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Looking for fish, fauna & birds

Toronto, Canada
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166 posts
18 reviews
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Looking for fish, fauna & birds

Greetings. I've spent a fair amount of time looking for a place that would have good (the best) shore snorkeling from the property (similar to Bonaire?). At this point in time I'm having difficulty sorting out the "West" areas .... in terms of busy vs quiet, close fish, far fish etc....

We're also avid birders and would like to be able find a place that would have gardens / parks / undeveloped areas close by that we could do some bird watching.

We're 50 something, quiet, looking for a place that does not have a lot of music blasting from speakers ... etc . We're not cranky, we're just looking for an opportunity to enjoy all that nature has to offer ... above and under the sea. Thanks so much. Any suggestion would be sincerely appreciated.

Menlo Park...
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1. Re: Looking for fish, fauna & birds

You can get a good sense of the west end of the island on Google Earth. That bright white stripe at the far southwest corner of the island is West Bay, a long lovely beach with off-the-beach snorkeling and lined with mostly larger low-rise hotels and condos. A loud bar scene during the day and the destination of hoards of cruisers during cruise days. A wee bit further north at what would be the northwest corner of the island is West End, a town strung along a sand road with a half moon bay and several coral points, including lots of shops, restaurants, smaller older hotels. Google shows the reef crest in light brown and that turquoise area between the beach and the reef is underwater sandy floor. The best snorkeling is on the reef crest, with hard and soft corals and sponges and fish hidden in the coral. This is way sandier and way better snorkeling than you saw on Bonaire. Way better. For birds I suggest the walk along the beach from West Bay to West End, about 45 minutes. Lots of birds to see along the way. Or you could head inland, but the inland road between WE and WB is vicious steep. Gumbalimba Park is on the beach between the two, and I understand they have a bird adventure, but they are not always open. I frequently walk between the two places and then take the water taxi (50 lempiras) back for a lovely view of the mountains.

If you are not full time divers, you will probably want to avoid the isolated dive resorts and look at WE or WB. The latter is for families or folks wanting all-inclusives and pools and loud lunches. WE is younger laid back cheaper.

La Habra, California
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260 posts
68 reviews
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2. Re: Looking for fish, fauna & birds

The above post says it all. For a day trip I would recommend going to cayos cochinos, its like going back in time. Amazing marine life!!!!! pink boas(harmless). Have a great time!! You can youtube.com cayos to see what I mean, xtreme charters is a great outfit to take the trip with, ask for Ray.

Toronto, Canada
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166 posts
18 reviews
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3. Re: Looking for fish, fauna & birds

@dhauk, thank you very much for the excellent explanation of West End vs West Bay and the location of the reefs. Looking at the location of the reefs, can you tell me what hotel(s) would have beaches closer to the reefs? I'm hoping to find a place where the motorized water traffic is less / non existent. Looking at Google Earth, I wondered if the Infinity Bay Resort would have a quieter beach area?

Your comment about Roatan 's shore snorkeling being much better than Bonaire has really intrigued me as it is our 'hands down' favourite for shore snorkeling. Last year we spent a week at Turneffe Atoll off Belize and although the snorkeling was fabulous, we had to go by boat to various sites.

If we find a hotel that has a Dive op on site, we would hope to be able to go out with the divers if there was room on the boat.

The suggested walk along the beach between West Bay & West End for birds is good news .... are you referring to water birds or are there some undeveloped areas where we might see various hummingbirds / tropical birds?

Thanks again for your detailed explanation. Much appreciated!

Toronto, Canada
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166 posts
18 reviews
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4. Re: Looking for fish, fauna & birds

@haroldgreen, thank you for the tip about Cayos Cochinos. It looks very interesting and I will certainly look into it.

Penticton, Canada
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259 posts
55 reviews
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5. Re: Looking for fish, fauna & birds

Great snorkelling pretty much anywhere from any beach on Roatan. In front of Infinity Bay is fantastic snorkeling, but you said you prefer the quiet side of things and WEst Bay is the Busiest beach on the Island. Cruise ship people flood to that beach so avoid the cruise ship days if you want 'quiet'. This will be our third trip to the Island, are about the same age and we prefer the "quieter" side of things and will be staying in West End again this year. Our first trip was WEst End (Luna Beach) and they had dive boats out 3 times daily and we jumped in a couple of time for $10 to snorkel (we don't dive). We stayed in West Bay last year, and found it to be too busy, noisy and liked the West end side better. More local feel with local restaurants etc., so back there this year! We also did a 3 day private sailboat adventure our first year and it was the best. Moored in a private bay at Cayo Cachinos and the captain did all the cooking and took us to some fabulous snorkel spots - truly amazing. HIghtlight of our trip for sure. Either way, you will love Roatan.

Toronto, Canada
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166 posts
18 reviews
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6. Re: Looking for fish, fauna & birds

@Smarties43 Thank you for taking the time and interest to respond. I appreciate your feedback. I must admit I was having a difficult time trying to sort out West Bay vs West Beach until I found a map that showed me the 'big picture'. I Liked Google Earth for the coral info but some of the places marked are questionable. Time was critical in our decision because it appears Sunwing has a monopoly to Roatan from Canada and there were very few flights left for the week we are travelling. I chose a Sunwing hotel as close to Infinity Bay as I could (because of the good snorkelling and my assumption that boats won't be allowed too close to the reef?? I stayed clear of the closest Sunwing hotel because of recent reviews. I could be all wrong, but one has to start somewhere, and if we like Roatan, we will definitely be back. Bonaire has been our first choice for snorkeling but flights are troublesome. That being said I have a copy of the cruise ship schedule and hopefully we can got out with divers on that day. I do need to find out if La Serenas has a dive operation on site.

Your sailboat adventure last year looked like a wonderful opportunity, may I ask who you contacted? What is the sailboat's capacity?

Thanks again for your help. We leave in 4 weeks, Monday.

Penticton, Canada
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259 posts
55 reviews
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7. Re: Looking for fish, fauna & birds

No Problem. The sailboat was wonderful. I have a post here on more details. His name is Harry Mclaughlin, goes by Captain Hank. His sailboat is a 55 ft wooden boat and his email is sunyata84@hotmail.com.

The cost is $750 for TWO for 3 days and two glorious nights, all meals included (and he is an amazing cook!). We moored in the bay and snorkeled at night in the waters with the most amazing water fireflies! Truly breathtaking. He also took us to chechewatee (spelling opps), which was breathtaking visiting with the Garfuna people. Hightlight for sure.

Either way you will love Roatan. 28 more sleeps for me till we return and can't wait.

:)

8. Re: Looking for fish, fauna & birds

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