We began coming to the Bay Islands over 10 years ago. I became Scuba certified but Susan decided the underwater world was best explored from above. (Trust me, I tried!). So our first exploration was me with the dive group into the depths and she watching our bubbles from above. I was a bit hesitant to leave her alone at the surface, but when we returned from our dive I was pleasantly surprised to see her chatting away with the boat captain about all of the creatures she saw in her 45 minutes. Including a loggerhead turtle, schools of blue tang, spotted drum (how did she see that from the surface!) and spotted eagle rays.
Roatan, Utila, and Guanaja became our destination of choice for Caribbean adventure and relaxation. The Bay Islands offer some of the best snorkeling in the world. Great visibility, shallow reefs, and very little current allows the snorkeler(and the diver) premium conditions. Each island has a fringing reef, which means the reef surrounds the island in a ring. In most places it is within 10-50 feet (3-14m) from shore. The tops of the reefs are between 2-20 feet (.5-7 m).
There are rocky entries and sandy entries from almost any shoreline. If you have booties just be careful you are walking on rocks and not live coral. If you do not know the difference, rocks are usually colorless and algae covered, where coral is colorful usually with a pattern (brain or star coral). The best way to see the reef, in our opinion, is to just go on a dive boat. Although Roatan and Utila are famously dive oriented, almost every shop offers a snorkel for an extremely reasonable rate. Plus you get a great ride with a prime drop off.
Although I prefer to dive, sometimes it is nice to enjoy gear free snorkeling with my future wife (and kids!)
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