Diving and Water Activities
Roatán is almost entirely surrounded by the world’s second largest barrier reef. Known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the portion around Roatán–and West End in particular–is very healthy. Not only are we lucky enough to have this incredible reef within swimming distance from The Beach House, but Roatán is also adjacent to the deep southern edge of the Cayman Trench. This provides fantastic year-round visibility and nutrient-rich waters. The waters around Roatán host a thriving ecosystem of marine life that is truly unrivaled in the Caribbean.
All of this–and incredible snorkeling–is a short swim from The Beach House! The Beach House is a proud Silver sponsor of the Roatán Marine Park, a nonprofit organization focused on the conservation and protection of the marine environment. We recommend that you visit their offices–just a minute’s walk away–during your stay at The Beach House. You can learn about the incredible diversity of life in the waters around Roatán, rent snorkel gear, or obtain a license to spearfish the invasive lionfish while diving.
Just off the beach in West End, in front of West End Village (and just off of the private dock at The Beach House), there is a marked snorkeling channel, allowing you to reach the reef safely and easily. This end of the beach is where the reef comes closest to the shore. We have Mares gear at The Beach House available (in various sizes) for rent for USD$5 per day. Our guests regularly see rays, sea turtles, eels, lobsters, crabs, barracuda and more. Some have even been lucky enough to be enjoying drinks at The Dock Bar and see pods of dolphin swimming by (and as of summer 2019, we have a school of tarpon that show up nightly!).
The scuba diving opportunities are exciting on Roatán for both the novice diver and the advanced explorer. If you are not a certified diver, we highly recommend that you consider a “discover scuba diving” experience. If you fall in love with the great blue, the cost counts towards your PADI certification. It is just a half day, and you will not be disappointed!
If you are looking for a great local dive shop, we highly recommend Roatan Divers. Roatán Divers are a truly boutique-style dive shop, focused on top quality service, personal attention, safety, comfort and environmental responsibility. Roatán Divers are a quick two-minute walk along the beach in Half Moon Bay. We are not alone in our praise for Roatán Divers–check out their reviews on TripAdvisor. If you would like to contact them in advance to make arrangements for your diving, please email them directly at [email protected].
Stand up paddleboarding is one of the world’s fastest growing water sports and is easy to learn regardless of your age or ability level. Discover the fun, tranquility and core workout advantages of stand up paddleboarding while enjoying a whole new perspective of the beautiful Roatán waters. The Beach House has two paddleboards for rent ($20 for two hours for guests, $25 for everyone else), and there are many more available throughout West End.
Roatán is home to the world’s deepest tourist submarine. Built and piloted by Karl Stanley, “Idabel” takes up to two passengers to over 2000ft below the surface–there is literally nowhere else in the world that you could do this. In this cold, pitch-dark space you’ll meet some of the strangest creatures ever seen by the human eye, including the six-gill shark. Maybe you will be the very first person ever to see something! Visit Stanley Submarines for more information.
Swimming with Dolphins
For many, swimming with dolphins has been a childhood dream. Now you can live that dream here on Roatán. Anthony’s Key Resort in Sandy Bay offers encounters, snorkels, swims, and dives with dolphins! Kids of all ages can get up close and personal with these playful mammals. Experienced trainers will take you into the lagoon and introduce you to the dolphins. Once you get to know the dolphins, feed them and play with them, you can go out for a swim. The Beach House concierge can let you know availability during your visit and make the arrangements for you.
There are a number of yachts and catamarans you can charter for the afternoon, for a day, or for a longer cruise to the neighboring islands. Even Belize is only a day’s sail away. Stock up the coolers, get the rods out, lay back and let the wind take you. Chartered sunset cruises and dive trips are also possible.
Roatán is famous for fishing opportunities–deep sea or flats. We recommend striking up a conversation with one of the many local fishermen that hang out on the docks. You will get a good price and a very rewarding day of fishing on a tropical Caribbean Island. Barracuda and black-fin tuna can be found year-round, and dorado (aka mahi-mahi) and wahoo come around in the winter months. We are happy to make recommendations and/or to book a charter if you would like.
There are a number of motorboat charters available for trips around the island–a really great way to see and appreciate the beauty that is Roatán. Explore parts of the island rarely visited. Let us know what you want to do and we will do everything that we can to make it happen!
There is plenty to see and do above the water and away from Roatán’s popular beaches. Take the time to seek out the island’s hidden corners and to explore some of its hidden luxuries. Spend the afternoon finding a deserted stretch of beach, the best seafood on the island, or a lazy tropical spa. We also have island tours available with our driver, Alex, who can provide you with a guided tour of some of the less-traveled portions of the island–or take you to some of the more popular spots (such as the sloth farm)–or both!
Spend a day or more at Roatán’s first golf course, The Black Pearl, located at the Pristine Bay Resort. Created by award-winning golf course architect Pete Dye, this 18-hole course offers truly spectacular views and amenities. If you are an avid golfer, you won’t want to miss The Black Pearl. In addition, a new 9-hole par-3 course–conveniently located in West Bay–is now (partially) open. Also designed by Pete Dye, you’ll have the option to hit the links without the long drive to The Black Pearl!
Rent a jeep or a truck and head out to the less developed East End of Roatán. You’ll come across isolated beaches, small fishing villages dotting the coast and always some interesting characters. We are also happy to arrange a guided island tour for you–this is a great way to learn about the history of the island.
You can jump on a panga in Oak Ridge and boat through the mangroves, which provide a vitally important ecosystem for the island. You will see coral and lots of sea life on the way, and you will pass by some of the oldest settlements in the Americas, built on stilts over the water. You can also take this opportunity to stop by Hole in the Wall, a bar that is only accessible via boat.
Nature lovers and birdwatchers will enjoy a stroll around Carambola Gardens, located just above Anthony’s Key Resort. Learn about the many different tropical plants and flowers. Climb up to the lookout above the Gardens and you’ll see the whole jungle and reef laid out before you.
There is an Iguana Farm near French Harbour, a sanctuary for these endangered island reptiles. Don’t miss feeding time! There is also a butterfly garden near West End.
There are now a number of eco-adventures featuring zip-lines through the jungle canopy. With safe, professional guides you can fly through trees filled with wildlife, orchids and exhilarating views. We recommend South Shore Canopy Tours, just outside West Bay.
Best done in the cooler hours of the early morning or sunset, you can ride along the beaches, through the forests and along the ridges of West Bay. Prices are reasonable and the horses are well cared-for. Ask us for details if you are interested in this adventure.
Spas and Massages
There are some excellent massage therapists available in West End, and some fantastic, full-service spas are just a short ride from The Beach House. Please let us know upon your arrival what you are interested in, and we can help you arrange in-room massages, full-day spa visits and anything in-between.