How Classic Beach Bar Shacks Increase Tourism

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George Nowak of Cayman Compass recently wrote an article on the appeal of what he calls “real true Robinson Crusoe class beach bars” and their effect on tourism. Bemoaning the fact that the local laws of Grand Cayman would never allow for such a flimsy structure to be legally built, he states that “there are too many rules and just not enough rickety, ramshackle beach bars for our tourists.” Mr. Nowak goes on to highlight the impact they can have on local tourism-dependent economies – “To a tourist, a seedy run-down beach bar holds as much island allure as sunshine and sand.” Going on to feature five examples of these types of beach bars and their draw for tourists, Mr. Nowak makes a compelling point that beach bars really can be a game changer in the tourism industry – if only given the chance.

Garvey's Sunshine Shack, Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla

I’ve been trying for a while to put into words the impact a classic throwback local-ordinances-be damned beach bar shack could have on local economies, specifically those dependent on tourism. While shiny brand spanking new beach bars and their odes to modern architecture and engineering certainly have their place, there’s an allure that the rickety will-never-be-able-to-withstand-a-hurricane classic beach bar shacks have that no amount of marble and concrete could ever offer. Maybe it’s the forced absence of modern amenities that makes us pause and enjoy the moment, the sand in your food and drink that makes you realize life doesn’t always have to be squeaky clean or the epiphany that life really does come down to the simple things. Whatever it is, there’s an undeniable appeal that some of our favorite beach bar shacks offer and hopefully today’s modern amenities and far reaching ordinances don’t make them just a memory.

Hippy Bar, beach bar on Koh Phayam, Thailand

Maybe it’s time to add a “beach bar” exception to all those rules and regulations.

When you visit certain islands or tropical destinations, are there certain beach bars that you seek out? Let me know in the comments!

Author: Tom W.

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  1. Ship/Wreck in St, Kitts fits your description to a tee. Discovery and Olivia’s also on the same beach pretty much fall into this category. Unfortunately big development will be moving them all out for more concrete and fancy prices.

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    • Yes, it’s unfortunate what is happening on that beach, Larry. So sad to see them be forced to move.

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  2. Hole in the Wall, Roatan, Honduras. We stop there for drinks after scuba diving. Place like no other.

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    • I keep reading great things about Roatan. Might have to move that up my “must visit” list. Thanks!

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  3. Our favourite beach bar “Shipwreck” in St. Kitts has been evicted by the soon-to-be Ritz-Carlton…the island does not need another hotel.

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    • Sad to see what happened to Shipwreck and the other beach bars on that beach.

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