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.