Imagine going back years and being able to enjoy healthy reefs with beautiful corals and wonderful colors. A place where damaged reefs are rare and it seems that you are in an underwater jungle. This is how it feels to dive in Roatán Honduras, and it is no coincidence that its reef is part of the second largest in the world. This diver’s paradise has been very well protected by the marine park that stretches 17 miles off the coast from the island and protects about 10,400 miles of reef. In addition, the island has been protected from hurricanes, which has prevented the destruction of coral by the force of nature.
Roatan is a diver’s paradise and offers wall dives, shipwrecks, shallow corals, macro marine life (seahorses are a must) and some giants of the ocean, like the incredible whale shark. It is very versatile for divers since the dive sites are just a few minutes from the coast and there are plenty to choose from.
The island’s high season is from December to March and June to August, but the temperature of the water stays warm throughout the year at approximately 80 F (26 C) and visibility is typically greater than 50ft (15m).
Let’s explore dive sites:
One of the most popular dive sites, El Aguila is a shipwreck of 250ft (76m) long that is 110ft (33m) deep and only a few minutes from the coast. The ship is divided into three parts, but the structure remains in good condition which allows for photography lovers to score awesome photos. Often you have eagle rays passing by and some groupers have made this wreck as a meeting point. To go to this dive point you need to have your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Certification.
Reefs in West End
This is where most dive centers and dive sites are located. It’s well known for drift dives, especially at the tip of the island where there are opposite currents that attract larger fish and you can see barracudas, jacks and groupers hunting. In addition, these points have giant barrel sponges and coral pillars the size of divers. Several corals have been there for more than 2,000 years.
Cara a Cara (face to face) Diving with sharks
If you like sharks and want to have a close encounter, you cannot miss Cara a Cara. Generally you can count on between 15 to 20 reef sharks at this site.
Hole in the Wall
This is a site that is special for those who like swim throughs and caverns. There is one that is for PADI Advanced Open Water Divers that goes down a tube that drops down to 130ft (39m) and exits out in the blue. This is a unique experience that is truly amazing. In the shallows you can see the corals forming canyons, which makes it very interesting for divers.
The Odyssey Wreck
The Odyssey is a freighter that was sunk in 2002 and sits at 110ft (33m). It’s a very fun shipwreck to dive as it has several areas to penetrate, stairs and tables where divers should not miss the opportunity for a great photo. In this wreck it is possible to find various grouper and snapper that take refuge here.
Coco View Wall
This wall is located in the south of Roatán and the best part about it is that you can dive it from the shore. This wall goes down to 82ft (25m) and is colonized by soft and hard corals. In addition, its topography is very interesting since it does not go down directly, but it creates platforms that divers can explore.
What makes the island of Roatan so special, besides that diving of course, is it is a very fun, easy accessible place to visit. The island has many bars, restaurants and the locals are very friendly. In the West End, almost every afternoon, divers gather in local establishments to enjoy a drink while sharing the adventures of the day.