When you look at a bird’s-eye view of the island of Roatan, it is reminiscent of a trumpetfish gliding through the water. For a long, slender island home to nearly 100 dive sites, a trumpetfish won’t be the only life you see during a dive.
Roatan is the largest of the four Bay Islands in the Honduras. Known for many years by scuba divers seeking a new and exciting dive location, Roatan is home to many well-established dive shops and resorts. A handful of small towns are scattered around the island connected by a single paved road, each equipped to send off divers or to welcome them ashore.
Shallow reefs on both the north and south sides of the island provide plenty of opportuuty for snorkellers and divers alike. Just off the north shore, the reef starts in just 20 feet of water. The ocean floor soon drops down to 40 and 50 feet, then falls vertically far beyond the reach of recreational scuba divers. The ocean floor, covered in coral, provide valleys and swim-throughs to explore and delight all divers. On the south side of Roatan, the drop-offs begin in just 25 feet of water; so close to shore making these wall dives the best shore diving around.
Of all the dive sites in Roatan, there are three that are most well known and well-visited by divers. The best-known dive site is Mary’s Place. Mary’s Place is known for its coral swim-throughs and deep fissures in the ocean floor. A dive at Mary’s Place starts at a permanent mooring buoy on the reef shelf, along a vertical crevice that drops from 40 feet. Many smaller crevices are home to rope and tube sponges, sea fans and black coral. Frequent visitors of the area include grouper and giant crabs. A sand shelf drops from 140 to 200 feet, offering a spectacular underwater view.
The West End Wall is a favorite amongst divers. A gently sloping precipice offers a stunning view of the deep blue abyss. Pillar coral, vase sponges, tube sponges, and barrel sponges add to the view. Turtles and grouper are commonly seen, as are the odd cowrie shells if your eyes are peeled and ready. Divers who opt for deeper waters may find themselves among schools of pelagics and Eagle Rays.
If wrecks are your thing, El Aguila is one of Roatan’s best wrecks – 210-foot cargo boat sitting upright in 100 feet of water on a sandy bottom full of hard coral and garden eels. The ship sits in three pieces where divers can descend into large open compartments and investigate many nooks and crannies now home to a number of different fish.