Roatan is a perfect destination for snorkeling according to enthusiasts who have snorkeled in different parts of the planet. It is the biggest of all the bay islands in the Honduran archipelagos and it is situated a few miles off the main coast. The island is perfect for snorkeling activities because of the deep coast and this island is 50 miles long and 5 miles wide. The coast is bordered by amazing coral reefs and this offers the best snorkeling experience as you get firsthand with the species of the sea. There are many other reefs on the island that can be explored easily through snorkeling. When you visit Roatan you are going to have a time of your life because you are not only dealing with quality coral reefs and you can explore the best areas of the island.
The crème de la crème of the island is located on the west end and this is an easily accessible reef that you cannot miss on your next exploration of the island. There are cascading corals and with the turquoise blue waters, you are sure that you will experience only the best views beneath the water. There are several options that you can use to get into the water once you are in this region. The most critical part is to ensure that you are always safe and that your snorkeling gear is intact. The waters in this area can be quite tricky, especially where there are strong waves. There are local guides who will help you when you are looking for a perfect place to explore during your snorkeling escapade. There are deep places that are more suited to scuba diving, however, if you are adventurous and you have an experienced guide you can explore these areas. On the northwest end of the island, there are coral reefs that follow the coast and you can explore this region effectively because they are far from beaches. The water is very clear and you can see all the amazing features of the sea.
Why choose Roatán?
Roatan is a rich and diverse destination that will give you a truly amazing snorkeling experience that you will not find elsewhere. There are over seventy species of corals and 400 species of fish in this region and you can use your time snorkeling to get a glimpse of these unique creatures. You can spot a school of parrotfish, soldierfish, and butterflyfish, among others.
Snorkelers in the area also indicate that they often see stingrays and sea turtles among other unique creatures of the sea. Caribbean is famous for its beaches and sea with diverse sea creatures and amazing aquatic ecosystem. When it comes to snorkeling, not only Roatán but also Saint. Maarten is the best choice for you (see: Snorkeling in Saint. Maarten). You will meet expert snorkelers who will guide you throughout the sea and it is a perfect place where you can enjoy your time learning more about the environment and the sea creatures.
When Is the Best Time to Go Snorkeling in Roatán?
Roatan climate is classified as tropical and hence you must choose the right time to go snorkeling appropriately so that you do not encounter dangerous waves. Snorkeling is possible throughout the year; however, this is for experienced snorkelers who understand the terrains properly and can manage any weather. The weather in this place ranges from the heavy rain season from October to December. this period is less suited for your snorkeling activities because of the lack of clarity in the water. However, you can explore the area from January through September.
December usually features the coolest month of the year and the temperatures are around 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius. The months of August and July are the warmest recording temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius or 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, the water temperatures in this region are from 79 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Further reading: Snorkeling in Santorini
Places to go snorkeling in Roatán
The mahogany beach is one of the spots in Roatán that you will never miss because of its unique snorkeling locations. There are over 20 acres of a cruise port and this has made the island a perfect place where the corals can grow on the warm pristine Caribbean Sea waters.
Since this is a man-made island the spots for snorkeling might be few, however, with the several fish species available around the area you can still enjoy the best views under the water. It is the best place for beginners to try out their snorkeling skills. There are other watersports that you can enjoy in this region.
The sandy bay is a shallow but amazing snorkeling destination because it features all the unique aspects of Roatán. When you find the right spot in the area where you can dive then you have the chance to explore different fish species in the area. The channel features about 9 meters of swimming and there is a lively wall on the north.
There is a vibrant reef in the area which runs parallel to the shoreline and there are different fish species such as moray eels, fireworks, juvenile fish, and this area is home to other fish and invertebrates as well. Renting a boat is a better option because you get to explore the area in a safer and more relaxed way. You will find a bunch of sea turtles in the area.
Further reading: Snorkeling in St. Kitts
Palmetto bay is a residential beach that people often visit to relax and soak in the sun as they enjoy the breeze from the ocean. Here you can find several homes that you can rent and enjoy during your visit. If you are seeking the best relaxing snorkeling destination then you have come to it because this place promises the best experience possible.
