Level: Free shore access This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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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.
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.
We advise you 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 swim to the reef from here.
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.
Getting closer to the reef (↕1-3m), the seabed is now covered with colorful coral, sea rod, sea fans, and sea whips. Underwater life is also denser: hundreds of blue tangs, schools of sergeant majors and bluehead wrasse dashing over the rocks can all be seen here. Hundreds of species can potentially be seen in West End.
Keep your eyes peeled for Spanish 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).
There are many hotels, restaurants, bars and shops in West End, fitting all budgets. Most of them are settled along the small coastal road. Nearby -and even more popular- West Bay also boasts numerous seaside hotels.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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