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Roatan is the perfect destination for both novice and experienced snorkelers. The water is almost always crystal clear and the coral reef is located only minutes from shore.
Roatan is one of three bay islands located off the coast of Honduras. Roatan, the largest of the three islands is surrounded by a steep continental shelf. Nutrient rich water from the deep sea flush over the reef feeding an abundance of fish and corals.
Water from the deep sea and open ocean flush the reef of sediment particles which is why Roatan is known for great visibility. However, if there has been lots of rain, the visibility will decline for a few days. Inshore above the shallow coral reef’s however, there is very minimal currents, and close to shore you with find easy snorkeling conditions.
West End is a calm protected bay surrounded by a vibrant tourist district. Here you will find several scuba diving and snorkeling operations offering one hour snorkeling trips to the reef. If you’ve brought your own snorkel gear you can walk right in from the beach to find fish and corals, but it’s important to stay to either side of the bay as there are dive boats coming and going throughout the day.
You will find roped off areas on the eastern end of the bay which is off access to motor boats. The snorkel area starts above a sea grass bed with colorful parrot fish and curious hogfish. As you swim further pass the rocky point you find coral reef with massive brain corals and star corals. You can also see sea turtles, sea stars, crabs, squid, and if you’re lucky an octopus.
To access the roped area walk towards Half Moon Bay beach and enter using the wooden stairs entering direct to the roped snorkel area.
You can also snorkel at the west side of the bay to find Gorgonian sea fans, sergeant major fish, chub fish and star fish. There is no roped area however boats general stay in the center and eastern side of the bay.
MAPS & DIRECTIONS
West end bay is located on Roatan Island’s western tip. You can get a taxi from the airport for around $25 about 30 minute drive. You can park in the Half Moon Bay hotel parking lot, follow the main West End road to the end of the bay and turn left on a dirt road with the Half Moon Bay sign.
There is a nice Gelato place (Costa Dulce) on the west end of the beach, grab a Gelato and hit the water from here. After your snorkeling adventure there are several bars and restaurants on the West End Strip.