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Outdoor Recreation

Local Voices
Snorkel or Dive the Mesoamerican Reef, the largest barrier reef system in the Western Hemisphere – Loida Oyuela

The Bay Islands is host to a wide variety of outdoor recreation and adventure opportunities, both in and out of the water. Whether you're already an expert or want to learn something new, you'll be thrilled with the selection of outdoor experiences at your fingertips.

It goes without saying that the main reason most travelers come to the Bay Islands is to dive or snorkel its spectacular reefs. As a subregion of the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR), Roatan boasts the best overall reef health in the entire MAR, thus you can expect to find rich marine biodiversity with plenty of reef fish schooling together but above all, keep an eye out for macro marine life.

Utila is where you get your SCUBA diver certification given its world famous reputation for being one of the cheapest locations in the world to get certified. It is also the place to swim with whale sharks - you can find year round populations of these gentle giants in Utila.

Widely regarded as an “easy” dive destination, the Bay Islands underwater conditions are ideal for beginners, with warm waters, mild currents, and amazing visibility. Proximity is also key, especially in Roatan, where the reef is so close to shore you can literally walk out of your hotel, put on fins, and with just 15 to 20 kicks be floating over a colorful reef swarming with fish. With hundreds of moored dive sites to choose from and a wide selection of dive shops to help get you there, you can begin planning your ultimate dive vacation in The Bay Islands.

Not comfortable underwater? Book a boat trip to one of the Bay Islands’ satellite islands. Enjoy a traditional seafood meal in Cayos Cochinos, head east of Roatan and take in the stunning seascapes surrounding Pigeon Cay, or head west of Utila to admire the picturesque layout of the Utila Cays. Want to stay closer to shore? Go kayaking or paddle board along many of the tranquil bays. If you want to satisfy the explorer in you - take the mangrove tour in Jonesville Point on Roatan’s less traveled East End.

If you’re a landlubber, don’t worry…the Bay Islands have lots to offer you as well. Roatan has some spectacular beaches like trendy West Bay beach as well as the pristine beach of Camp Bay to the east. You can also rent scooters or hire a taxi to take you around the islands to experience exciting land adventures like canopy tours, botanical gardens, or iguana farms. If you want to mingle with the locals, visit the ethnic Garifuna village of Punta Gorda, or the quaint fishing communities of Jonesville and Oak Ridge. Yoga is making headway in the islands too, so look out for an outdoor class near you.

No matter which island you visit, or which side you decide to travel, you will find an activity to satisfy your interests in the land of sun, sea, sand and coral reefs.