Can you imagine anything more idyllic than taking a scuba trip to a Caribbean island surrounded by crystal blue waters and tropical sea life? If you’re looking for an incredible scuba experience, this guide to Roatán diving has everything you need.

Discovering Roatán

Roatán is a small island located just off the coast of Honduras. The largest of the Bay Islands, it is celebrated as one of Time Magazine‘s World’s Greatest Places to explore. It offers some of the most unique and diverse diving experiences and has become one of the leading Caribbean destinations for divers.

Most of the dive centers on the island are concentrated along the west coast and provide an excellent variety of dive sites. However, dive sites can be found around the entire island. Beginner divers can access shallow reef dives, perfect for learning or practicing skills. Meanwhile, more experienced divers have plenty of deep walls and wrecks to explore.

roatan honduras

Marine Life in Roatan

The Mesoamerican Reef system, which is the second-largest barrier reef in the world, surrounds Roatán. It provides a thriving ecosystem for an incredible variety of marine species. Roatán’s underwater world is a treasure trove for divers. You’ll find sea turtles and eagle rays, not to mention macro critters like seahorses and nudibranchs. The reefs are home to countless colorful fish, such as angelfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, and groupers.

The Bay Islands are also home to several species of sharks. You can spot nurse sharks, reef sharks, hammerhead sharks and the occasional whale shark cruising by. Whale sharks are more commonly seen on the nearby island of Utila, where they can be encountered all year round, with peak whale-shark season between March and May and August and October. Still, they also occasionally swim by the north shore of Roatán, along with schools of dolphins.

The Best Roatán Dive Sites

You can’t go wrong when choosing a dive site in Roatán, but here are some of the top spots.

  • Hole in the Wall. As the name suggests, this popular dive site consists of a series of holes and swim-throughs carved into the rock. You typically start the dive by descending into a cavern that ends at around 130 feet (39 meters) depth, suitable only for Deep Divers. Still, there are shallower swim-throughs and canyons that all levels of divers can explore.
  • Cara a Cara. A must-visit for shark enthusiasts, as you can get up close and personal with Caribbean reef sharks here. This site has a sandy bottom at 70 feet (21 meters) and offers a safe environment to observe these majestic creatures.
  • Mary’s Place. This iconic dive site features a deep crevice formed by volcanic activity. Its vertical walls are covered in colorful corals and sponges. Descending into the crack, you’ll discover abundant marine life, including parrotfish, angelfish, and seahorses.
  • El Aguila Wreck. If you’re into wreck diving, don’t miss this 250ft (76m) long cargo ship. Sunk in 1997 to create an artificial reef, Hurricane Mitch broke it into three pieces in 1998. Sitting at 110 feet (33 meters), the wreck is home to many species, including groupers, barracudas, and moray eels.

A scuba diver hovers near a rich coral head

Practical Tips for Roatán Diving

  • Getting there: Roatán is easy to access for travelers from the US and Canada. Regular direct flights depart from major cities, like Houston, Miami, and Atlanta, as well as Toronto, in the winter. 
  • Accommodation: Roatán has a wide variety of hotels and resorts catering to divers of all levels and budgets. Primarily located on the island’s north coast and west side, you can find everything from all-inclusive resorts to budget beach cabins.
  • Best time to visit: You can dive year-round in Roatán. However, the best time to visit is during the dry season, from March to September. During these months, you can expect excellent visibility, calmer seas, and also clear skies.
  • Water temperature: The water temperature varies from 78-84°F (25-29°C), so a 3mm wetsuit is usually sufficient for most divers.

live unfiltered contest open water diver learn to dive

With its beautiful reefs, diverse marine life, and excellent diving conditions, Roatán is a must-visit destination for divers of all levels.

So pack your bags, grab your dive gear, and book your Roatán diving trip to discover the best of this beautiful island and its underwater paradise!

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