Top 21 Roatan Diving Sites
Location & Descriptions of Dive Sites
Scuba diving in Roatan is an absolute dream for any diver. Our dive sites are mere minutes away in our small, fast boats. The reef is healthy, diverse and with a variety of diving that will keep even seasoned professionals happy and discovering new things for years! The marine life equally is amazingly diverse, from the smallest macro life to the larger pelagics and everything in between.
With many years working in the diving industry, and on the island, our dive professionals have expert knowledge of the reef and make it their mission to provide you with the diving that YOU want! Whale sharks and pilot whales pass by Roatan occasionally, along with a myriad of sharks, rays, turtles, and all kinds of macro life.
The scuba diving in Roatan is truly incredible!
Marine Life You’ll Meet on the Reef
We’re Committed to Protecting the Marine Park
As dive professionals, we are guardians of the reef and stewards for the oceans. For us, that means supporting movements that look to minimize our negative impact on marine life and leading by example.
As we are diving in a Marine Park we follow these three basic rules:
- No touching the marine life with any part of your body or equipment, especially your fins
- No taking the marine life, or anything else underwater (take only photos, leave only bubbles)
- No teasing the marine life
Roatan Dive Sites
Roatan is one of the best dive destinations in the world. There may be some “better” locations, but for ease of access from North America and Europe, and the proximity of so many dive sites with easy boat access close to shore, as well as the famous sea mounts off of Cayos Cochinos, Cordelia Banks and Insidious Reef, not to mention neighboring Utila and Guanaja, Roatan is very hard to beat even in world terms. At the time of writing (August 2019) there are 286 maintained dive buoys and countless other unmarked dive sites around the island.
Roatan dive site map provided by the Roatan Marine Park
Top Local Dive Sites
Some of Our Favorite Sites on Our Home Reef
We love them all, and diving them daily we very rarely dive any dive site the same way twice. We switch things up all of the time and we see different things all of the time. The same dive site never produces the same dive!
Half Moon Bay Wall is basically on our doorstep and, at the same time, one of our favorite dives. We drop in at Dixies Place/Dixies Drop Off and drift through Verns Drop Off ending at Dive-Masters Choice. The line at Dixies is in about 40 ft / 12 m and is set just on the inside of the outer reef wall. There is a sand patch just inside the wall to explore and then a short top reef with small cuts/canyons/chutes before dropping down the wall which bottoms out at this point at about 80 ft/ 25 m. As we drift North/East there are huge barrel sponges and gorgonian fans and the wall gradually drops away as various small and large side canyons go by. Inside of the wall there is a large sloping sand patch with lots of coral heads and bommies to explore. It slopes from about 60 ft / 18 m to about 46 ft / 14 m at the inner reef wall which rises all the way up to 15 ft / 5 m. If we stay on the wall we round a large point and about 100 ft / 40 m later there is a little swim through at 66 ft / 20 m which takes you from the wall to the inner sand patch. You can choose then to stay inside the wall or return back over the top reef (there is a tight little swim through on the way back out too, but it is only for those with perfect buoyancy since the reef is alive and you have to vary depth to do it). There then is a beautiful plateau at about 60 ft / 18 m which always has lots and lots going on. The wall continues to get steeper and deeper as you head east/north and just to the west drops off to more than 6,000 ft. By this point you will be getting low on no deco time and or at a half a tank of air, so time to shallow out a bit and explore the top reef at about 40 ft / 12 m. Now the sand patch gives way to coral bars extending from the inner reef wall creating canyons to explore (if you can with deco time and air starting to run low). Usually there are some green moray, crabs and lobsters to be found there. From there you can shallow out and head to the safety stop on the inner reef wall and then it is a short 1 minute swim to the boat moored at the Dive-Master Choice buoy.
These are the two sites right in front of our dive shop, so we dive them a LOT. Once again, we never tire of them. They are a great option for all levels of divers and whilst they are often used as teaching sites because of their great sand patches at 15-20 ft / 5-6 m, they are a great dive for top reef, sand as well as an amazing wall. The sand patches under the mooring lines whilst great for teaching also contain lots of life, jawfish and goatfish, peacock flounders, decorator crabs, occasional rays, occasional sharks and lots more. There are sand channels running towards the reef wall with lots of gobies and blennies, cleaning stations with arrowline crabs, corkscrew anemones and pederson cleaner shrimp. The top reef has a wide variety of soft and hard corals with lots of branching coral, brain corals and lots of life. The wall is only a couple of minute kick and drops off to 100 ft / 30 m with scorpionfish commonly spotted on the wall, slipper lobster are common here too as well as beautiful fans with basket stars, sponges and vases.
