I thought I would submit this blog today as I received the following e-mail which is indicative of questions we often hear in one form or another:
Hi Sharon: I found your blog. My husband and I are thinking of moving to Guanaja. Bruce is on Roatan right now and is flying over tomorrow to Guanaja. Is there much trash on Guanaja? He hates that about Roatan[?]. Anything you can tell us? Liz.
I responded to her thusly:
Right now I'm in the U.S. after spending 4 weeks in Europe, much to my husband's dismay. I am on my way back to the island on the 27th but my husband is there at our home and you should look him up. Ask around as to where Mike Jones is - people may or may not know only because they do or don't pay attention! We live near Red Cliff, but 3/4ths of the island people haven't the foggiest notion where that is. It is on the East side of the island, south of Bonacca Town (the Cay) and pass the dump and the concrete building that was never finished! We are the only house on the south east end of the island, up on the hill, green house! Good luck.
As to trash - no, the island has made great strides to clean up the garbage. We still have trash in the water and some on the shore entering the canal which allows access from one side to the other. But, overall, we think there has been great improvements over the years. Since we don't have roads, no trash alongside the non-existent highways! We are hoping they never build a road and keep the island as pristine as possible. Roads equal trash equal dead cars, tires, motors, etc., equals rats, equals squallier......we don't want roads!
Guanaja is not for everyone. It is quiet; there is no real "entertainment" to be found. A few nice restaurants along with quiet and seclusion. If you like diving, snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, reading, and less stress, this is a wonderful place. Temperatures year round are good, the water is clear, air clean nights filled with beautiful star-studded skies. There is a small community of ex-pats from Germany, Holland, Canada, America and Texas with which to mingle and lost of friendly Hondurans!
Building here is a royal pain and quite frustrating but can be done and plenty of people can tell you how to go about it! We have one bank, two Internet cafes, four hotels I would recommend, 4 restaurants worth going to when looking for something special. Provisions are brought over by boat once a week from the Mainland which means that all the ex-pats meet in town on that day of the week, which is now Thursday. Use to be Friday, but we go with the flow.
Bring bug spray! A must for new comers! Deep Woods Off is the best. I'm sorry, the story about Skin-So-Soft will leave you with unwanted bites which last 2 weeks or more. If you enjoy being bitten, then ignore my advice. If you want relief, use what I suggest, twice a day. Do not spray on your body - spray on your hands and spread over your extremities - much is much more efficient! No nude sunbathing but nice beaches to walk on the West side. You must have a boat to live here (maybe two) and two of everything is always a good idea.
We do have drugs and crime, but if you are not into drugs, you will be OK. Stealing is rampant during the time the fishing boats are in but if you take proper precautions, you will be fine. Stupid is as stupid does as the saying goes. I mean, if you go to New York or Chicago and head into parts of town you should not be in, then you are stupid, right??!
People are friendly and knowing Spanish certainly takes stress out of life! I hope you come with an open mind and are willing to "do without" all the "necessities" some people find they need in life; A/C, a car, high taxes, posh cafes, movie theaters, a highly-trained medical staff at a fully equipped hospital or airlines that travel within a schedule! Life can be good, but nothing comes out of nothing and some effort is required!
So, hope you enjoy and sorry I probably won't see you, but look my husband up! If worse comes to worse and you can't find him, just go to town on shopping day, Thursday, and ask around!
I hear time and time again, why do you live there when it seems to be more trouble than it is worth? Or, don't you get bored or how do you survive without A/C, etc.? If one must ask these questions, then one is not ready to live on Guanaja. Guanaja, while seemingly a "Paradise" for some may be a headache for others. Paradise is what you make it. It is not something that will render the same definition for everyone. It can be a state of mind or a state of being but each person must find their own definition.
So, all I can say, as I have said before and many before me have said, come to the island, look around, spend at least 1-3 months here before deciding. Even after that, revisit the island during different seasons to see if it is what you want and, especially, if you want to purchase land. Land during one season will most assuredly present a different light in another!
Good luck and Welcome!