The Bay Islands of Honduras—Roatan, Utila & Guanaja— serve up a quintessential mix of Caribbean dive experiences with near shore shallows to plunging drop-offs and wrecks where divers can spend hours searching for cryptic marine life

Walls, Reefs, Wrecks and Fish—The Total Package

The Bay Islands of Honduras—Roatan, Utila and Guanaja— serve up a quintessential mix of Caribbean dive experiences. There are near shore shallows where divers can spend hours searching for cryptic marine life, sheltered lagoons and coastal slopes where hard corals harbor a colorful range of reef fish and sponge-covered walls that plunge into the depths. There are wreck dives, drift dives, night dives, shark dives and, for the lucky, an encounter with the biggest fish in the sea—the whale shark. The three primary islands of the group have distinctly different personalities, allowing divers to choose between first-class resorts or laid-back dive lodges.

Highlights

  • Best for: All divers
  • Best season to visit: Year round
  • Weather: Tropical climate with drier winters, passing summer showers and more frequent rains from October through December. Temperatures range from the 70s to summertime highs near 90

Honduras Information

About Diving in Honduras

Though each of the three primary islands has its own topside personality, the seascapes are similar. Beyond coastal shallows dominated by grass beds and patch reefs, north-shore sites typically transition to walls that drop to great depths. Sites on the southern shores feature moderate to steep slopes, spur-and-groove formations and mini-walls to a depth beyond 130 feet, with offshore pinnacles rising from the sandy plateau that stretches to the mainland. Many of these walls and slopes are cut by intricate crevices, swim-throughs and canyons.

Diving in Honduras Tips

The walls and slopes that surround the Bay Islands are ideal for multi-level dive profiles, both with air and Nitrox mixtures. By starting deep then working shallow, divers can enjoy longer bottom times with a margin of safety and spend added time in the shallows searching out the many small creatures that hide among the crevices and coral heads.

Best Places to Dive in Honduras

Famous sites such as Mary's Place offer narrow canyons crowded with sea fans, black coral trees and marine life. Half Moon Bay Wall adds giant orange elephant ear sponges. Toon Town is a favorite for macro life and the signature blue bell tunicates.  At Jim's Silverlode divers navigate tunnels filled with thousands of silverside sardines. Offshore pinnacles such as the Black Hills showcase dense coral covers. Favorite wrecks include the Odyssey, El Aquadilla, Haliburton and Jado Trader. Cara a Cara puts you face-to-face with gray reef sharks. Water temperatures have moderate seasonal variations between 78 and 83 degrees.

What to Pack for Diving in Honduras

A skin suit to 3mm full suit. If visiting in winter, add a cover-up for days with north winds. Bring a light not only for night dives but also to illuminate crevices during the day.

Specials

Dive

Anthonys Key Resort

ROATÁN - 2 FOR 1 DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night hill standard accommodations, 6 days of 3-tank boat dives, 2 one-tank night boat dives, shore diving during shop hours, buoyancy control workshop, welcome drink, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, entrance to Roatan Museum, day excursion to Maya Key, Island Fiesta Night on the key, kayaking and stand-up paddle boards, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 10/6/17 & 10/21/17-12/31/17. *Discount included and averaged between two divers. Snorkel Package options also available.
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From $845 per person double diver

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Turquoise Bay Dive & Beach Resort

ROATÁN - BUY ONE GET ONE 50% OFF DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night gardenview accommodations, 17 boat dives including 1 night boat dive and 1 day of south diving, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily including non-alcoholic beverages, use of non-motorized watersports, horseback riding, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 7/31/17. Book by 5/31/17. *Price includes discount and averaged between two divers.
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From $981 per person double diver

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Utila Lodge

UTILA - 7-NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night oceanview accommodations, 6 days of 3-tank boat dives including 2 night boat dive and reef fee, unlimited shore diving, welcome cocktail, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, complimentary bottle of wine, WiFi, use of kayaks, whale shark presentation, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Valid through 1/31/18.
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From $1,490 per person double diver

