Honduras is a country with mixed reviews, ready to present two sides of the same coin. The noisy capital, at times even dangerous for tourists, coexists alongside hospitable and cozy islands. Most travelers therefore prefer not to leave the walls of the airport and linger on the mainland only for a transplant. Luxury villas, first-class service, a riot of tropical greenery and turquoise waters all framed by coral reefs - that’s what’s needed for a carefree holiday. Diving in Honduras is one of the best entertainments for those who looking for new underwater experiences, as well as those who are planning to make the first dive.
The largest island of Honduras lies about 20 minutes by plane or 1.5 hours by boat from the mainland. Roatan is of an elongated shape, 60 km long and only 8 km wide. A large number of lagoons, a healthy coral reef and affordable diving prices make it one of the most popular tourist destinations. The average temperature is about 28C, and the trade winds provide a light breeze. From March to October, sudden short-term rains are possible,which shan’t present a threat to your relaxation in any event.
Not far from the coast is the southern end of the second largest barrier reef which caused Roatan to become famous among divers. Projections, canyons, cracks and labyrinths of tunnels along the reef wall characterise the underwater landscape here. Excellent visibility (about 30 meters) is complemented by a variety of fish and sponges, which aren’t found elsewhere in the Caribbean.
The Dolphin's Cave
This is an amazing network of caves, tunnels, and canyons that permeate through the reef. The dive begins at a depth of 5 meters and ends at 12 meters. You’ll sail through an underwater maze filled with natural light. The name of the dive site is associated with a sad story about the death of a school of dolphins who tangled up in this system of caves and could not get out. Approaching this site, you’ill come upon sea turtles, jellyfish and several species of giant anemones. Inside the caves are many forks, with some paths leading to dark areas which will require a torch. Follow your dive guide so as to not miss the places where green moray eels and crabs like to hide. Parrots, wrasses, and flocks are live on the open wall.
The El Aguila
In 1997, a 63m long cargo ship was severely damaged during a storm. The ship was literally torn into three parts. In the same year, the government made the decision to submerge it, turning it into an artificial reef. Since then, the El Aguila has been located on the sandy bottom, under a 30-meter thick water column. Soft corals cover the entirety of her hull and sea creatures take their places in the cabins. Black perch and parrotfish dart inside the nooks of the ship, and lobsters fearfully hide in what shelter they find. The wreck lies near the coral wall, which can also be explored during a dive here. Take your time, keep your eyes peeled and you’ll see a wonderful world of macro life including clams, snails and nudibranchs.
Utila, the smallest of the Honduras island group, is only 11 km long and 4 km wide. It is surrounded by huge coral reefs with rich underwater life and is ideal for diving. Utila, like its neighbor Roatan, is distinct from the Honduran mainland. The island is mostly uninhabited with the exception of a small fishing village with a population of 4,000 people. The main language on the island is English, as opposed to the Spanish spoken on the mainland. Young people particularly prefer Utila, so an atmosphere of carelessness and fun reigns here.
This dive site is an unusual combination of three reefs, including beautiful coral gardens, sandy plains, and a stunning wall. The shallow “coastal” reef stretches from west to east, parallel to the coast. Then the reef drops sharply to 9 meters, turning into a long flat sandy area dotted with fields of fan and tubular corals. As the sandy part continues to descend to the south, the hard and soft coral gardens become denser, forming a “middle” reef at a depth of 12 meters. Moving to the edge, you’ll see a wall falling vertically down on 28 meters. Unusual "underwater flowers,” colorful shells and graceful algae create a perfect background for photos. In addition, striped sergeant fish and colored parrotfish will definitely fall into the frame, even if you hadn’t planned on shooting them.
Black coral wall
The dive site is a small sandy plateau at a depth of 5 meters, which leads to an impressive wall that descends to a further depth of 30 meters. Various types of underwater vegetation grows along the wall, the famous black coral leading among them, giving things a very dramatic look. Also along the wall, different kinds of perch and moray eels can be found. In places where large cracks have formed, you can see flocks of silvery grumblers and chubs. Big turtles and squids love to spend their time among the shallows.
If you look at any campers you encounter on the islands of Honduras, then everything around you will be a reminder of diving. This could be that group in the bar discussing their daily dive, a diving textbook sticking out of a beach bag, or a passing car carrying gear. The colorful facades of numerous diving schools involuntarily give rise to thoughts about the need to enroll on courses to join this crowd. Obtaining an international certificate of any level in Honduras is considered one of the most affordable in the world, so feel free to take up the offers made on those enticing advertisements and beautiful signs to see for yourself just how well they correspond with reality.