Carambola Gardens Roatan: Escape to Nature


Entrance off the "highway" in Sandy Bay across from Anthony's Key.3

Entrance off the “highway” in Sandy Bay across from Anthony’s Key.

Upon entering the gate to Carambola Gardens, I felt a sense of calm.  My weeks stay in Roatan, although the perfect Caribbean experience, had been lacking a peaceful retreat where I could hear myself think.  After spending the day before in West End with the hustle and bustle of beaches, shops, and bars,  I was searching for nature.  It seemed I had arrived.

Although it is located just off “the highway” (the two-lane road that goes down the middle of the island from east to west) I was in nature.  I had escaped.  Waiting in the small reception, I looked around at the small gift shop and read signs about the flora and fauna I was about to experience.  Shortly, a slender figure sauntered over and asked if I could be helped.  Turns out this was the famous Bill Brady.  He nonchalantly gave me a map and asked if I needed a tour.  Not today, today I needed peace,  but just a few questions please?

Tiny pineapples!

Tiny pineapples!

We talked briefly about the history of Carambola.  Over 30 years ago, Bill and Irma Brady bought over 30 acres of pristine Roatan jungle.  They had visited the famous Lancetilla Gardens of Tela on mainland Honduras several times, and were inspired to create.  Thus Carambola Gardens began with a few trails and signs.  These days there are a myriad of gentle trails, one steep climb to the summit (1km), and hundreds of species of trees, plants, and animals to observe.

We then tasted nature.  Local and exotic fruits gathered from the jungle, including the starfuit, soursop, sea grapes and the tiny island pineapple.  A large seed pod from a local tree, fondly called Stinky Toe, tasted almost like chocolate and is packed with iron.  Coffee beans before they are roasted, and cacao before it is turned into chocolate do not even resemble their end product.  After 30 years in business, it is obvious Mr. Bill knows as much and more than anyone else you might encounter regarding the flora and fauna of Roatan and Honduras.

Mr. Bill showing off nature.

Mr. Bill showing off nature.

Although I was tempted to have Mr. Bill take me further along the trail and guide my way, I was still yearning for peace.  I set off in search of a wooden bench to sit and watch and learn.  Twenty minutes later, after watching the butterflies, hummingbirds, and iguanas in their natural habitat, I felt refreshed and made my way back to the entrance.  I will save the summit view for next visit.

Mr. Bill claims Roatan is too noisy these days (the highway is way too busy), and things were better way back when. Most places (anywhere in the world) used to be better 30 years ago, just ask your parents!   I found Carambola Gardens to be the perfect place to find a sense of solace.  Carambola is are a  welcome retreat from either a cruise ship or from your island vacation.  An amazing insight to what is possible.

Next time I will take the guided tour.  It depends on what you are seeking.  Information, peace, or a little of both!

See more about Carambola Gardens and Contact Bill Brady for reservations at or (504) 9963-0872.  Admission $10/$15 with guided tour.

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