This is a great deep and wall dive and can be done either as a drift (make sure you clear the boat channel to Saayas or Lighthouse if heading west/north) or a stationary dive. Belying its name the mooring is only in about 25 ft / 8 m on the top reef, but a short swim to the wall explains the name. The wall drops off almost vertically and immediately to 120 ft / 36 m and the sand slopes away quickly well beyond the recreational divers limits. Giant barrel sponges, tube sponges, azure vases, huge plate corals and fans abound.
Another site close-by with the mooring line at about 40 ft / 12 m. Really nice top-reef with a gently sloping/broken wall with lots of channels and swim throughs to explore and enjoy. You can work your way towards the inner wall and end up at the Chris Fisher Buoy close to safety stop territory. Or Blue Channel Deep, but its a little further away from the shallow reef.
Great teaching sites or shallow dive sites with a nice sand-patch at 15-20 ft / 5-6 m, and a really nice top reef that varies in depth to about 40 ft / 12 m. A great place for a relaxing cruise around hunting down smaller creatures and watching the familial/territorial squabling’s all over the top reef.
This is an almost continuous sand patch at 15-20 ft / 5-7 m running from just west of Luna Beach to Ibagari Hotel. There are 6 marked buoys along this section that are all great teaching and fun dive sites. They all have similar profiles but different layouts and distances to the outer wall etc. All have an inner reef wall from 5-10 ft / 2-3 m dropping down to a second sand patch at approx 40 ft / 12 m. This sand patch sometimes contains rubble fields to explore and sometimes not, sometimes coral bars, sometimes not. Almost always coral heads and small bommies. Sometimes canyons in the inner wall sometimes not. The distance to the outer reef wall varies quite dramatically, and these are all great to explore since they have such a wide variety of habitat within a small area.
The deep mooring mirror of Captains Quarters to Rothschild’s Mistresses. Lines are set usually in about 40 ft / 12 m and mostly just at the inner edge of the top reef at the outer wall. So they can all be done as stationary dives or drift dives. They can also be done as top reef and deep sand patch dives, or drifted to a shallow mooring with top reef available at 15 ft / 5 m for more entertaining safety stops! The wall varies in depth and slope all along this area with some deep large sand patches within recreational diving limits to explore, many cuts and canyons and chutes creating sand-falls and debris fields to check out. The sites are all different in nature and well worth exploring each and every one.
One of the newest dive sites in this area, Fiasco’s truly is a deep mooring set at the deep end of a coral garden bank in about 100 ft / 30 m a little off of the bottom of the main wall at Seaquest Deep. There is always a ton of life on this patch of reef with the chance of seeing a hammerhead occasionally. Southern stingrays like to hang out in the deep sand close to the wall amongst the deep coral heads just north/east of here too. Obviously done as a drift dive, you are starting basically in a boat channel, so either direction takes you into safer areas to surface.
There is so much variation in this dive site its a firm favorite with us. The line is set at the usual 40 ft / 12m at the inner end of a coral finger running in from the outer wall. To the east and south is a huge pristine sand patch littered with coral heads and bommies and soft branching corals, its a great place for photography. Towards the shallow mooring there is also a rubble field running as a band off of the inner reef wall. There are 4 sand chutes that give out onto a deeper sandy plateau just off of the reef wall. This sand patch runs from about 55 ft / 16 m to about 73 ft / 22 m and again has lots of coral heads and small bommies. Southern stingrays like to hang out on the deeper sand just as the patch starts to drop away to the blue. The reef wall here is sloping and always has lots of life on it. In the shallow sand there are often eagle rays found foraging in the sand, trunkfish love this area too, cowfish are often found on the wall, drum fish too like this area. In addition there is a coral encrusted 50’s vintage sewing machine here as well as a “pirate” anchor which you won’t see unless someone points it out to you, it is so encrusted in coral. Its just a great site, and a stationary dive too. If you wanted to, you can actually go and explore Butchers Bank itself which is directly in front of the mooring running deep to the west.
Just East of the Boat Channel at Hottest Sparrow close to Marbella Beach.
Shallow top Reef at 5m, steep wall with lots of cracks and canyons to the East. Slightly sloping sandy bottom starting at about 25m and sloping off to 35m+.
Really busy and colorful top reef with mostly soft corals with lots of Plumes, Rods and Whips, lots of grazing reef fish such as Tang, Grunts, some Yellow Tail – great to end the dive.
