Top Scuba Dive Sites In Roatan, Honduras And The Bay Islands

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We have come up with the Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan, Honduras after spending the last 5 years visiting this wonderful Island.  We have done all of our professional training in Roatan, and have logged hundreds of dives on the MesoAmerican Reef System on which Roatan sits.  The coral and sealife are spectacular and we have been lucky to have dove so much in such a beautiful place.  Roatan, Honduras is in the Bay Islands in the Caribbean which include Utila, Guanaja and Roatan and a few smaller Cays.  Most dive sites are within swimming distance from shore which provides an easy dive profile for any certification level.  In this article we will discuss our favorite dive sites on the Island and provide you with a guide to why Roatan has some of the best diving in Caribbean and the world.

Top Scuba Dive Sites In Roatan

The dive sites in Roatan vary and this is one of the most incredible things about Roatan.  There are no particular order of popularity with these sites and we have chosen them based on their unique style and general intermediate diving profile.  The beauty of the corals and abundance of sea life is in part due to the Roatan Marine Park's conservation of the island.

 

 

Blue Channel

Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan

Blue Channel - Beginner to Advanced

Blue Channel is arguably the most popular dive site in Roatan.  An old boat channel that is no longer in use, is an easy dive for any level of diver and offers interesting topography for every level.  There are two buoys for Blue Channel, one in the shallows at approximately 15 feet and the deep mooring line at approximately 40 feet.  From the deep mooring you can swim a short distance to the wall where you can enter a swim through heading back to the channel.  Once you enter the channel mouth there are tons of sand with small coral heads which house an amazing amount of sea life and offers excellent macro photography opportunities at around 30-40 feet.  

As you enter the channel you will notice a change in topography as larger coral mounds and steep walls on each side create a beautiful underwater landscape.  To the right of the mouth of the channel there is a entrance to a series of swim throughs for intermediate to advanced divers where schools of fish like to gain refuge.  There are 2 resident large green moray eels that live on either side of the channel as well.  The protection of the channel houses incredible schools of fish, and diverse marine life.  As you begin to leave the coral mounds and walls of the channel, you enter the turtle grass section of the shallows.  At approximately 20-25 feet, this location has another habitat with other marine life including sharp tailed eels and conch.  At the shallow mooring line and after the turtle grass, you will be in a large sandy patch bowl where we have seen squid, rays and other sandy bottom marine life.  Blue Channel is amazing in it's diversity of landscape and ease of diving for any level makes it one of the top scuba dive sites in Roatan.  

 

 

Hole In The Wall

Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan

Hole In The Wall and Swiss Cheese - Intermediate to Advanced

Just north of Half-Moon Bay a short boat ride, these are technically two dive sites, however are usually done at the same time due to their dive profile.  The hole in the wall is a deep mooring that begins with a descent to 110 feet where the "Hole" is located.  Below you is the blue abyss of one of the steepest and deepest wall dives in Roatan.  As you enter the hole (which is actually a sand chute) you begin to rise to the shallows through a large channel with overhangs and multiple swim throughs on each side.  It shallows up to around 60-70 feet where you can weave your way through sandy bottom channels to Swiss Cheese or (Hole In the Wall Shallow).  This site is one of the most unique places on the Island.  We have spent 70-80 minutes diving this site alone.  

The shallows are between 10-25 feet and is a labyrinth of swim throughs, small caves and overhangs that house nudibranchs, octopus, schools of fish, rays, moray eels, and the occasional nurse shark.  The coral isn't the most vibrant here and most of the walls in the swim throughs are rock/ old coral.  There are some impressive corals on the plateau of the channels and swim throughs, however they are at approximately 5-15 feet and great for snorkeling.  This site is spectacular!  You can maximize your bottom time at this site and simply explore like no other top scuba dive site in Roatan. I prefer to split these two sites up because coming up from 110 feet won't give you much time in the shallows, which is my favorite area of this site. 

