At least once a year, Road Warrior embarks on a journey to see the deep waters in a new part of the world. For this expedition? Roatan – Diving (and more!)!
Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands in Honduras and is nicknamed “The Big Island” (the other main islands of Honduras are Utila and Guanaja). Honduras is an independent country located in Central America between Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, with the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Caribbean Sea to the north. Honduras has a population of about 8 million people and a history of being conquested by the Spaniards. In fact, Honduras is sometimes referred to as “Spanish Honduras” to distinguish itself from the island that was once called “British Honduras” and more commonly known today as Belize.
Beautiful beaches of Roatan
Before the rain falls…Roatan, Honduras
Beyond the gorgeous turquoise water and the soft peach sand, the main draw for many visitors to Roatan is the scuba diving. We spent most of our time in a town called the West End, a place that is a popular draw for scuba divers. There are more than just a handful of fully certified PADI dive shops in the West End and it is known as one of the best bases for scuba divers in the Bay Islands. By taking a stroll down the main street in the West End, you’ll find a mix of accommodations, restaurants and many, many dive shops!
View of the West End Main Street – right on the water!
We chose to dive with the Coconut Tree Divers because, after some intense research on line (because there were many dive shops from which to choose!), we found that this dive shop had some of the best online reviews. Owned by a lovely British couple who have been on the island for quite some time, the Coconut Tree Dive Shop is one of the oldest dive operators in Roatan and they have a reputation for being popular (meaning: book your dives early! They fill up quickly!). Coconut Tree Divers had a fun atmosphere, very professional dive masters and staff and the dive shop was constantly packed with happy divers. We got extremely lucky and were there for the Coconut Tree Dive Shop’s birthday, which consisted of an amazing party on the island.
Coconut Tree Divers Dive Shop
Coconut Tree Divers Boat (one of a few boats for divers)
We dived for four days with Coconut Tree Divers and our experience diving in Honduras was that the diving was average for Caribbean diving. We have dived throughout the world (some of our favorite places to dive are Palau in Micronesia, Dahab/The Red Sea, Sipadan in Borneo and the Great Barrier in Australia) and we have constantly been underwhelmed by the diving in the Caribbean Sea. (If you have dived in the Caribbean and have had a different experience, please let us know by using the comment section below!) Part of the problem appears to be the fact that the reefs we have visited have not been treated very well. Many sites have soft coral damage and there haven’t been a lot of fish compared to dives in other places we’ve dived. We wonder if it is because the ecosystems have been damaged by careless divers (and other human interference) in these dive sites or perhaps it is climate change that has altered the animal life in these waters.
Tanks set up, ready for a dive!
If you’re not planning on scuba diving in Roatan, there are many other activities in which to partake. Deep sea fishing is popular here for anglers who enjoy the thrill of catching marlin or sailfish. We didn’t have time to do this, but we saw many fishing boats going out for the day.
Whale sharks are also known to frequent the waters here, although Utila is better known its whale shark excursions than Roatan. In fact, Utila is now often referred to as the “whale shark capital of the Caribbean”! Whale sharks are the largest living fish in the ocean and the whale sharks around Honduras are known to range from 5m to 10m in length! Whale shark watchers can snorkel alongside these magnificent creatures. The best time to catch a glimpse of these amazing fish is from February to April.
Ziplining is another adventure activity that is popular here. In the rainforest that makes up a lot of the island, there are various ziplining companies that have set up their operations in the rainforest’s canopy. The adrenaline of flying over the canopy using gravity that propels you across a line strung high up in the rainforest can be quite exhilarating! It’s also a cool break from the hot sun and a good way to see some beautiful flora and fauna…including the curious monkeys that call the rainforest their home.
Ziplining in Roatan
Another beautiful evening in Roatan!
We had a great trip to Roatan and would definitely recommend it as a destination in Honduras for its beautiful beaches and fun activities! Until next time, Happy Travels from the Road Warrior!
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