The Wanderer: It starts with the letter R?

MD-wanderer 2x beachfront-032415

Special to The Dorchester Banner/Malcolm McKnight
Typical beachfront.

Canadians go there in droves, Americans not so much. An island only 40 miles long and 2 miles wide, it is home to 60,000 residents, all of whom speak English, but the national language is Spanish.

Year-round temperature is 77/84 degrees with the rainy season being October and November. The island’s history is one of conflict between the British and Spanish in the 1700s and a period of occupation by pirates. The only remaining pirates today drive the taxis. Taxis run every few minutes. And there are also water taxis. Life on the island is centered around a series of small villages nestled in the lush hills.

Surrounded by pristine waters, tourism is king. Uniquely, all money is paper, there being no coins. If you visit the island bring cash, as few places accept credit cards and virtually no restaurants do. There are numerous ATM machines. You will need $40 in cash for the departure tax if your airline has not included it in your ticket price.

Cruise liners have in recent years been making port calls.

Primarily known for its scuba diving and snorkeling, its reef is a mere 100 yards off shore. The reef is an extension of the better known reef in Belize. Off-shore fishing for tuna, jack, wahoo and barracuda is also a major attraction. Talapia can be found in fresh-water ponds. For golfers there is a single course at Black Pearl at Pristine Bay. For less active individuals, there is a chocolate factory and cameo factory to be visited.

The Wanderer was amused at the number of local store fronts that displayed a sign “Nothing made in China.” Even the gift shops carry mostly locally-made items.

Most tourists find accommodations in West End or West Bay on the developed west side of the island. All-inclusive resorts are easily screened on Google. Those preferring to get a better taste of the local scene will find beachfront cottages available at reasonable rates. If there is a negative to the beaches, it is the presence of no-see-ums in large quantities.

There are modern supermarkets that carry a large array of products. Local rum is $4/bottle and lobster tails are $9/1b. The pharmacies sell all drugs without prescriptions. There are no fast feeders, so McDonald fans will be in panic mode.

All plane flights from IAD and BWI require a change in planes in Miami. Total flying time is about four hours. Remember, you are going to need your passport. After all, you are going to Roatan, Honduras.

Editor’s note: Malcolm McKnight writes on places of travel interest from his home in Cambridge.

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