The Caribbean of Ernest Hemingway is gone.
Heck, even the Caribbean of Jimmy Buffet is hard to find.
In a word, us. We happened. We came, we saw and we conquered. With our "conveniences", our vices and our money, we found paradise and very quickly started changing it. To be fair, we didn't try to or even necessarily want to, but we did.
Caribbean Vacations Come in Two Flavors: Authentic or Commercial
Authentic Caribbean vacations are all about experiencing the region the way it used to be - some would argue the way it should be, before the cruise ships and direct flights and multiple millions of annual tourists. These vacations provide answers to the question, "What was it like to live on a Caribbean island in the stories of Hemingway or in the songs of Buffet?" What they lack in convenience or "modern" comfort is essential to the experience, expected... even anticipated. And, unfortunately, they are increasingly rare.
Commercial Caribbean vacations on the other hand are all about experiencing the water and the weather in a setting that is otherwise as much like "home" as possible. Take any major North American city or suburb and drop it in the middle of the Caribbean, and you have what is unfortunately more and more prevalent. Why, you can even take a good chunk of Disney World, cross it with Las Vegas, drop it in the Caribbean and call it Atlantis...
We watched this process happen over ten+ years on Grand Cayman back in the mid-late 90s. And it makes sense. Not that it's right or good, but it does make sense. At the end of the day, there are simply many more people who want to take a commercial Caribbean vacation than an authentic one. There is a bigger market, and the Caribbean is simply responding to it.
Thank You Honduras
Fortunately, there are still Caribbean islands where the essence of days past live on. Roatan Honduras is one of the best examples. Located apart from the mainstream Caribbean, owned by a Central American country with less interest in rampant tourism than its Caribbean Island nation neighbors, Roatan has been preserved. It is a throwback. And while it, too, is clearly developing, Roatan is still, blessedly, a long way from Nassau or Grand Cayman both figuratively and literally.
Land in Coxen Hole by boat or plane and head East to experience nature and life as it was. Slow down. Have a cold Salva Vida and lion fish cakes. Dance with the Garufina people. Get around town by boat. Think. Wonder. Experience. This 33 mile-long island of which few in North America have ever heard is truly an undiscovered AND unspoiled gem of the Caribbean.
Have The Best of Both Vacations
And if, like us, you ideally want the best of both worlds - the oportunity to experience an authentic Caribbean vacation while sleeping and staying in comfort and security - Roatan has a number of fantastic lodging options all over the island. From vacation rentals to resorts, you can choose the level of luxury and convenience that suits you while still taking in all Roatan has to offer. You can get more information about options on the Western end of the island HERE and the middle part of the island HERE.
No matter where you stay on Roatan, an authentic Caribbean vacation awaits. Come enjoy the Caribbean the way it used to be.