Roatan Dive Sites

Visit Our Favorite Dive Sites!

The island of Roatan, in the Western Caribbean, features scuba diving at its best. Thousand-foot walls festooned with deep water gorgonians, coral gardens and barrel sponges, pillar coral, 60-foot deep ledges crowded with blackcap basslets, mini-walls clustered with bluebell tunicates, pinnacles overgrown with azure vase sponges, and shy indigo hamlets peering from niches are all aspects of scuba diving in Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras.

Only a 5-10 minute boat ride away, you will find spur/canyon configurations, coral gardens, ledges, overhangs, caverns, and vertical fissures. Miles of reef leave scuba diving in Roatan uncrowded and many areas have yet to be explored by visitors. Large groupers and moray eels are a common sight. On any given dive around Roatan, one might see a hawksbill turtle or spotted eagle ray gracefully gliding by. Roatan’s reefs are so extensive that it would take months of daily scuba diving to see each known segment.

Sound exciting? Come and dive Roatan’s reefs yourself. Our experienced Divemasters and Instructors are waiting to show you their favorite dive sites.

The following are only a few of the dive sites on Roatan’s north side. There are many more. All the sites can be dived or snorkeled by beginners as well as experienced divers, with slight modifications in dive plans based on experience and comfort level.  Inform your Divemaster about your experience level prior to the dive.

The Underground / Turquoise Bay Channel / Turquoise Bay Wall

Whether you’re looking for a deep dive, a wall dive or an exceptional diveside_underground_tchannel_twall
swim through, this site offers a variety of dive options all from the same starting point. With a buoy marker on the reef crest at 35ft, one choice is to go west and follow the gradually descending wall. However, heading east from the buoy and following the contour of the reef on your right, will soon turn you facing south towards the beach and lead you into the entrance of Turquoise Channel. The channel divesite underground tchannel twall small itself is about 70ft wide with walls on either side that reach down to depths of 100ft. Here you can find Sea Rods and encrusting corals along a rock and moss bottom with inconsistent visibility that can sometimes be murky due to the mixing of lagoon water with the ocean. If you continue to follow the channel far to the south, you will eventually encouter a sandy bottom at 15ft spotted with Sea Stars and turtle grass. To find the “Underground” portion of this site, you enter Turquoise Channel the same way by heading south from the buoy. After about 10mins you will find the entrance to a swim thru at 30ft on the right, for which you’ll want to have a flashlight handy. Considering its topography, length, and the way the light penetrates in certain places, this special swim thru is definitely worth a look. Depths inside range from 25-30ft as you travel parallel to the wall, and there are a couple of opportunities to exit out to the channel along the way if you so desire. However, you’ll probably want to travel to the end of the swim thru where it suddenly opens up wide to the outer wall giving way to interesting rock formations and extraordinarily large examples of soft corals.

Experience required: Beginner.  Intermediate for swim throughs.

Dolphin’s Graveyard / Dolphin’s Den

The site got its name because of several founds of Dolphin bones. The last one in the summer of 2007 where a pod of 13 bottlenose dolphins swam into the cavern, got trapped and drowned. The most common explanation of the tragic event is that the dolphins followed a school of silversides into the cavern and got disoriented in the thick cloud of baitfish. Dolphin’s Graveyard is a spectacular site that provides divers with a choice of routes that vary in light penetration and surface access. Approaching this site from the inner buoy, you will find yourself at a large sandy area at a depth of 15ft where you often see Giant Anemones, Upsidedown Jellies and turtle Grass. Heading north from the buoy, the coral walls guide you into the entrance of the channel, greeting you with large schools of Silversides at a depth of 25ft. Here the channel splits and you can choose to go right or left. Keeping to the right, the channel is more illuminated and maintains more surface access. Opting to go left will take you into short but dark caverns where a flashlight is required to navigate your way through and see what’s inside. Both paths offer overhangs to explore with an opportunity to see the Channel Clinging Crab and Greeen Moray eels that frequent this site. divesite_dolphinsden The paths join together in an illuminated chamber that reaches a depth of 40ft. From here you can continue north to follow the open and illuminated path, or turn left into the darkest chamber where you can find the diminishing remains of a dolphin skeleton. Continuing north, the paths reunite again and lead to a narrow rock-lined channel at 15ft that grdually opens to the reef with walls that extend almost completely to the surface. Here you can find examples of Bluehead Wrasse, Juvenile Striped Parrotfish and Red Fuzz Algae. This channel can serve a s an entry or expit point to Dolphin’s Den depending on where you begin and end your dive. Continuing north from here will lead you the outer buoy and a gradually sloped reef face at 30ft covered with soft corals, Notched Blade and Cryptinc Algae, with possible sightings of Harlequin Bass and Trumpetfish.

Experience required: Intermediate

Cemetery Wall

Receiving its name from the Punta Gorda cemetery that overlooks this site or also known as Yubu due to the nightclub nearby, Cemetery wall is a good example divesite_cemeterywall of the kinds of terrain you will find in the northeastern region of the island. Dropping in at the buoy at a depth of 20ft, you will immediately notice the amount of Elkhorn Coral present. Following the wall down will lead you to an expansive sand patch at 60ft with small coral heads containing Sea Rods, Finger Coral and divesite cemeterywall small Encrusting Lettuce Voral. Typically this is not a site for deep dives, but if you’re looking for more depth, you can continue north accross the sand patch until you eventually encounter more reef covered with soft corals, Azure Vase sponge and Star Corals that gradually descends past 80 and 90ft. Opting to stay shallow and following the wall to the west will lead you to fun channels to explore at about 40ft deep with walls that reach up to 15ft at the top. Here along the rocky bottom you can find Saucer Leaf Hanging Vine that have the kind of light penetration that makes for a kind of cathedral effect. On your way back to the buoy marker you can easily follow the top of the reef for a safety stop where additionally this could also be a good site for snorkeling due to the shallow depths.

Experience required: Beginner to intermediate

Keyhole

divesite keyhole small Characteristic of channels you’ll find on Roatan where lagoon water mixes with the ocean and tides have eroded deep channels into the reef, Key Hole / Gully Galore offers an impressive display of topography with ample wall space and overhangs to explore. Even though there is an outer buoy that can be used as an entrance and exit point, you may find it preferable to be let off at the inner reef indicated by the GPS coordinates shown, and then head out towards the buoy the exit there. Starting form the inner area and heading north, you will begin at a 30ft deep sand bottom containing turtle grass and Pine Cone algae. The reef walls guide you into the channel that gradually descends to a depth of 100ft with impressive walls on either side of you that reach all the way to the surface. Even though the focus of this site is the excellent topography, keep your eyes open for sightings of Banded Butterflyfish, Fan Worms, Small Leaf Hanging Vine and Star Coral. For advanced divers there is a swim thru in the channel at 90-100ft, divesite_keyhole and for everyone there is a set of 3 swim thrus to the right at 50ft and another one at 30ft on the left. Be sure to look in the tight spaces for a possible sighing of the elusive toadfish. The lagoon water mixed with seawater along with the high walls that block the sunlight can sometimes make for cloudy visibility in this channel, giving this site an eerie setting. However, as you make a gradual ascent towards the reef wall and the outer buoy at 35ft, the water quickly clears up as if exiting a smoky room. Near the buoy, the channel widens and opens to the reef where you can find a variety of soft corals such as Plumes and Rods as well as schools of Black Durgon and Yellowtail Snapper. With a reef crest at 20ft, this is a great area for a safety stop as you finish up your dive.

Experience required: Beginner to intermediate

The Garden of Eden

A favorite among visitors to the northeastern region, Rockstar and Garden of Eden are known for their unique topography and impressive displays of marine life. With the Rockstar buoy marker located at a depth of 15ft at the very edge of the reef wall, you can divesite_gardenofeden opt to drop down into a large trench at 60ft where you’ll find a substantial overhang at the base of the wall running west to east. Inside the overhang there are distinctive sponges that appear to be divesite gardenofeden small fluorescent in color as if someone were shinning a black light on them. Leaving the overhang you remain in the trench formed by the main wall on one side of you, and pinnacle-shaped coral structures distributed parallel to the wall on the other side. These pinnacles reach heights of 45ft up to 25ft, giving you the feeling of being surrounded by coral as you navigate your way through. The north sides of the pinnacles give way to a gradual descent in the event you would like to explore a bit deeper and farther out where you can find examples of Vase, Striated, Rope and Encrusting Spnges. Continuing east will bring you to a shallower area loaded with a wide variety of sponges and corals, which is why this area is called the Garden of Eden. Amongst the high concentration of soft corals here, keep an eye out for Slender Filetfish and Trumpetfish that like to hide in heavily covered areas such as this. Nearing the buoy marker for Garden of Eden at a depth of 25ft you’ll find Pilar, Brain and Lettuce Coral, and perhaps schools of Black Durgon, Seargeant Majors, and Wrasses.

Experience required: Beginner to intermediate

The Sponges

At this amazing wall you can find many different sponges and corals including huge barrel sponges and spectacular pillar corals. The drop-off is at 60 feet and drops to 180 feet. Very often there are turtles, nurse-sharks and eagle rays passing by, as well as morays. During the dive it is common to find several cleaning stations, and the safety stop has some beautiful elk horn.
Depth range: 5 – 40 meter (15 – 130 feet)

Experience required: Beginner

Big Bight

A cool wall dive to the west of the mooring which sits in about 40ft of water and just under the buoy there are a few swim throughs which can be fun at the end of the dive. The wall starts at around 15ft and goes down to 60ft near the mooring further west it goes beyond 140ft the wall has a lot of sponges and look out for lobsters and crabs in the crevices. Large grouper are often spotted along with barracuda and some times the odd turtle or eagle ray can be seen. To the east of the buoy the wall is a little more sloping and in the sandy areas at around 90ft nurse sharks have been seen under the reef skirts.

Experience required: Beginner

Barracuda

A top site with many different route to explore each new dive master has developed their own route to this site, the mooring sits in around 26ft of water with a reef shelf underneath. To the east of the mooring there is a sandy area at around 44ft depth, this ideal for training, and also spotting the occasional southern sting ray, following the sand patch to the east look out for lobsters in the base of the reef, in the reef surrounding the sand porcupine fish are often seen, carrying on north-east from the end of the sand patch takes you to an area called shark garden. Here as the name suggests we often spot nurse sharks at around 100ft. heading straight north from the mooring you come to an area of sloping reef with some great swim throughs. The sandy areas stretch down to around 90ft and nurse sharks have been spotted in this area as well. From there head west and explore the swim throughs. To return to the mooring head south and you’ll find a shallow gravel canyon area that leads to the wall follow this shallow wall at 26ft with the wall to the right, therefore heading east again to return to the boy. As the name suggest there are barracudas around this site and its quite common for you to spot one at the beginning of a dive and then for the barracuda to follow you throughout your dive.

Experience required: Beginner

Andy’s Wall

A colourful wall with soft and hard corals, often visited by groupers, schools of chubs, creole wrasse, horse-eye jacks and black durgons among others. The wall starts at 60ft, dropping to 160.
Depth range: 5 – 40 meter (15 – 130 feet)

Experience required: Beginner to intermediate

The Canyons

Pinnacles and striking formations make this a dramatic dive site to explore. Stingrays and eagle rays are commonly found cruising the sandy bottom. Look out for barracudas, midnight parrotfish and king crabs.

Experience required: Beginner

Sea Star Channel

This site is ideal as training site as we begin our dive in the sandy shallows at around 7ft, we weave our way through the shallow corral heads to the west and down into the channel. The channel has got its name from the abundance of cushioned sea stars that lye in the base of the channel, this is a good area for spotting southern sting rays which on murky days are many. Follow the channel out keeping to the slope in your right hand side the sand slope soon turns into coral heads which multiply until you reach a shallow wall at around 25ft, follow this till you reach an entrance between two coral heads which take you into a wide canyon bowl. Around the entrance we have seen eagle rays on numerous occasions. The middle of the bowl goes down to around 80ft and the topography inside changes into a rocky environment, look under the rocks for toadfish. After exploring inside the canyon bowl, take the same route back.

Experience required: Beginner

The Labyrinth

There’s something for everyone at the Labyrinth, it starts with a shallow area of 40ft perfect for beginners and slowly slopes down to 60 feet. Hidden in a big hole in the rock, a spotted drum patrols his territory among schools of glassy sweepers. The sandy canyons winding through towering rock formations provide thrilling swim-throughs.
Depth range: 5 – 18 meter (15 – 60 feet)

Experience required: Beginner, intermediate for swim-throughs

Mongoose

Mongoose is a site that like Dolphins Den takes you from the inside of the reef to the outside, the mooring sits in about 10ft of water. This dive site is an impressive canyon, and the cracks and crevices provide hiding places for many different sea creatures look out for eels and spotted drums. Also keep an eye out for rays around the entrance to mongoose as they have been frequently spotted. The site goes down to between 70 and 80ft.

Experience required: Intermediate

All dive site illustrations and texts are copyright by Ignacio Gonzalez, Roatan Dive Guide
The Roatan Dive Guide with over 60 dive sites around Roatan is available in our dive shop!