The rooms of the Villas at Dunbar Rock rise above the resort's namesake rock, creating what many have called a “liveaboard on land.”

Resort Report: The Villa on Dunbar Rock

This is not your average dive resort. In fact, there may be no place quite like The Villa on Dunbar Rock. This boutique property isn't just in the water; it is entirely surrounded by water. Located just off the coast of Guanaja Island, this multi-level compound rises like a giant house of cards above a small rock outcropping. Dive shop, restaurant, rooms and resort facilities occupy the various levels, and there are water views in all directions. Some have called it a “land-based liveaboard,”

Dunbar Rock has a small beach, which provides swimmers and snorkelers with easy access to the extensive shallow lagoon that surrounds the resort.
Dunbar Rock has a small beach, which provides swimmers and snorkelers with easy access to the extensive shallow lagoon that surrounds the resort.

The Island

Guanaja is the easternmost member of Honduras's Bay Islands group, located some 15 miles to the east of Roatan, and about 40 miles from the mainland. It is the greenest and most mountainous of the Bay Islands, with much of the landscape cloaked in forests where hiking trails lead to secluded beaches, freshwater springs and waterfalls that cascade from the slopes. There are fewer than 5,000 residents, and only a single road connecting two villages on the island's eastern end. Most travel is by boat, either along the coast or through an inland channel that bisects the island. Guanaja's largest settlement, Bonacca Town, has been called the Venice of the Caribbean. It sits on a small spit of land in the middle of a bay, and many of its tightly-packed dwellings perch over the water on stilts and are connected by canals rather than streets.

Stairs connect the different levels of Dunbar Rock, where there are ocean views at every turn.
Stairs connect the different levels of Dunbar Rock, where there are ocean views at every turn.

The Resort

Getting to Dunbar Rock begins with a puddle-jumping flight into Guanaja's small airstrip. On arrival, you'll be greeted by one of the resort staff, and your bags will be loaded not into a shuttle van—remember, no roads—but into a boat. A ten-minute ride across the bay brings you to the Rock. Your dive gear stays at the ground-level shop, and the staff will take care of moving your bags to the upper-level accommodations. You can take the stairs or the ramp, but either way you'll be traveling upward as you rise through the various levels of the property. You'll pass through an elevated, open-air terrace, and then continue upward toward one of the ten guest rooms or suites on the next two levels. Every room offers a private balcony and direct water views. There's in-room AC in case the sea breezes don't suffice, and WiFi for those who just have to stay connected. When it comes time to turn off the Twitter feed, the place to be is the top level, which provides huge 360-degree views from the deck, and features a stunning infinity-edge pool that perches on the edge of the platform. The top level also holds a fitness center, dining room, bar and a Great Room with a pool table and media center. Meals are typically served family style and include a variety of regional and international cuisines. Guests with special dietary needs or preferences can make prior arrangements to ensure their requirements are met. Guests can opt for one of several all-inclusive beverage packages, and the resort's bar is stocked with a collection of top-shelf liquor and wines, as well as local beers and spirits.

An oceanfront room at Dunbar Rock. Accommodations are air-conditioned, just in case the sea breezes aren't blowing.
An oceanfront room at Dunbar Rock. Accommodations are air-conditioned, just in case the sea breezes aren't blowing.
The view from the living room area of the penthouse suite, which perches more than 70 feet above the lagoon.
The view from the living room area of the penthouse suite, which perches more than 70 feet above the lagoon.
Dunbar Rock's infinity-edge pool perches on the edge of an elevated deck, adding visual drama to a cooling dip.
Dunbar Rock's infinity-edge pool perches on the edge of an elevated deck, adding visual drama to a cooling dip.

The Dive Center

Dunbar Rock's dive center is located at the water level, adjacent to a small beach and the resort docks. This PADI/SSI facility is stocked with a full range of rental gear and provides ample storage area for personal equipment. The staff is dedicated to providing concierge-level service, which means carry your gear onto the boats, preparing it for the dive, changing tanks the second dive, and rinsing and storing it at the end of the day. Guests need only check to make sure they have all personal items. The resort operates two custom dive boats, the 45’ Freedom and 40’ Endeavor. Each has the capacity to carry 20 divers but typically operates with fewer to ensure ample personal spaces. The boats are provisioned with drinks and snacks, fresh water showers, towels, camera rinse tanks, dry storage, shaded areas and all required safety equipment. Daily schedules typically begin with a two-tank morning dive, followed by a return to the resort for lunch, and an afternoon dive. When diving the island's northern shore, lunch may be served on board during a three-tank excursion. Night dives are offered at least once a week, and more can be scheduled on request. Nitrox is available, and the dive center offers both 63 cu ft. and 80 cubic foot tanks. 

Dunbar Rock's dive center is conveniently located right next to the dock. The staff handles all tank and gear transfer, and divers merely have to step on board.
Dunbar Rock's dive center is conveniently located right next to the dock. The staff handles all tank and gear transfer, and divers merely have to step on board.

The Diving

Guanaja is the starting point for the volcanic formation known as the Bonacca Ridge, which forms the southern part of the massive Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The underwater landscape is similar to that surrounding the islands of Roatan and Utila, offering a mix of shallow reefs, vertical walls, offshore pinnacles, lava tunnels and wrecks. Guanaja sees far fewer divers that its sister islands, and as a result, many reefs remain in near-pristine condition. The island's fringing reefs lie within a protected marine reserve and dive sites are served by are mooring buoys. There are more than 4o named sites ringing the island and more scattered around small cays nearby. This diversity makes it possible to find sheltered areas in almost any weather and sea condition. Among the signature dives accessed from Dunbar Rock is the wreck of the 240-foot Jado Trader, which is regarded as the premier artificial reef in the Bay Islands. In addition to diving, the shallow sand and grass beds surrounding the resort are prime snorkeling territory, home to a rich assortment of both fish and invertebrates.

Reefs surrounding Guanaja showcase a colorful mix of hard and soft corals, and see minimal diver traffic as compared to the Bay Islands of Utila and Roatan.
Reefs surrounding Guanaja showcase a colorful mix of hard and soft corals, and see minimal diver traffic as compared to the Bay Islands of Utila and Roatan.
The waters of Guanaja are populated by hundreds of varieties of colorful tropical fish such as this yellowtail damselfish.
The waters of Guanaja are populated by hundreds of varieties of colorful tropical fish such as this yellowtail damselfish.
A diver surveys the propeller of the Jado Trader, which is one of Guanaja's signature wreck dives.
A diver surveys the propeller of the Jado Trader, which is one of Guanaja's signature wreck dives.

The Packages

We worked with Dunbar Rock to create special one-week dive and accommodation packages. Included in these packages are three daily dives, unlimited nitrox, three daily meals and afternoon snacks, use of kayaks and wave runners, boat transfers to and from Guanaja Airport, and any tours conducted by Dunbar Rock staff including snorkel tours, picnic lunches, trips to the beach and tours of Bonacca Town. Guests can choose a spacious room or upgrade to the luxurious Presidential or Penthouse suites. Ready for a memorable diving adventure at the Caribbean's only land-based liveaboard? Give us a call at 800-330-6611 or email us at sales@caradonna.com to learn more.