If you’re planning a dive trip to Roatan, you’ve probably been scouring the underwater world online to find out which dive sites are going to be on your Roatan diving bucket list. Well, guess what? I’m going to tell you about the sites that you aren’t going to see plastered all over ScubaBoard forums from the dive nerds, or in your prematurely-worn Lonely Planet. And I’m here to tell you that Mary’s Place, the Prince Albert and El Aguila wrecks and Dolphin Den are cool, but they have been taken over by ‘dive tourists’ who are just interested in checking a famous site off their list – these are the same people diving the garbage Blue Hole who will tell you how ‘super awesome’ the dive was and how much ‘insane stuff’ they saw there. (FYI, there’s a whole lot of nothing in the Blue Hole except too many Japanese Discover Scuba Diving students down at 145ft getting ready to have an accident.)
I’ve dove all over Roatan as a dive professional, and I’m here to tell you the sites that won’t be overrun with hordes of these ‘site junkies’ looking for their next fix. These are sites are best for real divers – those of you who don’t lay down on the coral to take photos, who don’t suck down your air faster than a fat kid inhaling a Whopper, who don’t try and ride the turtles – but I’ve noted where new/novice/not good divers can join in as well. Happy bubbles!
1. The Odyssey Wreck
What: this intentionally-sunk 300′ freighter is way cooler than the El Aguila in West End – it’s bigger, in better shape and has a full 7-story stern to explore (and some sweet indoor places to check out inside if you’ve got your wreck specialty). If you have good buoyancy (like actually good), you can wind up the back outside staircase – check for the turtle who likes to hang out there around 100′ near the table and chairs. It has a resident green moray eel, just like El Aguila, but due to its distance from West End/West Bay, you won’t find every shop in town sitting on it all day long.
Who: sorry air-hogs and 60′ Open Water divers… this one is for Advanced Open Water divers only due to depth (the wreck is at 107′).
2. Moray Lagoon
What: not many people know this wall near Pristine Bay, but it’s a macro-lovers dream. In one dive here we found 8 lettuce leaf slugs, a seahorse, and 2 red-tipped sea goddesses within 15 minutes. It also has a vertical wall for those of you who like to pretend you’re flying out in the blue (weirdos). And obviously there’s morays there… why do you think we called it Moray Lagoon?
Who: y’all can take the kiddies, newly certified divers and the terrible divers on this one. It’s nice and shallow at the top.
3. Seaquest Deep
What: don’t get pissed if you get taken here because there’s new or training divers on the boat with you. Seaquest Deep is a killer site if you slow the eff down and LOOK. The massive sandy patches have tons of tiny creatures in them, plus rays and turtles. Check out my video below… divers who don’t know any better cruised right over all the ‘sticks’ in the sand – but they were pipehorses, and one was pregnant. Badass.
Who: everyone can enjoy this site, but smart divers will go slow at the back of the group and look for the little stuff.
What: the best damn secret on the north side. Rockstar’s location means very few shops dive it – it’s a little too far from West End/West Bay, and pretty far for the dive shops farther east. This site is worth bribing your chosen dive shop with food, money, or a case of Salva Vida to take you out to Rockstar. Named after some hard-partying homeowners at Palmetto Bay Plantation, Rockstar has incredible topography – trenches, pinnacles, shear vertical walls and lush soft coral gardens. Free-swimming nurse sharks, morays, spotted eagle rays and seahorses can be found here. Pods of wild dolphins are often sighted during the boat ride. You’ll come up from this dive feeling like a gangster. Bring your GoPro and make your friends jealous.
Who: divers who know what they’re doing will appreciate this killer site more, but anyone can do it since the plateau is at 15-20′. Also, your grandma can come and snorkel while you’re diving, because it’s nice & easy snorkeling. She’ll probably see a turtle and then you’ll be the favorite grandkid. Extra cookies!!
5. The Point
What: probably the best dive site on Roatan. Absolutely insane – you get in on the south side of the island and let the current blow you around the point of the island (get it?) back to the north side, through the dive site next to it called Texas…and everything is bigger in Texas (see the giant barrel sponges in my video). The north and south sides of the island have different kinds of diving so to see both in one dive is super rad. This is one of the few dives sites on Roatan where hammerhead sharks have been sighted on rare occasions. HAMMERHEADS YOU GUYS.
Who: I’m gonna give it to you straight – if you suck at diving, are a new diver, are out of shape or aren’t certified past 60′, this dive is NOT for you. Sorry. There is a significant current, the dive is relatively deep and it’s easy to get separated from the group if you’re not careful and end up out to sea. You’ll note in my video below we’re doing a staff dive at this site…it’s all the instructors from the shop on the dive. It’s not a site every diver gets to visit. But if there are enough good divers at the shop where you’re diving, ask to go to The Point. You won’t regret it.