The white powdery sand, transparent waters, and abundant sea life of these emerald islands and their coral cays form Honduras ’s most popular attraction. As one of the world’s cheapest places for scuba certification, the Bay Islands (Islas de la Bahía) are a paradise for novice and experienced divers alike, while snorkelers can simply wade out a few feet to immerse themselves in the rich undersea world boasting hundreds of multihued species of fish and coral.
For novice scuba divers, finding a more convenient place to get an Open Water certification or advanced training would be difficult. Eager instructors by the dozen are just waiting around for their next client, ready to take potential divers through the paces in calm, clear, 28°C (82°F) waters, all at remarkably low prices.
Diving and snorkeling may be the activities of choice for many Bay Island visitors, but life above the waves has its own appeal. The islands have a tangled history of pirate raids, immigration, deportation, and conquest, including more than 200 years of British ownership of Roatán , Utila , and Guanaja .
English is the first language of most native islanders, some settlers from the British Cayman Islands, others Black Caribs that claim runaway slaves as ancestors—although recent influxes of mainlanders (“the Spanish,” as the islanders like to say) are spreading the use of the Spanish language. Resident expatriates have opened restaurants that span global cuisine, but seafood is naturally the traditional culinary choice, and grilled lobster dinners can be found for as little as 10 dollars.
High season for Bay Islands tourism is most of the year apart from the September–November hurricane season. Vacation times in Central America, such as Christmas, Easter week, and the first two weeks in August, can be very hard times to find lodging, especially on Roatán, and many establishments take advantage to jack up their prices. Mid-January to mid-February is a great time to come to the islands, as tourists are fewer. September is the best month to take advantage of the low season prices, as it tends to be less rainy than October and November.