Roatan Travel Guide: it’s got beaches, beauty, and reefs
Roatan boasts some of the most stunning coral reefs and scuba diving options in the world. Diving enthusiasts flock to the island for an unforgettable experience. Located within the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which happens to be the second-largest coral reef system in the world, the island is practically encircled with vibrant coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. During our 10 day stay in Roatan, we did eleven total dives during which we had the opportunity to explore a vast array of dive sites including walls, drop-offs, canyons, caves, and shallow reefs. Roatan definately isn’t just for divers though! The vast amount of shallow reefs teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and rays are great for those members of your group that are simply snorkelers.
Roatan boasts exceptional visibility, often exceeding 30 meters (100 feet) in optimal conditions. Better yet, it’s WARM which makes it comfortable for diving in just a swimsuit or a rash guard. The dive sites are numerous, plentiful and varied. Some of my standout favorites included Peter’s Place, which featured beautiful twinkling dancing light in it’s maze of canyons (and where we saw seahorses!), the wreck of the El Aguila, a 75-meter (250-foot) cargo ship that you can swim through, and inside the Blue Channel, which had starfishes galore, a plethora of eagle rays, these strange upside down jellies, and making my ultimate dreams come true – where we saw an octopus.
Roatan is home to numerous dive centers and resorts, providing a range of dive training courses for beginners to advanced divers. Whether you’re a novice looking to earn your certification or an experienced diver seeking further education, I couldn’t recommend getting certified here more. I recommend doing your online study course and testing well ahead of your travel plans so that you aren’t taking up valuable time on vacation completing it. Once you pass the online portion of your exam, you just have 3 days of diving and in water instruction. We certified and completed all our dives with the wonderful folks at Jackson’s Dive Center, a family run operation that was nothing but relaxed, chill and welcoming. It was an incredibly unique and alternative experience. We were there in the “slow season” but even then you could see the difference between the hustle and bustle and just busyness of the other dive centers vs our experience at Jacksons. We had 15 people with us and Jackson’s catered generously to our group the entire week, picking us up by boat every morning at our dock. From start to finish, the family run center was the epitome of wonderful and we’re so grateful to Liana, Alon, Tony for making our experience so special. Also, as a side note, if you do 10 dives or more with Jackson’s each dive is an incredibly reasonable $30/tank!