Since its discovery in 1502 by the explorer Christopher Columbus and its later colonization by the British, Roatan’s population has steadily grown over the centuries, with most locals in Roatan descending from a unique mix of Europeans and Afro-Caribbeans.
Its population increased even further once the industry of tourism boomed in the late 1980s to the early 1990s, turning the once-sleepy fishing island into a hub for tourists looking for a fantastic scuba diving spot.
These figures increased even more in the early 2000s, due to more and more tourists arriving on cruise ships. In 2014, the local government’s census indicated that the population was around 109,000.
Nowadays, Roatan’s population is estimated to be around 110,000 to 120,000, a number that comprises both locals and ex-pats alike. However, these figures are thought to constantly increase, especially with millions of cruise passengers visiting the island annually.
For example, in 2016, approximately 361 cruise ships docked on the island, carrying as many as 1 million passengers. This marked an increase of 14.7% from the previous year’s number of passengers.