Roatán

About West End

If Roatán is the heart of the Bay Islands, then West End is undoubtedly the heart of Roatán.  After a short taxi ride from the airport along a lush, winding road, your are greeted by the sight of Half Moon Bay's crystal-clear waters.  The beautiful white sand beach along Half Moon Bay is excellent for snorkelling, swimming, kayaking or just getting a sun tan.  West End is a relaxed place, where a hammock and a good book compete with the urge to dive.

West End has been described as the Caribbean of twenty years ago. Take a stroll down our 1.5km/1mile road and take in the nostalgic atmosphere of simpler times. Friendly residents wave from their porches as you pass.  Street vendors hawk fresh fruit and vegetables from the back of their trucks.  Local fishermen sell their recent catches out of ice coolers.  Our "main street" is dotted with accomodation ranging in price, restaurants with the best selection of food, bars with different musical tastes, and an assortment of dive shops.

West End has a lot to offer people of all budget and interests. It is easy to find something simple for less than $15, or you can go more up-scale with your own private air-conditioned cabana where you can watch the sea from a hammock. Souvenir shoppers will be delighted to find many gift shops to by commemorative items, including our own art gallery featuring pieces by local artists. We have several duty-free shops offering unbeatable deals on quality wines and spirits, plus a good selection of convenience stores stocking a wide range of commodities.

Dining out is a real treat in West End. We have over thirty bars and restaurants serving a variety of cuisines and drink specials. From local baleada shacks to top-notch steakhouses, you are guaranteed a good meal regardless of your budget. Following a spectacular sunset of Half Moon Bay, West End's night life comes alive. Grab a cold drink, laugh at your instructor's ridiculous tales, and join us as we party the night away Roatan-style.

About Roatan's Reef

Roatan's reef, which is part of the second largest reef system in the world, is home to an amazingly diverse population of aquatic life.  The island has a fringing reef system: the coral reef extends directly from the shoreline.  As a diver or snorkeler, this means that all the best sites are mere minutes from the shore. A short snorkel swim from our shop is all it takes to reach the reef.

The reef structure is divided into four distinct zones: lagoon, reef crest, fore reef, and drop-off.

The lagoon starts from where your toes hit the water and extends to the breakers over the reef crest.  Like a green carpet spread across the lagoon, fields of eel grass and other algae act as the lungs for the reef system.  This shallow, sun-soaked sanctuary is home to juveniles of many aquatic species; tiny lobsters, barracudas, angelfish, butterflyfish, and reef squids reach maturity in this zone, safe from the competition of bigger fish on the reef.  Graceful eagle rays fly over the lagoon in search of a crustacean treat, while sharptail eels slither through the eel grass, hoping to ambush an innocent juvenile.

From the surface, the reef crest appears as a rolling line of breakers.  Underwater, this complex coral structure rises straight to the surface, where shifting tides and fierce waves make survival a constant battle. Stony corals such as the staghorn and elkhorn corals have adapted branching structures to dissipate the surf, while soft gorgonians such as the sea fan roll with the waves. Heading seaward, the reef crest quickly to a series of a sand and rubble patches.  This interior wall is home to schools of surface-feeders such as sergeant majors and chubbs along with various nimble crustacean life forms.

Large boulder and plate corals form the fore reef.  These coral heads merge into prominent ridges.  Colonies of staghorn and lettuce corals build structures of intertwined limestone and provide shelter for damselfish, squirrelfish, and fairy basslets.  Turtles feed on the large barrel sponges in this region.  The relatively shallow depths of the fore reef provide ample sunlight for supporting a host of marine life; most of your diving will be in this densely populated, brilliantly illuminated stretch of reef.

At the drop-off, the fore reef dramatically plunges into the blue abyss. Plate corals extend from the wall in cascading overlapping shelves. Deep-water soft corals such as black gorgonians and wire coral stretch their wiry frames away from the wall. Marine life, while less dense than the fore reef, consists chiefly of larger reef fish and free-swimming pelagics such as groupers, barracudas, ocean triggerfish, and eagle rays.