Roatan - A Gem for Snorkeling

by Susan (Sue) Harris
(Tauranga New Zealand)

Grey Angelfish

Grey Angelfish

As a solo older person I found my two weeks in Roatan for snorkeling and freediving quite good. For my first week I stayed at Cocoview Resort which is itself on an island near French Harbour. I chose not to go on dive boats which went twice a day as I wanted to really get to know the house reef.

The house reef is about a 10 minute swim from the door. The water depths were very good, from 1 meter up to 40 metres. I was able to see lots and get some good pictures. I saw lots of fish and other critters on route in the seagrass beds.

I snorkeled twice a day for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours a time. The water quality was great. There were lovely corals, heaps of purple sea fans, and sponges. I saw lobsters swimming, scrawled filefish, school of squid, eagle ray, various schools of grunts and blue tangs, whiptail eel, trumpetfish, garfish and beautiful queen, french, and grey angelfish, and more.

As I try and take photos Tim who owns the photography store adjacent to the lodge assisted me with my own gear. He has camera systems to rent if you don't have your own.

The lodge, the accommodation, the ease for snorkeling and freediving at Cocoview Resort was awesome.

For the second week I stayed at Tranquilseas Eco Resort in Sandy Bay. I had two boat trips with the dive shop located at the resort and saw a huge rainbow parrotfish. I didn't even know these existed; awesome and very large. And I saw some large groupers, moray, one turtle and school of squid.

The water near the lodge is not very clean due to boat traffic but I got in early and saw some good stuff under the dock - sea stars, shrimp and said hello to the resident barracuda.

Taxis are quite an economical way to get around which I did to West End and had a brief look at West Bay and the young people whooping it up.

I found it would be best to take US dollars as the ATM gives out Lempira. And some basic Spanish goes a long way with local folks.

Comments for Roatan - A Gem for Snorkeling

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Sep 02, 2018
Thank you for your report
by: Nicole & Galen

Hi Sue! Thank you for this great report about your snorkeling trip to Roatan. Sounds like you saw lots of wonderful sea life.

Sep 02, 2018
Roatan and Cocoview
by: Anne

I also am an older single snorkeler and did Cocoview awhile ago and went on the boats 2 times per day. They always pointed me to the boats that would have the best snorkel. I had a fabulous time as well on the house reef. Great place.

Sep 03, 2018
Solo Snorkeling
by: Denise

Do you snorkel by yourself? I have always gone on tours because I am an older single person who loves to snorkel but very cautious. Do you wear a life vest if you go by yourself? Maybe I am too paranoid. I am really glad you wrote about your trip to Cocoview. I was thinking about going to that resort hopefully next year.

Sep 03, 2018
Cocoview Roatan
by: Susan Harris from Tauranga New Zealand

It is of course best to snorkel or be in the water with someone else. You need to let the staff know so if there are others who snorkel you can buddy up. I am often the only snorkeler when I travel.

The reef and sea grass at Cocoview I think is shallow enough to just float along. There are areas that are less than a meter. You can see lots if you are patient.

I am a confident swimmer, snorkeler and "somewhat freediver". I do not wear a life jacket but if I wasn't confident I would. A light wetsuit also gives you buoyancy.

I would check the dive boat trips for depths and distances. I'd ask if you could get a guide for some snorkels if you are nervous when you are alone. Or if you can get a guide, go out to the reef. I found the staff very accommodating at Cocoview.

Sep 04, 2018
Solo Snorkeling
by: Denise

Thank you so much Sue and Anne... I definitely will try Cocoview. Sounds like my kind of place.:)

Sep 06, 2018
Speaking Spanish added to the trip
by: Cindy Wakefield

Snorkeling was wonderful, but an unexpected pleasure was that the local people seemed to enjoy helping me with my Spanish. And they liked practicing English too. Very fun and friendly location.

Sep 20, 2018
by: Anonymous

Always nice to learn of other wonderful places to try on Roatan. We were there a couple years ago staying on the West End and I was pretty new to snorkeling, the house reef there was amazing to me. I go alone also as my husband doesn't swim much. I enjoyed the early mornings around 6:30 am too. Returning this February to the other side, staying at Media Luna. I hope I like it there as much as West End...

Oct 07, 2018
Love Roatan!
by: April

Roatan is our absolute favorite place for snorkeling and diving. We went there January 2017 and fell in love. I will say we loved Bonaire for snorkeling as well (with help of the ebook!). But we didn’t fall in love with the vibe of the island in Bonaire. We absolutely fell in love with Roatan!! Unfortunately since we went, flight prices have quickly skyrocketed. Any airport within a five hour drive of us is $900 plus per person. We literally check every week for any dates for any drops in prices and have since we went. So far they’ve only gone up and not down.

St. Croix is my favorite island all around but the snorkeling just isn’t as great as Roatan. Hopefully we can make it back there. :(

Oct 17, 2018
West End was Great
by: Rebecca

I snorkeled the west end of Roatan, far west end I guess, about 10 years ago and it is still the best snorkeling experience of my life (including the Fiji trip I just returned from). We snorkeled, off the beach, an area about two to three football fields long by one wide, for five days, and never got bored. Fabulous pictures, up close, of good sized fish. Fiji seemed like most of the fish were aquarium-size.

I don't know how the area is now; the coral is right on the shoreline, so shallow that at low tide it was a challenge finding a way in, so it may be degraded by tourists by now.

Oct 22, 2018
Roatan Snorkeling
by: Pat

Sue, what month was this & what was the water temp?
Thank you.

Oct 23, 2018
Reply to Pat
by: Sue Harris (New Zealand)

Hi Pat, I was there the last two weeks in July 2018. Google says the temperature was around 28 degrees Celsius. It was cooler than that in the morning, like 8 am. My guess is maybe 23-24 Celsius.

I get cold and was okay with short bottoms and I wore a long sleeve top.


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