• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

First trip to Roatan, any advice?

Discussion in 'Bay Islands' started by baystr, May 25, 2011.

  1. baystr

    baystr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Salem, OR
    194
    5
    0
    Heading to Roatan in a week or so for my first time. I am sure many of you have traveled there many times, just looking for some friendly advice.........dive site info.....what to avoid.........food recomendations and all that stuff. I will diving three dives (or more) a day with West End Divers......and staying at Posado Arcos Iris..........that is about all I know........
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. South4Scuba

    South4Scuba Capt. Scott ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tiki Island Texas
    146
    21
    18
    I just returned from Roatan a couple of weeks ago. We stayed at CoCo View Resort which is on th south side about middle of the island. We like Roatan and the diving is great. The coral reefs are very healthy and the marine life is abundant.

    Some of my favorite dive sites are probably beyond the reach of the West End, but they are Mary's Place and Calvin's Crack on the southeast side. They are both quite a ways from the west end so I would be surprised if they take you there.

    We previously stayed at Anthony's Key Resort which is pretty close to your resort. Some dive sites we like at AKR were Connie's Dream (southwest side), Gibson Bight and Bear's Den. We also dove the wreck site known as El Aguilla or Aguilla Wreck.

    Enjoy your trip and allow PLENTY of time to catch your flight when you leave if it is on Saturday. The Roatan airport is painfully slow in getting you through baggage check-in, departure tax and customs.
     
    baystr likes this.
  3. South4Scuba

    South4Scuba Capt. Scott ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tiki Island Texas
    146
    21
    18
    Oh, I forgot about the other stuff. Most people tell you to watch out for the tap water. We brushed our teeth with tap water, but drank bottled water and we didn't get sick. However, we have cast iron stomachs.

    Can't say much about the island food because we were all-inclusive at both AKR and CoCo View.

    Take DEET bug spray. Some people get eaten up by bugs down there. I have never been bothered that much, but some people are apparently allergic to the no see ums and mosquitos.
     
  4. baystr

    baystr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Salem, OR
    194
    5
    0
    Thanks for the advice, may have to rent a car, and drive to the other side to hit those sites..............thanks
     
  5. Yoon

    Yoon Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: New York
    1
    0
    0
    baystr,
    I just got back from Roatan after spending a week there from May 13-20 for my Open Water cert.

    As far as food recommendations in West End:
    There's a taco stand that opens around 6PM til late that I'd highly recommend. It's located on the main road in West End, next to the sign for Pinocchio's Bed & Breakfast.
    There's also a rotisserie chicken place further down the road (away from town), that I thoroughly enjoyed.
    If you're in the mood for lots of meat, there's a guy who sets up a grill on the beach near the Posada Arcos Iris...approx 5 USD for a platter full of BBQ'd meats. He usually operates Thursdays and one other day (maybe Sunday?)
    The Noodle Shack was highly recommended by more than a few people I met, but it was closed the week I was there.
    People I dived with recommended the Argentinian Grill, but I personally never got around to eating there.

    As far as diving sites beyond West End, don't hesitate to inquire with your shop if they'd be willing to organize a special trip. The shop I dived with (Coconut Tree) put together a special day trip to Mary's Place, followed by a shark dive.

    I second South 4 Scuba's points, especially with regards to the bug spray and budgeting sufficient time for the departure from RTB airport. Regarding insect repellent, I always sprayed myself with DEET in the mornings, and carried a small bottle in my man bag for touch-ups throughout the day. I still got bit occasionally, but fared well overall.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  6. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    10,062
    2,902
    113
    There is no way to dive Roatan lest you are on a boat. All of the South Side operations are AI's, so there is very limited possibility of walk-in traffic.

    As far as "must see" dive sites, such lists change and rotate every time the originator of the term, Scuba Diving Magazine, publishes a new article. The fact is that on any island, all dive shops will take you where they will take you. If it is an especially calm day, a few West End dive ops will go all the way to Mary's Place. West End Divers runs a boat there, assumably once a week or more, that offers a two tank dive, one at MP and then at a different site. If you have any sway over it, there are some favored South side dive sites, but I'm sure they have a pattern that works for them. None, at least that I am aware of, will take you as far as to Calvin's Crack. A few might take you to the South side's shallow intact wrecks. But that's irrelevant- you're staying West End- and there's lots to see right there and around to the North.

