As part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System —declared World Heritage by the UNESCO— Roatán, about 30 miles off the coast of Honduras is one of the world's top dive destinations. The turquoise water visibility is consistently at a hundred feet year round, dipping at times to about 80 feet in the rainy season. Water temperature averages in the low eighties but can go down to the high seventies in January and February. The island, nearly forty miles long and about three miles wide, is actually the top of an underwater mountain range called the Bonacca Ridge. The ridge includes the other Bay Islands, Utila and Guanaja, and the many smaller keys and islands nearby. Roatán is surrounded on all sides by a living coral reef containing nearly every species of coral growing in the Caribbean Sea, including several species of rare black coral, and sponges of all colors and shapes. And what is best, the reef system is just a few fin strokes away from the beach at your hotel.