Travel Story 

Reefs and wrecks in Roatan

Diving and rustic elegance in Caribbean Honduras

Roatan, Honduras — Shipwrecks, Mayan sea caves and fringing coral reefs – they’re all in a day’s dive in the Bay Islands of Roatan, Honduras.

With no phones and no TVs, Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR) offers travellers rustic elegance with cabanas on the beach and resident parrots in the trees.

AKR is a certified, all-inclusive diving resort perched on the edge of the world’s second longest barrier reef. Roughly 96 per cent of all species found anywhere in the Caribbean can be seen on the Bay Islands’ reefs. Divers can observe a myriad of marine life including reef sharks, bottlenose dolphins, parrotfish, seahorses and sea fans.

Guests are free to explore the many wrecks nearby, including a sunken plane covered with sea grass and coral sand. With water visibility ranging from 25 to 43 metres, and 35 distinct dive sites 5 to 30 minutes away, the possibilities underwater are unlimited.

Roatan is not as touristy as many Caribbean islands, but you will find plenty of activities and things to see and learn about the island and Honduran culture.

The island's friendly, laid back atmosphere is an ideal setting for relaxing and enjoying the many fine restaurants, bars, and other attractions such as Marble Hills Farms, the Mangrove Tunnel near Oak Ridge , Carambola Gardens , the Iguana Farm, the Butterfly Park, the Institute for Marine Sciences at Anthony's Key, and the Cameo Factory in Coxen Hole.

The people of Roatan, population of about 30,000, have ancestral origins from eight separate cultures – English, Spanish, Payan Indians, Garifuna, Afro-Antillean, Anglo-Antillean, Spanish Honduran, and North American.

The island of Roatan is located in Central America, 55 kilometres off the north coast of Honduras. At 60 km in length and less than 6 km in width, Roatan is the largest of eight islands that are collectively known as Las Islas de la Bahia. These islands rest upon the Bonacca Ridge, the result of an enormous crack which runs long the ocean floor, about 60 km northeast of the north coast of Honduras. Lava from the earth's mantle welled up through this crack and formed the Caribbean plate, which buckled and created the Bonacca Ridge.

The warm climate, usually in the high 20s Celsius is kept comfortable by constant trade winds.

Three decades ago, the creators of Anthony’s Key Resort envisioned a small, tropical hide-away that would allow adventurous travelers the opportunity to experience the beauty of Roatan and the Caribbean as nature intended.

AKR is suited to the eco-traveller and ideal for families, offering children and adults the opportunity to swim, feed and train dolphins on site at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences.

AKR is a five-star PADI Instructor Development Center, offering a full range of courses and certifications for all levels, including Open-water Certification, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, and Adventure Diver. For children, they offer a Dolphin SCUBA Camp and SASY (Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth) programs.

Activities above water include horseback riding on white-sand beaches, sea kayaking and canoeing, deep-sea fishing, and exploring museums and the 2000 year-old Mayan ruins of Copan.

Diving packages at AKR start from $599 US and include seven nights‚ accommodation, three dives daily, meals, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking and Roatan Museum admission. Dolphin encounters are available at an additional charge.

Roatan is easily accessible by plane from several North American cities. Honduras‚ newest airline, Sol Air offers direct flights from Miami. They offer a new alternative to pleasure and business travellers, with hot meals and open bar, on-board service. Reservations can be made by calling (866)3SOL-AIR, or online at www.solair.net.

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