Macro: diving in Roatan in Honduras is a hidden little paradise and ranks the destination among the top 5 of the Caribbean ! The wall surrounding the island offers splendid dives (at the same level as Cozumel for example), varied (reefs, drifters, wrecks, caves, caves, apnea ...) and even a site to dive with dozens of sharks (shark dive)! Therelaxed atmosphere (far from the image of insecurity on the main land) cheap, which allows you to organize a diving trip to Roatan with a great value for money, thanks to all the diving packages offered by dive resorts and / or centers. Access is another complication from France, however diving in Roatan is perfect for quebecois (direct flights from Montreal!).

Context : I was a diving instructor for 1 year in Roatan, so I think I have a good perspective of the island and its diving! Therefore this article is very detailed, but I tried to summarize everything!

ARTICLE GUIDELINES
# Overview 
# Presentation 
# Diving with
# Dive sites
# Apnea
# Seasons and condition
# A diving week 
# Diving clubs 
# Dive prices
# Diving course
# Accommodation 
# How to get there 
# My diving review

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ROATAN DIVING INFO

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  • Best Roatan Diving Season : March to November.
  • Best Roatan Dive Sites : Mary's place, Cara cara (Shark dive Roatan), Calvin's crack, Hole in the wall, West end wall, Texas, Blue channel.
  • Common Marine Life : turtle, grouper + classic Caribbean fish.
  • Possible species : shark (Cara cara), eagle ray, nurse shark.
  • Visibility : 20 - 30 m.
  • French diving club Roatan : TGI diving (west bay).
  • Access : Roatan Airport.
Logo-plongeur-baroudeurRecommendations by category of divers:

> New diver : perfect for discover scuba diving or open water certification.
> Certified you will not be disappointed.
> Experienced : in the Top 5 of the Caribbean, it is at the level of Cozumel and there are less people !

PRESENTATION OF ROATAN

Where is Roatan?

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  • Roatan is found in Honduras.
  • It is an island which is part of Bay Islands (Islands of the Bay), I let you read a more complete presentation of Bay Islands in this article.

Inexpensive, great beaches, laid-back vibe

  • Roatan is an island very pleasant, some beautiful beaches, cheap, a relaxed atmosphere (far different than Cancun or Playa del Carmen)
  • And still a little unknown diving paradise !

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West end in Roatan

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  • The most "cool" place (In my opinion), alive and with a relaxed atmosphere.
  • You travel by foot, beautiful beaches (on the right side for the sunset), you have bars, restaurants for all budgets, a dozen diving clubs, ATMs, small supermarkets, excursion departures…
  • This is where I was and the place I recommend!

West bay in Roatan

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  • One of the most beautiful beaches of the island where ten big hotels are now grouped together " all inclusive " and they all have their dive center.
  • If you want a French center, I recommend Henry-Morgan / TGI diving, they have a large Quebec clientele, so they always have French instructors.
  • Otherwise choose West end insteadbecause there is nothing but your hotel on West Bay!

Places to visit in Roatan

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  • Punta Gorda : the area where live the "Garifuna", are in fact the true ones originating from the island, the descendants of the Africans. The atmosphere is different, very lively, all smiles ... absolutely visit on Sundays, because the whole village meets to dance to the rhythm of the Djembes, a great show!
  • Camp bay : the most beautiful beach of the island, Virgin, there is no hotel there !! The best is to rent a car from West End, to go to Camp Bay and Punta Gorda at the same time.

The other places of the island

  • Cohen Hole it's the "capital", but it's a big word! Large supermarkets, banks ... but nothing special, do not stay here! The airport is right next to it.
  • Mahogany bay : basically the arrival of ferries from La Ceiba.
  • French harbor : nothing special, other shops, restaurants ...
  • Oak Ridge : boat trips (private) for Granaja or Cayos cochinos
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ROATAN HONDURAS DIVING REVIEW

Roatan's wall:approximately 150 dive sites around the island!

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  • The island of Roatan is surrounded by a wall, which gives dive sites all around the island!
  • As you can see on the map opposite, you have beautiful sandy beaches, then coral at 5-10 m deep (perfect for the mask and snorkel) and then the wall which goes down to 30 to 60 m depending on the sites.
  • There are some more than 150 listed all over the island !
  • Access to the dive sites is between 5 and 20 min (10 min on average).

