The island of Roatan, Honduras, is a lush, tropical island in the South Caribbean Sea. Roatan is the largest of three bay islands located north of mainland Honduras. The narrow strip of land stretches 48 miles from end to end and is just 5 miles wide. Once a coral reef that rose from the sea, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef surrounds the entire island, making it just a five-minute ride to experience the “Jewel Of The Caribbean.” The second longest reef system in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef stretches from Mexico to the islands of Honduras and is over 620 miles long. Vast expanses of coral and beautiful sandy beaches make Roatan the ideal spot for a dive vacation.
Keeping the Reef Healthy
Over the years, natural phenomenon and pollution as well as tourism and overfishing have caused damage to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. National parks have been established along the reef to encourage sustainable tourism and eradicate unsustainable fishing practices. In 2005, residents of Roatan began lobbying for a marine protected area. Soon after, the Roatan Marine Park was founded as a result of the efforts put forth by the concerned community members who decided that the area needed more protection. The main goal of the Roatan Marine Park is to “Inspire, educate, and empower communities and visitors to conserve and protect marine environments and the benefit of all.” Thanks to efforts to protect it, the reef around Roatan is thriving and healthier than ever.
Artificial Reef Wrecks
These wrecks are a prime destination for scuba divers wanting to explore the lush tropical island in the south Caribbean Sea. Many divers are attracted to these ships that were purposely sunk because of the fascinating marine life that resides inside. The shallow wrecks allow for more sunlight to reach algae and coral which enables to artificial reefs to flourish and thrive. These wrecks provide shelter to creatures and can help rejuvenate areas that have been damaged.
Marine Life of Roatan
The reefs surrounding the island of Roatan are home to 95% of the species found in all of the Caribbean. Being the second largest reef system in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef boasts over 500 species of fish and 65 species of coral. You’ll observe soft coral like sea fans that move with the water, and boulder coral that looks like rocks. A steady and close look at the vast expanses of coral will reveal the existence of life.
At each dive site, you’ll find different creatures waiting to be discovered. Turtles, rays, and eels are commonly spotted on almost every dive. You’ll explore sites that are teeming with crustaceans like shrimp, crabs, and lobster. A lionfish will most likely be spotted too. These creatures are beautiful but destructive to the reef. Keep an eye out for colorful nudibranchs, or sea slugs, as well as seahorses that are difficult to spot, but incredible to see! Fish that are commonly spotted include trumpetfish, grouper, parrotfish, triggerfish, tang, wrasses, pufferfish, and porcupine fish. Caribbean reef sharks also roam the waters, but many visitors book special shark dives in order to get a closer look. While it’s not very common, you may even spot a dolphin if you get lucky!
Diving in Roatan
Roatan’s reef system is in pristine condition compared to many others around the world. The spectacular dive sites are attracting undersea explorers from all around the globe. The high visibility, diverse marine life, and convenient location are unbeatable. Check out Reef House Lodge’s Dive Vacation Packages and explore all that the island of Roatan has to offer.