Roatan Dive Trips
For your next diving vacation, choose Roatan
There are great diving destinations throughout the Caribbean. Dive resorts are plentiful, with options that appeal to every taste. With so many options, why choose Roatan?
Let’s start with a list:
- Roatan water temperatures usually exceed 80 degrees
- Roatan is a good place to get scuba certified
- Calm seas and great visibility
- Healthy, unspoiled reefs
- Low cost dive resort options
- Affordable, convenient flights using major airlines
- Relaxed, tropical atmosphere
It’s easy to see what Roatan is one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world. It’s easy to get to and more affordable than most other locations popular with divers.
Planning your Roatan dive trip
Before you plan your next scuba vacation, think about your goals. What do you hope to experience? When you’re not diving, are there other activities you like to do like fishing, zip-lining, eco-tours or sightseeing? What about night life or dining opportunities?
It is also important to consider your travel companions. Will you be traveling with kids or a non-diving spouse? Will any of you have special dietary needs or restrictions?
Finally, consider your lifestyle preferences. Roatan tends to be more affordable than many diving hot spots around the world, but not all Roatan diving resorts are inexpensive. Many offer luxury accommodations, fine dining and nightlife. Others provide a clean place to stay. (Some, perhaps, not so clean…) The important thing is to know what you want prior to booking.
What kind of diver are you?
Take a few moments to evaluate your personal diving skills and preferences. How much experience do you have? What is your comfort level?
Often, newer divers, or those who dive infrequently prefer a guide, or a dive master that keeps close, sets limits and does much of the planning. Many advanced divers prefer the opposite. Maybe you are an underwater photographer or technical diver. Your goal should be to choose a dive resort that works best for you as well as your fellow travelers.
Best time to go to Roatan
Every resort on the island books Roatan dive trips year-round. Wind and swell rarely present a problem, since the opposite side of the island will nearly always be calm. In reality, both sides of the island are usually calm—it is the Caribbean after all.
That said, Roatan has a rainy season, which lasts from the middle of October though February. November though January are usually the wettest months. During this time, squalls are common, but they usually pass quickly, and there’s often sunshine in between.
On the other hand, the dry months are often quite hot, so be sure your resort will have air conditioning in your room.
The diving in Roatan is always great as long as there is not a major storm like a hurricane. Runoff can limit visibility at some dive sites during rainstorms, but for the most part there is no “best time to dive” in Roatan. Rain or shine, diving in Roatan is incredible.
Getting to Roatan
Several airlines offer direct flight to Roatan form major airport in the US as well as other countries. United, Delta and American Airlines offer flights most days, but you’ll need to check with your preferred airline to check availability and pricing. Some flights are only offered weekly.
Regardless of which airline, you’ll fly into Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Manuel Gálvez (RTB) in Coxen Hole. From there, you’ll get to your particular Roatan resort by car or van. If you’ll be staying at the Reef House, your last hop will be by ferry, which sometimes means our own dive boat, the Henry Morgan.
A lot of travelers introduction to Roatan is by cruise. West Roatan is also a popular stop for cruise ships, although diving opportunities may be limited compared to staying at a Roatan resort that caters to diving.
As mentioned, diving in Roatan is spectacular. There are at least 100 named dive sites scattered around the island. At least 40 of those are on permanent moorings maintained as part of the Roatan Marine Park, created to protect Roatan’s pristine marine ecosystem.
Most of Roatan is surrounded by a fringing reef system extending roughly 30-40 feet deep. Here, the majority of dive sites are along walls. Roatan is a dream for wall divers. Steep and deep is fairly standard for dive sites here. It’s also warm and clear, so good buoyancy control is essential.
That’s not to suggest Roatan is for advanced divers only. Beginners often dive along the edge of the drop-off, which provides an excellent visual reference as well as an amazing diving experience.
The West end of the island is the most popular for diving. Mainly this is because that’s where the majority of resorts are located. However, the farther East you travel, the more remote and pristine the reefs are. The Reef House is the Easternmost, as well as oldest dive resort on Roatan.
Roatan Marine life
Marine life here is lush and dense. Our shallow reefs are made up of huge colonies of hard corals—about 65 species to be exact. There are numerous soft corals, fans and countless invertebrates as well as several hundred species of reef fish.
The reef system as a whole is part of the Miso-American Barrier Reef, one of two true barrier reefs in the Caribbean. Aquatic diversity in the Caribbean is greater and richer than anywhere else in the Atlantic Ocean.
On any given dive, you are likely to encounter turtles, trumpetfish, groupers, octopi, squid, spotted drum, huge free-swimming green moray eels, parrotfish, triggerfish, grunts, several species of tangs, wrasses, schooling chromis, pufferfish and porcupine fish to name a few. Larger animals include eagle rays, great barracudas andnurse sharks.
Smaller species include lettuce slugs, arrow crabs, lobsters, flamingo tongue and other cowries. There are also seahorses here, which are a favorite sight among divers.
We are often asked about whale sharks. Whale sharks do occasionally pass through the area, mostly around Utila, but sightings are rare.
Reef sharks can be seen, with some resorts offering feedings and shark dives to provide unclose encounters. Most of these alter the shark’s natural behavior to a degree, but are nonetheless popular.
Some Roatan resorts offer similar experiences with dolphins. Truly wild dolphin sightings are not common but do take place from time to time.
If it isn’t obvious by now, diving conditions in Roatan are close to perfect. The water here is clear, with visibility often exceeding 100’. Temperatures range from about 78-85 degrees, give or take a little depending on the dive site and weather.
There is always access to well-protected dive sites, so absent a major tropical storm or hurricane, we dive 365 days a year.
Favorite dive sites
There are hundreds of dive sites in Roatan. Popular favorites include Calvin’s Crack, Mary’s Place, Church Wall, Donkey Wall and White House. There are truly too many to list. For a description of our most popular dive sites, click here.
Roatan travel information
For the most part, traveling to Roatan is easy. You don’t need a visa, but you will need a valid passport with at least six month remaining prior expiration. After landing, you will be directed through customs where you’ll be asked a few standard questions about your stay. After that, you’ll collect your bags and send them through an x-ray machine. From there, you’ll meet your shuttle and proceed to your resort.
Currency: Honduran Lempira (HNL). The United States dollar seems to be widely used as well.
Electricity: Generally 120V. Outlets are US type.
Cellular coverage: Pretty good, depending on location.
WiFi: Depends on the resort.
Roatan Time Zone: UTC-6
Vaccines: Please check the CDC website for updated information on vaccines, health concerns, etc.