 

 

Travel Inspiration

There comes a point in your life when you need to stop reading other people’s books and write your own.
Albert Einstein

Mandy's Eel Garden

Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan

Mandy's Eel Garden -Beginner to Advanced 

Mandy's Eel Garden is just off the coast and the mini-wall before getting to Mandy's is only at approximately 15 feet.  The mini-wall has lots of crevices where life loves to hide and you can see every type of soft coral Roatan has to offer.  As you make your way away from the wall, you see a huge sandy patch that starts at about 60 feet that gently slopes into the blue.  It's a beautiful color palette with the white and blue that invites you to swim deeper.  As you begin to descend down, you realize there are thousands of garden eels that retreat to their wholes as you approach.  From above, you can see the giant eel garden which is quite a site.  As you return back to the wall and head north there is a large underwater peninsula with amazing coral formations and sea life that slopes down to the depths.  The wall here is one of the most spectacular on Roatan with it's variation of corals that are well protected from northern and southern currents due to it's direct west facing location.  It's not the steepest, nor the biggest, but one of our favorites in beauty and sea life.  Mandy's Eel Garden is just plain fun to see and explore making the list as one of the top scuba dive sites in Roatan. 

 

 

Mary's Place

Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan

Mary's Place - Intermediate to Advanced

Mary's place is arguably the most famous of Roatan's dive sites having been featured in many magazines and websites.  There is a good reason for this... It's spectacular!  An old peninsula that was cracked into 3 main pieces by a powerful earthquake, there are 3 huge crevices that start at the wall at 100 feet to as shallow as 50-60.  The crevices are generally between 3 and 10 feet in width and are loaded with soft corals and black coral.  Once you have explored the crevices the plateau above them are also some of the best soft and hard corals on the Island.  You can spend a long time at the 30-50 foot depths which get great light.  A photographer's dream, Mary's Place is a special dive site on the island albeit one of the busiest.  The outside wall goes out deep, really deep, so the outer wall is also a great place to see the bigger animals.  It's easy to see why Mary's Place is considered one of the top scuba dive sites in Roatan. 

 

 

El Aguila Shipwreck

Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan

El Aguila Wreck - Intermediate to Advanced. 

The Aguila (The Eagle) was a tanker that ran aground near Utila until 1997.  The wreck was then bought by a local resort and sunk off their reef and has become one of the most popular dive sites in Roatan. It's a 230 foot cargo tanker that was ripped into 3 sections when Hurricane Mitch came through in 1998.  The coral has taken over on the ship and offer a wonderful wreck to explore. Also a great penetration wreck, El Aguila sits on the bottom of a sandy patch off the coral wall at 110 feet.  What makes the wreck so popular is the sea life around the wreck. Home to large groupers and a resident green moray named Frank, it's also home to garden eels, large schools of fish, and the occasional dolphin.  

Manta and Eagle rays also have been seen here in between the shipwreck and the wall.  After exploring the ship, you head back to the wall where there are a series of channels that house some of the most spectacular coral in Rotan.  A beautiful site for the intermediate to advanced diver, El Aguila is an amazing site within a few minutes from West End and a great place to get that amazing underwater photograph.  El Aguila is also one of the best night wreck dives on the island due to it's proximity to the wall and ease of navigation and one of the top scuba dive sites in Roatan!

 

 

Half Moon Bay Wall

Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan

Half-Moon Bay Wall - Beginner to Advanced

A stretch of the wall that encompasses three dive sites; Dixies, Half-Moon Bay, and Divemaster's Choice.  The wall is a home to Half-Moon Bay, which is a fish nursery with its large turtle grass fields in the bay.  There are tons of fish on this wall and it slopes from 20 feet down to 150 providing a multi-level dive site suitable for every skill level.  Lighthouse is a favorite for night dives and beginner dives with a sandy bottom patch at the mooring at 20-25 feet and amazing coral formations surrounding it.  The wall then drops to the north to Half-Moon Bay which has huge sponges, fans and soft corals.  There are swim throughs and small canyons that cut in and out of the reef that provide spectacular clarity and interesting landscapes.  Half-Moon is simply an easy dive experience with little to no current and amazing clarity due to its proximity to the bay where runoff is minimal.   Divemaster's Choice gets slightly more difficult with it's many canyons and swim throughs that provide a more intermediate diver experience.  There is something for everyone on this wall and it provides some of the best coral formations on the island and huge schools of fish.  

 

Conclusion:

There are many Top Scuba Dive Sites in Roatan!  Ask 10 divers and they will give you 10 different favorites on the Island.  The fact is... Roatan has some of the best diving in the world.  The warm waters and minimal currents provide a diving paradise for every level of diver.  The steep walls of the south side to the protected sandy bottoms of the west side guarantee you will find what you are looking for on Roatan.  We certainly did and it's why we have spent so much of our time diving the top scuba dive sites in Roatan.   

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