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Packages

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CoCo View Resort

ROATAN - DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights oceanfront accommodations, 6 days of up to 4 boat dives daily, unlimited shore diving, 3 meals daily including 1 private cay BBQ, complimentary use of ocean kayaks and non-motorized watersports, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges.
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From $1,445 per person double diver

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Turquoise Bay Dive & Beach Resort

ROATÁN - DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night gardenview accommodations (+$100 pp for oceanview), 3-tank daily boat dives including 1 night boat dive, 1 day of south diving, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily including non-alcoholic beverages, use of non-motorized watersports, horseback riding, WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $1,070 per person double diver

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Anthonys Key Resort

ROATÁN - 2 FOR 1 DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 night hill standard accommodations, 6 days of 3-tank boat dives, 2 one-tank night boat dives, shore diving during shop hours, buoyancy control workshop, welcome drink, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, entrance to Roatan Museum, day excursion to Maya Key, Island Fiesta Night on the key, kayaking and stand-up paddle boards, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid through 10/6/17 & 10/21/17-12/31/17. *Discount included and averaged between two divers. Snorkel Package options also available.
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From $845 per person double diver

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Resorts

Dive

Anthonys Key Resort

ROATÁN - Anthonys Key Resort offers all-inclusive dive vacations on the world’s second largest barrier reef. Three meals a day, three daily dives, night dives, dolphin encounters, kayaking, new pool on the key, and much more!
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From $845 per person double occupancy

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CoCo View Resort

ROATAN - CoCo View Resort is a 26-room property and one of the top-rated dive resorts in the Caribbean. Custom dive boats take you to the best sites around Roatan. The incredible "Front Yard" shore diving is incomparable in variety and accessibility.
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Villa on Dunbar Rock

GUANAJA - Each of eight suites includes a full bath with walk-in shower, queen bed, air conditioning, ceiling fans, and a private balcony. Join us in the dining room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's all included.* After a long day of diving, relax in the living room with a dvd or at the rooftop bar and take in a panoramic island sunset.
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From $1,709 per person double diver

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Mayan Princess Beach & Dive Resort

ROATÁN - This resort is a paradise for divers, snorkelers and beach lovers, located on West Bay Beach, it offers a spectacular setting for your vacation getaway. One of the last great Caribbean destinations, Roatan offers the ultimate access to the world's second largest barrier reef system.
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From $ per person double diver

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Turquoise Bay Dive & Beach Resort

ROATÁN - Turquoise Bay is one of the more exclusive resorts on the island, this is where you come to unwind and get away from it all. Boasting one of Roatan’s only completely private beaches; 500 feet of pristine white sand shores just for you.
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Utila Lodge

UTILA - Scuba divers from all over the world come to Utila for its world-class diving. Utila is located on one of the world's largest barrier reefs - second only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Utila offers endless opportunities for boat, wall and shore diving as its surrounded by clear warm waters, corals and abundant marine life.
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From $1,490 per person double diver

