The Bay Islands of Honduras (Las Islas de la Bahia) are best known for their clear Caribbean waters and pristine coral reef. For decades, buccaneers and adventurers have been lured to their tropical shores. The draw for Scuba divers is equally as inviting. There are three main islands, the largest being Roatan, and about 60 small cays. This area has been a mecca for decades for hearty Scuba divers looking for a treasure trove of dive experiences. Roatan willingly unveils its bounty.
Buried beneath the waves, there is a Scuba diver’s endless treasure of marine life and coral reef. Roatan’s reef system is part of the second largest barrier reef system in the world (second, only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia). Whether you are searching for the largest fish in the Ocean (Whale Shark) or one of its smallest residents (the Seahorse), the Honduras Bay Islands are the “X” that marks the spot.
Roatan, in the Western Caribbean, features scuba diving at its best. Thousand-foot walls festooned with deep water gorgonians, coral gardens, barrel sponges, pillar coral, 60-foot deep ledges crowded with blackcap basslets, mini-walls clustered with bluebell tunicates, pinnacles overgrown with azure vase sponges, and shy indigo hamlets peering from niches are all aspects of scuba diving in Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras.
Roatan’s southern shores have some of the most well-known dive sites on the island, including world famous Mary’s Place and Shark Dive (Cara a Cara). With its dramatic walls and abundance of marine life, diving on the South side is an adventure all in its own. Many visitors to Roatan never venture from the South side reefs and see everything Roatan has to offer. One of the nicest features of South side diving is the proximity of Seahorses. There are approximately 30 dive sites on the southern shores, each offering different attractions to divers.
The West End
The West End of the Island boasts some of the nicest beaches and beautiful condominium developments. And, why not? The tranquility is obvious and the waters are the Caribbean blue that all vacationers yearn for. West End Diving offers a variety of fish life, bountiful coral, and sponge communities, and typical sightings include turtles, eagle rays, and moray eels. There are approximately 30 dive sites at the West End, and it is home to an incredible population of Green Turtles.
The North Side
A short ride away from the beautiful North shore beaches, you will find spur/canyon configurations, coral gardens, ledges, overhangs, caverns, and vertical fissures. Miles of reef are beneath you while Scuba diving the North side of Roatan. North side sites are uncrowded and many areas have yet to be explored by visitors. Large groupers, Southern sting rays, and moray eels are a common sight. On any given dive around the North side, one might see a hawksbill turtle or spotted eagle ray gracefully gliding by. There are approximately 40 dive sites on the North side, uncrowded and waiting for the adventurous diver.
Several large wrecks submerged near the resort await exploration. With water temperatures averaging 80 degrees or warmer, gentle currents and visibility ranging from 50 to 100 feet, Roatan is a favorite among visitors who prefer their diving colorful, thrilling, and unswerving.
Your Treasure Chest is Waiting
Roatan’s reefs are so extensive that it would take months of daily scuba diving to see each known segment. With over 100 dive sites on the Island, a diver has to visit all areas to truly understand its beauty and uniqueness. Roatan’s water temperature ranges from 78 degrees – 84 degrees, with visibility consistent between 60-100ft, sometimes more! Calm, clear, and warm waters await you in Roatan.
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All Photos Taken by Lauren Luecke, Photo Pro at the Academy of Scuba (c) 2013 Academy of Scuba Inc. Do not reuse without permission.