less frequented by other divers. Subway Watersports can also arrange for private diving pickup from nearby rental properties docks.
Oceano Village is a well planned community development with excellent construction management on the south shore. It is in a whirlwind of construction with several Condos and Cabana Beach homes nearing completion. Concrete paved road all the way down from the main road with erosion control, water lines, electric and septic systems are being built as well.
Between Politilly Bight and Punta Gorda on the north shore are beautiful luxurious homes for rent with exceptional amenities in the Gumbolimbo Shores development. Look at Fuego del Mar, Mariposa del Mar, Brisa del Mar, La Diosa del Sol, Las Bisas .
The new Spa Tranquilidad is available by appointment next to Fuego del Mar. Across the street is the apartment rental of Rainbows Breeze.
Visit the Yubu Center on days the cruiseships are visiting Roatan to experience the Garifuna native dancing, learn of the travels to get to Roatan, see basket weaving and cassava bread being made in the traditional way.
At Jonesville is the ever famous Hole-in-the-Wall restaurant with a fabulous BBQ brunch at 2pm on Friday & Sunday as well as a daily lunch menu. There is only one paved road once you reach Jonesville village so it's hard to make a wrong turn! Keep driving until you reach a fork in the road. From here you can see that the road ends about 100 yards up. There is a large empty graveled area with some houses bordering the sea. This is where you can park your car. The residents of the house on the left will radio to let them know you're there and they will pick you up at the dock in the dory and bring you across.
Oakridge is at the end of the paved road on the South shore. It is a fishing town and the municipal seat of Santos Guardiola. A new Fruits & Vegetable stand near the entrance has become very well known as having a fresh selection arrive on Fridays and Saturdays. It is easy to find on Fridays since the vegetable trucks that resell in the various neighborhoods pick up their produce as soon as it arrives!
There is a new store down by the municipal building, J&D Grocery that carries a selection of necessities as well as having the best prices for rum and other liquors that we have found on the island! They also carry some necessary hardware items. There are several small Tipico restaurants & BJ’s Restaurant as well.
Past Oakridge entrance the road is a unpaved, gravel/dirt road that will take you to more beautiful places. .
Take the Left fork in front of the Centro de Atencion Integral Clinic to visit Satuye Park and see a Garifuna display of their original Huts, clothing, wood stove and they make Machuca, a traditional food to sample. Marble Hill Farms also provides a taste testing and jams & jellies to purchase on cruise ship days at a display stand here.
Take the right fork in the road, ½ mile, to the new RoyMart gas station that also has a Banco de Los Trabajadores, a restaurant, and opening in March 2009, a new grocery store on the lower level overlooking Oakridge. Great Views!
The gravel road may look intimidating initially, as many are used to pavement, just drive slow, at 10-15 MPH taking pictures and enjoying the natural setting, trees, vines, island homes along the way it is well worth the drive.. Only 7 miles to Camp Bay’s two miles of beach from the end of the paved road, about 30-45 minutes.
Punta Blanca is the first road on the left about 400’ past RoyMart. There are homes for rent in this small community including the Jiveshack, and Seahorse Corral. Sport fishing with One Fish Two Fish Charters or snorkeling with Captain Joe are both based here in Punta Blanca.
Continue your journey to East Roatan for a mile, about 5 minutes, past Punta Blanca to Marble Hill Farms where the 26 acres are beautifully taken care of and produces 15 kinds of Organic Jams & Jelly, hot sauce and mustard. Marble Hill Farms now has 3 casitas for rent as well as “Bunkhouse” and a loft room. The new restaurant and bar “The Crow’s Nest” opens in March 2009. Marble Hill is surrounded by nature, with Tropical Island Divers and Kite Boarding offering activities. These Eco-Accommodations are just what a relaxed active vacationer is looking for.
A mile past Marble Hill is Diamond Rock gravel & rock quarry which provides gravel and the decorative rock you see used on the island. Another mile and you reach the Y to Calabash Bight, taking the left road continues toward Paya Bay in 2 miles.
If pampered is your wish, yet a full Roatan experience away from the crowds, Paya Bay Resort a beach, nature, leisure,and wellness resort. This all inclusive, 11 room, boutique resort, with restaurant is perched on a bluff overlooking the multi-hued Caribbean Sea and two beautiful half-moon beaches. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef lies just 100 yards offshore. Paya Bay offers 3 secluded white sand beaches, Hiking, Snorkeling trips including Pigeon Cays, bird watching, yoga, diving with Tropical Island Divers, Weddings, Sea Kayaking, Sport Fishing as well as trips on a huge new 45’ boat, the KITON, to Guanaja, Cayos Cochinos & Utila. Up to 20 people per trip can be comfortably accommodated.
One mile past Paya Bay is the Y to turn to go to Port Royal, stay to the left for one more mile to the last stop on our journey of the East End of Roatan in Camp Bay. A restaurant & bar that many do not know about is La Sirena at Camp Bay. No need to pack a lunch or eat before you go. At the end of a 40’ dock, La Sirena at Camp Bay is a perfect place to have lunch, snorkel, fish, or take a cayuca boat tour of the Mangrove Forest on the canals. Camping on the beach is permitted. Show up with your own camping equipment and snorkel gear or rent them here.
Other places that have house rentals available include Port Royal, Calabash Bight look at Blue Reef Properties for East Roatan rentals. This writer has not visited on the ground yet, only flew over in the Seaplane which is highly recommended to every person visiting Roatan! If you make an appointment they can pick you up at your dock! The pictures I took of the waters and homes are truly amazing.
Remember that Roatan is actually two parts. Santos Guardiola is the East End of Roatan, less developed, birds, iguanas, armadillos, watusa, turquoise ocean, and undisturbed reefs - Nature at its very best. Beautiful!
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