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Recommended Hotel on the Bay Islands, Honduras, Central America

The tropical coral reefs of the Bay Islands attract divers from all over the world. Although the island of Roatan is the best known I recently selected the island of Guanaja because it was more secluded. I wanted a more romantic location to be with my companion, Andrea.

I prefer the Bayman Bay Club because I wished us to stay in semi-isolated cabins instead of in a concrete motel-like environment. So many resorts are not much more than chain-motels stuck on pilings decorated with the title of "resort." Being an archaeologist I can tell the difference between a real jungle and a jungle pictured in advertising. The Bayman Bay Club fulfilled all my expectations and Andrea concurs.

My interest in underwater photography is because the ancient Maya worshipped shark gods, pictured colorful tropical fish in their art, and had many images of undersea life in their murals. Even Teotihuacanos, high up in the central plateau of central Mexico, pictured shell divers. The underwater imagery in Classic Maya art was the subject of my Ph.D. dissertation, and I need photographs to illustrate a new revised edition of this opus. Furthermore F.L.A.A.R. operates dive trips to Banco Chinchorro (Quintana Roo, Mexico) with Caiman Expeditions (Lane Larson of Tucson, Arizona), so I felt it was time to be certified (Larson is a professional dive instructor; I handle just the Maya aspects of the underwater flora and fauna--we do no excavation and are not looking for artifacts underwater--just the fish and sea animals which the Maya picture in their art). So a visit to the Bay Islands was a business trip for me on several grounds.

The food was yummy; I especially liked the brownies and cookies. Eli Pearly, manager (along with architect husband Don) reports that all the meals are prepared in situ, in part because there is no supermarket within hundreds of miles. You reach the club by air from San Pedro Sula via La Ceiba. The airstrip is an adventure. A boat takes you to the Club. No roads or cars exist in this area. What a vacation possibility.

I was shy about taking dive lessons and Andrea was apprehensive. The professional American dive instructor, however, put us at ease with his careful guidance. Five days later we were PADI certified. We felt it was worth every penny. I would not trust a cheap resort course and was glad to receive full time instruction, not a quickie. If you have never been underwater, or just gone snorkling previously, you really ought to consider taking the dive course here at Bayman Bay Club, especially while Roger is still the instructor.

Everyone else at the Club that week was really into diving and/or underwater photography. They seemed to find the dives totally satisfying. I must admit I never really saw the reefs because the entire week was dedicated to the course. I need to go back a second time. But I am sure glad that I did not attempt some swimming pool course. I would rather learn in the same salt water environment that I have to face sooner or later.

The individual cabins are carefully screened by jungle so the arrangement is great if you are looking forward to a private interlude with your spouse. Iguanas roamed around freely and the atmosphere was casual. Flora and fauna were at your doorstep just as expected in the tropics. To see photographic views, check out Bayman's Bay home page.

Tom and Linda Fouke are the owners; Eli and Don Pearly the Resort Managers--all are professionals in their field.
Contact: Terra Firma Adventures, Inc., 7481 W. Oakland Park Blvd., 307A, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33319.

1-800 524-1823, (954) 572-1902, fax 954 572 1907 (USA)

Local fax 011-504 454179 is in a town in the Bay Islands which is reached once or twice a day by boat, so allow time for your fax to actually reach the Club,

Updated March 3, 1999