Ultimate Guide to Diving Roatan Island

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Roatan is a hidden gem in the Caribbean, located just off the coast of Honduras. This picturesque island boasts some of the most pristine dive sites in the region, with colorful coral gardens, thrilling wall dives, and a plethora of marine species to discover. Whether you’re a novice diver or an experienced pro, Roatan offers something for everyone, from shallow beginner-friendly sites to challenging deep-water excursions.

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Here are some quick facts about diving in Roatan Island:

  1. Location: Roatan Island is situated off the northern coast of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea.
  2. Coral Reefs: Roatan is surrounded by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef system in the world, making it a prime destination for diving.
  3. Dive Sites: Roatan offers over 100 dive sites, including walls, reefs, wrecks, and underwater pinnacles, catering to divers of all levels of experience.
  4. Marine Life: The waters around Roatan are home to a diverse array of marine life, including colorful coral formations, reef fish, sharks, rays, turtles, and even whale sharks during certain seasons.
  5. Visibility: Visibility in Roatan’s waters is generally excellent, often exceeding 100 feet (30 meters), providing clear views of the underwater scenery.
  6. Water Temperature: The water temperature in Roatan ranges from approximately 77°F to 84°F (25°C to 29°C) throughout the year, making it suitable for diving in lightweight wetsuits or rash guards.
  7. Dive Resorts: Roatan is home to numerous dive resorts and dive operators offering a range of services, including equipment rental, guided dives, certification courses, and dive packages.
  8. Accessibility: Roatan is easily accessible via direct flights from major cities in the United States, Canada, and Central America to Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport (RTB).
  9. Protected Areas: Several marine protected areas and marine parks exist around Roatan, aimed at conserving its rich marine biodiversity and ensuring sustainable diving practices.
  10. Dive Certification: Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, Roatan offers opportunities for scuba diving certification courses, including open water, advanced, and specialty courses.

Best Dive Sites on the Island of Roatan


Roatan Island in Honduras is blessed with numerous incredible dive sites, catering to divers of all experience levels. Here are some of the top dive sites on Roatan Island:

1. Mary’s Place Dive Site, Roatan Island

Mary’s Place is one of the most famous dive sites on Roatan Island. This spectacular wall dive features towering coral formations, swim-throughs, and an abundance of marine life. Divers can expect to encounter schools of colorful fish, eagle rays, and even the occasional reef shark.

Mary's Place Dive Site, Roatan Island

2. The El Aguila Wreck, Roatan

The El Aguila Wreck is a must-see for wreck diving enthusiasts. This sunken cargo ship lies at a depth of 30 meters and has become home to a variety of marine species. Divers can explore the intact wheelhouse, cargo holds, and decks of the ship while marveling at the coral growth that has taken over the wreck.

The El Aguila Wreck Roatan Island

3. Dolphin’s Den Diving, Roatan Island

Dolphin’s Den is a deep dive site known for its dramatic drop-offs and swim-throughs. Divers can expect to encounter large pelagics such as barracudas, jacks, and even the occasional whale shark. The site is also home to a resident pod of dolphins, making it a truly unforgettable dive experience.

Dolphin's Den Diving, Roatan Island

4. Spooky Channel Diving, Roatan Island

Spooky Channel is a unique dive site that offers an exciting drift dive experience. Divers enter a narrow channel between two coral walls and are carried along by strong currents. The channel is teeming with marine life, including colorful sponges, sea fans, and reef fish.

 Spooky Channel Diving, Roatan Island

5. Sandy Bay Wall Diving Roatan Island

Sandy Bay Wall is a pristine wall dive with stunning coral formations and abundant marine life. Divers can expect to see turtles, moray eels, and schools of tropical fish against a backdrop of colorful corals. The wall drops to depths of over 40 meters, making it a great site for experienced divers.

Sandy Bay Wall Diving Roatan  Island

6. Odyssey Wreck, Roatan Island

The Odyssey Wreck is a former Greek cargo ship that was deliberately sunk to create an artificial reef. The wreck is now home to a wide variety of marine species, including seahorses, garden eels, and frogfish. Divers can explore the cargo holds and decks of the wreck while admiring the coral growth that covers its surfaces.

Odyssey Wreck, Roatan Island

7. Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is a shallow dive site with easy access from shore. The site is known for its sandy bottom, seagrass beds, and colorful coral formations. Divers can expect to see stingrays, octopuses, and schools of tropical fish in the clear, shallow waters of Half Moon Bay.

Half Moon Bay Roatan Island

8. Calvin’s Crack

Calvin’s Crack is a unique dive site featuring a narrow fissure in the reef that divers can swim through. The crack is home to a variety of marine species, including lobsters, crabs, and colorful nudibranchs. Divers can explore the nooks and crannies of the crack while admiring the diverse marine life that inhabits it.

half moon bay diving roatan

9. Blue Channel

Blue Channel is a drift dive site known for its strong currents and abundant marine life. Divers can expect to see colorful corals, sponges, and reef fish as they are carried along by the current. The site is also known for its resident nurse sharks, which can often be seen resting on the sandy bottom.

half moon bay diving roatan

10. Coco View Wall

Coco View Wall is a deep wall dive that offers stunning underwater scenery. Divers can expect to see large schools of fish, eagle rays, and even the occasional hammerhead shark. The wall drops to depths of over 60 meters, making it a challenging but rewarding dive for experienced divers.

