Bay Islands, a scuba diver’s paradise, recovering from devastated economy
There are many amazing dive destinations on the planet, but one less known to a great number of SCUBA divers is Honduras. Honduras became the focus of the World’s attention last year when the military (at the direction of the Supreme Court) forcefully removed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from office. The U.S. State Department issued travel advisories and Trip Advisor soon followed suit by warning U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Honduras. These travel warnings, accompanied by the world economic recession and temporary freeze on international aid, financially devastated Honduras.
A tourist and scuba divers paradise, the Bay Islands of Honduras are located 18 miles off the mainland and are nestled on the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef. The Islands were once under British rule and are predominantly English speaking. The travel advisory did not exclude The Bay Islands, even though they were not affected by the unrest and political events occurring on the mainland, hundreds of miles away. The Islands remained safe and International air carriers continued their normal routes into Roatan.
Last year, this tiny third world country stood up for its beliefs and for their right to a fair and Democratic election. Mainstream media all reported a military coup, but for those that lived in the country, the truth was much different. Most all agree that President Zelaya had perpetrated many illegal acts, including theft of large funds from the State and an attempt to alter the Constitution to lengthen the legal limits to his term in office. In hindsight, perhaps the physical removal of then President Zelaya could have been handled a bit differently as the outside community immediately assumed “military rule”.
The subsequent World opinion challenged Hondurans to stay true to their values and beliefs in Democracy. In the end, Honduras remained firm in their determination to hold fair and open Democratic elections for a new President. On November 29, 2009 Hondurans elected their new President, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo. In early December 2009, the U.S. lifted all travel advisories to Honduras. It is now a time of rebuilding, both economically and regaining it’s footing in the tourism industry.
Aurthur Frommer of Frommer’s Travel Guides stated recently in a Miami Herald article “The conditions for bargain-price visits are excellent, as all the major resorts are offering rate reductions to restart the flow of tourism.” The current discounted packages at dive resorts located on Roatan and Utila are the best the industry has seen in a long time. In fact, two resorts Barefoot Cay-Roatan and Utopia Village-Utila, both rated #1 hotel by Trip Advisor are offering inclusive packages starting in the $800 range for summer and fall.
Visit The Bay Islands of Honduras in 2010/11 and enjoy a fun filled dive vacation while helping boost their economy. Consider it a contribution to a country that stands strong in Democratic values.