On the north shore of Roatan near Sandy Bay, the snorkeling at Spooky Channel offers a scenic coral reef in a basin formation.
The now-closed Bay Islands Beach Resort created a marked snorkeling trail out through the 300 feet of sea grass to the reef, but the trail is no longer maintained. While you can snorkel right from shore, it can also be accessed by boat and there are two mooring buoys inside and outside the reef. The water depths range from 5 to 30 feet deep around the basin formed in the coral reef. During a Spooky Channel snorkeling dive, you may encounter butterflyfish, grouper, angelfish, midnight parrotfish, porcupine fish, wrasse, sea turtles and stingrays among the sea fans, sea rods and brain coral formations. Keep in mind that the Sandy Bay area beaches are not particularly attractive; the water near shore is murky, the shallow seagrass beds near shore are thick and you may want to kayak out to the dive site instead of snorkel.
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.
While in the Sandy Bay area, make sure to check out the informal beach-side dolphin show and/or snorkel with dolphin program offered by the Institute Of Marine Sciences. Information on the programs is available at Anthonys Key Resort (504) 9556-0212.
After a long day of snorkeling at Spooky Channel, you might want to grab a drink in Sandy Bay to cool off at Blue Parrot Bar or Blue Bahia Beach Grill.
To reach the snorkeling in Roatan by air, fly into Ramon 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 Galvez 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.
The Spooky Channel snorkeling dive is located northwest of the airport offshore of Sandy Bay. The channel is directly off of the old Sunnyside Pier and is marked by two buoys. There is no parking available near the old Sunnyside Pier which is located in a residential area.
Overall, Spooky Channel is the 3rd most popular snorkel dive spot of all 16 snorkeling dives in Roatan.