Coco View Wall Roatan

Best Time for Diving on Roatan Island

The best time for diving on Roatan Island can vary depending on several factors, including weather patterns, water temperature, and marine life activity. Here’s a breakdown of diving conditions on Roatan by season:

  1. Dry Season (January to April):
    • This period generally offers the most stable weather conditions with minimal rainfall.
    • Water visibility tends to be excellent, often exceeding 100 feet (30 meters).
    • Water temperatures range from around 77°F to 81°F (25°C to 27°C), making it comfortable for diving in a wetsuit or rash guard.
    • Marine life activity is generally consistent, with opportunities to see a variety of reef fish, sharks, rays, and other marine species.
    • January to March is also the peak season for whale shark sightings, particularly around the Utila and Roatan area.
  2. Shoulder Seasons (May to June, November to December):
    • These months mark the transition between the dry and rainy seasons.
    • While weather conditions can still be favorable for diving, there may be occasional rain showers and increased humidity.
    • Water temperatures remain warm and comfortable for diving.
    • Marine life activity remains abundant, with opportunities to see reef fish, turtles, and other marine species.
  3. Rainy Season (July to October):
    • This period experiences higher rainfall and occasional tropical storms or hurricanes.
    • While rain showers are common, they typically occur in short bursts and may not significantly impact diving conditions.
    • Water temperatures remain warm, but visibility may be reduced due to runoff from heavy rainfall.
    • Marine life activity remains active, with opportunities to see larger pelagic species and macro life.
    • July to September is also the peak season for whale shark sightings, particularly around the Utila and Roatan area.

Here are some of the popular dive resorts on Roatan Island:

  1. Anthony’s Key Resort: Located on the island’s northwest coast, Anthony’s Key Resort offers all-inclusive dive packages and access to some of Roatan’s best dive sites. The resort has its own dive operation with experienced instructors, a fleet of dive boats, and a dedicated dive training pool.
  2. Turquoise Bay Dive & Beach Resort: Situated on Roatan’s northeast coast, Turquoise Bay Dive & Beach Resort offers beachfront accommodations and a full-service dive operation. The resort features spacious rooms, a beachfront restaurant, and easy access to some of the island’s top dive sites.
  3. CoCo View Resort: CoCo View Resort is a popular choice for divers seeking an all-inclusive dive vacation. Located on the island’s south shore, the resort offers shore diving right from its private dock, as well as boat dives to nearby sites. CoCo View is known for its laid-back atmosphere, excellent dive staff, and abundant marine life.
  4. Infinity Bay Spa & Beach Resort: Infinity Bay is a luxurious beachfront resort located on West Bay Beach, one of Roatan’s most beautiful stretches of coastline. While not exclusively a dive resort, Infinity Bay offers dive packages and easy access to dive operators on-site. The resort features upscale accommodations, a beachfront pool, and a full-service spa.
  5. Fantasy Island Beach Resort: Situated on its private island just off Roatan’s south shore, Fantasy Island Beach Resort offers a secluded and picturesque setting for divers. The resort has its own dive shop, offering guided dives and certification courses, as well as amenities such as restaurants, bars, and water sports activities.
  6. Mayan Princess Beach & Dive Resort: Mayan Princess is located on West Bay Beach and offers dive packages in partnership with local dive operators. The resort features spacious suites, beachfront dining options, and access to one of Roatan’s most beautiful beaches.
  7. Barefoot Cay Resort: Barefoot Cay is a boutique resort located on a private cay just off Roatan’s south shore. The resort offers dive packages and has its own dive shop, offering guided dives and courses. Barefoot Cay also features upscale accommodations, a restaurant, and a spa.

Here’s a comprehensive packing list for a diving trip to Roatan Island:

Essential Gear:

  1. Mask, snorkel, and fins
  2. Wetsuit appropriate for the water temperature
  3. BCD (buoyancy control device)
  4. Regulator set (first stage, second stage, alternate air source)
  5. Dive computer or dive watch
  6. Depth gauge and/or dive timer
  7. Compass
  8. Surface signaling device (whistle, inflatable safety sausage)
  9. Weight belt or integrated weight system
  10. Dive boots or booties
  11. Dive gloves (if needed for protection)
  12. Dive light or torch (for night dives or low visibility)
  13. Gear bag or dive equipment travel case

Personal Items: 14. Swimwear

  1. Rash guard or dive skin for sun protection
  2. Sunscreen (reef-safe)
  3. Sunglasses with UV protection
  4. Hat or cap for sun protection
  5. Towel (quick-dry travel towel recommended)
  6. Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap)
  7. Insect repellent
  8. Motion sickness medication (if prone to seasickness)
  9. Prescription medications (with copies of prescriptions)

Safety and Health: 24. Personal dive insurance information

  1. First aid kit (including bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers)
  2. Seasickness wristbands or medication
  3. Hydration system or reusable water bottle
  4. Snacks for energy during surface intervals
  5. Emergency contact information (local dive operator, emergency services)
  6. Dive certification card
  7. Dive logbook (if you keep one)

Electronics: 32. Underwater camera or action camera (with waterproof housing)

  1. Spare batteries and memory cards
  2. Dive computer or dive watch charger
  3. Travel adapter/converter (if traveling from a different country)
  4. Cell phone and charger

Documentation: 37. Passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond travel dates)

  1. Visa (if required)
  2. Travel itinerary and reservations
  3. Travel insurance information
  4. Emergency contact information (family, friends, dive operator)

Optional Items: 42. Snorkeling gear (if not provided by dive operator)

  1. Underwater slate or dive slate (for communication)
  2. Dive knife or cutting tool (check local regulations)
  3. Underwater writing slate or waterproof notebook (for jotting down observations)
  4. Dry bag or waterproof pouch for valuables
  5. Travel guide or maps of Roatan Island
  6. Books or reading materials for leisure time
  7. Multi-tool or dive tool (for equipment adjustments)
  8. Reusable shopping bag or eco-friendly tote

Trip Planning Resources

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Hi!I’m Kim!

A passionate adventurer, homesteader, home cook and food lover who loves nothing more than sharing my favorite trips, skills , and recipes with the world.

 

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