They market Roatan as having the second biggest barrier reef in the world and per Wikipedia “located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea (second largest worldwide after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef)”.
In 1996 I was traveling in Australia and did my basic open water PADI scuba training in Cains which is right on the Great Barrier reef. So when I heard that Roatan has the second biggest Barrier reef I got excited and had to go on a few dives.
Debbie started her open water PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) classes in Roatan so that she could become certified. It was great for her to do it on this trip because since we have so much time, it does not feel like she is wasting any vacation days sitting in classes.
There are a ton of dive shops on Roatan which makes it very competitive, so the diving is very reasonably priced. To get basic open water certified it only cost $285 and below is the cost if you are already a diver.
1-4 dives its $35 per dive
5-9 dives it drops to $30
10 or more it is $25 per dive
Since there are so many dive companies on the Island, I recommend that you spend a few hours walking around the West End and have a chat with as many as you can and then select the one that you get the best vibe from. They are all pretty cool and very laid back. You don’t feel pressured and most will tell you to go and think about it and come back when you are ready.
I think they know that the high pressured sales tactics do not work and will only turn people away. As a matter of fact, the dive company we chose (Coconut Tree Divers) was very laid back and they did not even make you pay until after you are finished with your dives. This dive company also seemed to be the most popular and had a great atmosphere, with people constantly hanging out and socializing out front.
The weather was not the best for our dives and we did not get a chance to see that many exciting creatures, but some of the animals we spotted included:
Large Turtles, Moray Eels, Lion Fish, a dolphin pod from very far away and a six foot Shark (yes I spotted one). When the dive-master signaled the universal shark sign, you know the one hand on top of your head, I rushed over to catch a glimpse.
The shark was just chilling on the ocean floor halfway under a rock and didn’t seem to even care that we were there staring like it was a monkey in a cage. I got within 8 feet of the shark and really wanted to go give it a poke, but figured I would leave it alone. One of the other divers had her camera and snapped a few pictures. I posted one of the pictures below the video.
Check out the video below of the diving experience: