The Bay Islands of Honduras are comprised of three main islands – Roatán, Guanaja and Útila – and numerous smaller isletas. Roatán and Útila are more well-known than Guanaja and also have considerably more infrastructure for tourism.
Fishing and shrimping is very important for those who live on Gaunaja. There is a small tourism sector here as well, but it pretty much limited to a handful of small dive resorts. Guanaja attracts chiefly divers and adventurous eco-tourists. There are 45 dive sites around the island, and Guanaja also have some excellent beaches. There is freshwater on the island, including several waterfalls that can be hiked to. The island is rugged and mountainous, with both lush and dry environments.
In 2021, Gaunaja was declared a Ramsar site.
Where is Guanaja?
Guanaja is found roughly 70 km off the mainland of Honduras, and 12 km from the island Roatán.
Coordinates: 16° 24′ N, 85° 54′ W
How big is Gaunaja?
50 square kilometres
Several thousand people live on Guanaja, or rather on a cay off the island Gaunaja. The cay is named Bonacca, but normally referred to simply as The Cay or Low Cay, and most of the Gauanaja population live on this cay. This densely populated cay is nicknamed “The Venice of Honduras” because waterways runs through it.
Some people do not live on The Cay; they are instead found in the villages Mangrove Bigtht and Svannah Bight, or in one of the even smaller settlements here, such as Pelican Reef, East End and North East Bight.
The latest official population estimate is from 2015 and says that Guanaja is home to 5,538 people. As of 2022, an unofficial estimation puts the number closer to 10,000.
In 2006, there were only three cars on the island. By 2011, that number had increased to 40. Motorcycles are available for rent.
The most common mean of transportation is still boats, but there is one road too – it slightly longer than 3 kilometres and runs from Mangrove Bight to Savannah Bight.
A channel (“The Canal”) makes it possible for boats to go from the south to the north side of the island without having to go all the way around.
There is no international airport here, but there is domestic one: the Guanaja Airport (GJA). Flights are available between Guanaja and the town La Ceiba on the Honduran mainland, and between Guanaja and the island Roatán.
There is a twice-weekly ferry from Trujillo on the mainland.