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Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

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posts: 125
reviews: 8
Is this area more for divers than snorkel?


Hubby and I are considering a trip to this area and were wondering if there is much good snorkelling in the area as opposed to diving. We do not dive and much prefer to snorkel...we were considering media luna...feedback?

Lisle, Illinois
posts: 246
1. Re: Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

Roatan, due to its geography under water, is not much for snorkeling. I say this in comparison to other Caribbean possibilities.

The fringing reef on the North and West (where 99.9% of the rental rooms are) is quite a distance out from the actual shore.

The "Media Luna" property might be an exception, depending upon which one of three you are referencing. (Hondurans have many qualities, but consistently show the lack of originality in the naming of things) There is one so named property located mid-island, East along the Southern shore.... It is right next to the shallow fringe reef, good snorkeling right there. They also have a very protected sand bottom protected area in the shape of... A half moon!

Montreal, Canada
posts: 1,101
reviews: 26
2. Re: Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

In referencing "Media Luna" you are probably referring to one of the "HM Resorts"....http://hmresorts.com/

Not having stayed there I can't help you with the snorkeling question in that area.

For snorkeling Roatan in general, I am the only "non-diver" in the family, I will often accompany the family on the dive boat to the various dive sites along the West End.... personally I find the snorkeling amazing. As well, a couple of times a day we will walk to the rock wall by Infinity Bay on West Bay Beach where one can simply walk in and snorkel from shore, the reef on the outer edge is amazing and access is very easy from shore.

I know others here who are avid snorkelers who should chip in...many are repeat visitors who come for weeks at a time and their main activity is snorkeling.

Chilliwack, Canada
posts: 815
reviews: 7
3. Re: Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

Hubby and I are avid snorkelers and over the years have snorkeled the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui, Riviera Maya, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bali, Thailand and last year experienced Roatan . We found Roatan to have some of the best snorkeling we have done. We were due to go again this past May but had to cancel due to a medical issue so we are hoping to go back next April/May.

Can't speak to Media Luna as we stayed on West Bay.

RianneD I think you would love it! Hubby and I did!.

Edmonds, Washington
posts: 143
reviews: 4
4. Re: Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

My husband dives and I snorkel, we think the snorkeling is some of the best in Roatan. We have been to Fiji and it is beautiful but I think Roatan is better. There are some areas better than others on the island for sure but with so much reef you are sure to see something. Faithie you are correct, have been coming for almost 8 years and haven't grown tired of it yet.

menlo park, ca
posts: 3,602
reviews: 66
5. Re: Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

Gee, Will, Roatan not decent for snorkeling ? Have I been imagining it all these years? I can't think of an island or a beach in the Caribbean or Hawaii that I have missed, and I think that Roatan is FAR better for snorkeling as well as diving than whatever is second. True the reef off West End is a fair distance to swim, but I DO swim it twice a day because it is so addicting. And at West Bay, as we all know, the reef is a short wade out. Just maybe 50 feet.

I'm pretty sure that the OP is referring to Media Luna resort on the south side, which is vulnerable to the prevailing wind and currents, so not as clear and calm as WEst Bay. It's a lovely resort but since it's not in West Bay, it's isolated from the action of West Bay and WEst End. The reef is closer along the south side, but because it is nearer to the long-time populated centers on the island it is a bit more trashed. It would not be my first choice on Roatan for snorkeling, but the worst place on Roatan is better than any other island;s best.

Vancouver, BC
posts: 260
reviews: 73
6. Re: Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

As said by many others above, the snorkeling on Roatan is great. Yes, for some areas that are not West Bay you have to swim a bit to get to the reef, but it's not difficult and it's well worth it.

Mi Wuk Village...
posts: 1,602
7. Re: Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

I've seen good snorkeling at West End that can be reached from shore. Reefs are not uniform. Some species only visit the reef to breed. The young fish gather on the shore side of the reef and as they grow move to the outer part. This way they avoid predators in the early part of life. So you tend to see smaller...but often more fish inshore.

posts: 4,162
reviews: 100
8. Re: Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

We knew nothing about Roatan five years ago... except a diver friend raved about trips to Roatan/Utila and our friends' post-Hippie wandering daughter had nice things to say.

