With it’s beautiful reefs and vast array of marine wildlife, it’s no surprise that Roatan has some of the best diving spots in the Caribbean. One of the most popular sea creatures to sneak a peak at during your Roatan dive vacation are sea turtles. Seeing sea turtles majestically swim through open water is a special treat for divers. These marine reptiles are a staple to their environment, and it’s easy to see why so many people are fascinated with their gorgeous shells and the way they glide through water as if they’re flying. The loggerhead, hawksbill, and green turtles are all native to the Caribbean island of Roatan and can be seen on land and at sea. Schedule a dive in Roatan and take your chances to see these amazing sea turtles in their natural, wild habitat.
Different Sea Turtle Species in Roatan
When diving in Roatan, the three sea turtle species that you may come across are the hawksbill, loggerhead, and green sea turtles. While loggerheads are native to this area, you’re more likely to see a hawksbill or green turtle. It’s not always guaranteed that you’ll be able to spot a sea turtle on your dive, but if you do happen to cross one, get to know the difference between the three below.
Hawksbill sea turtles are the smaller of the three species of sea turtles found in Roatan. This turtle has powerful toothless jaws and a hawk-like beak which is how they got their name. You can spot these turtles by looking at their shells which are usually golden to dark brown and have varying streaks of red, orange, and black. The two and a half feet long, 150 pound sea turtle is neither shy nor skittish and you may even get lucky enough to have a hawksbill swim over to you out of curiosity.
These sea turtles have large heads and muscular necks which is how they obtained the name “loggerhead.” Their large heads support powerful jaws that allow them to eat hard shelled prey. Loggerhead shells are slightly heart shaped, reddish brown in color, and the underneath is yellow. You can tell the adult females and males apart by looking at their tails. Adult male loggerheads have longer tails than their female counterparts. The loggerhead sea turtle grows to be about 3 feet in shell length and weigh anywhere from 200 to 300 pounds.
The green sea turtle is one of the biggest of its kind. They typically grow to be about 4 feet and weigh in around 400 pounds. An adult green sea turtle is hard to miss due to its vast size and you can also identify them by looking for their green colored cartilage and fat which is also where their name derives from. These sea turtles like to stay closer to shore which makes them a common sight for divers.
What to do if you spot a sea turtle while diving
Whether you’re a novice diver, or a veteran diver, it’s important to know your limits with these sea creatures. If you do come into contact with a sea turtle remember that while sea turtles are relatively calm marine animals, they can get scared and skittish when they feel threatened. The best thing to do if you encounter a sea turtle while on your Roatan dive vacation is to swim alongside them at the same pace that they are. Make sure they can see you so that they know you aren’t trying to pursue them, just swimming with them. After a few moments, you may feel comfortable enough to get a little closer, but be aware of the turtle’s reactions. If the turtle speeds up or starts veering in a different direction, let it go. The best thing you can do when swimming with sea turtles is to respect their space and pay attention to their reactions.
And if you happen to come across a sea turtle on land that appears to be resting, let it rest and give it some space.
Affordable Sea Turtle Roatan Diving at Reef House Lodge
Located on the East side of Roatan, Reef House is one of the premier dive operators in the area. What once began as a fishing lodge is now a resort that offers exclusive and affordable diving trips to some of the more remote diving sites found in Roatan.
If you’re looking to plan a Roatan dive vacation where you can indulge in the beauty of coral reefs and the marine life that inhabit them, then connect with Reef House! Our exclusive dive sites offer a rare experience to see seahorses, lionfish, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a sea turtle.