Guanaja is pronounced “gwa-na’-‘ha.
Guanaja or Pine Island as named by Christopher Columbus is the most undiscovered and pristine of the three islands off the coast of Honduras that make up the archipelago called The Bay Islands.
Guanaja is the eastern-most of the Bay Islands off of Honduras. It is situated about 18 miles east of Roatan and 30 miles north of the mainland of Honduras. (16° 24′ 0″ N, 85° 54′ 0″ W)
The island is the most mountainous of the three and has an abundance of year-round freshwater springs, waterfalls, hiking trails, and beautiful beaches. It is also split in two by a human-made channel that provides access to the airport and serves as the main “thoroughfare” for nearly all transportation, which is by boat. (There is only one road on the mainland and only a handful of cars.)
There are about 10,000 people here, with the majority living on the cay called Bonacca. Guests at Dunbar Rock have a clear view of Bonacca from the west side of “the Rock.” The other two smaller settlements are Mangrove Bight and Savannah Bight.
The native islanders of Guanaja are descendants of the immigrants from the English-speaking Bahamas and Cayman Islands who first settled on the island in the 1800s. In more recent times, residents of mainland Honduras have moved to the islands, resulting in a population that for the large part speaks both English and Spanish.
US Dollars and Lempiras are widely accepted everywhere. There is no need to exchange Dollars for Lempiras. Small bills are encouraged, as generally, you will receive change in Lempiras. There is one bank in Bonacca, but it does not have an ATM. It is recommended you carry cash. Traveler’s checks are not accepted, nor will the bank cash them. Most establishments do not accept credit cards.
Steady ocean breezes keep the temperature comfortable year around. The temperature is generally in the low 80s, only occasionally getting into the high 80s during August and September. The average rainfall is 100 inches a year, which helps keep the island lush and green. Guanaja’s rainy season usually begins around October and lasts until December or January.
Airline luggage restrictions are always changing. Be sure to check your airline’s web site(s) for the most current information on baggage allowances and restrictions. The inter-island airlines (Roatan/Guanaja) will weigh your luggage. You are allowed one small carry-on bag and checked baggage totaling 50 lbs free. Additional baggage at additional charges of up to $1.00 per pound is permitted at the airline’s discretion. Luggage that qualifies as a carry-on by your international airline can either be held on your lap, if very small tucked under your seat, or checked plane side before boarding. (There are NO overhead compartments on these planes.) Pack for a Purpose: Should you find when packing for your trip, that you have a few pounds/kilos of space in your suitcase, please consider bringing a contribution for the Pack for a Purpose project we support. In doing so, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. If you opt to bring a sizable donation, we highly recommend that you place it in a separate piece of luggage bearing a tag labeling it as Pack for a Purpose. In this way, should the plane to Guanaja be tight on space, the airline will know to prioritize guest baggage over the Pack for a Purpose baggage, which can be delivered at a later date. Knowing that the luggage is for Pack for a Purpose and the benefit of the local community may also avoid the airline charging any overweight charges. For more information on how you can help and a list of supplies needed, please visit https://www.dunbarrock.com/pack-for-a-purpose/
To enter Honduras, you must present a U.S. passport with at least six months remaining validity. U.S. citizens do not require a visa for tourism, but you must provide evidence of return or onward travel. For other nationalities, it is your responsibility to ensure your own visa requirements. No refunds will be awarded for customers denied access for lack of a proper visa.
Travelers must clear Honduran Immigration to depart the country. Travelers must return the copy of their immigration document or entrance permit they received when entering Honduras before exiting. If you are leaving via air, travelers must pay an airport tax of approximately $40.00 US. In most cases, this will already have been included in your domestic airline ticket payment. But if not, the airport tax is payable at the airport in cash in either U.S. dollars or lempiras or by credit card.
We are pleased to say that the Villa does not have the sand fleas that plague many mainland and Bay Island locations. When you are on the cay, no bug spray is needed, but it should always be applied when visiting these other areas.