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, HONDURAS - 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 , daily 3-tank boat dives, 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, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Valid 8/1/17-12/31/17 & 8/1/17-12/31/18. Add $89 per person for travel through 7/31/17 & 1/1/18-7/31/18. Book by 6/30/17. *Price includes discount and averaged between two divers.
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From $892 per person double diver

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Utila Lodge

UTILA, HONDURAS - 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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Hotel Guanaja

GUANAJA - DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights private beachfront accommodations, 10 dives, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, complimentary use of snorkel gear, kayaks and paddleboard, hotel tax and service charges,
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From $1,275 per person double diver

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Utila Lodge

UTILA - 7-NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes air-conditioned ocean view accommodations, 3 meals daily, 6 days of 3 boat dives daily including 2 night dives, welcome cocktail, complimentary bottle of wine, free WiFi, whale shark presentation and roundtrip airport transfers.
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From $1,335 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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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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Resorts

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Hotel Guanaja

GUANAJA - If 'green' is good, then Hotel Guanaja is your destination. Whether it is the green of the meticulously planted local fruit trees and indigenous flora sheltering your private cabana, or the green of our fifteen-year beach and shore reparation project, Hotel Guanaja's design and inspiration is Guanaja itself, the most pristine of the Bay Islands.
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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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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

The three primary members of the Bay Islands group—Guanaja, Roatan and Utila, run in a roughly east-west line with deep waters of the Continental Shelf to the north, and the coast of Honduras some 20 to 30 miles to the south and west. With more than 300 named dive sites to choose from, divers have a seemingly overwhelming number of options. By looking at the big picture, it's possible to gain a basic understanding of what to expect. All three islands share similar underwater topographies, with minor variations in diversity. In general, their northern coasts are flanked by walls that begin at depths of 30 to 40 feet and drop to depths of more than a half mile. This area marks the southern end of the Great Mesoamerican reef system. On Guanaja and Roatan this drop begins a quarter to half a mile from shore, with shallow lagoons in between. On Utila, the walls come closer to shore. These walls are often riddled with swim-throughs, pinnacles and caverns, perhaps carved when sea levels were lower during the last ice age. These formations become more pronounced as you move east, with Guanaja having some of the most dramatic underwater terrains. The Bay Islands sustain some of the highest marine biodiversity in the Caribbean. Healthy hard and soft coral growths support a range of marine life along the walls, while their proximity to open water means an increased chance of sighting passing pelagics such as sharks, dolphin and rays. Utila is also known for the seasonal sightings of whales sharks, and dive operators will sometimes use surface intervals to head into deeper water in hopes of a bonus encounter. The island's southern shores are typified by gentle to moderate slopes that begin close to shore, then become steeper and sometimes vertical as they drop to depths of 100 to 150 feet to meet the coastal plain that extends to the mainland. Southern sites can be calmer, as they are not exposed to seasonal north winds, but don't always display the same stellar clarity. This is most noticed in summer and fall when rains swell mainland rivers and push nutrient-dense waters out from the coast. One benefit of this seasonal flow is the prolific soft coral and sponge growth that is characteristic of south-shore sites. On deeper sections of the slope, giant barrel sponges can grow to person size, and sea fans stretch broader than arms width. These reefs support a wide range of Caribbean reef fish, from grunts to groupers, damselfish, spotted drums, pufferfish, trunkfish, creole wrasse and parrotfish, plus smaller finds such as seahorses, cleaner shrimp and a range of invertebrates. The coastal plateau beyond the islands contains a number of pinnacles and seamounts that rise to support colonies of coral and sponges. Day trips from Roatan also bring divers to the small islands of the Cayos Cochinos, which sit within a marine park, and offer some of the most pristine dive sites in the region.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements

Entry Requirements: All U.S. citizens are required to present a valid passport. The passport must be valid for 6 months beyond your date of entry into Honduras. Proof of onward or return ticket is required. No visa is required. Exit Requirements: Effective Feb 15, 2015, all persons leaving Honduras pay an International Departure tax of approx $32 U.S. and $13 U.S. which should be included in your international airline ticket taxes.

Immunizations

Vaccinations are not required for entry into Honduras. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.gov.

Culture and Customs

While the Bay Islands are similar below the waterline, they offer distinctly different personalities above. Guanaja is a land removed, where small dive lodges perch on wooded slopes and boats are a primary means of transportation—the island has only one road. Some ten miles to the west, Roatan offers a far more developed take on island life, with first-class resorts and a well-developed dive and tourism infrastructure. The island's west end is the center of nightlife, with waterfront eateries and lively bars. A few miles to the west, the island of Utila is the hippie stepchild, where divers and backpackers mingle in open-air beach bars. The islands have a colorful history. They were a haven for French, English and Dutch pirates, who ventured forth to launch raids of Spanish treasure galleons. Spanish and British colonists made several unsuccessful attempts at colonization and fought one another for possession. The islands became a refuge for black Caribes—mixed descendants of African slaves and Arawak Indians—who were forcefully displaced from the eastern Caribbean by the British. This exodus became the foundation of the Garifuna culture, which still features prominently in island traditions of song, dance and language. Equally influential are the English-speaking settlers who arrived from the Cayman Islands. Today, the population is a convivial mix of Aboriginal, Spanish and English cultures, with international accents from travelers who come from around the globe to swim in bright Caribbean waters or explore the treasures below.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electricity in Honduras is 110 volts, 60 cycles, the same as in the United States. Some outlets are 2 prongs, so you may need an adapter for any items that require a 3 prong plug. The country code for Honduras is 504. Check with your cell phone provider for international data and cell service plans and costs. WiFi is available at many resorts.

Water Quality

Many hotels offer purified water, but bottled water is recommended for drinking and brushing teeth.

Language & Currency

Spanish is the official language, known as Honduran Spanish which is similar to that of Nicaragua and El Salvador, however, English is widely spoken. The local currency is the Lempira (HNL or locally referred to as LPs) but U.S. dollars and major credit cards are accepted in most places. Check the currency rate here.

Time

Honduras is on Central Standard Time which is 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-6 GMT). Honduras does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

Location, Size and Population

Honduras is situated in the north-central part of Central America. It has a Caribbean and a Pacific Coastline. To the west is Guatemala, to the South is El Salvador and to the East is Nicaragua. Honduras is the second largest country in Central America, over 43,000 square miles. The main capital is Tegucigalpa. Some of our featured destinations include islands located off mainland Honduras known as the Bay Islands, including Roatan (approx. 32 square miles), Guanaja (19.31 square miles) and Utila (17.37 square miles).

The population of Honduras is just over 8 Million, with close to 65,000 living in Roatan, 4,160 living in Utila (2015), and 5,538 living in Guanaja (2015).