Organization of diving trips from Roatan

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  • You will have a morning departure for 2 dives.You'll leave at 9am and come back around 12:30pm.
  • One to 2 dives in the afternoon and 1 to 2 night dives per week.
  • The centers are also very flexible compared to dive sites, the site planning is not done for the week for example, they adapt very often to what you want to do, it's a huge advantage, because not everywhere is like this!

Roatan's reef is preserved

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  • Roatan is a marine park and they do a great job of protecting.
  • The reef is very preserved, there is coral as far as the eye can see, hard corals, soft corals, sponges of all kinds, gorgonians, sparkling corals… one of the most extensive I have seen in the Caribbean.
  • After all, it's not quite the same as in certain parts of Asia…

Caribbean fish

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  • The classic Caribbean species are of course there : angel fish, butterfly fish, sergeant major, ballista, snapper, parrot fish…
  • But also: groupers, of the barracudas, benches of blue tang (surgeon fish), lobsters (they are everywhere!), moray eels, small cleaning shrimp, trunk fish…

Density and variety of fish

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  • What strikes you most when you are used to diving in Asia like me is the difference in density and variety of fish.
  • Roatan's reef is really superb, but comparatively, I find that there are much less fish than in Asia (this is valid for all the caribbean).

Diving with turtles in Roatan in Honduras

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  • It's a turtle's paradise in Roatan !
  • It's rare not to see at least 1, 2 or more on a dive.
  • On each dive you are almost guaranteed to see sea turtles nested and / or green turtles.
  • They are not very shy, so you can approach them without fear.

Shark diving in Roatan or the “shark dive roatan” in Honduras

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  • No reef sharks are seen at normal Roatan sites.
  • But in the north of the island, there is a special site whose name is caja caja or shark dive roatan, where we can dive with dozens of sharks !
  • the sharks are fed their.
  • Those are the caribbean reef sharks (Caribbean reef shark), which look like bulldog sharks!
  • The shark season in Roatan is all year round.

Roatan's Eagle Rays

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  • There are not hundreds of eagle rays at Roatan, but there are some.
  • So you can see them on any site, they pass along the wall for the majority.
  • I would say that over a week of diving, you should see 2 or 3 times.

 Large pelagics in Roatan: grouper and snapper

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  • Apart from the sharks, turtles and rays mentioned above, there are not many large pelagics in Roatan.
  • However you will often see several types of groupers (black, tiger, nassau ...) and snapper.
  • We can come across barracudas or trevally, but more rare.

Macro is rare

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  • I'm a macro fan, it was hard at first.
  • Accustomed to finding nudibranchs everywhere in Asia, here it is not easy!
  • There are some types of nudibranchs or sea slugs, but good luck finding them!
  • Likewise for seahorses (I had to see 3 in 1 year…), pipe fish or frogfish (only 1 in 1 year).

Roatan wreck diving

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  • Roatan has 4 wreck dives.  
  • Two large cargo ships at West end, very nice, quite deep (30, 35 m): El Aguila and the Odyssey.
  • A very deep still at West end, the wreck of the Josie J (60-65m).
  • The last one is at the french harbor, prince albert wreck.
  • More details in the section dive site.

Diving into faults and crevices in Roatan

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  • The Roatan wall gives a place for exceptional training with a lot of crevices, fault even see caves.
  • The best sites :
    • French harbor: Mary's place and Calvin's crack.
    • West end: Hole in the wall, Blue channel and spooky channel.

Roatan dive video

Roatan diving photos

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ROATAN HONDURAS FREEDIVING

Freediving in Roatan in Honduras

  • The conditions are perfect to snorkel at Roatan : a drop near the coasts which descends very deep and calm, warm and crystal clear water.
  • It's very nice to snorkel at Roatan, this is where I took my first level of freediving with Roatan free diving.

Roatan organizes freediving competitions

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BEST ROATAN DIVING SITES

Roatan dive site maps

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What are the best dive sites in Roatan?

