Visiting the Garifuna Coast On Roatan, Honduras

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Punta Gorda – The Garifuna Coast Roatan Honduras

Roatan is a small island off the Caribbean coast of Honduras. It has beautiful white sand beaches, a fantastic island vibe and some great ways of interacting with the local islanders.

Garifuna people are a small portion of Roatanians but an important part of both Roatan’s history and its culture.

Before I arrived in Roatan I had no idea what Garifuna people were. I’m going to attempt to explain it below. Please know I mean no disrespect if I get anything wrong.

The Garifuna are are mixed race group that have descended from people from West Africa, the Caribbean Islands and Central Africa. Some time after their arrival in the Caribbean, some also mixed with the local Amerindian population to become the Garifuna people of today.

As well as being in Honduras, the Garifuna live across the Caribbean from Dominica to Trinidad and the Lesser Antilles.

If I understand it correctly, the Garifuna were brought to Roatan by the English. 5000 Garifuna were exiled (for racial reasons) and half of those were shipped to Roatan. Roatan was way too small to support even that number of Garifuna. After petitioning the Spanish authorities a lot were then relocated to Spanish colonies and spread across the Caribbean coast, and into Nicaragua and Belize.

Today Punta Gorda on Roatan’s central north coast is the centre of Garifuna culture.

A young Grifuna boy on Roatan
A young Garifuna boy on Roatan

The Flamingo Cultural Centre at Punta Gorda

There is a great cultural centre called the Flamingo Cutural Centre which offers tours and classes. Take of the the dancing classed to find out just how unco you really are. They can swing their hips in this circular motion that was just unachievable to me. They all thought I was hilarious but it was fun.

The google maps location for the cultural centre is here.

Lunch At the Punta Gorda Seafood Restaurants

There are quite a few little lunch shacks and huts that sit out over the water in PUnta Gorda. I’m assuming they are all good, however I went to Garifuna Living Food which was amazing. It was the freshest seafood cooked to perfection in a thatched hut overlooking the ocean. What more could you possibly want?

The menu has items like:

  • Sevice (Honduran style)
  • Seafood Curry
  • Seafood Soup
  • Freshly fried or grilled fish, crays or sometimes crab.
Garifuna Living Food at Punta Gorda, Roatan
Garifuna Living Food at Punta Gorda, Roatan

Some Local Shopping in Punta Gorda

While we were eating lunch a beautiful local woman was waiting in the corner of the restaurant. Once we were done and looking to leave she very politely in the gorgeous lilting accent asked us if we would like to purchase any of her wares.

She had earrings and jewellery made from coconut shell and sea shells and considering she was so very polite I purchased 3 pairs of earrings. I still have two of them and wear them often. Every time I do I think of her and her beautiful manner and gorgeous smile.

A beautiful Garifuna woman selling her wares in Roatan
The beautiful Garifuna woman selling her wares to us

Visit the Garifuna Tree

While this hasn’t got anything to do with the local Garifuna people, there is a locally famous mangrove tree that is very photogenic. A little past the seafood restaurants you can see the tree easily from the road.

The garifunas tree in Roatan Honduras
The Garifuna tree in Roatan Honduras

Have a walk or a swim along the Punta Gorda Beach

While it is primarily a fishing are for the locals, the beach is very nice and there are patches that are soft sand and perfect for swimming. Sadly I forgot my togs (swimsuit to all those non Queenslanders out there) but it was a lovely spot.

The beautiful Garifina coast Roatan Honduras
The beautiful Garifina coast Roatan Honduras

Would I recommend Punta Gorda In Roatan

100% ABSOLUTELY. Even if you go just for lunch, it will be the best lunch you eat on Roatan.

We did a tour with Cleve’s Island Adventures and I would thoroughly recommend Cleve. He is just effervescent and to start with you think “he can’t possibly be like this all the time??” but yes he can. It’s not a put on, that is Cleve and by the end of the day when you are driving back in his little van singing reggae songs, you will be so glad you chose Cleve as your guide.

Jenny Marsden - Charge The Globe
About the author

Meet Jenny, a passionate Australian travel blogger who has explored 103 countries to date. With over 30 years of travel experience, Jenny has a wealth of knowledge to share with her readers about the cultures, landscapes, and people she has encountered on her journeys. She’s always battling unfashionably frizzy hair and you will never catch Jenny in anything but comfortable shoes. Learn more about Jenny and her travels.

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