Why go? Divers and snorkelers rave about the majesty of Roatán’s biodiverse waters and coral reef system. Psychedelic tube sponges
grip the sea wall, and tropical fish dart in and out of nooks in the reef.
Why care? Warming oceans have triggered major bleaching events that have turned once-vibrant Caribbean coral systems into blanched skeletons. Coastal development, illegal fishing, and reckless divers have also taken a toll. Now the trend threatens Roatán. But the fragile reefs are also resilient. Experts now say, given time to heal and a healthier environment, the ecosystem could recover.
Plan your trip: Several U.S. airlines have direct flights to Roatán. You can also take a ferry (safewaymaritime.com) from mainland Honduras. Stay at the West Bay Lodge (westbaylodge.com); bungalows start at $105/night. Contact Karl Stanley (stanleysubmarines.com) to book a submarine dive.
How to help: Support the Coral Reef Alliance (coral.org) in its efforts to protect reefs worldwide.