Planning a travel adventure and have diving in Honduras on your list? That’s awesome! But if you are having trouble figuring out which of Honduras’ Bay Islands offers the best diving experience, we’ve got your answers right here.
Grab a map and you can find Honduras nestled between Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Because of its fantastic access to the sea, weather and marine life, diving enthusiasts and holiday seekers have been trooping to Honduras in large numbers every year to sample the country’s best diving spots.
Without a doubt, you can find the best diving in Honduras in its Bay Islands. Said Bay Islands consist of Utila, Guanaja and Roatan which are all part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Among these three islands, Roatan reigns supreme when it comes to diving in Honduras.
Roatan is roughly 30 miles off Honduras’ northern coast and is a Caribbean secret that not many know of. This is a good thing because it means the island doesn’t get too crowded.
Roatan’s reputation for best diving in Honduras, comes from a variety of factors, chief of which are its beauty and serenity. There’s also the vast array of unique marine life that dwell in the island’s waters which can be experienced first-hand by divers exploring its shallow reefs. Said marine life includes little beauties such as parrot fish and seahorses as well as intimidating creatures such as whale sharks.
There are also sand flats, shipwrecks and coral gardens to explore under the waters of Roatan. You just need to know where to look and how to get there.
Regardless of if you are a professional diver with years of experience or a novice exploring a new hobby, Roatan will satisfy. The waters aren’t too tricky and visibility is quite good – you can enjoy underwater views as far as 80-150 feet, except of course during heavy rains.
Another great thing about diving in Honduras, especially Roatan, is the fine tropical weather and sea temperature which makes for pleasurable sea diving all year round. The seas stay warm at a temperature of 84°F in summer and rarely drop to as low as 78°F.
Why Roatan is a Favorite for Diving in Honduras
Diving in Honduras is popular among adventurous divers for a variety of reasons. One obvious reason is the beauty which is even more emphasized when you head for its Bay Islands.
A newbie looking to experience underwater wildlife and glistening beaches at their finest may have trouble picking between Honduras’ Bay Islands of Utila, Roatan and Guanaja. But experienced divers will tell you that Roatan is the destination for a spectacular adventure.
There is no arguing that Roatan is the undisputed champion when it comes to diving in Honduras and the entire Carribean. For crying out loud, it has the world’s second largest coral reef!
The whole of the island’s shore is lined by this reef which means you can snorkel close to the shore and still have a great time. Further proof of Roatan’s awesomeness and its place in the hearts of divers can be seen in the many awards it has won, including several prizes at the 2018 Scuba Diving magazine Readers Choice Awards.
There’s also the Bonacca Ridge which is an underwater mountain range and the reason for Roatan’s teeming aquatic life. Any diver would be enthralled and excited by the colorful corals and vibrant life forms that dwell beneath Roatan’s waters.
Another reason why those who go diving in Honduras are attracted to Roatan are its calm waters which guarantee underwater visibility at up to a 100 feet and relatively tame currents.
Warm waters, a clear view of the reef, colorful marine life, and currents that aren’t trying to kill you. What more can you ask for from an underwater adventure destination?
But there is more!
Roatan isn’t a one-trick pony. What it has to offer underwater might be its main attraction, but it also offers loads of attractions for landlubbers. If you want to take a break from scuba diving and snorkeling, there are loads of leisure and adventure activities to enjoy. Some of which include world-class resorts, gorgeous hikes, and tasty food tours.
Roatan’s Best Spots for Diving in Honduras
By now, it should be clear to you that the best diving in Honduras is hidden away in Roatan. Let’s now take a look at some of the most unique diving spots this Bay Island has to offer.
Going diving in Honduras and skipping Mary’s Place is a deadly sin. The experience of swimming this dive spot’s 70-90 feet canyons can be a little freaky but that’s part of the charm. Thanks to the high visibility of Roatan’s waters, you can enjoy the full view of the entire experience up to a 100 feet.
The walls in these crevasses are sheer cliffs and are covered with sponges and corals. If you are brave enough to go deeper, you will find rarely seen black coral and maybe even get to touch it.
El Aguila Wreck
Another fantastic dive that rewards you with a 210-foot cargo ship that sank in 1997. It’s a 100 feet underwater and has three separated sections for you to explore. Be sure to be polite and say “hi” to the marine life that’s made the sunken ship their home.
This intriguing maze of tunnels and canyons gets its name from the several dolphin skeletons that litter it. You enter the den at 15 feet underwater but exit at 40 feet on the other side of the reef. Fortunately, there’s enough natural light sneaking into the tunnels to light your way.
If you are looking for Nemo, the Turtle Crossing is a great place to start. Hundreds of fish species come through this gorgeous reef every day. And if you are lucky, you’ll get to witness the performing octopus.
This is another sunk cargo ship. It’s 300 feet in length and was deliberately sunk in 2002. Swimming through it is an interesting experience because of the angle which the ship lays. Not much marine life in there yet, but the population is growing and its new inhabitants have already begun redecorating.
Cara a Cara
If you want to live a little dangerous, then you need to try Cara a Cara which directly translates to “face to face”. Why the name? Because you get to come face to face with Caribbean grey reef sharks. Don’t be too scared though. These particular sharks don’t bite, much.
There are also a wide variety of colorful corals and fishes to enjoy including yellow fin tunas and moray eels.
If sharks are too scary for you, try out this dive spot and you might be lucky enough to swim with dolphins instead. You’ll also find seahorses, lobsters, and of course, more coral.
Other Awesome Reasons to Visit Roatan
Asides from checking diving in Honduras off your bucket list, there’s a lot more that Roatan has to offer. For instance, you can enjoy Roatan from up high. I promise this unique view of the island’s jungle-covered hilltops is just as beautiful as the view on the ground and underwater. You can enjoy this adrenaline-filled experience at any of Roatan’s zip-line tour operators.
There’s also the Roatan nightlife to look forward to with lots of bars on the ocean serving affordable drinks. If it’s still early, head over to the West End where you’ll find a vibrant blend of restaurants, souvenir stores, and more to experience native cuisine, music and culture.
What to Watch For Visiting Roatan
For those asking, “Does Roatan have the best diving out of the Bay Islands?” Clearly the answer is looking more and more like a resounding, YES!! But if you plan on visiting this island paradise, there are some important things you need to be aware of.
Honduras as a whole as a pretty high crime rate, but good news is crime is less prevalent in Roatan. N onetheless, be careful especially if visiting the remote parts of Roatan. Areas that are generally more populated by tourists and are properly lit are typically less prone to crime. Examples of such areas include the West End, West Bay and Sandy Bay.
Also, because the island is large, you’ll need to hire transportation if you intend to go exploring. Insist on exploring on foot and you might not be so happy with your decision afterwards.
There’s something remarkable for everyone who chooses Roatan for diving in Honduras. Gorgeous picturesque beaches, easily accessible corals, gorgeous sunsets, warm weather and waters, and affordable fun. What more can you ask for?
The island is also littered with diving resorts and restaurants if your goal is a luxury holiday. And if you are on a budget, Roatan still has you covered with affordable hostels and apartments.
Others might tell you diving in Honduras is cheaper in Utila, but I promise the price difference isn’t worth it, especially considering that Roatan has far better beaches and diving spots. Also, Roatan is more developed than the other Bay Islands which means quality amenities are more easily accessible.
Roatan also beats Utila in terms of size, which means it has far more to see and explore. You’d only pick Utila if you are being cheap and prefer rowdy to serene.
So does Roatan have the best diving out of the Bay Islands?
If you want to truly appreciate visiting a diving paradise and soak up beauty and splendor, Roatan is where you belong.