Scuba Diving Roatan
Roatan features vibrant coral, multicolored tropical fish, sponges as big as refrigerators and pelagic species such as manta rays, sea turtles and whale sharks.
Roatán is one of the most popular places in Honduras for those looking for that perfect tropical vacation.
Roatan Island lies 30 miles off the north coast of Honduras and is 33 miles long and 4 miles wide. Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands. It is a long, narrow, hilly island, almost 60 km long (about 37 miles) and only 5 km wide (3 miles) at its widest spot. Its rolling hills and mountains, with a maximum altitude above sea level of approximately 900 ft.
The coast line of Roatan has outstanding white sand beaches, iron shore bluffs and mangrove forests surrounding the island. The combination is almost perfect and provides the best of all three worlds, tropical beaches, such as the one in West Bay is considered the best beach in Central America and one of the best in the world; The iron shore bluffs offer some of the best ocean front views on the island, and the mangrove swamps offer an insight to the tropical wetlands of the Caribbean and Central America.
There are many resorts to cater to your every desire, and plenty of island activities and attractions. Roatán is the perfect location to dip into water sports of all kinds: kayaking, jet skis, banana boat rides … or opt for the quieter activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and snuba. Even those wanting a bit of education thrown into the mix will not be disappointed, with The Institute of Marine Sciences, the Roatán Museum, a butterfly garden, the Carambola Gardens and Marine Reserve to visit.
SCUBA DIVING ROATAN
Lying on the edge of the Cayman Trench, divers can hover over sheer cliffs whose dark blue waters seemingly never end. With Roatan’s famous walls, divers can enjoy shallow dives on beautiful reefs starting in as little as 5 metres/15 feet with depths increasing to 60 metres/200 feet or more. Dives near the trench offer clear water and the opportunity to see pelagics such as whale sharks, dolphins, turtles and rays. Lush coral growths, including rare black coral, can be found in underwater canyons, crevices.
The island is completely surrounded by a large reef system, part of the Mesoamerican reef which boasts the largest marine biodiversity in the world and is part of the second longest barrier reef in the World, extending itself from the Bay Islands in Honduras on the south end to the Mexican islands of Contoy, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel to the North.
There are around 90 moored dive sites around the island which only make up about a third of the total number of dive sites. On the west of the island there is now a marine reserve with approximately 40 sites in 8 miles from the coast of Honduras.
Located at the southern terminus of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and skirting the Cayman Trench, it’s no wonder on a Roatan diving you’ll see dolphins and sharks, sea turtles and moray eels, caves and 1000-foot coral walls along with spectacular sea sponges.
With an average of 100 ft of visibility and an average temperature of over 80 degrees year round it’s hard to find anything to complain about! From turtles, to baracudas, eels, lobsters, king crabs, schools of brightly colored fish, huge groupers and the occasional wild dolphin all mixed in with all the tiny things, you won’t lack for something to see. All these things are carefully monitored by the Roatan Marine Park who ensures our reef stays healthy and beautiful.
HIGHLIGHT DIVE SITES
There are so many Roatan dive sites that we can’t mention them all here. There are an estimated 176 dive sites around the island with a dive site for every ability. There are roughly 82 easy sites to ‘get your feet wet’: 72 advanced sites for a little more excitement: 12 expert sites and 10 technical sites. Suffice to say, you can take a Roatan dive vacation and check out a different site everyday of your stay.
DIVE SEASON: You can dive the Bay Islands all year long, but the tropical, rainy season runs from October to January. The Bay Islands’ southern Caribbean location means that hurricanes sometimes pass by to the north. Hurricane season is June to the end of November. While the weather is consistently good year-round, during the rainy season (roughly October to January) visibility can dip below the usual 30-45 meters/100-150 feet.
VISIBILITY: Generally the viz runs 24-45 metres/80-150 feet.During the rainy season (roughly October to January) visibility can dip below the usual 30-45 meters/100-150 feet.
WATER TEMPERATURE: Nice warm water, varying Jan-Mar about 78F, July-Sept about 82F
CURRENTS: Mostly mild, but can vary by location
WEATHER: Warm tropical weather is the norm, with little change in temperature from winter to summer. Average annual temperature is 85° F/29.4° C. Humidity is usually high, especially from May to September.
SKILL LEVELS: Divers of all levels will find the Bay Islands exciting. Deep diving experience or advanced training is recommended at some sites due to depth and wreck training is recommended for divers interested in exploring the various wrecks.
FEATURED MARINE CREATURES: There are more than 300 identified fish species in Bay Island waters. Divers frequently see dolphin, grouper, rays, barracuda, angelfish, butterfly fish, grunts, parrotfish, yellow tail snapper, horse eye jack, octopus, lobsters, crabs, moray eels, hammerhead sharks and even whale sharks.
CLIMATE: Subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains. Hurricane season is June to the end of November. Air Temperature Jan-Mar 81F, April-Sept 87
LANGUAGE: Spanish, Amerindian dialects. Although Spanish is the official language, English is widely spoken on Roatan and Bay Islands (especially in the West End and West Bay communities).
ELECTRICITY: 110 volts 60 Hz, US-style three pin plugs are the norm.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: The Lempira (HNL). The US Dollar is accepted at some resorts and businesses and credit cards are widely accepted
GRATUITIES: Tipping is the norm. The standard practice is 10 percent of the total bill but this is optional if the bill includes a 10 percent service charge. Small tips for the housecleaning staff are customary.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: There are high speed internet cafes in communities and popular tourist areas. Wireless Internet connections for laptops are available for purchase. There are three cell phone providers on Roatan: Digicel, Claro and TIGO. Cell phones are inexpensive to purchase and 100 Lempira (HNL) will give you a significant amount of talk time for local calls.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: All foreign visitors must have a valid passport to enter the country and are typically granted a 90-day tourist card.
GETTING TO ROATAN : There are direct flights between the USA and Roatán, coming from Houston, Miami and Atlanta.
CUSTOMS: You may bring items that are for your personal use on your visit or for you to conduct your profession or trade without paying import duties assuming the items are appropriate for your trip. The items may not be for commercial use such as goods for resale. Scuba divers should not bring spear-guns. They are prohibited on the Bay Islands and will be held at the airport until you leave the country.
DEPARTURE TAX from ROATAN : The new international departure tax for foreigners is now US$33.19. All adults, children and infants pay this flat fee. It is a strange amount, but it is SET FIRM in USD (does NOT change monthly) but payable in local currency which fluctuates. It is payable ONLY in cash – either USD or Honduran Lempira, or a mixture of the two. They will NOT accept Credit Cards!
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