Top 5 Dive Sites In Honduras
Populated with a variety of cultures and blessed with amazing ecological diversity, Honduras is a Central American country worth traveling to and diving around. The Bay Islands offer every species of sea life found in the Caribbean all in one place. But there's more, much more. For diving enthusiasts who enjoy underwater photography, there may not be a better location for shooting videos or photos of corals, plants, and sea life. When Christopher Columbus named the region "Honduras", meaning Deep Water, he knew what he was talking about. Whale Sharks, schools of Hammerheads and reef sharks, and a tremendous variety of both large and small sea creatures abound at every diving venue.
Legendary dive sites like Roatan Island in the Bay Islands and the wreck of the Jado Trader off Guanaja Island attract divers from around the world and with good reason. Stingrays, seahorses, and every variety of fish imaginable exist in abundance. Coral reefs crossing gentle plains are balanced against sea walls that drop off into a black void are just two of the amazing sights divers can enjoy. As a part of the Caribbean Barrier Reef, the warm water currents move up from the south and bring with them a wealth of sea life and vegetation that is unequaled in the Western Hemisphere.
Honduras Facts Sheet
Avg Temp: 27°C/81°F
Electric Volts: 120V
Where To Dive In Honduras?
There are hundreds of dive spots in the waters around Honduras. Every diver can find a dive site that suits their ability and interests. The most known location for scuba diving and snorkeling are the three islands that sit just off the Caribbean coast side of Honduras. The Bay Islands offer dozens of locations with attractive environments, ecology, and photo opportunities galore. There are wrecks to explore and walls to drop down. All of the diving locations have the most diverse and abundant corals, fans, plains, and reefs with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for beginners through to divemasters. With three islands to choose from, the Bay Islands offer excellent diving and vacationing opportunities.
Perhaps the most popular dive destination in Honduras, Roatan Island is the main jumping-off spot for divers seeking the best variety of dives within the closest distances. Roatan boasts numerous dive shops and dive excursion boats along with resorts and restaurants for every budget. Experienced divers can choose from a wide range of dive excursion providers and dive packages all year round.
This is the place to go if diving shipwrecks are on the bucket list. The El Aguila wreck and Haliburton wreck provide lots of exceptional sights and wildlife, Remote and private resorts offer peaceful yet exciting dive sites. Lesser-known with fewer visitors than Roatan Island, Utila Caye is a great dive spot a little off the beaten path
Opposite Utila Caye off the west end of Roatan Island, Guanaja Island has some of the most bountiful reefs and coral gardens in the region as well as the wreck of the Jado Trader to explore. Great all-around diving for any skill level from beginner to advanced divemaster. A frequent jumping-off point for many divers, Guanaja Island is the road less traveled for scuba enthusiasts but no less appreciated or enjoyed.
Tela Bay is a little off the beaten path but worth the trip. One of three towns located along Honduras’ eastern coastline, Tela provides an intimate atmosphere with old-world flavors and sights. Offshore, corals and sea life cover the gently sloping sandy contours making it an ideal environment for beginning divers. The variety of bottom conditions lets new divers discover a wide range of environments and sea life in a small area.
What are the Best Dive Sites in Honduras?
Part of the Caribbean Barrier Reef, the second largest reef on the planet, the East Coast of Honduras offers the same clear, warm waters offered by many locations around the Caribbean region. The water clarity only adds to the exciting discoveries to be found in hundreds of locations throughout Honduras’ diving universe. Choices of dive locations, beautiful resorts and destination hotels, and sumptuous food have made Honduras’ Caribbean coastline a favorite of divers and snorkelers for many years. Divers interested in cruise ship vacations take advantage of the day trips offered by local dive shop operators at the port in Mahogany Bay and Coxen Hole on Roatan Island.
Mary’s Place: Roatan
Located off of Roatan Island, Mary’s Place is a favorite dive spot with a reputation for amazing sea life both fixed and swimming. One of the best known and most popular diving locations, Mary’s Place never fails to amaze. Divers will find the environment of Mary’s Place is the embodiment of everything fun and interesting about scuba diving all in one ideal location.
What can you expect to see?
This dive takes good buoyancy control because divers enter a narrow crack in the seafloor that starts at 40 feet and continues down to over 100 feet. Lush gardens of corals, fans, and sponges line the narrow canyon walls. The reef’s inhabitants have plenty of cover so divers are advised to move slowly as they explore all the nooks and crannies. Chubbs, creole wrasse, and spotted drum fish swim among a variety of crabs, lobsters, and an occasional sea turtle or stingray. The walls are home to large barrel sponges, vase sponges, and Gorgonians.
Dive Difficulty: Intermediate-Advanced
Just like it sounds, Hole-in-the-Wall is a unique diving experience, rarely found anywhere else. This is a great dive for intermediate and experienced divers who aren’t afraid of small spaces.
What Can You Expect to See?
