Destination Spotlight: Roatan, Honduras

Destination Spotlight: Roatan, Honduras

As you know, we just love a good dive, no matter where it is. And nothing perks our fins up like hearing “the second largest barrier reef in the world.” But to make sure we’ve got your attention we’re also going to mention cage-free shark dives, open water dolphin dives, wrecks, and glorious marine life.

Hooked? Knew you’d be, and we’ve only just breached the surface. So let’s get into it!

Diving Roatan

Diving in Roatan is something every diver must experience, at least once though we know a large percentage go back since it’s difficult to dive all the must-dos in a single trip. It’s home to the second largest barrier reef, how could you pass that up?

Photo Courtesy of Anthony's Key Resort

There’s so much to see from wrecks to walls to sloping canyons and beautiful corals and marine life. Our good friend Mel recently visited Roatan and returned impressed by the relative health of the reef and the variety of soft coral. He also noted that the diving was fairly relaxed with little in the way of currents or swells and the visibility was great, (perfect for spotting critters and sea life at a distance).

You can expect to find turtles, moray eels, stingrays, groupers, snappers, a large variety of reef fish, invertebrates, colorful healthy reefs and, if you’re lucky, you might even spot a large pelagic or a giant whale shark!

A great place to stay if you dive Roatan is Anthony’s Key Resort. Mel noted it is “a remarkable place. It is fairly self-sufficient with its own generators, water filtration and sewage system,” but one of the things we love most about Anthony’s Key is its clinic.

Originally created to aid local lobstermen with decompression sickness, the clinic has helped hundreds of locals and tourists for over 25 years. As divers, we’re all over this since it’s nice to know we can dive worry-free and if anything does happen, we’re covered, right at the resort

But back to diving – we haven’t even gotten into two of our favorite dives yet: Shark and Dolphin dives.

Shark Dive

Photo Courtesy of Anthony's Key Resort

Although this might scare-off a normal tourist, we’re divers and we couldn’t wait to sign up for this. A shark dive is a must on most diver lists. So, when you’ve got a place that offers that how can you say no?

Seventy feet below the sea you can find 5-8 foot Caribbean reef sharks circling the floor and waiting to be fed by specialized divers who hand-feed these magnificent creatures. And for the next 30 minutes you can free swim or kneel as the sharks do their thing and divers are treated to this awe-inspiring scene when man and shark share the ocean in harmony.

Dolphin Dive

Photo Courtesy of Anthony's Key Resort

Anthony’s Key is also known for its free swim Dolphin dives as well as its Shark dives.

From the Anthony’s Key dock, divers are taken to Bailey’s Key for a topside orientation and Q&A session to learn about diving etiquette with the dolphins. Then, you’re just a short boat ride to a beautiful reef wall where two to three naturally curious dolphins arrive and are free to interact with you. And for the next 45 minutes divers can observe, photograph and play with bottlenose dolphins in their natural environment.

Topside at Roatan

Roatan isn’t just a diver’s dream, but it’s also pretty great for land-lovers.

Photo Courtesy of Anthony's Key Resort

If you decide to take the day off from diving, you can hit up the beach and relax under a palm tree and soak up the rays or grab a kayak and paddle and explore (guess that’s not really for land-lovers, is it?) but you can go horseback riding, off-road in a 4-wheel sand/dune buggy and then some.

You can also check out the Roatan Museum and Roatan Institute of Marine Sciences, where guests can participate in educational programs and encounters with marine mammals. More inquisitive guests can join trained naturalists across the lagoon on Bailey’s Key to interact with playful dolphins and observe some of the island’s indigenous plants and animals along the key’s nature trail.

One of the must-dos for Roatan is the zip line tour that’s combined with a visit to Gumbalimba Park, which boasts a botanical garden and small nature preserve complete with colorful parrots and a variety of monkeys. The zip line portion has about a dozen lines starting from the top of a mountain down to sea level and it’s quite a rush to zip through the scenery.

Photo Courtesy of Gumbalimba Park

Another thing you’ve got to try at Roatan, and particularly at Anthony’s Key Resort is their Monkeylala; a local drink and guest favorite that consists of Kahlua, Vodka, Coconut Cream and Cream.

Roatan is also known for it’s delicious Honduran eats. For breakfast, you must have a typical Honduran breakfast at least once. The dish contains: eggs, ripe plantains, Honduran cheese, refried beans, tortillas and a variety of tropical fruits, definitely something you won’t find easily back home.

Other favorites are Churrasco Steak, Island Stew Chicken, Conch Soup, Coconut Sea Bass and Habanero Shrimp Kebab.

For more on how to experience Anthony’s Key Resort click here and for more on Roatan click here.

