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Dive Review of Roatan Divers in
Honduras/Roatan

Roatan Divers: "Plenty to see in Roatan", Jun, 2017,

by Mark Magers, CA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 23 Helpful votes). Report 9723.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The Operation
Roatan Divers is relatively new to Roatan, and is owned and operated by wife and husband Saaya and Karl, she Japanese American and he Swedish. They are very organized, communicate very well, and very accommodating and friendly. The dive staff is also great, each day there were multiple DMs aboard the 32-foot boat we were on (not certain about dimensions), with 2 x 200hp Yamahas. Fast boat, and shining new it seemed. There were also several DMs completing their training during our stay, so many hands for the work. Apparently, one of their captains was on vacation the week we were there, so pretty much all divers, of all levels, ended up on the same boat. That said, they balanced the actual teams with the several DMs, and in general we were in a dive group of 4-6 divers, never more.

RD is a “valet dive shop”, they do most of the lugging and rinsing and set-up for you. We dove with nitrox, so as per protocol did our own tank checks each dive, and the set up of regs. Pretty simple (and yes, there is a clipboard to log each tank!). The general program is to return to the shop after each dive, where there is purified water, coffee, tea, hot showers on the dock, shady spots to sit, restroom, and fish ID books to pull up that (rare) indigo hamlet you could not quite recall on the previous dive. They also have closeable (with doors) but not locked cubbies, so you can leave dry stuff there, and food or snacks if you want as well. These cubbies are well guarded by Singha the dive cat, we had no problems with security, though Singha is known for stealing drinks of purified water from random cups left unattended! The shop is also very focused on being environmentally aware, with lots of signage around about the impact of drinking bottled water (from the small bottles, that is, not the refillable 5-gallon size) to turning off lights to save angelfish (a nice play on It’s A Wonderful Life and bells and angels and wings and all…) We paid $40 per dive, including nitrox, I think based on 10+ dives.

You can learn a lot more at their website, but the experience was great and we recommend them to you. Consider asking their advice for places to stay, too, if you read on you will see why under Other Details.

The Diving
By far the best dive site we went to was the West Wall / Texas reef. The wall and reef area is a confluence of current, with numerous place having cooler water pour in with visible thermoclines. We saw large schools for larger pelagics, like crevalle and horse eye jack, plus some turtles, and an eagle ray, large mutton snapper, grouper and more. Alas, no sharks but they were likely lurking out there, with 60-ish vis (which is part of why all the critters were out feeding, I guess) we just did not see them. Great dive, though.

Overall (we visited 12 other sites)
Hard Coral - dead and covered with algae, 50+ % (more like 80+ in many sites we saw)
Soft coral / octocorals - healthy
Sponges - very healthy
Fish - pretty good, many different “sizes from tiny swarms to small to intermediate. More than once we saw decent schools (like 100s) of creole wrasse and blue chromis, blue tangs, and quite a few dinner-plate sized angels – Gray, French, and Queen. Lots of juveniles of many species.
Lots of lobsters, some of them huge.
Good number of garden eels, jawfish and razorfish (some of which battling amongst themselves, very entertaining), filefish, trunkfish. A few secretary blennies (they are tiny so probably a lot more than we saw)
Turtles -plenty-ish, guess sponges make a good buffet for them
Cleaning stations - quite a few, lots (lots of Pederson shrimp and banded coral shrimp.

Water was 84-86 degree F, we dove without wetsuits, which was nice.

Other Details
We flew from SF Bay Area, and Avianca had a great connection on the way down, n/s SFO to San Salvador, then a short hop over to Roatan, about 8 hours total. The return was about twice as long with a LONG layover in San Pedro Sula, which is not a so fun place for any layover.

For context, we spent a week on Roatan about 2003, lured by an incredible all-inclusive package from Anthony’s Key Resort, which was still recovering from Category 4 Hurricane Iris in 2001. We had never done an all-inclusive (and have yet to do one again). It was a great deal and good diving, but we regretted not venturing out to see more of the island. So this time, we rented a 2-bedroom house in Turtle Crossing via Airbnb, named Tangerine House, all in about $90 per night. Turtle Crossing is a small community on the south side of Roatan’s West End. We wanted a quiet spot, and it is indeed that. It had a full kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. It was OK for 2 people; 4 people would be pretty crowded with the single shower and toilet upstairs. It had AC in each bedroom, but they were old window units, good for white noise, and they did cool but not that effective. An additional consideration, the agreement with the property owner is that you get an allowance for electricity and water, complete with meter readings on the check-in form. They then read the meters again when you check out, and you pay, out of your deposit, whatever you used over the allowance. This is a fine arrangement to give you the right incentive to turn off lights and not run AC all day (unless you want to pay for it). Our “overage” was $14, and we were two people who never turned the hot water heater on (shut it off at the breaker, cool showers were preferred in the heat anyway), and only ran the AC for 7-8 hours at night in only one bedroom. And it was annoying, frankly, to be thinking about that.

It was hot (of course!) and on days when the trades blew, the upper deck was pleasant. Other days, it was just hot and uncomfortable. It was also a 15-minute walk (in the heat) to West Bay, which is another 10-ish minute water taxi ride from West End, where Roatan Divers is located. We learned that the “$3 per person” water taxi only applies for a minimum of 3 people, so you either pay $9 (they will ask you for $10 but do the math for them and the smile and say OK, $9), or you wait for others to share the ride. That can be 5 minutes or 20 minutes. We used the taxis for a few days and finally broke down and rented a car. You can dive out of West Bay and that would make the logistics better. You can also stay at hotels in West Bay, they appear to run from $100-ish to $200-ish depending on what you want. In retrospect, we should have looked more closely at West End, or considered a hotel and dive operation in West Bay.

Biting bugs - everywhere but manageable, and without deet – we used Skin So Soft and Sawyers. Bring a Benadryl itch Stop pen, you won’t prevent all bites!

We had several good meals, Ginger’s right next to the dive shop, had great burgers, but avoid the wings. They also use paper cups and paper straws to reduce plastic use, an initiative started we think by the Roatan Marine Park, with CORAL’s help. Many of the local restaurants use these cups and straws, we wish California would do the same and ban plastic straws. You should also stop by the RMP office, right on the main road, you can pay your $10 contribution to the Park there and get a (plastic!) tag for your BC, much like ones in Bonaire, the Kittiwake, etc. They also have wrist bracelets if you prefer. We had a very good meal, and martinis, at Oasis. Our favorite was Sundowner Beach Bar. Great location, setting, vibe, and I had a tasty BLT there several times, and my wife was into the swiss cheese haumburger with carmelized onions. And Flor de Cana in the well. ARRR!

Finally, there is a clinic on Roatan called Clinica Esperanza ([clinicaesperanza.org link]), started by a gringa from Ohio. They provide free or very inexpensive medical care to the island's residents. We took a suitcase full of supplies to them, Costco-sized bottles of aspirin, vitamins, etc. They have a list on their website of supplies they are seeking, and you can email if the date on the list looks old. Might take a few days for a response, but it is a great way to show that Americans are good people in today's world where so many are wondering about us.
Websites Roatan Divers   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving GBR, Saba, Montserrat, Dominica, Barbados, Cuba, USVI, Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, HI, WA, CA, RI
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 84-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40-70 Ft/ 12-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Mostly just stick with DM, but depth up to you as long as manage the Nitrox limits.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 1 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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