Located between the islands of Útila and Guanaja, is the largest island of the Honduras' Bay Islands called Roatán which is known for its incredible underwater landscape. Travelers from all over the world flock to this incredible island to explore the surrounding underwater landscapes and sea life. With over 25 snorkelling spots offshore from this 77km long and 8km wide island, there is an abundance of amazing coral, sea creatures, and unique formations to see. Whether you decide to grab your own snorkelling gear and explore the ocean by yourself, or join a day tour, here are 10 of the best snorkelling spots to check out during your stay on Roatán.
At the most western tip of the island is this incredible, uncrowded snorkeling spot. With divers occupying the area during the day, the site empties out after 4pm which makes way for snorkelers to explore the area before the sun goes down. With usual sightings of huge game fish like jacks and snappers, as well as a few hammerhead sharks, this site is not for the faint hearted. The reef wall drops off into a beautiful canyon which is perfect for freedivers too.
If you prefer a shore snorkel then head Jade Beach which can be accessed from the shore of Barbareta. The old coral is home to plant of sea life including zebra fish, starfish, and turtles, and the calm, lagoon-like water makes it easy for any age to snorkel in this area.
From the surface of the crystal clear water you can easily spot 20 brightly colored starfish in Starfish Alley. Snorkelers are in for an amazing experience as the further away you venture from the shoreline, the more stunning the seascape gets. Expect to see brightly colored coral schools of sergeant majors, turtles, stingrays, eels and plenty of rainbow parrotfish.
Pigeon Cay is an beautiful island located off the Eastern side of Roatán. Surrounding the island is an impressive, healthy coral reef that is home to nurse sharks, stingray and an abundance of tropical fish. The reef is accessible from the island, but is difficult to get to, and should only be accessed by strong swimmers.
The West End Beach
Located off one of the most popular beaches in Roatán, West End Beach is often crowded, but has amazing snorkeling. With an easy entrance to the barrier reef, you’ll quickly see the stunning coral formations, and small tropical fish that call this area home. From the beach you can spot the coral filled areas making it easy to find the a good snorkeling spot.
Valley of the Kings
With depths of between 5 and 130 feet, the shallow depths of Valley of the Kings is ideal for snorkeling. Only accessible by boat, the snorkel and dive spot has a wall and ledges which are lined with impressive coral pillars. You can also expect to see many sponges which are prominent in this area.
With shallow and lake-like waters, Sandy Bay makes for an amazing few hours of snorkeling. With easy access, calm water (unless the wind picks up) and crystal clear water, this snorkel spot is perfect for younger children or first time snorkelers. You’ll see a few turtles, an amazing array of tropical fish, and a healthy coral reef.
If you’re chartering a boat and want to head to a lesser known, but incredibly beautiful snorkel and dive spot, then head to Cordelia Bank which is close to the airport. With a healthy, dense coral forest, it is home to plenty of sharks and tropical fish. Heading to this snorkel spot is completely worth the trip. The area is difficult to get to, but if you can head out that way, then do so.
Half Moon Bay
With a large variety of marine life including turtles, shrimp, octopus, sharks, stingrays, eels, soft coral and an abundance of fish, Half Moon Bay gives its visitors an awesome diving experience. The swim from the bay is easy and is the perfect place for underwater photographers to take a few close up photographs.
With butterfly fish, bass, angelfish, parrot fish, octopus, lobster, shrimp, massive spider crab, turtle and stingray all calling this channel its home, snorkelers are in for a treat. From the water's surface, the outline of the channel below can be seen, but it is not as spooky as the name suggests. The spot is only accessible via boat.