Roatan is the major city in the Department of the Bay Islands, off the country’s Caribbean coast and across the Atlantida and Colo departments. The total population by the year 2000 was a meager 14,962 inhabitants.
In 1502, when Columbus arrived at these islands, they were already peopled by natives. Roatan is the archipelago’s largest and major island. In the past, the island was called Coxen Hole. In old Aztec language, Roatan means place of women.
The island’s chief economic activities lie in such crops as coffee, sugar cane and banana, as well as fishing, especially for self-sufficiency. In recent years, the island has developed a small-size commercial center and export port for foodstuffs.
The island celebrates its annual saint patron party –San Ignacio de Loyola- on July 31.