Since several years the island of Roatan saw to grow its popularity worldwide mainly thanks to its amazing natural environment, especially its awesome coral reef.
In recent years, the discoverment of the island by the cruise ship market pushed higher its good reputation as a Caribbean destination increasing the interested in the Roatan real estate market too.
But the tourist nature of the island had already been appreciated and had attracted the attention of national and foreign investors in the 90s and in the first decade of the years 2000.
In these years the economic takeoff of the island began, producing an inevitable effect also in the construction sector of houses, villas, hotels, resorts …with the consequence that in several areas of Roatan the land prices increased from year to year.
For a few years the island was a very ambitious goal for those on the mainland looking for a job opportunity … as builders, carpenters, cabinet makers, electricians, plumbers, etc …so the population of Roatan grew enormously in a few years.
This phenomenon had a very strong social impact, the Spanish-speaking community widely exceeded the local, the English-speaking community …and many customs were lost and others were installed among the residents of Roatan.
Even the music that is heard, the food that is eaten on the island, everything has changed …it’s not that it’s all negative, but many are nostalgic for what Roatan was …for the country-reggae that came out of bars and restaurants, of walking in almost carless streets, of the rhythms of lives that were truly tropical …now, the progress brought a bit of that western stress that many retired or foreign investors had wanted to abandon in their country.
On the other hand, now we have good supermarkets, more clinics, hospitals, schools, offices …2 cruise ports, one in Coxen Hole and the other in Mahogany Bay …and the island goes for more …the contradictory extension of the ports has started, threatening the reef but guaranteeing more cruise passengers and money…
We need to appeal to consciences and cross our fingers that too much ambition does not play a destructive role for an island like Roatan and its fragile ecosystems …development has a cost in deteriorating the environment and sometimes the social state of the inhabitants of a locality but this cost should always be very well calculated and cushioned so that the benefits are real and to some extent, shared.