  • Mary's place Roatan

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    • Surely the Roatan's most beautiful dive in my opinion !
    • Impressive cracks and crevices to explore, filled with sea fans and sponges as well as abundant marine life!
    • We start by going down inside a first fault that we follow until arriving at the wall at around 35-40m, we go up a 2e fault, then we pass in a sort of cave to return to the wall, magnificent!
    • One last fault and we arrive on the plateau where a magnificent coral garden awaits us, and where research begins seahorses and of nudibranchs!
  • Cara cara (Shark dive Roatan)

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    • Roatan's shark site!
    • So I'm not at all for "shark feeding" (that is to say to feed sharks in the same place to get them to come back).
    • That's why I waited a year to have this dive.
    • Okay, it gives them a little fish jump, far from mass feeding that I have seen in other places.
    • In the end, I would say that it's okay, they don't disrupt their habit too much and it really takes a hit. We can see between 10 and 20 beautiful reef sharks (same family as the black tips) around us and they pass really close!
    • The site is about 25m away, the dive lasts between 30 and 45m depending on your air consumption.

Only one center offers diving: Shark dive Roatan. Cost = $ 100.

  • Hole in the wall

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    • A site with a really special configuration, one of my favorites.
    • We start by going down into this huge crevasse from 10 m and arrives at the "hole in the wall" (as the name suggests in English) at about 35-40 m.
    • Perfect for decorative or tech divers who can continue to descend to 55-60m.
    • Then we go up by another crevasse right next to it, we pass through several caves.
    • During the ascent we look for cleaning shrimps, arrow crabs, nudibranchs, scorpion fish ...
    • After these two crevices, we come a little further in a cave, beautiful, beautiful photos to take!
  • Cayos Cochinos Sea Mount

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    • Between Roatan and Cayos Cochinos there are two submerged pinnacles in the middle of the ocean (they call them the sea mountains).
    • These two pinnacles are full of life, many schools of barracudas and trevally in particular and the coral is magnificent.
    • The excursion takes a day, after the dives you will eat and snorkel on Cayos cochinos. Price = 150$ (140$). Not all centers offer it.
  • West end wall

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    • A beautiful wall at the tip of Roatan, just after West bay.
    • A beautiful drift where we walk along the wall for about 30 min to about 25-30 m, hoping to see the eagle rays pass and enjoying the barracudas, groupers, lobsters, morays ...
    • We end up around 30 min in a superb coral garden at 6-8 m, full of fish, small schools of jacks, very often cuttlefish, trunk fish ... I love it!
  • Texas

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    • Why the name Texas?
    • Because everything is bigger!
    • Texas is located at the end of Roatan, on the other side of the point.
    • The conditions are different there, the current is frequent, and who says current, says bigger fish!
    • It is a drift dive where you walk along the wall. You have huge sea fans all along, large barracudas and groupers, often eagle rays ... Impressive!
    • Be careful, you can only go to Texas when the conditions are good.
  • El Aguila wreck

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    • Large freighter of about 60 m, it rests on a sandy plateau 33m deep.
    • He was sunk in 1997 and was originally completely intact, but it was split into 3 parts after Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
    • We start by going down along a rope attached to the stern (rear of the boat), the visibility being very good, you will have an excellent view of the entire wreck.
    • Then we sail around the wreck (possibility of entering several places) by going up towards the prow (before the boat).
    • Besides the classic species, during the whole dive you will be surrounded by huge groupers (black, tiger and nassau) and you can enjoy the garden eel all around the cargo ship.
    • After the wreck you will reach the wall and finish the dive by enjoying the magnificent coral above the wall and exploring small crevices.
  • Blue channel

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    • Blue channel is another well known site in Roatan.
    • It is as its name suggests in English, a channel, very wide near the wall and which narrows as it approaches the coast.
    • The dive begins in the wide part of the canal and we go up the canal to the shallower part (about 6-8 m).
    • Throughout the dive, we use a network of crevices and caves which really make the particularity of Blue channel, superb, unique in its kind!
    • At the end of the canal, there is a sort of cave where the silversides very often gather, magnificent. Of course, all the classic Roatan species are also there.
  • Half moon bay wall

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    • This wall, right in front of half moon bay, is all simply magnificent. We are never disappointed!
    • You just have to drift along the wall to see turtles, barracudas, groupers, eagle rays if you are lucky, magnificent gorgonians, morays, lobsters…
    • Everything Roatan has to offer is there.
    • Simple dive is the most beautiful dive for beginners!
  • Calvin's crack

