Sailing and Diving

The crystal-clear waters surrounding Roatan are irresistible for people who take to watercraft of all types, from sailboats to catamarans to speedboats.

Numerous tour operators offer half and full day excursions, snorkeling and diving trips, cocktail or sunset cruises.

The PADI website ( showed 37 licensed dive shops in its directory in May 2024. The PADI open water course, the basic course that certifies a diver to go down to 60 feet (18 meters), includes five shallow water dives, four open water dives and a battery of tests. Most dive shops offer this course for $300-$400.

The entire reef area that surrounds the three Bay Islands is part of the Bay Islands National Marine Park. The park has special regulations that limit fishing to outside the reef and restrict spear fishing to only invasive lionfish (and only with a permit). For more details, check out .

Several tour operators offer boating trips to a number of islands and cays around Roatan. Among the most popular are the following:

  • Cayos Cochinos. Two islands and numerous cays make up this group that is still inhabited by a small number of Garifuna natives. Excursions include snorkeling and swimming and perhaps a dance performance by the Garifuna.
  • This island is known as an international crossroads, with many young world travelers staying in hostels.
  • The easternmost island has Bonacca Cay where most of the residents live. The much larger main island is sparsely populated and surrounded by beautiful reefs.
  • Pigeon Cay, just south of Barbarat, is a very small sand cay where a boat captain may bring you for snorkeling and a nice lunch. Barbarat itself is a privately owned island, but Jade Beach is open to tour operators for access to some of the most colorful, untouched coral around the islands.

Sport fishing is a big lure to the islands. Outfitters offer professional-grade rods, reels, lures and live bait. You can bonefish near the reef or fish for wahoo, tuna, mahi-mahi, barracuda, blue marlin and sail fish in the deep sea. Roatan Marine Park offers a course in safe spear fishing that qualifies you for a license to spear-fish the invasive lionfish.

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