Will Be Snorkeling Roatan 2018 - Looking for Updated Information

by Perry
(Decatur, GA)

Hello. Our group of snorkelers is going to Roatan for two weeks in July 2018. Unfortunately, there is not a detailed guide! :> I have used the guides on this site as bibles for several snorkeling trips. I have read the page on this site and documented my findings across other sites to prepare for our trip, but I wanted to reach out to this forum to seek additional insight and see if there is anything I may have missed.

My main goal is to make sure we experience all of the best sites the island has to offer that are either accessible by shore or an easy taxi boat ride. Also, some of the material is a bit dated, so I wanted get the latest experiences.

Snorkel sites I have noted to visit:

- West Bay - The 2nd reef sounds great. How bad of shape is the coral in?
- West End (Half Moon) - It appears the best snorkeling is on the left side and around the point. Any other insights?
- Sandy Bay - Seems to be a large area. Where are the best snorkel sites and entry points?
- Old Port Royal (Cow & Calf Cays) - A little fuzzy on how to get there. Any insight?
- French Key - Appears to be a $30/head fee. Is it worth it?
- Spooky Channel - Is it accessible by shore or boat only?
- Pigeon Cay/Barbareta - Worth the excursion?
- Utila Island - Worth the day trip?

Any other north/east side sites worth visiting? Any good snorkeling on or around Camp Bay Beach? What about any sites on the south side?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts. We want to take as much advantage of the snorkeling as we can.

Comments for Will Be Snorkeling Roatan 2018 - Looking for Updated Information

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Jun 06, 2018
Also looking for updated Roatan info
by: Carlee

Hubby and I are going to Roatan for the first time at the end of September 2018 and are also interested in any information this post will provide. Once you get back from your July trip, please grace us with what you found. Thanks!

Jun 06, 2018
Loved It!
by: Gail

We stayed at CocoView last year and the snorkeling right off the beach is amazing whether you go left or right, or join one of their dive boats for a different location. The dive masters will take you out in a smaller boat for other spectacular spots.
We are recommending this resort to all our friends and have it at the top of our "go back to" list!

Jun 06, 2018
Roatan tips
by: Kris

We were in Roatan last September to snorkel and loved it. I would highly recommend staying in West Bay which would give you plenty of time to explore the reef and so you can snorkel after the cruise ship guests have left.

We found the coral to be in great shape especially the further out you go. I would recommend getting some sort of marker because of the boat traffic. We used our snorkel vests but they were awkward to attach and drag.

I would also recommend booking a trip with Ruthless Roatan Charters. You could do the northshore trip or if there are enough of you, charter the boat so you can do as much snorkeling as you want. They are beyond amazing. We went to Cayos Cochinas which allows a little bit of snorkeling.

The other thing I would suggest is contacting Cleve's Tours and Adventures. You can contact him through Facebook. He can arrange to take you to snorkel sites that have shore access and would probably be cheaper than a taxi (personally I would not drive in Roatan). I highly recommend the mangrove boat ride. Just a heads up - Cleve is a highly enthusiastic and outgoing person so if you are an introvert, he might not be your thing. Also, you can contact the dive shop at Bananarama or at Infinity Bay about doing a night snorkel (right after sunset). We went on our own which was a little too scary.

Jun 06, 2018
Roatan May 2016
by: Richard Olson

I stayed in West End mid-May to mid-June, 2016. Taking a water taxi to West Bay I snorkeled Mandy's Eel Garden, an excellent shore snorkel. I also did a dive boat tag-along with West Bay Divers who at that time only charged $5.00. I paid a little extra for a guide to go in the water with me. Mostly I went out with West End Divers who put a guide in the water with me with a diver ring/flag for only $15.00! Coconut Tree Divers in Half Moon is also very good and only charged $5.00 for a tag-along. West End and Coconut Tree both have showers.

If you shore or boat snorkel on your own I would strongly advise taking a diver float/marker as there are lots of water taxis speeding around. I got run over by one... dove down just in time to avoid contact. Boat driver never saw me.

Half Moon is a great snorkel on BOTH sides. I actually slightly preferred the north side. Go down the road to the EcoDivers/Half Moon Lodge area and there is a shower and steps leading down to the water. Work your way out towards the reef to the right after putting in.

Enjoy.

Jun 07, 2018
Keep it coming...
by: Perry

Thanks for the information so far. I really appreciate any further insight on my questions above.

Jun 12, 2018
West End
by: Lisa A.

I agree with Richard that both sides of Half Moon Bay provide great snorkeling experiences. The people at Eco Divers are very accommodating. Hubby and I ask if we can snorkel there, and they have always been happy to let us. We eat a few meals there with snorkeling afterwards. It's a great place to night snorkel (hubby and I have our own underwater flashlights). We like to day snorkel there first to get the lay of the land so to speak which makes a night snorkel less intimidating.

If you like seeing critters and don't necessarily need coral, I also suggest the other side of West End for a different experience. A few of the restaurants there are over the water and if you ask they will let you use their stairs or ladders to snorkel after lunch or dinner. While not pristine, there are some great things to be seen. Last year, under and around one dock area we saw a giant hermit crab, numerous fish, a goby and its goby shrimp (digging its tunnel), and three seahorses, which I had never seen before. Over at the west end of that beach section there is a cement wall covered with soft coral and/or sea lily type fauna where we saw all kinds of fish, crabs, shrimp (including mantis shrimp), and at night (we night snorkeled there also), there was an octopus and numerous wandering anemones, crabs, and sea cucumbers.

West Bay is also a great snorkel - go to the west of the main beach around the coral outcroppings - but be aware that the coral is very close to the surface in some areas. Take your time getting out to the snorkel area and watch for coral close to the surface.

Snorkeling Blue Channel is also nice - we saw turtles and squid and lots of fish - but I would suggest having a boat take you out. It's safer due to the boat traffic. I think our charter was $50 for both of us (and it was only us) from West End to West Bay and the guide snorkeled with us to watch for boats (and having the boat hooked to the designated spot alerted the boats to our presence). And we stayed out snorkeling for a good hour and a half at least.

Last year we got to snorkel on the east (south) side. We took a small local boat charter (very reasonable) to snorkel near the "drop off" near Fantasy Island and Coco View.

Sandy Bay is great to snorkel, but is generally less accessible via the beach. It can be a swim to the reef depending on where you're going from and you have to watch for boat traffic. We generally take a boat charter when snorkeling there. I really enjoyed Spooky Channel and the shallows around that area. Lots of large soft corals on the sandy bottom.

So for me, the easiest from the beach snorkeling areas are West End (around the docks and the cement wall - watch for boats farther out), Half Moon Bay (both sides), and West Bay (to the west of the main beach - watch for shallow coral).

Hopefully someone else can give some advice on shore snorkeling on the east side and Sandy Bay.

Hubby and I are also going back this summer - the first week of July for us (also from Georgia *waves*).

Jun 12, 2018
Roatan May 2016
by: Richard

Good scoop, Lisa. I'll be going back to Roatan/West End and will use your info for the spots I didn't snorkel last time.

Jun 17, 2018
We were in there in 2014
by: Trina L

We stayed at The Beach House in West End, so we did a lot of snorkeling in Half Moon Bay. We preferred the right side if you are facing the water. Saw many interesting creatures (lots of squid and fish we didn't see elsewhere), and apparently just missed a Hammerhead Shark the one time we entered the bay as another snorkeler was leaving. Boy were we jealous!!!

West Bay in front of Infinity Bay resort in 2014 was fantastic! The coral was lovely and had lots of fish, including massive Goliath Groupers (on the outer wall of the reef). I'm interested to know how badly the reef and underwater life has declined since then.

We did a snorkel excursion to French Bay. To us, it wasn't worth it. The water was really rough, and all we saw were barracuda and lobsters.
Another excursion to a small outlying island, including a lunch barbecue was a worthwhile outing. I got to snorkel with juvenile Lemon Sharks!

We are returning in February 2019, and staying in the Sandy Bay area, which we didn't snorkel at all on our last visit, so any tips would be appreciated! Can anyone comment on whether there has been a decline in the reefs and underwater life in the last 4 years?

Thanks, and have great trips everyone!

Jun 18, 2018
Keep it coming...
by: Perry

Thanks for the additional feedback. The details on West End are great. Any experience on the east side of the island Camp Creek or Old Port Royal?

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