West End’s fully equipped dive shops offer dives and courses for all levels and in several languages. Courses and dive packages should cost close to the same everywhere: US$280–325 for the standard or Advanced Open Water certifications, US$100 for a half-day Discover Scuba Diving course, US$35 for a fun dive, and US$25–30 per dive for 10 or more dives. Prices can fluctuate somewhat with the season and have risen slightly over the years.
Generally, all shops have three dives daily—one at 9 a.m., one at 11 a.m., and one at 2 p.m. (although some run dives half an hour earlier or later)—and start new certification courses every couple of days. Apart from the shops listed, there are a few outfits based out of West Bay, for people who prefer to stay there. Fun dive prices typically do not include equipment, which can tack on another US$5–15.
Coconut Tree Divers (tel. 504/403-8782, www.coconuttreedivers.com), in the same building as the Coconut Tree Store in front of Half Moon Bay, has plenty of good gear, a well-equipped 40-foot dive boat, and an air-conditioned classroom. The PADI-certified shop can pick up guests in their West Bay accommodations for morning and afternoon dives. They offer Nitrox and instructor courses as well. Equipment rental is included in their fun dives (US$35 each).
Native Sons Divers (tel. 504/445-4003, www.nativesonsroatan.com) has offices on the beach at the south end of town and at Chillies Hotel. Native Sons is a frequently recommended, locally run shop certified with PADI and providing experienced instructors. The shop can also arrange fishing trips.
Ocean Connections (tel. 504/403-8221, www.ocean-connections.com), a well-respected dive shop, has equipment for Nitrox and other technical dive training, as well as the standard courses and dive tours. PADI classifies it as a Gold Palm dive center, in recognition of the shop’s quality and volume of business.
Pura Vida (tel. 504/445-4130, U.S. tel. 786/319-4571, www.puravidaresort.com), another PADI five-star Gold Palm resort-rated shop, has three boats, an air-conditioned classroom, and a spacious wooden porch for hanging out.
After several years of diving with Reef Gliders (tel. 504/8913-5099, www.reefgliders.com), new owners John and Barbara Montgomery moved to the island in December 2009 and took over the business. Penny-pinchers will be happy to find that free dorm-style accommodation is still offered to dive students—at Georphi’s Tropical Hideaway in town.
Seagrape Plantation (tel. 504/445-4297, www.seagraperoatan.com) is well-located for visitors staying at any of the hotels on the point, such as Posada las Orquideas, Cocolobo, and Casa Calico.
Sueño del Mar (tel. 504/445-4343, www.suenodelmar.com), housed in a large building out on its own private dock in the West End harbor, has a dive shop on the “ground” floor and a popular restaurant/bar above. The shop has two skiffs and a boat kept at Brick Bay to dive on the south side. Sueño has about the best dive gear shop on the island. They offer lodging and dive packages, with rooms both at what they call the Roatan West End Hotel (a.k.a. the Sea Breeze Inn), in the middle of town for a bargain basement US$411 per week, and in their relatively new, white-washed resort lodge on the south end of town right on the water, with breezy tile-floored rooms, a very good value at US$550 per person per week.
Tyll’s Dive (tel. 504/403-8852, www.tyllsdive.com) is one of the oldest shops in West End. It offers a full range of courses in a variety of languages, and prices are on the lower end of the scale.
West End Divers (tel. 504/445-4289, www.westenddivers.com) is known for diving a larger variety of sites and venturing farther out than some of the other shops. The fun dives at West End cost a bit more (US$40 each, or US$30 when purchased in a package of 10 or more), but the course prices are competitive.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition