Antiqua Print Gallery Bay Islands
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Bay Islands

(Spanish: Islas de la Bahía) is one of the 18 departments into which the Central American nation of Honduras is divided.
The islands boast splendid beaches and unspoilt coral reefs, making them a haven for scuba divers and vacationers. The departmental capital is Coxen Hole, on the island of Roatán.
The department covers a total surface area of 261 km² and, in 2005, had an estimated population of 43,018 people. It comprises three geographically separate groups:
1. Islas de la Bahía (with the main islands Roatán, Guanaja and Útila, and numerous satellite islands)
2. Cayos Cochinos, further south
3. Swan Islands, 120 km to the north


Each of the three main islands has a distinct character. Utila is flat, a backpacker paradise (IF you are interested in diving otherwise there is little of interest), and ringed by spectacular coral reefs. Scuba divers flock to the island, as it is one of the cheapest places on Earth to be PADI certified, and the magnificent yet gentle whale shark swims in the waters off the island. Roatán, the largest island, has a mountainous backbone and splendid beaches and resorts that attract tourists from all over the world the diving here is also spectacular check out here for further diving info. Guanaja, hit hard by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, is covered with Caribbean pine trees and remains relatively undeveloped. Guanaja, visited by Christopher Columbus in 1502, was also a hideout for 17th-century buccaneers, who grew rich by attacking gold-laden Spanish galleons. Regular airline and ferry services link the islands with the city of La Ceiba, on the mainland.
The Bay Islands were first discovered by Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage to America in 1502. They were later claimed, and successively held, by Great Britain, Spain, and the Dutch United Provinces. Britain finally took control in 1643 and, with the exception of a one-month period of Spanish dominance in 1780, held onto them as a Crown colony, dependent on Jamaica. In 1860, in the aftermath of the William Walker filibustering affair, the British crown recognized Honduran sovereignty and ceded possession of them. The department of Islas de la Bahía was officially incorporated into the nation on 14 March 1872.

(Source Wikipedia)