Bring your underwater watch. Dive masters have charted more than 100 scuba and snorkeling sites on Roatan, the largest of the three major Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras, and it's easy to see why this island chain has become one of the Caribbean's diving meccas. A barrier reef (which extends north to Belize) lies just a few hundred feet offshore from the northern side of Roatan, and the warm, clear waters are home to nearly all of the tropical fish and corals of the Caribbean. Divers here have a smorgasbord of choices, from caves and canyons to swim-throughs and sand chutes.
Granted, Roatan and her sister isles, Guanaja and Utila, are a bit more rustic than some other dive-rich islands, but those who come here usually are looking not for upscale resorts but "a place like the Caribbean used to be."
If the silent world isn't your world, the Bay Islands are probably not high on your travel wish list. But Roatan does provide other distractions - empty beaches, kayaking, fishing, and an April carnival in Punta Gorda that celebrates the arrival of the island's Garifunas, the black Caribs marooned here by the British in 1796. After an underwater tour, you may think being marooned here isn't such a bad idea.