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Right astride the Caribbean's largest barrier reef – also the world’s second largest after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – this small island (just 32 square miles (83 sq. kilometres) off the coast of Honduras has become not only this country’s top visitor draw (outstripping the other main one, the impressive Mayan archaeological site Copán) but also, unsurprisingly, a star among the world’s diving community.
Actually the largest of seven Islas de la Bahía (Bay Islands), this onetime pirate hideout today has several towns and villages spread over its), the largest of which is Coxen Hole – with around a mere 5,000 permanent residents. Like other Caribbean coastal areas of Central America, there is a strong influence of Garifunas – Afro-Caribbean English speakers – intermixed with Hispanics from mainland Honduras.