    West End Divers runs a boat at 9:00, 11:30 and 2:30. Most people get in 2 a day on the West End, taking one of the morning dives and then an afternoon. West End Divers has one of the more do-able three-a-day departure schedules, but you have to consider pure math and the tyranny of time. For any dive, figure 1.5 hour at the very minimum from actual departure to tie-up upon return. (That's 15 minutes travel each way plus 1hr BT). Think about walking time and distance to your room choice if not staying right there. Also figure in that you're going to want/need lunch. Are you going to shop for and cook it? Or sit at a restaurant with the famous local Hon-du Spee-Dee Service® ? Stuff to think about.

    So, in terms of three-a-day, West End Divers can deliver that~ what with their boat departure schedule... unlike most other day dive ops. Between Boat #1 and #2, you might have slightly less than an hour. Between Boat #2 and #3, you'll have a bit short of 1.5 hours. Workable, but you are going to have to plan your moves and meals, etc.

    "More than three"? No, not at all likely. This is where an AI comes into play~ certainly in terms of economy plus the difficult to describe bogey of the fast moving vacation clock versus eating, etc. The West End Divers website makes an allusion to night diving, but only in terms of doing the Night Diver Course. They do, most likely, run one night dive trip weekly, if there are enough to sign up, a fairly standard system for most day-dive ops.

    Search and read other threads in this forum in regards to driving any vehicle on Roatan. If you filter through the occasional visitor who had gurglingly happy times, you'll see that almost every habitual Roatan visitor and all locals (except those with rental cars) recommend against you driving a vehicle or scooter on the island. The roads are crappy, locals drive "stupid", there are no medical facilities, and your criminal and civil liability is immediate and extreme in every way. Hire a driver, and English speaking driver. Sit back, relax, have a beer, enjoy the ride.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2011
    mntlblok, baystr and Krazytomdiver like this.
  7. zekethesheik

    zekethesheik Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: SW Washington State
    28
    0
    0
    Baystr..
    I've been to Roatan many times and agree with all of the above.. I have done 3 dives/day with West End Divers and it's very doable, as is a 4th nite dive..
    Deet is a MUST unless you are a lawyer or an insurance agent, as the bugs don't bite them out of professional courtesy.
    And remember, there are no tanks or weights available on the island, so you'll need to pack them. It is also customary as a 1st time visitor to buy ALL the beers for your group.
    Local custom also dictates you buy most dinners for anyone in your group with a beard. This custom dates back centuries, and non-adherence often results in scurvy or rickets.
     
  8. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,281
    5,856
    113
    Places we liked in the West End:

    Argentinean Grille. It's the restaurant in front of your hotel.
    The Noodle Place for lunch - she's quick - we did that between dives. Not gourmet but filling.
    Rotisserie Chicken - about 1/2 mile west of PAI. 4 of us were stuffed for $20.
    Sundowner's Bar across the street.
    My friends liked Tong's Thai.
    Ooolonthoo is supposed to be one of the best on Roatan.

    For a few things to eat/drink, Woody's market is next door to PAI.
    There's also a small market at Coconut Tree Divers.
    The water is R/O bottled. It's all we drank. My house agent suggested it.

    Cabs are cheap and easily available. The cab stand for the West End is where the main road enters the West End by Coconut Tree. A short block from your location. Negotiate in advance. The best I ever did was $15 r/t to Coxen Hole. And $6 to AKR.

    Although the Dolphins only showed up for part of the dive, we liked doing it at AKR. And the Waihuka shark dive. West End should be able to book it for you. We also dove Mary's Place with Barefooot Divers - 2nd dive was the Prince Albert off Cocoview.

    If asked for dive sites, Texas is one of the best. Also Spooky Channel. Nobody does more than 3 dives/day typically. Check around for night dives - everybody does one or more per week.

    How set are you on West End Divers? You're much closer to Native Sons and Coconut Tree Divers. In fact you'll walk by them daily on your way down to West End - and several others IIRC.

    For reference:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 26, 2011
    baystr likes this.
  9. baystr

    baystr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Salem, OR
    194
    5
    0
    your killing me steve..............btw, I have three coming with me..............gonna be life changing................and yes, I will buy beers the first night...........or, better yet, I will have one of my minions..........buy
     
  10. baystr

    baystr Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Salem, OR
    194
    5
    0
    wow............I love scubaboard................you guys answered all my questions...............thanks to all!
     

Share This Page