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    • A site similar to Mary's place, with a set of huge faults to explore, covered with sponges, gorgonians and soft corals.
    • The particularity of Calvin's crack is surely the possibility of find toadfish.
    • You also often have silversides that congregate in one of the caves.
    • Along the wall, you will see trevallies, sometimes eagle rays, barracudas, lobsters, moray eels ...
  • Spooky channel

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    • This huge canal atno particular topology.
    • We start by gradually descending through faults to reach the deepest point at about 28 m or the configuration of the channel considerably darkens the light.
    • The canal becomes very narrow at the top and it becomes almost "scary", hence the name "spooky" in English!
    • Great photos to be taken throughout the dive thanks to the lighting effects. After reaching the end of the channel we turn around to reach the famous spooky channel faults, very narrow and very long, great to do if you like it!
    • We end with a beautiful shallow coral garden.
  • Odyssey wreck

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    • The odyssey is lhas the biggest wreck of Roatan, and one of the largest in the Caribbean, it is almost 100 m long, 15 m wide and 25 m high!
    • It was cleaned and sunk for the pleasure of divers and now rests at 33 m.
    • The dive begins above the bow, which is huge and has several floors that you can explore (but you have to have very good buoyancy), you then go up to the main deck and towards the bow where again can penetrate several places.
    • Not all clubs go there.
  • Prince albert wreck

    • site-de-plongee-roatan-dive-site-epave-prince-albert-wreckPrince Albert is a cargo 40m long which was intentionally sunk at Roatan in 1985.
    • Originally, it was owned by Nicaraguans who used it to transport war refugees from Nicaragua to Roatan.
    • It rests on a sandy plateau about 18 m, it is in excellent conditions, it is covered with coral and many fish have made it their new home!
    • Lots of macro to look for on the wreck: seahorses, nudibranchs, pygmy filefish ... and around, stingrays are common!
    • You can penetrate the cargo everywhere, a real treat for those who love it!
    • The icing on the cake, right next to it, you also the wreckage of a second world war plane, a Douglas DC-3 (we can't get into it, but nice anyway).
  • Church wall

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    • A beautiful fall!
    • When you get to the wall, you don't see the background, superb.
    • The dive consists in drifting the wall in order to appreciate the soft corals, the hard corals, the possible passage of eagle rays, to look for the numerous lobsters and morays. A very nice dive and accessible to all.

  • Josie J Wreck

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    • Originally, the Josie J was a freighter that traveled back and forth between the continent and Roatan to transport goods.
    • In 2003, he had a mechanical problem and sank at the tip of West Bay.
    • It is now based on 60-65 m deep, it is 30 m, but it is not possible to penetrate it.
    • Perfect for divers who want to do a "deep"! Only certain centers will take you there.
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BEST PERIOD FOR DIVING IN ROATAN

You can almost dive all year round in Roatan but the best diving season is from March to November.

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When to dive in Roatan?

  • Avoid the rainy season in Roatan from December to February.
  • Shark season in Roatan (at caja caja site) is all year round.

Diving conditions Roatan :

  • Visibility in Roatan : 20 to 30 m.
  • Roatan water temperature : 27 to 29 °.
  • Current Roatan : there are very few sites with current in Roatan.
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ROATAN DIVING TRIP: PROGRAM FOR ONE WEEK

1 week of diving in Roatan

One of my best friends came for 7 days there, he wanted to do 2 dives a day and visit the island a little, this is what we did when we stayed at West End :

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  • 1e day (West side): West end wall and Blue channel (simple dives to start);
  • 2e day (West side): Hall in the wall and Half moon bay wall (Light house)
  • 3e day (french harbor side): Mary's place and Prince Albert wreck
  • 4e day (french harbor side, whole day): actually we rented a car, we were done Caja Caja (the shark dive), then we continued to the north of the island until Camp bay (the most beautiful beach on the island) and finally Punta Gorda (to be done preferably on Sunday).
  • 5e day (full day): sea mounts of Cayos cochinos, 2 dives + mask and snorkel + meal and visit of the islands;
  • 6e day (west end side): wreck day, the Odyssey and El Aguila.

If he had had more time, we would have done and Texas west end side and we would have been absolutely on the other side of the island to do Calvin's crack.