The area does not only offer the best accommodations but also a dive location where you can scuba dive or snorkel. There is a large number of sea turtles that you will see as you snorkel deep into the water.
The starfish alley is one of that unique destinations because it enhances the growth and development of different fish species. Here you will see the Caribbean cushion sea stars and it is a beginner-friendly spot because you can learn snorkeling techniques and how to identify different species of fish. While in the area you can check out the seagrass beds these usually grow just a few meters from the shoe and it is where the fishes thrive.
If you are up for a challenge and you want to explore deeper in the area then you must put on a snorkel vest so that you are visible. There is a boat that will be around to guide you, however, for your safety, you must wear the vest to create an ambient environment where you can explore different areas of the sea.
This is by far the most popular snorkeling destination and you can head to Maya cay in the area as you get to explore the region. There is a private island retreat in the region because it is right off the great Maya reef. This is the best place that you can go snorkeling because it has all the fish species that you have been thinking about. Besides, it is the largest reef system in the western hemisphere and there is an animal resource center in the region which ensures that you not only get the best views but you can check out different species as well. The corals in this place are of high quality and it features different categories of corals that will leave you astounded.
There are the different Caribbean and tropical fish as well as submarine life that you will see in this region. You should take your time to explore and identify the best places where you can enjoy the views in the area. Access to the reef is easy because there is a pier that extends to it. You should ensure that you have the right snorkeling gear when going to snorkel in this location. There is a vest, fins, and snorkel mask for rent in case you do not have yours. However, you must take yours because of hygiene conditions.
The Grand Roatán Beach
This beach is located near the Grand Roatán resort and it is an amazing snorkeling destination because it is where the corals thrive more and you are likely to encounter more fish species. Just ten meters after the shore you will see a black wall that gives growth to some of the best coral and this is the best place because many fish species are thriving in this environment. You will feel that you are swimming in an aquarium because it is the best scene that you will see in the region.
Further reading: Snorkeling in St. Croix
West End Reef
The west end reef is situated about two hundred meters off the half moon bay and it is one of the best snorkeling destinations in Roatán. This region features the best place that you can ever visit because you get to see corals that you have never seen anywhere else before. There are dozens of different fish and invertebrate species in this area.
The Caribbean reef squid is one of the common fish species that you can find in this destination. As you head to the reef their blue surgeonfish, and sergeant fish among others. The west end reef is located on the western part of the island and it is half an hour by car. You can get there on a boat quickly.
Little French Cay
The little French cay is located on the southern part of the island and it is among the best places where you can go snorkeling. The reef in little French cay is well preserved and it is ever-growing which means that it attracts more fish species and other marine life to the area. There is a lagoon that boasts of clear water and this is protected by the coral reef.
The rich marine life in the area will give you the worth of your money because there is no place where you will find different fish species like this in the region. As you approach the coral beds you will encounter a large shoal of grunts as well as lobster. There is a chance you will see lionfish in the area as well. You must stay far away because some of these fish species are venomous and this might be dangerous to you.
West bay beach
West bay beach is one of the most famous places where you can go snorkeling in Roatán. This is the main seaside town in the region and there are many high-end hotels in the area and with amazing palm trees saying over the white sandy beaches you are sure that you will enjoy your time when you visit this destination.
There are numerous colored coral reefs in the Caribbean blue water and these coral reefs are home to different fish species including parrotfish, Atlantic blue tang, and different species of angelfish. The area is rich in fish species and when you snorkel below you will see all kinds of fish and it is worth the hassle.
The pigeon cay is located on the east end. The east end is less developed and it is an idyllic location because there is a large growth of coral reefs in the turquoise waters. You will change your mind when you visit the pigeon cay because it brings a different feeling towards snorkeling. After all, you will encounter a wide array of fish species and other invertebrates. You will have to take a boat if you are going to pigeon cay because this destination is less developed.
In conclusion, Roatán is the mecca of snorkeling and if you are a snorkeling enthusiast then you should ensure that you visit this awesome destination once in your lifetime.