WEST BAY BEACH
More than a half-mile of fine white sand meets 40 miles of lush coral reef at the western tip of Roatan. This is the island's best beach, with a variety of hotels, dive shops and beach bars.
The further south (left as you face the water) you go, the closer the reef – though it's not far offshore anyplace along the beach. The water is calm and clear, and Louis St. Louis of Bananarama Dive and Beach Resort says the snorkeling is good up and down the beach. "All of West Bay is part of Roatan's marine park," he says. "Expect to see eels, turtles, grouper and conch." The most popular site is Mandy's Eel Garden, where dozens of slender garden eels poke out of their dens in the sandy bottom while reef fish school around nearby coral heads. To find Mandy's, swim straight out from the bend in the beach about 80 yards south of the water-taxi dock.
WHERE TO STAY
Bananarama Dive and Beach Resort
Family-run resort located in the middle of West Bay Beach; 23 rooms (plus condos at adjacent Island Pearl); beach bar and dive shop.
From $81; bananaramadive.com; 727-564-9058
Infinity Bay Spa & Beach Resort
Condo-resort development on West Bay Beach, with 145 rooms and suites (studio to three-bedrooms) and swim-up bar.
From $200 in low season ($250 high); infinitybay.com; 866 369-1977