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 - 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
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.
Nothing can be compared to the new life that the discovery of another country provides for a thoughtful person. Although I am still the same I believe to have changed to the bones.
Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.
Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.
We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey
Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you- it should change you.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover
The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.
I travel not to cross countries off a list, but to ignite passionate affairs with destinations.
The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.
Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.
I am a passionate traveler, and from the time I was a child, travel formed me as much as my formal education.
Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience.
There comes a point in your life when you need to stop reading other people’s books and write your own.
A great way to learn about your country is to leave it.
Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going.
At its best, travel should challenge our preconceptions and most cherished views, cause us to rethink our assumptions, shake us a bit, make us broader minded and more understanding.
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
One’s destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things.
Too often. . .I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.
Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.
Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
If you’re… physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.
Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.
Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.
Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.
I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.
It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.
To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
How you live your life is up to you. You have to go out and grab the world by the horns. Rope it before it ties you down and decides for you.
A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you travelled.
The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.
A wise man travels to discover himself.
Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret.
…to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.
Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.
And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.
No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.
Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.
I finally felt myself lifted definitively away on the winds of adventure toward worlds I envisaged would be stranger than they were, into situations I imagined would be much more normal than they turned out to be.
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.
Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves.
Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.
A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
For the born traveller, travelling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding its victim’s time, money, energy and the sacrifice of comfort.
Make voyages! Attempt them… there’s nothing else.
NOT I – NOT ANYONE else, can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself.
Traveling outgrows its motives. It soon proves sufficient in itself. You think you are making a trip, but soon it is making you – or unmaking you.
Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted
You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown, you travel for the unknown, that reveals you with yourself.
If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.
What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.
The saddest journey in the world is the one that follows a precise itinerary. Then you’re not a traveler. You’re a f@$%ing tourist.
Not all those who wander are lost.
The journey not the arrival matters.
I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.
There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage.
Traveling. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.
I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.
Mandy's Eel Garden
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 - 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
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
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.
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.