Discover Roatan: An Underwater Paradise
Blooming coral reefs and a vibrant marine ecosystem lie just off the coasts of Honduras, an oft-overlooked Latin American gem. Roatan and its two sister islands, Utila and Guanaja, are blanketed in steamy jungles and surrounded by calm, turquoise waters.
The Bay Islands of Honduras are affordable diving escapes for amateurs and professionals alike. Stay in a resort on the main island of Roatan, explore the largely untouched forests of Guanaja, or backpack your way through the hostels of Utila.
These exotic hideaways offer divers breathtaking underwater caverns and grottoes to discover all teeming with sharks, eels, crabs, and tropical fish exclusive to one of the largest barrier reefs in the entire world.
The Sun is Always Shining on the Bay:When to Travel for Perfect Roatan Diving Weather?
This tropical paradise enjoys pleasant sunshine all year long, and it’s perfectly situated out of reach of most hurricanes and tropical storms.
If you come during tourist season, which runs from November to April, to avoid the frigid temperatures and icy streets back home, you’ll vie for space with other snowbirds. You’ll also have to contend with the occasional torrential downpour. Though temperatures range from 74-82°F (23-27°C) during the wet season, there are heavy rainstorms every few days that will keep you huddled inside.
The rain offers pleasant relief from the heat, but the best time to come for clear, blue skies and never-ending sunshine is early spring or late summer. The rains have subsided by March, but the heat isn’t yet overwhelming. Many tourists also come in September or October at the peak of the dry season before holiday vacationers start to come by the droves.
How to Find the Best Roatan Diving Sites:
The west side of Roatan has over 40 diving sites because it’s home to the second largest barrier reef in the entire world. Teeming with marine wildlife, the waters off the coast of this island paradise attract divers from all walks of life.
1. Wall-Diving- A short swim from the south shore of the island near the CoCo View Resort lies the CoCo View Wall. Peer down over a drop-off into the wild blue yonder and stop to watch crabs and seahorses congregate in the hard and soft coral. Plunge down 82 ft. to the sand below where you’ll find eels and sand divers if you’re lucky.
2. Underwater Canyons & Swim-Throughs- On the north side of the island, you’ll find Dolphin’s Den, a winding underwater cavern between 15′ and 40′ below the surface. As the legend goes, a pod of dolphins swam in one day but became disoriented and perished because they couldn’t find their way out. You can ask your guide to show you the dolphin skull lying deep inside one of the tunnels. Keep your eye out for slipper lobsters, nurse sharks, and snapping shrimp.
3. Specialty Dives- At about 110 ft. below the
surface, you’ll find El Aguila, a 230 ft. shipthat crashed on its way from Puerto Cortesto Haiti .The cargo ship was carrying a load of concrete when it was sabotaged and found partially submerged off the coast of Utila. Since this dive is so deep, you should really have an advanced open water certification if you’re going to attempt it.
When you get to the bottom, you’ll find large green morays, black and goliath groupers, and even some barracudas. On your way up, scale the coral wall to make the most of your wreck dive. El Aguila is the ultimate Roatan diving experience not only because you’ll see the shipwreck at the bottom, but also because of the large marine life you’ll glimpse along the way.
The Roatan Diving Resorts You Need to See to Believe:
These Caribbean islands are replete with luxury resorts and four-star accommodations for the most indulgent of vacationers. From beachfront properties to island villas and personal condos, there is more than a little room for extravagance. These resorts are perfect for adventurous honeymooners, experienced divers, and curious newbies.
Book a diving package with the resort and have a guide pick you up in the morning. These all-inclusive Roatan diving resorts will take care of everything for you. Whether that means suggesting diving spots, providing scuba gear, or recommending guides, they’ll do the research and planning on your behalf. All you have to do is enjoy.
Staying Cool as a Cucumber:
Roatan Diving & Dining
Full of fresh, tropical fruit plucked off of local trees and rich coconut milk from palm-studded beaches, Bay Island cuisine is a rich blend of flavors. The typical meal consists of grilled meat and a fresh salad with Honduran specialties thrown in.
You can’t miss Roatan delicacies–fried plantains, blue crab, and even iguana if you’re willing to pay for it. If you stop in for local street fare, you may also find pastelitos de carne, deep-fried pastries filled with meat; tres leches cake, a cake soaked in three kinds of cream; and Guaro, a sugar-cane liquor.
Running on Island Time:
On Roatan, lunch lasts long into the afternoon and schedules are either flexible or likely to change. Most shop-fronts close for a late siesta, and the dress-code is almost always casual. You have to learn to go with the flow and lower your expectations.
Most of the island natives are devout protestants of either English or Spanish descent. Though the island was populated by English colonists in the 19th century, Spanish-speaking mainlanders have gradually migrated over and so most inhabitants are bilingual. However, you’ll also find an eclectic mix of Europeans, Africans, and Indians who have made their way to the Bay Islands of Honduras.
Are you ready to go diving in Roatan?
Come explore a world where stress seems to melt away in the afternoon heat and the sparkling blue waters carry secrets only waiting to be uncovered. Diving in Roatan is an experience you will surely never forget.