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Honduras Looking at Ambergris Caye as Inspiration to Save Guanaja Island

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Looking to Ambergris Caye for inspiration

I received an interesting email below from Miguel De Leon asking for my thoughts and help on cars. He wanted to know if Ambergris Caye is experiencing an influx of cars when golf carts are more than sufficient, and would I share my thoughts as to why his island should avoid the same pitfall and try to stay car free all together.

On Ambergris Caye our infrastructure was just not designed for cars. There are narrow roads and few areas with sidewalks. With the growth of the island it is inevitable that there are more cars now than ever but at what price? While it is understandable that some commercial vehicles are useful and needed, cars take away the charm of our cute golf cart island which is what so many people fall in love with.

I will extend my thoughts to Caye Caulker as well. Sadly I saw my first car there when I was on island judging for the Belize Tourism Board Awards. It made me sad and as we were on our way past I could not help but say a fast prayer that this was not the beginning of the end – hopefully not.

Here are 3 pictures all shot on Pescador Drive (Middle St.) downtown San Pedro, within a few minutes of each other. They clearly show that our roads are not very wide and were not designed with regular cars in mind.

Help keep Guanaja, Honduras stay car free by Miguel De Leon

I’ve started an online petition for the island of Guanaja, of the Bay Islands of Honduras, to move towards being a car-free island. The island’s warm, clear waters support an extensive coral reef that is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and second only to the Great Barrier Reef off the coasts of Australia.

Unfortunately, our island is in danger of sacrificing the very things that sets it apart from other over-developed Caribbean islands. For over 100 years, the island community survived without any land motor vehicles. Only in the past couple of decades, have vehicles begun to appear on the island ever since 1 major road was constructed.

There’s this misconception that more roads and cars will equate to progress and more tourists. When in reality, it will equate to increased population, stress on freshwater supply, long-term environmental effects from increased wastes, improperly disposed of motor fluids and tires.

Sadly the mentality is growing that cruise ships, roads and cars will somehow lift this island into the stratosphere. What I want to convey to them is that the island already offers the very things that the type of tourists we need are looking for. We do not need mass tourism. We just need to care for our island and then we’ll get tourism on the scale we are suited for. As I mentioned on the petition page (see link below), this island was never meant to have roads or cars.

I totally know I have started a challenging cause, but I could not sit by and just watch it happen without at least trying to intervene. Only way I could sleep with myself. I was not born or raised on Guanaja but my family is from there. I went every summer and the coolest thing for me was being able to tell my American friends that I was from a place where there were no cars. The look of them not being able to comprehend that was incredible and made me feel proud. I just want the same for my kids and the locals.

I am not an official non-profit or non-government group, just a concerned islander living abroad and watching the going down a road from which there will be no returning from. Please help me in this effort to save Guanaja for future generations by signing the Petition to keep Cars off Guanaja Island.

Bay Islands Honduras

Island of Guanaja, the Bay Islands of Honduras Picture by
Miguel De Leon

Bay Islands Honduras

Guanaja island by
Miguel De Leon

Bay Islands Honduras

Beach on Guanaja island by Miguel De Leon

Bay Islands Honduras

House on Guanaja by Shawn Holder

Bay Islands Honduras

Guanaja Honduras by Shawn Holder

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7 Comments

  1. tacogirl December 2, 2015

    Great site Miguel, good luck with your continued efforts.

    Reply
  2. tacogirl November 15, 2015

    Good luck Miguel. Will go check it out.

    Reply
  3. Miguel Deleon November 15, 2015

    I’ve created a new website to further push our efforts. Please visit and leave a comment.

    Thank you again.

    http://guanajathegreenisland.com/

    Reply
  4. tacogirl August 14, 2015

    Could be naive Miguel but never stop trying. It is important to preserve such an innocent happy child hood memory in this world of heavy commercialism and “keeping up with the Jonses”. Hopefully what ever comes next will not sacrifice your island and it’s unspoiled charm.

    Reply
  5. Miguel Deleon August 14, 2015

    Thank you Emily and tacogirl for your feedback. I guess I was naive in think that Guanaja would always remain I how I remember it when I would go there for my summer vacations. Getting there the first day and running around barefoot most of the time. My fear is that their idea or progress will unknowing result if the sacrifice if the island there will be no turning back.

    Reply
  6. tacogirl August 14, 2015

    You are so right Emily difficult to avoid progress but hard to watch when it takes over places that are unspoiled.

    Reply
  7. Emily Smith August 14, 2015

    Looks like a beautiful island, and I hope he will be successful, but it is certainly difficult to stop the march of “progress”. I am saddened to hear about a car on Caye Caulker. Always hoped it could resist the lure and stay as a golf-cart only island.

    Reply

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