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Diving in Honduras

Tucked in the heart of Central America, Honduras is abundant in natural beauty and amazing dive sites. There are tropical rainforests to tour, rivers to raft and white sand beaches on which to lounge.

Diving in Honduras

Quick facts

The Bay Islands are nestled in the southwest corner of the Caribbean, about 48 kilometers/30 miles north of Honduras. The outstanding reef systems draw divers from all over the world, and the islands have become a veritable hive of dive activity. Part of the second largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the islands of Roatan and Utila in particular feature vibrant coral, multi colored tropical fish, sponges as big as refrigerators and pelagic species. You might see manta rays, sea turtles and, especially from mid-February to April, whale sharks. The reefs here are more diverse than rainforests. Each island offers different experiences both above and below the water. The island of Roatan is a site of pilgrimage for divers who visit Central America. Mary’s Place is widely renowned as a favorite dive site of the area, with narrow canyons and abundant wildlife. Black coral and massive waving sea fans hide in the endless crevasses. Another excellent dive is the El Aguila Wreck, a cargo ship that was sunk for divers to explore. Corals bedeck the massive ship, hosting a slew of beautiful and colorful marine life. Utila is more laid back and is a well-known destination for backpackers looking to become dive professionals. Diving is cheap and easy to come by on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, and getting your certifications here is a great idea. Not only will you get certified in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but you won’t have to break the bank in the process!

Recommended training

Take the PADI Deep Diver and PADI Wreck Diver courses for diving on the deeper walls and wrecks of the Bay Islands. The PADI Enriched Air Diver course is also a good choice as enriched air nitrox is available in the islands. Technical diving is also available, so look into PADI TecRec courses, including the PADI Rebreather Diver course, if interested.

When to go

Diving is great all year and warm tropical weather is the norm. There’s little change in temperature from winter to summer – the average being 29°C/85°F. Humidity is usually high, especially from May to September, and June through October is hurricane season in the Caribbean. Visibility is generally good in the Bay Islands, ranging from 24-45 metres/80-150 feet. However, it can drop lower during the rainy season. Furthermore, the water averages 25°C/78°F in winter and 29°C/84°F in summer.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

  • The Bay Islands

    Head to the Bay Islands off Honduras to experience encounters with whale sharks, dive at the world’s second largest barrier reef and spend quiet time on idyllic beaches.

USD 1,543Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 818Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 1,245Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 2,246Per trip
* West End Wall, Roatan – This wall starts great and gets even better as you drift along. Fish cover the top and a variety of sponges and corals cling to the side. Keep a sharp look out into the blue for schools of pelagics including eagle rays. * Dolphin Den, Roatan – This site has a network of tunnels and canyons that takes you from one side of the reef to the other. You wind through an underwater maze, illuminated with natural light filtering through crevices, which starts at 5 metres/15 feet and exits at 12 meters/40 feet. Look for eels and silversides. The dive site gets its name from a tragic incident when many dolphins became disoriented in a cave and perished. * El Aguila, Roatan – Wreck divers will enjoy visiting El Aquila, a 64-metre/210-foot cargo vessel purpose-sunk as an artificial reef. It rests at 30 metres/100 feet on a sandy bottom, which is full of garden eels. Prepared for divers before sinking, it’s easy and fun to explore the ship’s open compartments while looking for fish and moral eels. * Black Hills, Utila – Located on the southeast end of the island, the Black Hills is a seamount that starts at about 10 metres/35 feet and drops to 50 meters/165 feet on one side into a trench. You’ll see thousands of brightly covered tropical fish, but also barracuda, horse-eye jacks, and yellowtail snapper. * Halliburton, Utila – The Halliburton is a 30-metre/100-foot long supply vessel that was purpose-sunk as an artificial reef in 1998. The wreck lies in 30 metres/100 feet of water and sits upright, with the deck at 20 metres/70 feet and the bridge at 18 metres/60 feet. Marine life varies from shrimp hiding in the cracks to large schools of fish circling the bridge. * Blackish Point, Utila – The reef is made up of black volcanic rock and soft corals. Starting at 9 metres/30 feet and dropping gradually down to 24 metres/80 feet, you’ll encounter stunning overhangs and crevices that host lionfish, moray eels and huge spiny lobsters. You may even spy a big midnight parrotfish.

What to see

If you’re looking to spot a whale shark, it can be done all year, but the best chance is off the north shore of Utila from March to May and again from August to October. There are more than 300 identified fish species in Honduran waters. Divers frequently see dolphin, grouper, rays, barracuda, angelfish, butterfly fish, grunts, parrotfish, yellowtail snapper, horse-eye jack, octopus, lobsters, crabs and moray eels. Sharks of all shapes and sizes are sometimes seen on the reefs, and sea turtles stay in the shallows.

Calendar

For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Country

Gorgeous waters are found in abundance in Honduras, from the sea to rivers to waterfalls. Because of the abundance of water and rich, fertile soil, many indigenous people have lived in Honduras, including the Maya. Eventually, the land was colonized by the Spanish, but Honduras has had its independence since 1838. As such, it has had hundreds of years to develop as a nation. Today, there is a melting pot of cultures, leading to delicious and unique cuisine. While Honduras has had its share of hardship, tourism has been expanding, especially diving travel.

Other attractions

Aside from the beaches and jade islets, Honduras has a vast, interesting interior. Structures remain from ancient times, ripe for exploration. Walk around cities like Tegucigalpa to get a good idea of how locals live. Then head to the museums and parks. On Roatan, there are several zipline tours said to be some of the best in the world. You can also explore the island by horseback or visit Arch’s Iguana Farm or the Butterfly Garden. On Utila, you can enjoy a variety of other water activities other than scuba diving – kayaking, wakeboarding, kitesurfing, wind surfing, boogie boarding, etc.

Getting there

Flying into Honduras is fairly easy. The largest airport in the country is Ramon Villeda Morales Airport in San Pedro Sula. A few international flights arrive at Juan Manuel Galvez International Airport on Roatan, but most flights pass through mainland Honduras or other countries in Central America before connecting to Roatan or Utila. Traveling in and around the country is inexpensive, as well, especially if you choose to ride on the local transport. You can get to the islands from the mainland by ferry.

UTC-06:00

Time zone

HNL

Currency

+504

Calling code

120 V

Electric volt

A, 

B

Plug type

TGU

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.