Being Earth’s second largest barrier reef (after Australia), roatan not only provides a healthy, vibrant living coral reef a very short boat ride away but also, given Roatan’s size (37mi to 60km) countless isolated beaches and coral outcroppings are yours to explore as part of a guided group or on your own.
There are countless dive shops on the island and in West End In particular. Walking down the main street in West End you’ll be given plenty of options for diving. Most dive shops charge from $30 per dive to around $40. For open water certification the prices very from $280 on up. Dive master certification costs are in part controlled by the PADI diving organization’s fees and hover around $1000 for the full course. Ask around if you’re on a budget as many dive shops offer reduced rates for buying dives in bulk.
In addition to the reef itself Roatan also has a number of decent wreck dives including the 230 foot El Aguila turned into an artificial reef in 1997, it’s now one for the spookier dives on the island. The boat was originally intended for diving when it was sank with it’s doors and window removed but since then hurricane Mitch in 1998 further opened the hull making it’s insides easily accessible.
Spear fishing on the island is illegal with the exception of Lion Fish. A license to spear fish Lion Fish can be had for $50 American which includes the spear, $20 without the spear and gives you the right to spear Lion Fish anywhere on the island. Since Lion Fish are an invasive species it’s hard to imagine getting a fine for killing them without a license.
In most cases, the reef is within swimming distance from the beach making it easily accessible for snorkelers. Here is the village of West End the coral reef hugs both sides of the bay, particularly the west side of the bay making a healthy living forest of fan coral literally a minutes