We'd done some snorkeling... partifcularly in Cozumel back in the 90s... and were looking for a winter getaway with shore snorkeling. Our budget just made it hard to stay very long if we needed to get on a boat every time we wanted to do some good snorkeling.

The Bay Islands usually show up on any top 10 list for snorkeling... along with some very exotic and expensive spots. A little more research shows that SHORE snorkeling is usually quite limited in some of the places rates "best" for snorkeling.

So... we've spent 12 weeks on Roatan so far... 8 more planned in 2014. Snorkeling is great.

Distance from shore... we stay in Sandy Bay. We have some very good coral about 250 yards from the end of our pier, and the main reef is 300-400 yards out.

Those distances seemed pretty itimidating when we started... but we are freshwater swimmers. The water around Roatan is very salty... more buoyant than, say, the Pacific. We are in our middle-sixties and it would be an understatement to say we are not particularly phisically fit. I've been known to cause false "whale" sightings simply by being out on the reef. My wife had a shoulder replacement. Nonetheless, we are out there most every day... sometimes twice. If we get tired, we float. I've often said that in snorkeling we have found the only sport that requires less energy than laying on a sofa.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion - but it is a pretty small minority opinion that considers snorkeling on Roatan to be less than very good. We think it is excellent, though our experience in limited. On the other hand, dhauk has snorkeled more, and in more places, than anyone else I know. He keeps coming back. I suspect we will for as long as our bodies will let us.

And did I mention it is a tropical paradise, and cheap to live once you've paid the airline pirates to get there?

Mount Tabor, New...
Destination Expert
for Cayman Islands
posts: 5,867
reviews: 18
9. Re: Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

I have snorkeled Kauai, Maui, St. John, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke, the Tobago Cays, Carriacou, Petit St. Vincent, Petit St. Martinique, Curacao, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, yada, yada yada...with the exception of Little Cayman, my experience snorkeling off Roatan put it to the top of the class. Wish I can get to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean sites, but if not, Roatan is plenty darn good for me.

While it is a bit of a swim or easy kayak out to many of the reef structures, the minimal effort is quickly rewarded.

Garden Valley...
posts: 17
10. Re: Is this area more for divers than snorkel?

We are snorkellers and currently 5 days into a 10 day visit to Roatan (our first of many, I hope). We're staying at Turtle Beach which is almost exactly midway between West End and West Bay.

For us, even the "throwaway" snorkeling 30' off the beach is great - with big schools of grunt fish hanging around the rocks, huge lobster, purple fan coral, tiny wrasse, etc.. Best if all, you're right up close to the fish because it's so shallow. You have to take extreme care not to knock into anything.

We've kayaked out to the reef offshore opposite where we're staying - well worth the effort - and yesterday wandered down to West Bay and snorkelled next to the iguana wall-also lovely with tunnels of rock creating walls for the parrotfish to munch off.

One thing that possibly hasn't been emphasized enough is how calm the water is inside the reef in this area. I get seasick very easily and also don't enjoy being buffeted around by waves (did this on the Big Island of Hawaii and it was enough to almost give me a panic attack). The water here is almost like swimming in your bathtub (and similarly warm), the worst waves caused by the wake of the water taxis going past, further out.

The day we kayaked out to the reef, we moored onto a diving buoy on the outside of the reef and a squall started to come in while we were under. The swell was immediately noticeable and we opted to paddle back. As soon as we were back inside the reef the swell was gone - and bonus, caught a fleeting glimpse of a sea turtle coming up for air on the way back.

Needless to say, loving the snorkeling and loving being able to pick exactly when we want to go, and not being at the mercy of a prearranged ($$) boat trip.

Edited: 12:20 pm, September 09, 2013
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