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How to Dive Honduras: Editor’s Picks
If you’re looking for a destination packed with adventure, history, superior diving and a vibrant natural heritage, then set your sights on Honduras and the Bay Islands. On mainland Honduras, you’ll find everything from the famous Maya temples of Copan and jungles filled with howler monkeys to soft beaches with perfectly placed palm trees. Just off the coast, divers have been flocking to the Bay Islands for more than 40 years to discover and explore their dramatic wrecks and pristine reefs, which are home to all the marine species found in the Caribbean, including whale sharks. Between all the adventure of mainland Honduras and the blue-water thrills of Bay Islands diving, you’ll enjoy a laid-back tropical vibe where lazing on a beachside hammock toasting the sunset is the activity that caps off another perfect day.
We can still remember our first dive in Roatan. We spent the entire dive exploring an area of reef about the size of a small house. There were sea turtles and spotted eagle rays, and it seemed that in every single crack and crevice marine life stared back out. It wasn’t until later that we discovered that every single critter that lives in the Caribbean has found a home in this undersea kingdom. We’ve been back several times over the years, and we’re perfectly happy to dive the same Bay Islands dive sites again and again because there is so much to discover. If you must focus, put Mary’s Place and Spooky Channel at the top of your list, and then go big with the shark dive and dolphin dive. No matter where the dive instructors take you, we can guarantee you will not be disappointed. Click here to explore our full guide to Honduras dive sites.
Save Time For Roatan’s Topside
There was a time in the not-so-distant past that if you wanted to drop entirely off the grid, you headed straight to Roatan. While Roatan still retains that funky, laid-back vibe today, you’ll find plenty to do during your topside excursions. Test your mettle first with what we think is the Caribbean’s best treetop canopy zip-line tour, which propels you from the top of the mountain all the way to the beach below. Once your feet are safely in the sand, take a romantic ride on horseback or explore the coast by sea kayak. If you’re interested in the native flora and fauna, don’t miss the Carambola Botanical Gardens or the monkey refuge at Gumbalimba Park. At the end of the day, take a stroll down the dirt streets of funky West End Town, find a place to sit and just enjoy the laid-back lifestyle. If you still haven’t shed your stress from home, head straight to the Sante Wellness Spa, where we guarantee you’ll leave feeling as relaxed as a local. Click here to explore our guide of what to do in Honduras.
Dive Utila and Guanaja
Roatan’s sister islands exist in a completely different state of mind. On Utila, youth, water and whale sharks rule the day. Utilatown is a true backpacker’s haven, and at night eclectic bars such as Treetanic, La Pirata and Café Mariposa ripple with conversations in several different languages. During the day, everybody heads to sea in hopes of spending some quality time with the biggest fish in the ocean, the whale shark. To get even farther afield head over to Guanaja, where almost the entire population lives on a small island in the lagoon called Guanaca Town, which is also known as the Venice of the Caribbean. Offshore, you’ll find world-class wrecks and pristine, virtually unexplored reefs. At the end of the day, make your way to sleepy Stewart’s Key, where you can grab a cold beer and listen to some tall, tall tales. Click here to explore our full guide to Utila.
Don’t Skip Mainland Honduras
Most divers head straight for the Bay Islands, but we think this is a big mistake because if you are coming to this part of the world you need to spend some time on mainland Honduras. After all, no trip is complete without a visit to Copan, which has some of the most impressive Maya ruins in the entire world. After this essential excursion, your list of must-dos gets pretty long. You’ll find national park after national park and several wildlife refuges, which boast some of the best bird watching and hiking in the Americas. Look for the national bird, the wildly colored scarlet macaw, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll find footprints in the cloud forest of the elusive jaguar. One forest-dweller you won’t miss is the howler monkey, because we guarantee you’ll not forget its bone-chilling cries from the treetops. There are also top-notch coffee plantations, river rafting and Garifuna communities in Sambo Creek, but this is just the beginning of what you’ll discover in this unique and varied country.
Visit our interactive Honduras Dive and Travel guide for more recommendations, travel tips, hot spots, and resort and dive operator information, as well as beautiful photos of this dive destination of a lifetime.