Diving Guanaja’s Barrier Reef
Guanaja’s fringing reef is a protected marine reserve making it an ideal spot for scuba diving and snorkeling nearly anywhere offshore the mainland. Part of a volcanic and coral mountain range called The Bonacca Ridge, Guanaja marks the beginning of the second largest barrier reef in the world – the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. It offers a mixture of pinnacles, vertical walls, lava tunnels and wrecks including the nearby Jado Trader, one of the most sought-after wrecks in the Caribbean. It also boasts nearly every species of coral growing in the Caribbean Sea, including several species of rare black coral, and sponges of all colors, shapes and sizes.
Dive sites ring the island, meaning finding a location to scuba dive in the lee of the wind is nearly always possible. In addition to the sites surrounding Guanaja, the innumerable cays that encircle the island form an ideal habitat for reef creatures and virtually every known crustacean. From tiny black spotted nudibranchs to cave dwelling Caribbean lobster, the reef systems is ideal for macro and close up photography. There are also more than 300 identified fish species in Bay Island waters. Scuba divers frequently see Angelfish, Hamlets, Butterfly fish, Creole Wrasse, Grouper, Jackfish, Moray eels, Octopus, Parrotfish, Nurse sharks and more.
Nearly all of the sites offer lively shallow terraces that are perfect for snorkeling as well as scuba diving. Separate snorkel tours are offered to ensure you are taken to a site that is guaranteed for good snorkeling. When joining the scuba divers, we also do our best to accommodate sites that work well for divers and snorkelers.
Visibility is generally around 100 feet/30 meters. During the rainy season (roughly October to January) visibility can dip below the usual, though we are always able to scout out the areas that offer the best conditions. Currents are mostly mild to non-existent.
All visitors to Guanaja are now required to make a $10.00 (annual) cash contribution to the Environmental Fund for the Protection of Guanaja Island. Proceeds go toward the preservation of the reefs, mangroves and general ecosystem as well as to fund environmental education programs for Guanaja residents. The $10.00 contribution will be collected at Dunbar Rock during your scuba diving registration.
Guanaja’s Hyperbaric Chamber
On March 8, 2016, Guanaja’s first hyperbaric chamber and clinic (Clinica Hiperbarica) opened made possible through a grant from DAN and the generous contributions from the owner of Dunbar Rock and a close associate.
Through the combined efforts of many people and agencies, the municipal government can now operate and offer Hyperbaric oxygen therapy not only to the people of Guanaja, but those of the Bay Islands and the nearby Honduran mainland coast as well. Equally important is the positive impact knowledge of an accessible chamber will have in promoting dive tourism to the island from around the world.