NOTES: On the south shore east of French Harbor, the snorkeling at CoCo View Resort is very popular for its walls and dense marine life. The waters just south of the resort buildings are locally known as the Front Yard and a good place to enter the water is near the Clubhouse at the gazebo pier. There are two coral walls and a wreck to explore. At the on-site Dockside Dive Center on the north side of the resort, there are gear lockers and fresh water showers.
Note, the direct shore access from CoCo View Resort is only available to registered CoCo View guests. Even the CoCo View dive shop only serves guests.
The Coco View Wall is located southeast of the gazebo pier and the over-water cabanas. The reef top comes within 5 feet of water surface, and is populated with elkhorn coral, staghorn coral and lettuce coral. There are several cleaning stations along with a resident green moray eel to observe. The main Coco View wall is east-west running, and the best snorkeling is located to the east and to the west of the main cut in the wall.
The Newmans Wall is located located south of gazebo pier across the channel towards the Fantasy Island Resort. Keep in mind that there is a lot of cross boat traffic in the channel, so make sure to use a diver down flag. The reef top comes within 5 feet of the water surface, and is a densely covered reef formation. The main wall is north-south running.
The Prince Albert Wreck is located south of gazebo pier in middle of channel or southeast off Fantasy Island. It is a 160 foot long ship that can be viewed in its entirety if the visibility is very good. Since it is in the middle of the channel, make sure to watch for surface boat traffic and use a diver-down flag. When starting to snorkel from the gazebo, try finding the chain passing through the cut in the wall which leads out to the wreck. The chain provides habitat to dense marine life and is home to many cleaning stations. You may encounter jawfish, damselfish, parrotfish, squirrelfish, sergeant majors, barracuda, eels and eagle rays.
The snorkeling off Roatan is known to be truly world class. Roatan is located northeast of Tegucigalpa about 35 miles off the Honduran coast. Isla de Roatan is about 32 miles long and ranges from 1 mile to 4 miles wide. The reefs around Roatan are known to have about 25% live coral, which is actually relatively healthy compared to other reefs found in the Caribbean. The average water temperature around Roatan varies little from summer (82F) to winter (78F). The best visibility can be found during the driest months of February through May, which can be up to 100 feet. During November and December, the visibility is typically 30 feet or under due to the heavy rain runoff. By the way, there are dozens of so-called dive shops around the island, however, most of them are just fronts for guided scuba dives. The dive shops rarely have any gear for sale, and the rental snorkel gear is old and very basic. Make sure to bring everything you may need, even mask drops.
After a long day of snorkeling at CoCo View Wall, you might want to grab a drink to cool off at Frenchys 44 Restaurant located 1km east of French Harbor on the road to the iguana farm. It may only be open on Saturdays and Sundays, so make sure to call ahead (504) 9679-2782 or (504) 3304-5776.
To reach the snorkeling in Roatan by air, fly into Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport (SAP) in San Pedro Sula. Then, you will need to transfer to an inter-island flight to the Bay Islands. Alternately, if you are coming from the US, you may be able to find a direct flight to Roatan into Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport (RTB) from Miami or Houston. A passport valid for at least 6 months past the departure date is required for entry, and there is a $40USD departure tax. Note: when preparing to fly off the island, make sure to give yourself plenty of time a the airport with a minimum of two hours — there are five long steps to the departure process and the planes do not typically wait even if you are confirmed checked-in. Also, the land-line phones on the island are very unreliable, so make sure to come with a complete list of the mobile phone numbers you may need such as dive shops, hotel, restaurants and rental car agency.
Additional printed reading material on CoCo View Wall snorkeling
can be found in Roatan Dive Guide from Ignacio Gonzalez .
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Instituto Hondureno de Turismo (504) 2222-2124; CoCo View Dockside Dive Center (504) 2455-7505; Fantasy Dive Shop (504) 2455-7801.