Honduras is Central America’s second-biggest country, with much of its territory still of untouched natural beauty. Maya ruins, colonial villages, jungle-covered mountains, white-water rivers, and exotic species of animals are just some of the things that should get you excited about visiting this picturesque country. Honduras’ sandy coasts are fringed by the second-largest barrier reef in the world and offer fantastic opportunities for watersports such as snorkeling and scuba diving.
The Bay Islands of Honduras – part of the Meso American Barrier Reef, are home to over 95% of the coral and fish species in the Caribbean. Each island offers something slightly different, but there’s one thing you can be sure of – you’ll enjoy great diving conditions regardless of destination. However, Roatán and Utila enjoy a good reputation within the diving communities and that’s where most divers flock to.
Whether you’re after shallow and colorful dives that provide a tropical range of reef fish or plunging walls that you to great depths, you’ll find it in Honduras. Plus, it’s one of the best places to spot the biggest fish in the sea: whale sharks.
Diving along a huge overhang in Utila. Photo by Zen Diving
The best time to dive the Bay Islands is April and May. The rainy season runs from October to January and you can expect visibility to drop during this period. Nonetheless, you can dive the islands year-round because there’s little temperature variation between seasons.
The water temperature warms above 25° C/78° F and peaks at about 28° C/82° F in July-September.
Water visibility in Honduras reaches up to 45 meters/150 feet during peak season and drops below 30 meters/100 feet during the rainy season.
The currents are generally mild on most dive sites, but there are certain locations where you can enjoy a good drift dive.
Arguably where the best diving in Central America occurs, Roatan is a superb island with beautiful coral reefs, impressive walls, intriguing shipwrecks, and a variety of marine life that includes some of the big fish in the sea. With over 100 dive sites of all depths, this is a place where both novice and experienced divers will thoroughly enjoy. Don’t miss out on diving El Aguila, a ship that was sunk on purpose to become an artificial reef. It is a safe wreck and the big holes cut specifically for penetration allow advanced divers to explore its insides. The Odyssey and Prince Albert, both covered in coral growth and home to many species of resident fish, are also worthwhile.
Utila is the smallest of the Bay Islands but still boasts over 80 dive sites. Hawksbill turtles, dolphins, eagle rays, and the amazing whale sharks are just some of the things that make diving around this little island an amazing experience.
The southern side of the island offers shallow, fringing reefs with vibrant coral coverage and high density and diversity of fish. Don’t miss out on diving the Black Hills dive site while you’re here.
The north side, on the other hand, is more exposed to the open ocean and features encounters with bigger animals such as different species of sharks and barracudas. The northern side is also suitable for technical divers that can explore the deep cavern and caves with interesting stalactites.
Not as popular as Roatan or Utila, Guanaja is a hidden gem with pristine waters and secluded beaches. The island’s fringing reef is a protected marine reserve that sees few divers, but this also means that the corals are in very good condition. The dive sites are diverse and include everything from pinnacles and lava tunnels to wrecks. And speaking of wrecks, one of the most interesting dive sites for experienced divers visiting Guanaja is the Jado Trader, an old refrigerator trader that’s filled with coral growth and teeming with marine life.