How to Stop Sellers on the Beach (West Bay)

I just came back from a trip to West Bay that was amazing. However, the experience could have been much better if I wasn’t being hounded every 2-3 minutes by someone trying to sell me a playera, braids, massage, jewelry or some other trinket. It was incredibly annoying and I get that locals need to make a living but WOW. It really ruins the experience and I think about how amazing the tourism could be if you didn’t have all that taking place on such a beautiful strip of beach.

SO I’m curious - has there been any talk to prohibit people from selling on the beach? Is it not possible to give them access to an alleyway in west bay where they can setup to sell their items? If it’s setup like a market, tourists will go! There has to be another solution!

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You answered your own question: they are locals and they need to make a living. I’m from Roatan living in California. I don’t mind what they do as long they’re not hurting anyone (which they’re not) because I understand the situation locals are in.

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SERIOUSLY? I guess you have never been poor. Go give some of your money away! you may feel better about yourself! And by the way as soon as you put “but” after your statement it negates everything you just said. I am appauled.

When I lived in South Florida, people would stand at the interstate exit ramp or in a busy intersection with a little sign, panhandling. I admire people working to make a living, rather than just standing in place with their hand out.

Here’s how I handle it here on the East End: If I have a few minutes (and really, when don’t I?), I say something like, “I have one dollar I can spend today, what do you have for one dollar?” And other days I’ll say “I don’t have any money to spend today, but thank you.” Always smiles. This is their island. Even though I live here permanently, I am a foreigner and just figure it is my job to be friendly and adjust to their ways of life.

A couple of weeks ago I realized I’d lost my last string thing that holds my glasses around my neck when they aren’t perched on my nose. I asked one of the street vendors if she had something like that and she said, “no, but I can make it!” She did and it was way overpriced ($10), but I bought two of them. In return, no one has approached me lately. I’d like to think it is a case of mutual respect.

The people of Roatan are the kindest, most friendly that I’ve ever known. I have much to learn from them.

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Sigh…

I see you are making the assumption that I am a horrible, rude and cold-hearted person who wants to make the people of Roatan go away. You have no idea how much money I spent buying trinkets on the beach so that I could support locals (especially the very young children). I’ve traveled to Honduras all my life because my parents are from there. I’ve seen the poverty that exists there all my life. This is not new to me. You cannot compare homelessness in the United States to the poverty that exists in Roatan and mainland Honduras.

What I was trying to say (and from the looks of it no one here is going to agree with me) is that Roatan (particularly West Bay beach) is a gem. I would rather take my American dollars to Roatan when I want to go on a beach vacation and support the Honduran economy. I’m from Texas where everyone only thinks about going to Mexico when they want a beach trip. No one ever thinks about Roatan and people don’t know what they are missing out on. It’s such a unique experience and I love the fact that it’s not commercialized like Mexico.

However, the experience could be so much better if you aren’t constantly being hounded by people on the beachfront trying to sell you a product or a service. If I’m spending hundreds of dollars to stay at a beachfront resort, NO I do not want to be bothered every 3-5 minutes by someone trying to sell me something. This doesn’t mean that I am going to be disrespectful when I am being hounded. I love the guys who make fresh pineapple and coconut cocktails in the water and on their kayaks. Genius. I don’t love hundreds of manufactured long sleeve shirts being shoved in my face all day long while I’m lounging in the sun with a drink on my hand.

My suggestion is to leave the gorgeous beachfront alone. If West Bay Beach were just that, a beach with nothing other lounge chairs, jet ski/kayak/paddleboard rentals, restaurants/bars…what a sight that would be! They would be sitting on a goldmine. Take the business elsewhere, I’m not saying make it not permitted anywhere on the island! Set up an area OFF the beachfront where locals can sell their handmade goods, give their massages, do the braiding, etc. Call it a market/local trade area…I promise you that tourists will still buy things. WHY is that so bad? What is wrong about wanting to increase the amount of tourism while changing the tourism experience and bringing new travelers to this amazing destination? I (and many others) just want a relaxing beach experience and I want to have it in Roatan…

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Don’t be so appauled. And YOU are wrong cause I have been poor!

I like the market approach. Definitely will attract more tourists.

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