Roatan is home to some of the best diving in the Caribbean. Located about 30 miles off the East coast of Honduras you will find the island of Roatan. Being the largest of the three Bay Islands of Honduras, Roatan has so much underwater beauty and healthy reef to explore!
As part of the Mesoamerican barrier reef system, the second largest reef in the world, Roatan is an absolute mecca for scuba diving. Countless dive sites surround the island, providing us some real difficulty in narrowing down the best dive sites of Roatan. So we turned to the people who would know best… our staff of instructors here at Coconut Tree Divers Roatan, who spend everyday in this underwater playground!
Best Dive Sites of Roatan Honduras
Here is a breakdown of what each of our instructors said when asked what their favorite, most recommended and best dive site of Roatan was and why…
HOLE IN THE WALL – recommended by our part owner and underwater photography connoisseur Alex Harper Graham
This dive site starts with a dramatic descend through a long chute that takes you down to the actual ‘hole’ in the wall that opens up to the deep blue. As one of the deeper dives, the blue goes on forever but we bottom out to a max depth of 40m/130ft. Once through the ‘Hole in the Wall’ you head along the wall where you can see all sorts of marine life. Make sure to bring your flash light to get a better look into all the dark corners and crevasses, you can spot an octopus, many juvenile fish, and some rarer blennies! In addition this dive site is home to several networks of caves and swim throughs, all at a much shallower profile for all levels of divers!
As a lover of underwater photography Alex’s favorite dive sites all involve caves, “I love the darkness in the over head environment with beams of sunlight shining through, it is one of my favorite scenes to photograph especially if they are populated with thousands of Silversides!” – Alex
Pro tip: practice your buoyancy before this dive as it will make your time in the swim throughs easier to navigate and will keep those fins from ruffling up a sandstorm for your friends behind you!
Alex sure captured the magic of swimming with Silversides in this photo above, if you have ever been interested in underwater photography make sure to check out her photography course.
SEA QUEST SHALLOW – recommended by Rachael our favorite little Saskatchewanese fluent instructor
A calm, sandy wide-open paradise is how we are going to describe this one! Sea Quest makes a great dive site for any level of scuba. There is so much in this large underwater playground for you to float around and explore. Due to it’s shallow depth, the corals are especially vibrant with that natural sun light shining through the water. Sea Quest is a great place to spot a lot of sting rays and tiny creatures!
“I love all the sand. It is perfect for photographers because the light is reflected off the sand so it can be bright even on cloudy days. Everyone can really have their own space and creature hunt for their own favorite stuff while I also try and keep my eye out for the turtles and feeding rays! Definitely one of the best dive sites of Roatan” – Rachael
EL AGUILA – recommended by the super knowledgeable Scuba Ted
Who doesn’t love exploring a good ship wreck? A 220 foot cargo ship sits at 30m below the oceans surface called the El Aguila (The Eagle). Broken into a few pieces, this ship wreck is always exciting to explore and see what is hiding in its crevasses. A few entrance and exit points make for some great swim throughs depending on your diver level. The ships depth allows us a bottom time of about 16 minutes with the wreck before shallowing up to finish the dive on the neighboring wall where huge resident groupers are always floating around.
Full Disclosure: When we asked Ted for his choice of best dive sites of Roatan, in true Scuba Ted fashion he answered “All of them, all of them are great. They all have something different to offer, and they’re always changing over time. That’s the best thing about Roatán‘s reef system, diversity!” – Scuba Ted
Pro tip: A great way to extend your bottom time with the El Aguila would be diving with Enriched Air Nitrox!
BLUE CHANNEL – Recommended by instructor Cruz
Blue Channel is a perfect way to start your time diving in Roatan. Here you can explore the awesome network of swim throughs or spend some time on the northern wall, all while searching for juvenile spotted drum fish, pipefish, goatfish, snapper, and resident green moray eels!
