municipality of santos guardiola-leaders

About Us

This website is created as a doorway to inform and educated the citizens of Santos Guardiola and the world about this small community, its history, local government and the services it provides. The mayor and the new corporation of Santos Guardiola are taken great steps to improve the infrastructure, education, health and security for the citizen of this community.
Additionally, this website intents to help promote governmental transparency by publishing events taking place in the municipal offices such as Cavildos Abiertos, an interactive forum where the corporation reports to the community about the finances of the municipality and other important issues.

In our picturesque community of Santos Guardiola we are “Looking to the future and learning from the past, moving forward one step at a time”. Join us; together we can bring Santos Guardiola back to its feet and better than it used to be.

A Brief History of Santos Guardiola

Located on the eastern side of the island of Roatan, in the Bay Islands of Honduras, (Islas de la Bahia de Honduras) Santos Guardiola is the lesser known brother of the developed municipality of Roatan, which, coincidentally, carries the same name as the island itself.

oak ridge - santos guardiola

Becoming a Municipality

The municipality of Santos Guardiola, whose capital is the village of Oak Ridge, is one of four sections that make up the Bay Islands of Honduras that includes the municipalities of Roatan on the western side of Roatan Island, the island of Guanaja, formerly named Isle of Pines by Christopher Columbus who discovered this island on his 4th voyage to the new world on July 30, 1502 and the island of Utila where a significant number of British decedents resides.

Santos Guardiola became an official municipality in 1960, after the area had grown enough in population to petition the government for that status. Prior to becoming a Municipality within itself, Santos Guardiola was part of the municipality of Roatan.

Because of the changes, Roatan, the largest of the three islands that are part of the Bay Islands of Honduras, is now divided in two municipalities; the recently developed municipality of Roatan on the western side of the island, and the lesser known and less developed municipality of Santos Guardiola on the eastern side.

Oak Ridge

Santos Guardiola’s Culture

This relatively undiscovered municipality has remained traditional as far as it culture, customs and infrastructure. Places such as Politily Bight, (birth place of the current mayor) Milton Bight and Pandy Town has retained their custom of baking “bush cakes” ( pot cakes made of legumes such as yucca root, pumpkin, corn, sweet potato, yam and ripe banana) on Mud Stoves (stoves made of clay and rocks). Most of the homes in these towns are still built with lumber, painted in bright colors and stands on posts in the traditional island style.


pollitilly-bight santos guardiola

Politilly Bight – Santos Guardiola

Traditional “May Pole” and “Platt Pole” dances.

may-pole-dance

may-pole-dance

As its name suggest, May Pole is usually celebrated in the month of May and consist of a particular type of tree being planted in the middle of a sizeable yard; candies, cookies and others snacks are fastened to the tree in a Christmas Tree like fashion with a price at the top. Children dances around the tree singing traditional songs, and eventually someone, usually the owner of the tree, yells “rally” and all the children jumps on the tree scrambling for candies, but most importantly, scrambling to reach the much desired price.

The Platt Pole, on the other hand, is a long plain pole planted in the middle of an open space with one end of long, colorful strips of ribbons fastened to the top of the pole and the other end left hanging loosely to the grown. In this dance, which is practiced during cultural events, each participating dancers takes one end of each ribbon and dances around the pole to the rhythm of Caribbean music, while creating intricate rows of weaves and plaits. The dance usually ends when the dancers undo the patterns of weaves created by dancing and moving in the opposite direction.

 

punta-gorda - santos guardiola

Punta Gorda – Santos Guardiola

The Unique Garifuna culture

The community of Punta Gorda is home to the first settlement of Garifunas´ people living in Honduras. These unique, brave and proud African descendants, who has retained their native language, dance, music and traditions, reached the shores of Santos Guardiola, from St. Vincent, on April 12, 1797; a date that is commemorated every year in a weeklong celebration of Garifuna culture and customs. The language, dance and music of this ethnic group was proclaimed intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2001.

fort cay - santos guardiola

Fort Morgan Cay – Santos Guardiola

Pirates, Payans and Spaniard

Most of the history of the Pirates, who invaded the island, expelled the Payan Indians and looted the Spanish ships, is concentrated in the Santos Guardiolan village of Port Royal. Residue of the battles between the pirates, British and Spaniard still remains on Fort Cay (now renamed Fort Morgan Cay) including part of the English fort, old powder keg, and the water well used by pirates in their heyday.

Small relics of the Payan Indian, the first inhabitants of the island, can also be found around the hills of Santos Guardiola. These natives of Roatan were known for their bravery and their friendliness, and decedents of these people may still be living on the island.

After laying claim to the island for many years, in 1859, England relinquished control of the Bay Islands to the Republic of Honduras and 101 years later the community of Santos Guardiola became a municipality. Today Santos Guardiola is considered “the pristine side of paradise”.

shipyard - oak-ridge

Shipyard – Oak Ridge – Santos Guardiola

Santos Guardiola’s Economy

In the pass, Santos Guardiola’s economy depended mostly on the exportation of seafood from its packing factory that exported shrimps, lobster and conch to the US. The village of Oak Ridge was at the core of the booming fishing industry that provided jobs and study income for local worker and those from surrounding villages such as Punta Gorda, French Harbour and West End.

Oak Ridge, the capital of Santos Guardiola, was home to the only shipyard in Central America where boats up to four tons were constructed. It was also home to a fully functional dry dock that repaired and reconstructed local fishing boats and those from other communities around Honduras and Central America.

Today, the economy of Santos Guardiola depends largely on the remittance from the seamen working abroad and expatriates living and working in the US.  The growing tourism industry on the island also plays a significant role in the economy of this community.  Tourism, however, has always been a part of Santos Guardiola’s economy; the Reef House Resort, located on Oak Ridge Cay, was one of the first diving resorts on the island.

This former fishing Municipality, whose population exceeds eight thousands, is named in honor of the eighth President of Honduras, General José Santos Guardiola Bustillo, who presided over the nation from February 17, 1856, until his assassination on January 11, 1862. Mr. Bustillo was instrumental in the recuperation of the Bay Island through the Wyke-Cruz treaty between England and Honduras.