Lataro Island was first settled in the late 19th century as a mission station and you can still see some ruins and the graveyard from this era. This was abandoned by the 1950's, however a village had by then been established and up to 200 inhabitants lived here. By the 1970's, the remote life was too difficult for the natives and the last of them departed for the mainland in the early 1980's. The jungle took over and by 2000 there was no visible evidence that it had ever been occupied.
It was purchased by the current owners in 2010 who, with the help of a large number of local mainland villagers, cleared the land and built the residence. It was designed to be a second home for the owners but could better be described as a luxury resort for the two of them and their guests. Between 15 and 40 staff are employed to maintain the island as well as look after their needs. Much of the time they are in residence the staff are sent home as they relish the seclusion.
The island is very eco- oriented. Electricity is over 99% solar. Rainwater is supplied from above and the pristine air means that it is pure and tasty. Everything from glass to waste is recycled.
90% of the island is an unofficial Conservation Reserve and a last refuge for the endangered Coconut Crab, the worlds largest terrestial crab. Birdlife includes owls, eagles and parrots. In the five years that the reef has been protected fish stocks are great and are starting to repopulate the local village reef areas.
Lataro Island has become very involved with the local community. The mainland East Coast Villages are still living much as their ancestors did 500 years ago and are basically hunter/gatherers. Lataro Island sponsors its' own community program with full time staff working to assist the villages to meet the demands that modernisation is putting on them. This includes trying to get potable water to the villages, medical clinics operating and cottage industries established to bring income into the impoverished communities. Proceeds from guests are applied to that program.
The East Coast district in Santo has almost 100% unemployment, so the island makes sure that all employees are sourced from local villages. In the main they have never had a job or education and have had to learn everything from the start. They are lovely happy people who desire nothing more than to serve whatever needs you have, and to learn from everyone who comes. Their lack of 'polish' is a refreshing change from the artificiality of most top end resorts.