ROATAN — WHERE TO DIVE
Roatan reigns as one of the best diving islands in the Caribbean, and as a result there is no lack of dive shops and diving tour operators. It's also a good place for divers of all levels offering shallow dives, walls, wrecks, and areas with drop-offs, caverns and swim-throughs for the more adventurous. If you are traveling with non-divers, many dive operators offer snorkeling adventures in the same locations as the dives so everyone can enjoy the clear waters and fantastic visibility. Visit roatanonline.com for the basics on Roatan's diving environment.
There are many dive shops and operators in Roatan, most of which offer instruction, rentals, tours and certified dive masters to accompany you on your dive, if desired. Here is a partial list of some of the dive shops
- Native Sons
- Reef Gliders
- Roatan Pearl
- Raruwa Dive Center, Tranquilseas
- West End Divers
- Pura Vida
- Las Rocas
- Subway Watersports
- Coconut Tree
TOP DIVES TO TRY
Dolphin Den This site offers a cave-like swim through that takes you from one side of the reef to the other side. It takes a winding path through a cavern-like underwater maze, yet it's simple enough to be a comfortable dive for all levels at only 15 to 40 feet. Lots of sea life like eels and silversides. The dive site gets its name from a tragic incident where many dolphins became disoriented in a cave and perished.
The Sponges This site offers a wall that starts at 15 feet and drops off from 60 to 130 feet, with views of amazing corals, sponges, and elk horn corals at the safety stop. Often visited by turtles, eagle rays and nurse sharks.
The Labyrinth Dotted with towering rock formations and canyons, this dive has something for all levels of divers. Starting at about 15 feet and sloping down to 60 feet, divers will find interesting swim-throughs, lots of corals and schooling fish.
Odyssey Wreck This is known as Roatan's largest underwater wreck, and sits in 110 feet of water. The center section has collapsed, but the bow is upright and offers interesting views of the rest of the ship, the surrounding reef wall and a nice flat sand patch next to the wreck.
Prince Albert Wreck A 140-foot island freighter that sunk in 1987, the Prince Albert remains fairly intact and its large hull is home to many species of fish life. It offers fairly easy penetration without lights and sits in about 85 feet of water on a sandy bottom. There is also a DC-3 airplane wreck nearby
Mary's Place Probably one of the most dived sites in Roatan, diving at Mary's Place is now regulated and only one dive per diver at this site can be done each day. Created by prehistoric volcanic activity, a huge fissure was created in the reef, allowing the steep walls to make a coral and sponge-filled labyrinth at more than 100 feet deep. Here you'll see rare black corals and delicate sea-fans.
Pat's Place The mooring for this dive is in a sandy patch at about 15 feet, but most of this dive is at deeper depths from 50 to 100 feet with canyons and fissures through the steep walls. There is a narrow swim-through and amazing fan corals and schools of reef fish.
Shark Dive If you want to be assured you'll see sharks in the wild, there is one place in Roatan to find them on a regular basis. The Shark Dive is led by a team of shark divers who feed them while the rest of the dive group remains on the sandy floor at about 70 feet looking up at the action above.
Spooky Channel The dive isn't as spooky as it is eerie. A better dive for the experienced diver, the channel is a 10-story deep underwater crevasse where you enter an underwater grotto at 60 feet. Here, natural light slowly recedes and you find the walls getting closer and closer. After you explore the main chamber at about 95 feet, you'll find pillar-filled swim-throughs that will lead you out to the safety stop.
Morat Wall (Barbareta Wall) Slightly out of the way from most dive operations, this drift dive follows a three-mile long offshore reef that's full of sponges, elkhorn, staghorn, brain and star corals not seen in such numbers on other dives. Along the wall, there is a good chance to see nurse sharks, eagle rays, barracudas and tarpon.