Roatán is located in the western Caribbean Sea and is the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras, and the center of the tourist industry. If you are in search of the best diving Caribbean locations possible, look no further. The scuba diving around Roatan is justifiably world famous due to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef that surrounds most of the Bay Islands, including Roatan. The warm ocean temperatures, over 80F on average, and great visibility, 80 feet on average, combined with the stunning coral reefs make for a wonderful diving experience. The reef system around Roatan is a protected area and anchoring on the reefs is prohibited. For this reason, the Roatan Marine Park has placed over 170 moorings all around the island to be used by dive boats. These dive sites combined with drift diving and the offshore banks, other islands, and cays of the Bay Islands such as Cordelia Bank, Guanaja, Utila, and Cayos Cochinos National Park provides a variety of dive sites that take years to explore.
Most divers come to the wide variety of resorts and dive operations clustered around the West End, Sandy Bay and West Bay areas on Roatan. While you can find attractive and accessible dive sites in this very popular area, we are all about the most remote and less visited reefs of Roatán. You will find them on the Southern and Eastern Shore of the Island. Below are just a few of the best scuba diving Caribbean sites you will find on this part of the island.
Situated on the southern shore, close to the French Harbor area, Mary’s place is one of Roatán’s most renowned dive sites. Ancient volcano activity created some impressive vertical fissures on a plateau that reach depths of 120 feet (35 meters) and more. The mooring is situated at 30 feet near the point of this triangular plateau that descends slowly to 60 ft. We explore this complex system of cracks and deep crevices, ranging from a couple of feet wide to almost 10 feet. We swim through bushy and feather black coral and gorgonians inside the crevices and past colonies of deepwater sea fans on the outside wall. The abundant system of coral and sponges is home for an amazing diversity of fishes and underwater creatures, keep an eye out for the common octopus hunting in the coral heads, one of the few species of octopus that is often found out of his den in the daytime, not just at night. This dive site is recommended for advanced divers as good control of your buoyancy is essential to enjoy the numerous swim-throughs and canyons of the area and protect the delicate reef structures.
Located on the southern shore of Roatán, where the diving activity has much less traffic than on the western end, Menagerie start as a classic shallow dive site. Moored in about 20 feet, you will make your way towards the wall in a maximum of 30 feet of water. The wall drops vertically off to 80 feet and then a sandy slope slowly descends beyond recreational diving limits. Large heads of hard coral can be found all along the edge of the reef top along with a large diversity of soft sponges, fans and reef fish. There are many large undercuts and nooks and crannies that hide an amazing variety of life, including free swimming green moray eels, clinging crabs, spotted drum fish, lobsters and a multitude of fish life. Bring a light! Even though the wall and reef are splendid, you will want to take your eyes away from it and rise up into the shallow mid-water, where huge schools of tuna, spadefish, jacks, snappers, and groupers are hovering to take advantage of the upwelling current to feed. This is easily the fishiest dive you will find on Roatan! Hover motionless with them and you’ll soon be surrounded by the schools, with the curious and friendly Spade fish coming to say “Hi!” to you; rubbing themselves against your fins and outstretched arms!
Found farther east along the southern shore right next to the entrance to the harbour at Jonesville Point is Calvin’s Crack. Like Mary’s Place, this dive site was created by volcanic activity, it too has a number of fissures and canyons, including the largest one that gives the site its name. The upper reef is a plateau that is separated by a low wall, with the upper portion being closer to shore and having an average depth of 20 feet. The lower section has an average depth of 35 feet and it is right next to the low wall that you enter Calvin’s Crack. The plateau drops off on 2 sides with vertical walls that go down to over 100 feet. The entrance is a small vertical hole just big enough for a diver to enter and it looks like a dead end from above, however, once inside it opens up to an expansive chamber that slopes gradually down from 20 feet deep until it exits the wall at 90 feet. The chamber is full of black corals, hydroids, fans and intricate rock formations and the exit out onto the wall is dramatic. Heading around to the right after exiting the wall you will find massive deep water fans and black whip corals along with an abundance of reef fish. Finish the dive up on the top of the plateau, this is a macro diver’s paradise with too much life to list, including seahorses, stonefish, yellow line arrow crabs, banded coral shrimp and on & on.
Interested in planning a unique liveaboard vacation to experience some of the best scuba diving Caribbean sites that this part of the world has to offer? We would love to have you join us!