Off the northside of Roatan north of Sandy Bay, the snorkeling at Barry's Reef is known for a wide, shallow stretch of coral reef. The marine life can be found around the elkhorn coral formations, sea fans, pillar coral and barrel sponge. From the shoreline, there is about 600 feet of shallow sea grass before reaching the reef. 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 Barrys Reef snorkeling dive site is located west of the piers at Lawson Rock marina.
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 Sandy Bay, 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 Barrys Reef, 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 Barrys Reef snorkeling dive site is located northwest of the airport on the north shore of Roatan near Sandy Bay. It is offshore of Lawson Rock Beach Club marina.
Overall, Barrys Reef is the 8th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 16 snorkeling dives in Roatan.