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Underwater Roatan - 1.2 MB QuickTime movie
Tropical getaways abound, but Roatan is a unique spot found off the northern coast of Honduras, and off the beaten Caribbean path. Visitors are lured to this exotic paradise by its picturesque landscape, inexpensive accommodations and English-speaking residents.
The largest of Honduras' Bay Islands, lush Roatan is perched in the Western Caribbean Sea on the edge of the Belize Reef, the world's second-largest barrier reef after Australia's Great Barrier Reef. As a result, its waters are filled with a captivating display of rare, living corals, colorful tropical fish and unique undersea formations.
The warm, clear Caribbean waters offer some of the world's best low-cost diving and snorkeling. Divers regularly come face-to-face with green moray eels, large brain coral and breathtaking angel fish. The vibrant fish-filled reefs contain more than 35 dive sites and are home to almost every species of tropical fish and coral native to the Caribbean.
Roatan's other main attraction, the bottlenose dolphins, are housed at the Institute for Marine Sciences located within Anthony's Key Resort. The Institute's unique dolphin discovery program studies their behavior and social habitats.
With the dolphin snorkel program, visitors have a chance to interact with dolphins in a shallow natural environment. It's a rare glimpse into their world.
Another program gives scuba divers the opportunity to rendezvous with them in deep, open waters. In this case, the dolphins choose whether or not they want to interact with humans. Divers must appeal to the creatures' natural curiosity, then wait for them to make contact.
Roatan's hiking and nature trails are scattered throughout the landscape. In 1989, island residents established the Sandy Bay Marine Preserve to help protect the island's natural treasures.
From pristine palm-fringed beaches to world-class dives, this tiny part of Honduras offers paradise underwater ... and on land.City guides and maps: Honduras
Scuba! Online interactive magazine
Tofino Expeditions Ltd. Honduras
Life in Honduras -- Account from Peace Corps volunteer
Coral Reef Fishes
Coral Research Institute
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