The reason for the name becomes clear as you head out away from the wall into the Blue and gradually the “Giants” emerge from their hiding places. They are massive coral formations – Bommies that “grow” from the sand and extend up to about 18m. They are amazing to explore with swim through’s, arches, massive barrel sponges, Azure Vases and lots of life. There are also lots of the invasive Lion Fish that are rarely hunted so bring a spear – they won’t even move unless you miss. As you head back to the wall when your NDT gets low, head to the East and explore the canyons and swim throughs. If you are good on air, at about 40 mins you will get to an amazing formation that juts out from the wall about 50m and is shaped like a fish hook extending perhaps 100m back to the West. On the far side of the “shank” of the hook there is an enormous Barrel Sponge that you could fit inside easily and must be in excess of 500 years old. At about 18m though you likely won’t have the NDT to explore any further. Head back to the wall and gradually shallow out and swim the edge of the top reef at 5m and there are huge shoals of lots of different reef fish to amaze you as you head back to the boat. An amazing dive site!
Again a continuous sand patch in 15-20 ft / 5-7 m which is perfect for teaching or exploring the sand and inner side of the outer reef wall. Eagle rays love this area and are often seen both in the sand and off the wall. The wall here varies from the shallowest about 46 ft / 14 m at Mandys 2 buoy (where there is also a bank running west perpendicular to the main wall from about 60 ft / 18 m) to 100 ft/30 m plus at the southern/western end. Obviously lots of garden eels here plus crab and lobster in the wall, drumfish too are quite common here. These are very pretty sites but can be busy with cruise ship snorkel boats on busy cruise ship days.
Referred to by most as West End Wall, the official name is Buca Quay. This is a great wall drift dive with side canyons, chutes and sand falls starting off at about 66 ft / 20 m to the bottom of the wall it drops off as you head west/south. Its one of our favorite wall dives on the island with lots of life and with the deep blue just off your right shoulder we are always on the lookout for a hammerhead. Finishing up around the SingleDivers.com buoy where the top reef turns from hard to soft coral. More about that later.
A great new addition to the RMP marine infrastructure, we love this dive site, although its not always available due to current considerations. The buoy is located just on the edge of the area known as Texas (more under Texas) in about 25 ft / 8 m. Here the top reef changes from predominantly hard coral to predominantly soft coral as you run off of the westernmost point of the island. The buoy is located at the edge of a large “scallop” in the reef wall and always has tons going on. Most often we drift into this site from Buca Quay because if there is current its tough to stay on the reef and you can easily be swept off out into the blue and have a really short dive! There are lots of ways to dive it but if there is a little current heading west/south, we like to swim into it for a bit, drop down the wall and drift back into the site, explore r the whole large scalloped area and then venture a bit further into the top reef of Texas and circle back to finish under the boat.
Everyones favorite dive site… well, not really! Most dives that are called Texas actually start closer the the Salt Life Point buoy and drift into Texas. The reason for this is that Texas is the area off of the westernmost point of the island and can be subject to strong currents.The Texas buoy itself is in 40 ft / 12m and if there is current it will generally be pushing you off of the island and out towards the blue, so your dive can be hard work and short. However, its a great area to dive. Because of the convergent currents from both side of the island the area tends to be nutrient rich and so lots of predation is going on and you see the full food chain in action. This is also why the top reef is predominantly soft coral. Its called Texas because “everything is bigger”! Bigger barrel sponges, huge gorgonian fans, bigger grouper, bigger snapper, schools of yellowtail, atlantic spadefish, barracuda (BIG barracuda) and generally tons of life, but its a roll of the dice for current.
This section of reef is a little different to the sites further south/west, as the reef transitions from predominantly hard corals to a lot more algal corals. This stretch of reef is great for top reef dives and wall dives alike. The moorings are in the 40 ft / 12 m range and the top reef is relatively short compared to sites further south/west. There is a small wreck of an old dive boat that serves as the anchor for the mooring line at Grape Escape – the dive boat was from Seagrape Plantation Resort. There is always lots to see in this stretch of reef and the macro life around the to reef is amazing.
A very unique dive site, Hole in the Wall is kinda West End’s version of Delicate Arch. Its located just to the south/west of the boat channel at Mangrove Bight. The site marked on the Marine Park map is actually the Mangrove Bight buoy and there is no buoy for Hole in the Wall. You can dive it from inside to out or outside to in! It is a large arch in the reef with a sand channel running at its base. The sand chute starts at about 40 ft / 12 m and drops off gradually getting steeper until the sand at the base of the exit is at about 120ft / 36 m, so watch your buoyancy, you are getting close to recreational limits! The sand slope just gets steeper and steeper and disappears off into the abyss. There are almost always a bunch of yellow tail circling here and it is amazing for photography, especially with the morning sun coming from the east. As you get low on NDT’s you can head into the shallows and explore the caves, swim throughs and channels that make the top reef seem like swiss cheese. Then work your way across the boat channel (careful here) to finish at the Mangrove Bight Buoy.