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Diving in Honduras

There are more than 25 dive sites around the Gulf of Papagayo within a half-hour boat ride of dive centers. Many of these sites feature shallow to mid-range profiles sites and are suitable for divers of all skill levels, as strong currents or surge are rare. At Mirador, white tip sharks can be found resting on ledges and in a shadowy cave. Nearby waters teem with schools of grunts, snapper, king angelfish, and sergeant majors. The rock spire known as Monkey Head drops sharply into the water to create steep cliffs frequented by passing schools of eagle rays and stingrays. The submerged pinnacle at Meros was named for its resident goliath grouper but more often holds small creatures. The rocky fingers of Punta Argentina are also home to a variety of small finds such as nudibranchs and frogfish, while the waters overhead are clouded by swarms of schooling tropical fish. The big ticket dives in the area take place on two island groups located to the south and north. The Catalina archipelago includes 20 small volcanic islands are famous for giant Pacific mantas with wingspans of up to 20 feet. The months from January to March are considered prime time for schooling mantas, but they may be present throughout the year. These same waters hold an impressive array of the manta's smaller cousins. Cow-nose rays show up in schools of 100 or more, along with groups of spotted eagle rays and mobula rays, plus turtles and shoals of horse-eye jacks. Seasonal upwellings of nutrient-rich waters also bring in spinner dolphins, pilot whales and the occasional whale shark. During surface intervals, it's common to see rays leaping from the water in what is thought to be an attempt to rid themselves of parasites. Because water conditions and currents in the Catalinas can change quickly, it is recommended that divers have some experience in open-water boat diving. Also within range of dive operators in the Gulf of Papagayo are the Bat Islands. Located offshore of Santa Rosa National Park, these islands are a protected marine reserve that holds dense populations of fish, along with many of the same big animals as the Catalinas—plus one. The site known as Big Scare is one of the best places in the world to find gatherings of mature bull sharks, which can reach lengths of up to 10 feet. Trips to the Bat islands can be weather dependent and are most often scheduled in the months from May to November when there is less likelihood of westerly winds. Far to the west, more than 300 miles from the Costa Rican mainland, the Cocos Islands rise from the deep Pacific to provide a gathering point for pelagic animals. Most famous are the vast schools of hammerhead sharks that gather around the seamount of Bajo Alcyone. Other common sightings include mobula rays, dolphin and reef whitetip and silky sharks. And there is always the possibility of mantas and whale sharks. The Cocos Islands can be reached by liveaboard, with travel to the site usually taking around 36 hours. Divers who have made the trip agree that the experience is definitely worth the long boat ride.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements

A valid passport is required for entry that must be valid for the length of stay. No visa is required for stays less than 90 days. The passport must have at least one blank page for the Costa Rica entry stamp. There is a departure tax of approximately $29 U.S. which should be included in your international ticket. Check the entry/exit requirements here.

Immunizations

There are no immunizations required for entry into Costa Rica, although you should check with your doctor and with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for other recommendations.

Culture and Customs

Costa Rica is known as the safest and most prosperous country in Central America. It is home to a large community of North American ex-pats, but also retains its distinctly Latin culture, which includes a relaxed attitude to schedules that is known as “Tico time.” Laid back is not the same as uncaring, however, and Costa Ricans are known for taking pride in their appearances and their work. A well-developed road system connects major destinations, but much of the country's central highlands remain wild and protected within national parks. Within a day's drive of beach resorts at Guanacaste lie the slopes of Arenal Volcano, the Monteverde Cloud Forest and Palo Verde National Park. Costa Rica is the eco-adventure capital of the Caribbean. Surfers come from around the world to ride famous breaks from Witch's Rock to Pavones. Coastal lodges are filled with fishermen seeking light tackle challenges with roosterfish or tugs of war with a marlin. Forests draw birders, hikers and naturalists, and there are more than a dozen rivers offering whitewater rafting thrills. More relaxing experiences await at hot springs, where spa treatments and soaks in mineral-rich volcanic water provide a soothing end to an active day.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

The standard in Costa Rica is the same as in the United States: 110 volts AC (60 cycles). Some electric outlets only have 2 prong sockets, so an adapter may be needed for 3 prong plugs.

Costa Rica has an excellent phone system, and the country code for dialing is 506. Check with your cell phone provider for international data and voice plans and costs.

Many resorts and restaurants offer WiFi.

Water Quality

Although the water in Costa Rica is generally safe to drink, water quality varies in some cities. It would be best to use bottled water and avoid ice.

Language & Currency

Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, but English is widely spoken. The Costa Rican currency is called the “colon”. Check the current exchange rate here. Many businesses will accept U.S. Dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted.

Time

Costa Rica is on Central Standard Time, 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-6 GMT). Costa Rica does not use daylight saving time, so the time difference is an additional hour April through October.

Location, Size and Population

Costa Rica is located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua (to the north) and Panama (to the south). Costa Rica encompasses a total of 19,700 square miles (51,100 square kilometers).

The population of Costa Rica is 4.9 Million (2015) with approximately 350,000 living in the province of Guanacaste.