The Bay Islands, Roatan, Utila, Guanaja
Bayislandsdiver is aimed at providing useful information on the Bay Islands. The information provided in this site is aimed at helping people organise a trip there, to become a scuba instructor or do a divemaster internship. There is a large amount of personal opinion included in these pages, but its my site so I can say what I like! I have been working on Roatan for 14 years at a few of the dive shops there (mostly at Coconut Tree Divers, West End). In my time there I have got to know Roatan pretty well. I have also spent about 3 months in Utila so I know a little about that island as well, however there are much more detailed websites out there with info on Utila. I hope you find the information useful.
The Honduran Bay Islands (Las Islas de la Bahia) are comprised of eight islands and more than 60 cays resting on the Bonacca Ridge, which is about 40 miles northeast of the north coast of Honduras. They are beautiful Caribbean islands which still have a lot of old world charm, although development is increasingly becoming apparent. Visiting these islands will leave you with little idea of what Honduras as a country is like, since they suffer from few of the problems seen on the mainland, simply because tourism brings plenty of Dollars to the local economy.
The islands are surrounded by a reef system, which is part of the second largest reef system in the world. At times the reef is only a short swim away from the shoreline. The reef is one of the most species rich waters in the Caribbean in terms of both coral and fish.
Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands it is 50km long and varies in width from 2 to 4 km across. The highest point of Roatan is approximately 900 feet above sea level. The island has varying topography from white sandy beaches, iron shoreline, mangroves, tropical hilltops, lush valleys to reef surrounded waters.
It is the only bay island with an international airport and flights direct from the US and Europe.
People travelling on a budget will want to stay in the West End, which consists of a road running along the waters edge. All you will find there is dive shops, souvenir shops, bars, restaurants and hotels. Presently there is not even a bank, and anything but the most basic grocery shopping has to be done in Coxen Hole, a 12km/$5 taxi ride away. This is also where all the nightlife is. If you are looking for more upscale accommodation you will find plenty of websites for the various resorts around the island, West Bay is by far the favourite option for upscale first world quality hotels.
Utila is much smaller than Roatan 13km long and 5km wide and much flatter than Roatan! There is one town which is about 3 or 4 times bigger than the West End of Roatan. Rather than the beach town you will find in Roatan, Utila is based on the shores of a large natural harbour. At the furthest extremities are small beach areas. Much like Roatan the town consists of one main road running along the shoreline with a few more minor roads branching off. There are plenty of dive ops to choose from, I hear so much feedback good (mainly) about all of them, that I really can't recommend one above the other.