“Blue Channel is night dive cheat mode, you can spot octopus, squid, lobsters, all of it.. during the day! Great swim throughs, great wall section, a lot of macro life in the rubble and I see eagle rays every time. Best of all it’s got burr fish which are my favorite… and the channel walls sometimes have hiding nurse sharks..!” – Cali Cruz
JOSIE “J” SHIPWRECK – recommended by our fearless tec diving leader Monty Graham
A dream dive site for many divers, as you can only catch a glimpse of this shipwreck if you are very experienced and trained in technical (tec) diving…
Beyond the recreational limits lies a live shipwreck that accidentally sunk in an undisclosed location near West Bay point (so cool). The highest point of the ship is 168ft / 51mt on the aft starboard baller. To enter the wheelhouse you need to dive to 185ft / 56mt, however the tec diver must be very careful to enter here as there are many electrical wires hanging from the roof! The bottom of the bow in the sand is 211ft / 64mt. For the divers to safely dive at the wreck they must be equipped with dual tanks of either air or trimix and also carry 2 separate decompression gases 50% and 100% oxygen.
A dive obviously not for everyone, but for anyone who dreams of pushing the limits and becoming a tec diver can do so through the Roatan Tec Center courses with Monty here at Coconut Tree Divers!
MANDY’S EEL GARDEN – recommended by our youngest instructor Sammy
Mandy’s Eel Garden is exactly what is sounds like! This dive site has hundreds of little eels emerging from the sandy floor. The closer you get to them the more they shrink back into their home under the sand. Providing us with way to much entertainment as we float around the bottom trying to catch the biggest glimpse we can before they go into hiding! This is a dive site for all levels of divers trying to catch a glimpse of the tiny eels, and all the other great marine life found here in the sand patches as well as the coral wall.
“Mandy’s Eel Garden is a major favorite of mine. I love going through the big sand patch there, because we always spot eagle rays feeding or spend time searching for little creatures too. The wall has lots of growth and a really cool structures. The little garden eels are always cute too and the customers love them!” – Sammy
BEARS DEN – recommended by our newest instructor Tina of Argentina.. Aka ‘Argentina Tina’
Bear’s Den get’s its name from the large underwater tunnel and cave located here. A cave big and perfect for a bear…if only bears could breathe underwater! The tunnel gets a bit narrow, a perfect place for divers eager to put their well practiced buoyancy to the test. This is a diverse dive that can reward you with sightings of barracuda, nudibranch, spotted drum fish, crabs, lobsters, sea sponges, black coral, grouper, turtles and who knows what else!
“Bears Den.. is.. so.. cool!! There is a ‘U’ shaped swim through at the beginning where you go from 25 to 65ft. A bit dark at the beginning, but then opens up in the blue when you get to the wall. There is also a cave a bit further away that is all kinds of spooky. I always ask that if my customers have torches, not to use them here… It is a bit dark but sun shines in through the top like skylights and you always see crab and lobster shells so is like a small graveyard. So cool and nice!!” – Argentina Tina
FISH DEN – Recommended by handsome English Shane
An exciting shallow dive site where some of Roatan’s best coral and fish life is abundant. Beautiful soft corals and plenty schools of fish teeming around you throughout this dive. We always like to spot the sargent major fish that tend to hang under the boat in the shallows, as well as keeping our eyes peeled for scorpion fish! Fish Den is a great night dive site as it is easy to navigate back to the mooring line and there is always plenty to see!
“Fish Den is always on my must dive list. I love to look for the tiny creatures, and Fish Den is shallow with lots of light for me to better spot the little guys for my divers. It is almost like an underwater aquarium, the marine life variety is amazing with plenty of juvenile fish, blennies, spotted drum fish, crabs, grouper, trumpetfish, parrotfish, trunkfish, and banded shrimp.” – Handsome Shane
There you have it!
The most favorite, fun, cool, exciting, interesting, adventurous, unique (the list could go on forever) and best dive sites of Roatan Honduras according to our fab set of instructors here at Coconut Tree Divers.
However.. this does not even begin to scrape the surface in terms of the best dive sites of Roatan. There is just SO much to explore! The Roatan Marine Park has done a stellar job in executing and promoting the protection and health of our corals and underwater life, making our reef system one of the most healthy in the Caribbean. This is something we all take great pride in and cannot wait to share with you!