We stayed at 2 dives a day, but if you want to do 3 dives, there are many other sites to go and you will not be disappointed!

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ROATAN DIVING CLUB

There are approximately 50 dive centers in Roatan, fifteen in West End, ten in West Bay and the rest in the resorts around the island.

The best diving clubs in Roatan

Roatan's diving clubs in West end

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  • Coconut tree divers:
    • This is where I worked, so of course I will advise you!
    • Two big, comfortable boats, 4 dives a day, flexible on dive sites and on diving courses, relaxed atmosphere, possibility of having packages with accommodation (coconut tree cabins) and… a French instructor!
    • However, thees boats are comfortable but slow ! They can not go everywhere, the wreck of the Odyssey is too far away, no dives on the french harbor side (Mary's place, Calvin's crack, Prince Albert wreck ...), nor the sea mounts of cayos cochinos.

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  • There are many other good dive centers in West end :
    • Splash inn, West end diver, Sun divers, Roatan diver, Native son...
    • Honestly, they are all good, it's simply a question of atmosphere, price of diving, type of boat…
    • They often smaller fast boats and will go furtherbut they can be more expensive and will probably not have a French instructor.

Roatan diving clubs in West bay

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Besides TGI diving, other good diving centers: West bay diver, Infinity bay (resort), Mayan princess (resort).

Roatan diving clubs in the north of the island

All the other resorts of the island will have their diving center as the Medialuna French diving center.

The French diving club of Roatan that I recommend in West Bay

It is not the country where there is the most French, but you can manage to pass your French diving training in Roatan thanks to TGI diving roatan on West Bay.

Presentation of TGI diving roatan (Henry morgan resort) :

  • tgi-diving-roatan-14TGI Diving Roatan is an SSI center that opened in 1999 on Roatan.
  • It is the only center in Roatan where you are guaranteed to find instructors who speak French (they also speak English, Italian and Spanish).
  • They are located inside the Henry Morgan Resort on West Bay
  • They are professional, friendly, available and always put forward safety

Contact / Social networks:

TGI diving Roatan Photo:

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Video of TGI diving Roatan:

I did an interview with Oliver Pezzoli, Manager of TGI diving roatan:

Backpacker diver (PB): Hello Oliver, can you introduce me to TGI diving Roatan and tell us a little more about his story?
Oliver Pezzoli (OP): TGI Roatan was opened in 1998, when Roatan was still almost unknown to most divers. In fact, the first TGI center was opened in the Maldives in 1982. We are 4 Italian partners, who love the ocean and even after 30 years we are always looking for improvements and always very motivated! Since then, we have opened other diving centers in the Red Sea, in Italy, in Tanzania, and we import equipment and compressors in most of these countries. 

PB: Can you describe your organization around diving? Do you have special trips?
OP: We organize 3 dives a day plus night dives. We also offer shark dive, wreck dives and other more remote sites. We offer quality service to all our divers so they do not have to carry their equipment to and from the boat. We are very lucky to be located in West Bay, the most protected place and the best place to dive in Bay Islands. We have more than 30 dive sites within 30 minutes: walls, plateaus, caves, wrecks, and many, many marine life!

PB: Do you also do diving training?
OP: Yes of course, we are SSI Diamond Dive Center, the only one on Roatan, we teach baptism diving and up to professional level. All our instructors are professional and all speak French, English and Spanish. We have a really didactic system, mostly digital, so we protect the environment while we teach.

PB: Why should divers come dive with you? What are your 5 strong points?
OP: TGI diving has a lot of experience, we know Roatan very well, and for us, safety is really important. We take great care of our customers, from the maintenance of the equipment to the compressors, things that nobody sees but which is the heart of a dive center. We have our own mechanic which ensures that the air is always clean and safe. We also distribute compressors in Honduras, so in this area, we know our subject. We love big boats, because the boat is not only a means of transport, it's also a place where you meet new friends and enjoy the time between dives.

PB: Do you have activities for non-divers?
OP: Yes, we organize snorkeling trips, half or all day, to see the most beautiful beaches, always accompanied by one of our expert guides. During all our day trips, we have drinks and food included, so everyone can enjoy this beautiful island of Roatan, underwater and out!

