Roatan is often called the jewel of the Caribbean because of its many amazing features - its lush, hilly landscape, azure waters, the friendly people and diverse and rich culture. With direct international flights from Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Cayman and San Salvador, it’s also never been easier to get to paradise! Roatan’s claim to fame is, of course, its amazing reefs and marine life, so going scuba diving should be on the top of your "to do" list when you visit. Even if you've traveled to other popular dive destinations without going diving, here are 5 great reasons we think you should go scuba diving on Roatan!
Reason 1. The dive sites are super close
Since the reef starts only a few hundred feet from land, the entire island is basically one giant dive site. From West End alone, we have over 30 dive sites within a 10 minute boat ride, which means less time on the boat and more time in the water! Most dive centers run single tank trips because of the proximity of the dive sites to the dive centers, so you have the choice of one, two or three dives in the day and can spend your surface intervals comfortably on the beach with a cold lemonade (or beer, but only after diving!) in hand.
Reason 2. So nice, but you don't have to do them twice
The benefit of having so many dive sites in such close proximity means that unless you request to repeat a site, you don't have to. Obviously, if you're doing 50 dives out of West End, then yes, you will end up repeating some sites, but it's very easy to create variety in your diving experience. The West Bay area is filled with sand chutes, coral plateaus and mini-walls, while you get cool canyons and deep walls as you move towards Sandy Bay, so there are loads of cool topographies and points of interest to explore.
Reason 3. Diving a healthy reef in a protected marine park
The Roatan Marine Park was started as a grassroots movement 10 years ago to add additional protection to the marine reserve already set in place by the Honduran government. The last ten years have been a long battle for the Roatan Marine Park, but the fruits of their labor are definitely showing. In the Healthy Reefs 2015 Report Card for the Mesoamerican Reef, Roatan ranked highest in coral health and fish populations. Many other famous dive destinations, like the Great Barrier Reef, were not so lucky.
The continued work that the Roatan Marine Park does in conservation is what helps preserve our beautiful reef for many more years to come, so make sure to support them by purchasing a $3 daily ticket or $10 yearly bracelet.
Reason 4. Calm, clear conditions with mild currents
Throughout most of the year, we enjoy relatively calm, flat water on the surface, with underwater visibility averaging around 100ft/30m. While currents can vary from day to day, we usually have mild currents that make scuba diving a much more relaxing and enjoyable experience.
When the weather does get rough on the north side of the island, many dive shops in Roatan have the flexibility to dive on the south side of the island, where you can once again find calm, flat conditions for diving. This type of flexibility is practically unheard of in most popular dive destinations. For us, we have a sister dive center that we partner with so that we can still offer our guests the same quality diving experience from both sides of the island.
Reason 5. Diverse marine life
While our colorful marine life population ties in strongly with Reason 3, we couldn't help but shine a special light on Roatan's underwater inhabitants. Whether you enjoy some of the bigger creatures or enjoy spotting the smaller, more hidden invertebrates we have it all! By having a healthy reef, it in turn brings in a variety of fish, crustaceans, bottom dwellers, shrimps and pelagic fish to these warm Caribbean waters.
So there you have it, 5 great reasons to go scuba diving on Roatan! If you're not a certified diver, there are plenty of ways you can still interact with our marine world, whether it be with snorkeling or with the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program. Our life on land ain't too shabby, either, so start planning your trip to Roatan today for the holiday of a lifetime!