Roatan diving shore excursions off the coast of Honduras are one of the most popular activities available on cruises in the Western Caribbean. The Bay Islands benefit from a location on the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef, second in size only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The dive sites of Roatan Island have particularly gained popularity in the diving community over the last several years. Offering a vast expanse of unspoiled underwater sea life and a wide variety of resources for divers, including a hyperbaric chamber at the Cornerstone Medical Clinic, Roatan diving has something for every underwater interest and skill level. Though cruisers typically have limited time on shore, dive and tour companies on Roatan are well equipped to provide excellent diving experiences as shore excursions. For convenience, most Roatan diving shore excursions offer transportation from the port and the rental of appropriate dive gear. Like all cruise ship shore excursions, diving trips will start from one of the two cruise terminals - in Coxen Hole and at beautiful Mahogany Bay.
One & Two Tank Diving
Dive operators usually offer packages to cruise passengers who don't have the time to dedicate to an extensive die excursion. Those who want a short excursion can book a single tank dive. Those who want a bit longer can book two tanks, stretching out the experience. However, many visitors are diving enthusiasts, and want to spend an entire day in more remote areas. This excursions might do two tanks in the morning, and one in the afternoon.
Beginner Diving & Professional Instruction
Due to an abundance of shallow reefs, Roatan makes an excellent place for beginners to learn to dive. Several Roatan diving shore excursions are designed specifically for beginning divers, combining one-hour of instruction by certified instructors followed by an actual dive in a shallow reef. Some of the island's resorts will even have beginner classes in their swimming pools. As with all dives, precautions and the presence of a certified instructor insure divers’ safety as they take in the stunning underwater plants and sea life. For divers with advanced skills, Roatan also offers a comprehensive variety of shore excursions for experienced enthusiasts. While experienced divers generally engage in the activity for longer than a few hours, a cruise ship passenger only looking to pass a PADI test can get certified during the time in port.
While all of Roatan’s dive sites are protected and carefully patrolled in an effort to preserve the natural beauty of this underwater wonder, perhaps the most popular type of Roatan diving shore excursions is man-made wreck diving. There are several tour companies prepared to transport cruisers from their port to these amazing underwater sights, providing all necessary gear, as well.
Some of the vessels off the coast of Roatan sunk accidentally, while other wrecks were scuttled intentionally to be used for training divers and promoting growth of the reef. In 1993, a popular Roatan resort intentionally sunk a 287-foot long cargo ship named El Aguila, or the Eagle. In 1998, the force of Hurricane Mitch broke the wreckage into three pieces, creating additional interest for divers. Roatan’s largest underwater wreck, the Odyssey, was also deliberately sunk, though the midsection has since collapsed. In 1987, the Prince Albert freighter sunk off the island’s south side, and its still-undamaged hull is now home to many species of soft coral and sea horses. At a depth of nearly 200 feet, the wreckage of the Josie J cargo ship off Roatan’s West Bay is reserved for divers with advanced experience.
Some shore excursions tour companies in Roatan extend beyond their coral reefs. Those not interested in diving can take in the beauty of Roatan’s waters while snorkeling or fishing. Land-based excursions include ziplining, horseback riding, parasailing, a botanical garden, and an iguana farm. Visitors can also board a small motorboat and spend the day on the deserted island in the Cayos Cochinos.