PB: A last word, an event to come, a last info to give us?
OP: Roatan is like a big banana, stretching from west to east. The wind comes mostly from the southeast, so when you want to dive to Roatan, and if you like calm seas, be sure to go north west! Finally, diving in Roatan is generally cheap, compared to other Caribbean destinations. 

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ROATAN DIVING PRICE

What are the prices for dives in Roatan?

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  • The price of a single dive at Roatan is approximately 35 - 40 $
  • The price of equipment rental is about 5 to 10 $ per day.
  • Dive package 10 days : between 300 and 350 $.
  • The price of a diving baptism in Roatan is on average 100 $.
  • The price of a PADI open water in Roatan is approximately 350 - 400 $.

Roatan diving package

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  • There are many dive resort or other hotel + dive center and they all offer different diving packages for Roatan.
  • Packages of 10 or 20 dives or packages with hotel and dive.

Price of shark diving in Roatan 

  • Diving with sharks at Roatan costs 100 $.
  • Only one center offers diving: Shark dive Roatan.
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ROATAN DIVING COURSE

Roatan diving school

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There are so manydiving schools in Roatan and she suggest all PADI or SSI diving courses: 

  • Discover diving by doing a first dive.
  • Learn to dive by the way PADI or SSI open water certification.
  • Continue to improve by doing your Advanced or your Rescue.
  • Roatan is also a great place to do your divemaster (the full article here) !

Roatan is better than Utila to pass its diving certification

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  • Roatan is a place perfect to learn or discover diving.
  • Super conditions, good visibility (20-30 m all year round), one Hot water (28-30 ° all year round), no current (or very little), not too many waves.
  • If you want to do a baptism of diving or pass your open water certification, this is really perfect.
  • For me, it's better than Uta for that, because the bottom is really the factory, you can find yourself in open water courses for 8 to 10 people (I saw up to 16 ...), in Roatan, I would say that it's 2 people on average.
  • VSa will be a little more expensive than Utila, but the quality of the course will be much better!

Prices for diving courses in Roatan

  • Open water certification award in Roatan : between 335 and 400 $.
  • Roatan diving baptism award : on average 100 $.
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HOTEL DIVING ROATAN

Lodging in Roatan

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There are a lot of accommodation on Roatan with 2 main areas:

  • West End : a bit of everything, from the hostel to the comfort hotel and a few resorts.
  • West bay: only dive resorts

West end dive hotel in Roatan

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Dive resort at West bay Roatan

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Dive resorts elsewhere on the island of Roatan

The most famous: Wikkid resort, Barefoot cay resort

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HOW TO GO TO ROATAN IN HONDURAS

The best way to get to Roatan is by plane directly on the island or by ferry from La Ceiba.

Getting to Roatan by plane

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  • Roatan has an international airport, so it's quite simple, you can land directly on the island.
  • Either from a connection from the United States (Atlanta, Houston or Miami), the mainland (San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa), directly from Canada (Toronto or Montreal for example).
  • Roatan is perfect for Quebecois!

Carte-se-rendre-a-roatan-utila-honduras

Route La Ceiba to Roatan on a boat

  • You must first arrive at Ceiba by bus.
  • I advise you to take the buses transports Cristina, super safe, fast, not too expensive (serve from San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, Copan, Guatemala City and Antigua).
  • La Ceiba to Roatan ferry : 2 departures day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. All times and prices: Galaxy waves, $ 65 return, 9:30 am and 4:30 pm.

Utila to Roatan journey by boat

coucher-de-soleil-roatan-west-end

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#Overview #Diving with #Sites #seasons #Clubs #Price #Classes #Accommodation #Get to #My diving review

MY OPINION DIVE ON ROATAN

In conclusion, I will say that if you want to see "big" (such as manta rays, sharks, huge schools of fish, etc.), or macro (nudibranchs, seahorses, etc.), Roatan is not the right choice, you have much better sites for that in Asia (as Komodo, Raja Ampat, Sipadan…). On the other hand, if you are looking to make a Caribbean diving trip in one nice place away from mass tourism (type Playa del Carmen or Cozumel), at a very correct budget (35-40$ diving), make dives with quite varied topographies (crevasse, fault, drop off, shark diving ...), even with the family (many other activities available for non-divers), Roatan is a very good choice !

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