Another Roatan Island dive destination, the Hole is a tunnel that extends down over 100 feet to emerge at the edge of the drop off wall. Divers come away from this astonishing dive stunned by its beauty and diversity of life. Spotted Drum Fish, File Fish, and even the odd Nurse Shark could be in attendance. Starting at 40 feet, the sand tunnel through the reef offers divers an opportunity to see all types of sea life while slipping through a natural opening in the coral.
Dive Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
El Aguila Wreck: Roatan
The last of three Roatan-based dives, the El Aguila Wreck is a purposely-sunk attraction that never disappoints. Located off of Utila Caye, the wreck is home to vast quantities of fish and crustaceans.
What Can You Expect to See?
Surrounded by schools of Jackfish, Groupers, and Blue Parrotfish, this is one dive opportunity that’s hard to pass up. Experienced and novice wreck divers will find lots of interesting observations to add to their journals. The walls of the tunnel are lined with corals and anemones with Seahorses scattered among the branches of Sea Fans. Be sure to bring a bright light and a camera to capture all the colors and textures surrounding the interior surfaces
Dive Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced
Half Moon Bay Wall: Roatan
Diving down a coral wall is like going backward in time. Sealife near the water’s surface is very different from life further down. Half Moon Bay Wall offers all the levels that support biodiversity before disappearing into nothingness. The changing ecosystems provide a living laboratory for studying ecology and evolution.
What Can You Expect to See?
Right off the beach on the West End of Roatan Island, this is a great dive for any diver that seeks a chance to see all kinds of plants and animals underwater. Starting only 15 feet down and continuing until it encounters a drop off of over 150 feet. Underwater plant life includes Gorgonians, Orange Elephant Ear sponges, Flamingo Tongues, and all kinds of corals. Divers frequently encounter Moray Eels, sea turtles, lobsters, and Eagle Rays. Creole Wrasse, Blue Chromis, and schools of Groupers also inhabit the wall. Coral walls offer an environment very different from traditional coral reefs and sandy-bottom bays attracting every form of underwater life from Octopus to sharks and eels with every color and size of fish imaginable darting in and out of the corals and fans.
Dive Difficulty: Beginners to Advanced
Diving on a seamount is unlike any other diving excursion. Seamounts offer more sea life in greater abundance than any other underwater anomaly. Accessible by live-on boat operators and only available on calm weather days, this could be one of the most outstanding dives in the region. Due to its remote location, the seamount takes several hours to travel to and most excursions stay at the seamount location for up to a week at a time.
What Can You Expect to See?
Rising from hundreds of feet below to only 40 feet from the surface, this attraction isn’t easy to get to but worth the trip. Sea Mounts attract everything swimming in the ocean because the up-welling of nutrients from deep down provides a lot of food. Whale sharks, Scalloped Hammerhead sharks, and all other types of reef sharks circle in while visitors can observe many other ocean predators. Boulders, corals, and dramatic rock formations contain Wrasse and Parrotfish while Sailfish, Swordfish, and other majestic species like Tuna dart in out to feed.
Dive Difficulty: Advanced
How to Get to Honduras
Travel to and from Honduras is easy by air, land, and sea as it is located in the middle of Central America with many popular destinations for tourists and other travelers.
Travel to Honduras’ main airport at Tegucigalpa can be done from many international airports throughout the region. United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines fly from Atlanta, Georgia to Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. There is also domestic air travel available in Honduras from each of the major cities.
Roads enter Honduras from Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Traveling by vehicle can be challenging in bad weather when roads can become flooded. Roads throughout Honduras vary in quality but there is a network of roads that covers the region.
There are several ports with ferry and excursion boats that can take divers to various destinations along both the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean coasts. Boats travel to all the destination islands from Tela and La Ceiba as well as from Puerto Castilla. Dive excursion boats are available from independent dive shops as well as from resort and destination locations.
When is the Best Time to Visit Honduras
- Most divers visit and dive in Honduras from December until April during the dry season.
- The months of May and November are more humid with hotter temperatures and frequent rain showers.
- The rest of the year, June through October are subject to weather from hurricanes and tropical storms.
- Although divers can visit year-round, the best time for viewing Whale Sharks and other large sharks is March until June.
How are the Scuba Diving Conditions Honduras
The water visibility is quite good for most dive sites with divers able to see clearly for up to 100 meters. Water temperature is quite warm and wet suits are not required, but dive skins are recommended.
Currents are generally quite low except near sea mounts and at the confluence points around the ends of islands. Diving difficulty varies by site location but every level of diving skill can enjoy many sites throughout the region.
Other Things To Do in Honduras
Honduras has attracted tourists and visitors from all over the world for a long time. The tourism industry is well-developed with many interesting sites and activities to occupy time when not diving or snorkeling. Dive excursions, cruise ships, and adventure travelers all know about the bounty of Honduras’ cities, coasts, and forests.
- The ancient Mayan city of Copan offers visitors a look far back into the past.
- Visitors can see the largest rain forest outside of the Amazon along the Mosquito Coast.
- May and June see Carnival-like Mardi Gras celebrations in La Ceiba and San Pedro Sula each year.
- Adventure travelers can mountain bike, kayak, and hike through forests filled with animal and plant life unique to Honduras.