Roatan is surrounded by pristine reef and suitable for all courses, fun dives, night dives and wreck dives. There are hundreds of exciting critters to see in the area such as nudibranchs, seahorses, shrimps and crabs, loads of different reef fish, eels and maybe an octopus or two. If you’re very lucky then you might spot a shark, turtle, stingray, dolphin or even a whale! Whalesharks are very common in the area but the seasons are changing so check with your dive centre if it’s a possibility. Even hammerheads and manta rays have been spotted off the walls here!
You can find a dive centre easily in your resort or organise your dives by your resort or in the West End/West Bay area. If you’re staying in the west of Roatan, it’s more than likely that you’ll only dive the West End Marine Park, but there are 38 beautiful sites here so it’ll more than keep you busy. If you have a certain dive site in mind that you want to visit, ask your dive centre about the areas they dive before you book.
West End sites include Spooky Channel, a place with lots of channels and swim throughs and cool light displays. Bear’s Den for a great cavern dive, Peter’s Place and Mike’s place for big groupers and cool photography opportunities. West End Wall for a drift, wall dive Texas has all the big, cool stuff; and Hole in the Wall site should be on the top of your list. For wreck diving El Aguila Wreck (the eagle) is great for advanced divers.
South side best dives include Mary’s Place with its huge crack that goes to 95 feet deep and is teaming with sea life. You might happen to see a seahorse here. For a great coral valley try Valley of the Kings, and Chimneys if you like narrow openings and swim throughs (only advanced divers can go through the chimneys, beginners can dive along the reef); French Cay Bank for its coral gardens, and for an awesome wreck dive that you can penetrate if you have your wreck certification (or it’s a great place to do your wreck cert) dive the Wreck of Prince Albert. A DC-3 plane fuselage lies close by.
Night diving is brilliant on these sites so be sure to do at least one. Snorkelling is usually available on most of the dive boats or there are separate snorkelling trips. Have a great trip and be sure to let us know your favourite Roatan diving and snorkelling spots.
(By Kelly Luckman)
Roatan is the biggest of the Bay Islands at 50km long and 2-4km wide, and also the most touristy due to the constant stream of cruise ships docking at the main town of Coxen Hole. But get away from this port and the island is a treasure trove of wonderful beaches, jungle, reefs, small villages and friendly people.
Make your way to the port of La Ceiba and you can catch a ferry to the island daily at 9.30am or 4.30pm for $21. Roatan has an international airport with flights from Houston or Atlanta on the weekends only. You can also fly from La Ceiba to Roatan for about $50. If you’re on Utila then there are daily trips by catamaran that leave from behind Bush’s supermarket on the main road for about $55.
Most people will head to the picturesque towns of West End or West Bay but you can also find secluded hotels in isolated bays, perfect for a romantic holiday or honeymoon. Prices of accommodation range from $10 a night for a hostel to $400 a night for a gorgeous, beach front resort. Expect to pay more for food and diving on Roatan compared to the other Bay Islands.
There are loads of activities to enjoy on Roatan, whatever your interests may be. Take an island, canopy or submarine tour, hike through the jungle, kayak, horse ride, fish, visit the botanical gardens or butterfly and iguana farms and of course there is diving and snorkelling. If you just want to relax then the white sandy beaches and spa and massage service will be just the thing for you.