The small village of West End is (logically) located on the western side of Roatan Island. Atmosphere is relaxed and lively here. Small budget travelers like this place, which makes a contrast with the nearby West Bay and its luxury resorts. Fringing the island’s west coast, West End reef is located about 200 meters from the beaches. Coral is not as spectacular here as it is in West Bay, but it is still preserved and you will be able to spot dozens of fish and invertebrate species. If you’re staying in West end, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this spot.

Snorkeling at West End beach, Roatan

How to get there?

West end is located on Roatan Island’s western tip, about 30 minutes by car from the airport (taxi: 25$) and 10 minutes by boat from West bay. Once in the village, walk towards Half Moon Bay beach: it is the ideal place to enter the water.

Water entrance

We advise to enter the water on Half Moon Bay beach’s southern end (on your left when facing the sea). This place is sheltered from waves and currents and you will easily fin-swim to the reef from here.

West End Roatan snorkeling map

Exploration

The snorkeling area covers the coral reef facing Half Moon Bay. It extends about a hundred meters southwards over the rocky point (see map above).

Starting from the beach, you will first come across a shallow sea meadow area sprinkled with coral clumps (0.5-1m). Cushion starfish like this place, although they are less numerous here than on Starfish Alley. Groups of Caribbean reef squids also appreciate this calm area sheltered from currents.

Sea fans and corals at West End, Roatan

Getting closer to the reef (1-3m), the seabed is now covered with colorful coral and sea whips. Underwater life is also denser: hundreds of blue surgeonfish, groups of sergeant majors and blue-headed wrasses dashing over the rocks can all be seen here. Hundreds of species can potentially be seen in West End. Keep your eyes peeled for hogfish, scrawled filefish, three Caribbean butterflyfish species and even small groupers.

Beyond the reef, the seabed deepens dramatically (10m) and there is not much left for snorkelers.

If you wish, you can follow the reef’s edge towards the South, swim over the rocky point and get off the water by West End village’s beach (beware the boats).

Scribbled filefish at West End

Restaurants and accommodation

There are many hotels, restaurants, bars and shops in West End, fitting all budgets. Most of them are settled along the small coastal road. The nearby West Bay also boasts numerous seaside hotels.



Species you may spot while snorkeling West End
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Atlantic blue tang Acanthurus coeruleus  
Doctorfish tang Acanthurus chirurgus  
Foureye butterflyfish Chaetodon capistratus  
Banded butterflyfish Chaetodon striatus  
Hogfish Lachnolaimus maximus  
Bluehead wrasse Thalassoma bifasciatum  
Bermuda chub Kyphosus sectatrix  
Yellow goatfish Mulloidichthys martinicus  
Scrawled filefish Aluterus scriptus  
Dusky squirrelfish Sargocentron vexillarium  
Orangespotted filefish Cantherhines pullus  
Sergeant major Abudefduf saxatilis  
Jewel damselfish Microspathodon chrysurus  
Stoplight parrotfish Sparisoma viride  
French grunt Haemulon flavolineatum  
Caesar grunt Haemulon carbonarium  
Tiger grouper Mycteroperca tigris  
Lobster  
Calamar de récif des Caraïbes Sepioteuthis sepioidea  
Cushion sea star Oreaster reticulatus  
Flamingo tongue snail Cyphoma gibbosum  
Sabella Sabella sp.  

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaSandy Bay-West End Marine Reserve
  • Maximum depth12ft/3m on the reef, 25ft/8m on the reef drop off
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersBoats
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.