Scuba diving is one of the most popular tourist activities in Honduras. The waters around the Bay Islands and the northern coast of Honduras are ideal for diving. Honduras diving offers the opportunity to see magnificent coral reefs, colorful fish, underwater cliffs, shipwrecks, and even enormous whale sharks.
The center for Honduras diving is Roatan Island, the largest of the three main Bay Islands. Thousands of enthusiasts take a Roatan diving vacation every year, attracted by the underwater features and the relatively low prices.
Roatan scuba diving is so special because the Bay Islands are part of a large raised ridge, surrounding on all sides by the Meso American Barrier Reef, one of the largest coral reefs in the world. This remarkable living reef is home to many species of coral, including rare black coral; hundred of species of fish; and many types of sea sponges, including huge barrel sponges that can grow to the size of refrigerators. Beyond the reef the seabed drops steeply, making for some great cliff dives.
There really is not a bad time to take a Roatan diving vacation. Even in the rainy season (roughly September to January), water visibility is over 80 feet.
There are dozens of Roatan diving shops and schools located on West Bay and West End. There are hundreds of great dives within a short distance of the West End. Ideally, before you get to Honduras you should take a scuba diving course. If you are certified to dive, Roatan scuba diving costs as little as $25 to $40 a dive, depending on whether you by a package of one, three, or ten dives. But do not worry if you have never put on a scuba tank before, most Roatan diving schools offer open water training courses that include some great dives for as little as $200 or so. Most boats go out for three single-tank dives a day.
Finding the right Roatan diving shop is important. The Bay Islands have a naturally laid-back attitude, but you should always remember to take diving safety very serious. It is worth asking around to find a Roatan scuba diving instructor who makes you feel comfortable. Some recommended Roatan diving shops: Bananarama Diving Center, this island's oldest dive shop; Octobus Dive school, in the West Bay; Native Sons, in West End; West End Divers, which caters to a younger crowd.
It is possible to go out for a day of Roatan scuba diving even if you are only visiting the island for a day as part of a Central American cruise. If you are spending more time in the Bay Islands, one idea for a Roatan diving vacation is to book into a hotel that offers a diving and accommodation package. Seagrape Plantation Resort and Pura Vida Hotel are among the Roatan hotels with diving programs on-site. Other dive shops, such as Reef Gliders on Roatan and Alton's Dive Shop on Utila Island, offer free or cheap dorm beds to divers.
Honduras diving is recognized as among the best in the world and with inexpensive single dive costs and cheap accommodation, the Bay Islands are a great place for a diving vacation. Plus, after a morning underwater, you can relax on a beautiful Caribbean beach.
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