Discovering Underwater Honduras
Scuba diving is a strange and exotic sport. It offers the privilege of entering a different world, where everything seems to move in slow motion, and the only sound is your own breathing. While the most famous reefs for diving are found in Australia and Southeast Asia, true scuba enthusiasts know about the amazing Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, located between Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. Once you dive there, you’ll be an addict for life.
Honduras is a gem to discover; mostly known for the Mayan Ruins of Copan at the border of Guatemala, it offers varied landscapes and cultures, and is a diver’s paradise thanks to the two islands of Roatan and (the lesser known) Utila. My love of diving began when I landed on San Pedro de Sula in Honduras, and took a small plane to Utila, located about 18 miles from the mainland. This relaxed island is an enduring hippie hangout in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by coral reefs with incredible undersea life. It sits on top of the second largest fringing coral reef in the world, and has more than 50 different scuba diving sites to choose from, including numerous caves and wrecks.
The diving here never feels crowded, but it is a bit more difficult to find a luxurious, boutique property to stay at—that’s where we come in. If you are looking for great hotels plus top diving sites, Roatan is your island. Las Verandas is a beautiful property on Pristine Bay, full of little details that will make your stay unique. We’d recommend one of the villas with your own private pool and terrace, though you may find this tough to leave when it comes time for your dives. The ocean views from these villas are unparalleled—roll out that yoga mat and feel the relaxation all the way to your core. Las Verandas has two beautiful pools for all guests (in case your villa doesn’t have one), and two restaurants. If you like to explore, there are also a few restaurants just a 10 minute drive from the hotel.
Another option (and my personal favourite on the island) closer to town is Barefoot Cay. It features two areas, one on the “mainland”, and one on its own small island, which makes for a unique and enchanting stay. Barefoot is a small boutique hotel with great service and a wonderful dive shop for those interested in donning their fins. The guides here are exceptional master divers who will tailor each outing to your needs, resulting in magnificent, varied dives with plenty of sea life to observe and great visibility. If you’re not a diver, that’s ok too—you might be interested in a dolphin encounter, paragliding, horseback riding, or visiting town on the hunt for homemade ice cream. You don’t even have to leave the hotel if you don’t want to; Barefoot Cay, as the name suggests, is perfect for simply relaxing, reading a book, and forgetting that your shoes ever existed.
Carola Fresno hails from Chile, but boasts brilliant expertise all across Latin America. She caught the diving bug in Honduras and has never looked back.