Check out more photos on Roatan and Anthony’s Key Resort on our Pinterest and Facebook Photo Album

9 Responses

  1. The ScubaBoard Invaded Roatan and Anthony's Key Resort in 2014. It was OFF THE HOOK awesome. AKR is one of the best run dive ops I've been, that's not a paid endorsement, it's just the fabulous truth - their staff are at the top of their game.<br /> <br /> Here is a link to the Invasion so you can see the photos and videos taken on this trip. <br /> <br /> [yt]R2SkwEanRDw[/yt]<br /> <br /> [yt]dN6-mtS8Ch0[/yt]
  2. I am working on a trip to Antony's in September this year. Flights seem expensive with long layovers and red-eyes. Any suggestions on flights or airlines from San Francisco? Avianca seems to have terrible reviews.<br /> <br /> thanks,<br /> <br /> drew.
  3. Seems to be a great deal! Can folks who have been in Roatan recently comment on the U.S. State Department's travel warning for Honduras and Roatan? -- thanks
  4. Check out our app at All your diver and boating needs... Dive spots and everything you need on the water. Much love!
  5. Just got back from Roatan last week. We stayed at Fantasy Island and while the staff was friendly, the resort has seen better days. The onsite dive op was also very friendly and very accommodating, however the diving itself was only good on this end of the island, not great. The corals where beautiful, but their was little in the way of large fish. There was a lot of juveniles and a lot of Green Moray that were entirely too accustomed to divers and being fed when they floated by. It was a nice trip, but I have heard that the diving is much better on the other side.
  6. <blockquote><strong>ShawnofOz;7339684 wrote:</strong> Seems to be a great deal! Can folks who have been in Roatan recently comment on the U.S. State Department's travel warning for Honduras and Roatan? -- thanks</blockquote> <br /> Shawn, I've been to Roatan 4 times now and all the locals tell me the same things each time. You cannot walk around the capital city with your nice sunglasses, camera or electronics or someone might punch you in the face and take your stuff. I would not stay at a resort that did not have it's own security and each time I've been there I've seen guard shacks at the perimeter with pistols in their belts. There is a lot of crime and drug money on the island from what I hear. I've been to the West End, but would not stay there after dark. Also, I would not be in a car on the road at night there. Overall, it's an awesome deal for diving. I can't imagine going there for any other reason. Anthony's Key Resort was pretty awesome, and I also heard good things about Cocoview. I stayed at Media Luna and it was really nice, but their dive shop was super slow (like an hour late for every dive) and it's remote off a dirt road that can occasionally become flooded. The hotel was beautiful, but I go to dive! <br /> <br /> Stick to your resort and you will be safe and sound :)
  7. <blockquote><strong>drewh1;7338579 wrote:</strong> I am working on a trip to Antony's in September this year. Flights seem expensive with long layovers and red-eyes. Any suggestions on flights or airlines from San Francisco? Avianca seems to have terrible reviews.<br /> <br /> thanks,<br /> <br /> drew.</blockquote> <br /> Drew, I've always flown United to/from Roatan. Done it several times now. I usually go in the spring or summer months, depart SFO at 11PM-ish Friday grab a few winks on the plane. Layover a few hours in Houston, then on to the island with wheels down in Roatan in time for an afternoon dive, usually. Ticket prices vary from day to day but I usually pay about $7-800 per ticket for the 'actual legroom' seats.<br /> Return flights are usually feature a much shorter layover in Houston. And seem to arrive at SFO either at peak commute or just before BART closes down for the night :D<br /> <br /> Almost every flight I've looked at for the Caribbean from the west coast entails a red-eye unless you want to layover for 12 hours plus somewhere. Time zone thing I guess.<span style="color: Silver;"><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size: 11px;">---------- Post added March 19th, 2015 at 10:20 AM ----------</span><br /> <br /> </span><blockquote><strong>ShawnofOz;7339684 wrote:</strong> Seems to be a great deal! Can folks who have been in Roatan recently comment on the U.S. State Department's travel warning for Honduras and Roatan? -- thanks</blockquote> <br /> I was last there (Roatan) about 8 months ago. The security situation on Roatan did not appear to have deteriorated from my first visit about 7 years ago. The same guards at the airport, in town and at Coco View. There's no guard at RHR, which shares a small cay also occupied by local residents. No skulduggery has occurred during any of my stays there.<br /> <br /> I've not ventured out of Coco View or Reefhouse resorts much except a couple of uneventful (daytime) trip to the west end, and being driven to and from the airport. I have spoken to many divers who have gone zip-lining and / or touring, they've never reported problems.<br /> <br /> The mainland, or at least San Pedro Sula and La Cieba, has been problematic since before I started going to Roatan, so I've never visited. I have spoken to people who made connecting flights there, and the watch word was, "Don't leave the airport".
  8. The link to Anthonys Key is broken (goes to some "Maduro" URL).<br /> <br /> This is the resort:<br /> <a href="">Location - Anthony's Key Resort - Roatan - Honduras</a>
  9. Been to Cocoview 11 times and going back in May. Totally safe out there but they do have security for the resort. Taken several tours on the island and never had a problem. I will not go to the mainland. <br /> I am sure the AKR is nice but if you want to eat, sleep dive and repeat with the most return visited resort in the world then Cocoview is a very good choice. It is a family there.