Continuing the theme near the Mangrove Bight buoy there are lots of canyons, swim throughs and cuts to explore here. The wall bottoms out at 55 ft / 16 m, so everyone can play here even with only an open water certification. Even if you are not keen on the swim throughs, the top reef is really lively and the wall and bommies off of it in the gently sloping sand bottom are great for exploring. Its a great dive site for everyone.
Fish Den is another of our favorites. The mooring is set on a pillar of coral which itself is set in a square shaped cut in the reef wall. The top of the pillar is at about 20 ft / 7 m and its drops down to about 40 ft / 12 m, then the square hole in the reef slopes down to 60 ft / 18 m as it joins back with the main wall. There’s always lots to see at Fish Den. You can easily spend the entire dive exploring just the cut itself. If you prefer to travel a bit more, there is a beautiful wall to the east/north with lots of barrel sponges, fans and the usual myriad of wall dwelling creatures. Just 200 ft / 70m or so to the south/west we have our equivalent of Dead Horse Point where we have a super lively section of top reef at about 50 ft / 14 m that drops off so steeply on either side you feel like you are flying over a point in the middle of Canyonlands. A little further south/west there are some wonderful discreet sand patches set amidst large inner coral walls. As you circle shallower and back towards the boat there is a beautiful undercut ledge at about 33 ft / 10 m with some gorgeous upside down fans. Exiting the undercut brings you out at about 24 ft / 8 m and just behind the boat. If you head back past the boat to the mooring line to do your safety stop, the top reef from 15 ft 5 m to 10 ft / 3 m is almost always home to an abundance of schooling grunts, small yellow tail and lots more with trumpet fish and tang mingling amongst. A great end to a great dive.
Another distinctive dive site, Pillar, as its name suggests is a coral spire just off of the reef wall. The mooring is on the top reef at 35 ft / 10 m, but a very short swim takes you over the top of the spire which tops out at around 90 ft / 27 m. It descends below recreational limits, and we have considered taking Tec diving courses to explore further! As your NDT gets low and you head back to the wall there are large cuts in this almost vertical section, and lots to explore. There is a small cave just north/east of the mooring at about 30 ft / 9 m. A great site to explore on a deep dive with a light nitrox mix.
The Eagle, is our local wreck dive and it is located just off of Baileys Key and Anthony’s Key resort. It was a concrete freighter and sunk off Utila. It was raised, stripped out for diving and then sunk by a consortium of dive shops on the island in 1997. The main sponsor was AKR and hence it was sunk on a sand patch right beside the resort! Its about 200 ft / 60 m long and was torn apart a year after it was sunk by the massive storm surges created by Hurricane Mitch when it hit in 1998. The stern and bow are essentially intact, but the entire center section of the hull was ripped into several pieces. The central section then has quite a few swim through options to explore, but they do change a lot as the sands shift and the wreck does still move too, so caution is suggested. Also, sitting in about 100 ft / 30 m of water your NDT’s will be short… The wreck is great fun to explore and for those with a wreck specialty there are cabins to be entered, some with remote, if tight exits! The mast is great to circle as you gently ascend and has loads of small creatures residing in small coral formations, flat worms, shrimp, tiny crab and even a baby octopus have been spotted here. You also have a great mirror where the air from your bubbles is caught under the footplate for the crows nest.
Directly Offshore from the “Isery” Disco Ship, just East of Villas del Mar.
A shallow cave/cavern dive at 5-12m accessible from either inside or outside the reef. Torches are advisable but an experienced diver can work through with the natural light.
Tons of Giant Anemones on the inner reef side of this site. If you are lucky Glassy Sweepers and Silversides in the cave, and a healthy and vibrant top reef on the outside of the cave.
Dolphins Den is an awesome dive for divers of all abilities. The nearest boat channel is at least a half a mile away, so best to make your decision before you dive – Plan your Dive, Dive your Plan. An awesome and very different dive site!
Protect our Coral Reefs by Hunting Lionfish
Lionfish are a highly invasive and destructive species on the island. The Roatan Marine Park offers a workshop where you can earn your very own lionfish spearing license. If you’re interested, let us know and once you get your license, we’ll take you out on your first hunt!