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mom22frogs

Shallow snorkeling in Roatan with 11 yo?

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We have our own snorkeling equipment, which we used on our trip last January. We're going again, and I think I want a better place to snorkel in Roatan. The first time we did Roatan, we had the grandparents, so we did the whole sloth, iguana, etc. thing and hit Las Palmas, just to be in view of the ship. Ds and I swam out and saw some pretty coral heads, fish, a barracuda, it was fun. But the water was kind of green and murkey. I'm reading about West Bend and thinking that *might* be what I'm looking for?

 

Thing is, I'm not sure what's practical for us. For perspective, to swim out from Las Palmas was just a few minutes of light swimming and the water was always very shallow. The reef sounds amazing, but I'm showing ds video of the Blue Channel and he's not biting. I think it's too much for him. We did the Governor's Beach at Grand Cayman, and that took him several hours to warm up to. The depth, etc. was just a lot for him to deal with. So ironically, something like Las Palmas (going just on the other side of the buoy lines) was really great for him. It was shallow, had stuff, not hard to get to. We spent several hours because we'd swim out, snorkel around, come back and rest, then go out again. Lots of fun.

 

Any suggestions for a spot in Roatan that might work for him? I don't care if we get there by boat or swimming out, but it should be:

-relatively shallow (or at least have shallow parts he can enjoy, not all super deep)

-teeming with life

-either a quick swim from shore or accessible by boat

-with the ability to take breaks and then do some more

-1-2+ hours, not just 15 minutes

 

Any suggestions? I've kind of overloaded my brain looking at places online and places mentioned in reviews, lol. And I'm left wondering if "just swim from the beach" is fine for the adults writing the reviews and not fine for my 11 yo son. He has autism and some self-regulation issues. Fabulous swimmer, terrific snorkeler, but just we need something kind of chilled, the right spot. Or the right company taking us to the right spot. 

 

If I had to take a *guess* on what could work for us, I'm thinking Upachaya. They're small, very personal, and the pontoon would let him rest and get back in. No beach with that and maybe the healthy thing is lost on him, lol. But the peaceful vibe works. Would something else be better? Is the snorkeling up where Upachaya goes pleasant? Maybe I'm overthinking it and the pontoon solves everything? Because really, they could give him a float (if the water is overwhelming him) and he could just float. Because we did all our snorkeling before by swimming out, he didn't have that option to have a float, hmm. 

 

And while you're thinking about him, any opinions about Belize? When we went there before we did the ruins and river ride. I've heard the snorkeling is good there, so same gig, need that convergence of doable waters, personal attention or ability to swim out, pleasant with a kid. Thanks! :)

 

Adding: I'm reading this older thread 

  and that type of snorkeling like @ABQrobin shows in her video is FABULOUS for ds. @texancruzer mentions Infinity Bay. Is that what we need? 

Edited by mom22frogs

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Sounds like at Roatan what you want is West Bay, Tabyana beach area.  Haven't been there but there are lots of videos of it on YOuTube showing the snorkeling.  You can also pay for someone to take you out to the reefs and snorkel with you.  Might be a great idea for a youngster.

 

which video are you talking about?  Belize Rendezvous island?  

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oh, okay.... that is a private scuba resort we stayed at on the island.  It is not one at West Bay/End area.  

HOWEVER --  I think the snorkeling off Tabyana beach looks very similar from the videos I have seen on YouTube.  

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Here is the one for Belize Rendezvous island from last year.  When we got to the island, they divided everyone up into snorkeling groups... beginners or advanced.  They had several guides, and people in kayaks at surface the whole way for each group.  The beginners didn't go out as far or stay out as long.  Everyone said they really enjoyed it though.  

 

 

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4 minutes ago, ABQrobin said:

Here is the one for Belize Rendezvous island from last year.

Wow, that's amazing!! And did you go directly from the cruise ship or you went to land on the tender, met your group, and then boated out to the island?

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Its a ship excursion so you do not tender to the mainland, boat picks you up at the ship and goes directly to the island.  I think it is an excursion exclusive to the ships, they don't sell otherwise in order to have just one group at the island at a time.

 

Edited by ABQrobin

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Ok, I wrote Roatan Eco Tours, and if they can get us in that's who I think we'll go with. They serve pop, which he'll like, get you to the Blue Channel (which is supposed to be the prettiest) and the drop off, and the boat will help him feel safe while doing the deeper stuff. I think it's perfect. And then they dump us on the beach for a while, so we can do water slides (if there are any close) or hit the snorkeling again if we want. But that way we at least get out there once, guaranteed, without any stress.

Edited by mom22frogs

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We went to infinity at west bay and got some chairs.  The snorkeling site is right in front of the resort.  My 7 and 9 year olds went snorkeling with my husband from the beach in shallow water and saw amazing fish and colorful coral. The beach itself was nice and clear.  It was shallow for a long way out and great for the kids to play in, very little waves.  We had rony's tours pick us up and bring us to the beach and back.  It was about the same a a taxi would have cost because there were 7 of us.  We had a driver and guide and the guide sat next to our things on the chairs when we were in the water.  We had such a great time that we are already planning a cruise to stop there again next year.  It was our favorite port because of West bay snorkeling.

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9 minutes ago, JeremeT said:

We went to infinity at west bay and got some chairs.  The snorkeling site is right in front of the resort.  My 7 and 9 year olds went snorkeling with my husband from the beach in shallow water and saw amazing fish and colorful coral. The beach itself was nice and clear.  It was shallow for a long way out and great for the kids to play in, very little waves.  We had rony's tours pick us up and bring us to the beach and back.  It was about the same a a taxi would have cost because there were 7 of us.  We had a driver and guide and the guide sat next to our things on the chairs when we were in the water.  We had such a great time that we are already planning a cruise to stop there again next year.  It was our favorite port because of West bay snorkeling.

Oh that's wonderful! So at Infinity, did you pay for day passes?

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We did buy the day passes for $20 each.  It is only 5-10 more per person then the other resorts.  It was worth it for us to be right next to the best snorkeling area.  We also have a 5, 3 and 1 year old so we needed to be close.  They have a gorgeous pool that you can use and bar with great food you can order. The chairs had plenty of shade in the back rows as well.

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Sorry, it was $25. Go to ronystours.com and then the private tour page. It lists the cost that you pay all the different resorts. If the $40 you found includes the taxi than that is a good price. If not just grab a taxi from the port and tell them to drop you off at Infinity Bay and it will cost you $25 per person once you get there.  I believe Rony also has a shuttle for cheaper than the private tour. It looks like it would drop you off on a different section of the beach and you might have to walk to Infinity Bay. I would contact them for prices. The private car was about the same amount of money because we had seven people. We thought we might go somewhere else other than the beach as well but once we got there we didn't want to leave. We also got to stay later because we had the private driver. We left the beach about an hour and a half before the ship was leaving and got there an hour before. Had time to look around the port before getting on the ship.

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22 minutes ago, Vonnah said:

Sorry, it was $25. Go to ronystours.com and then the private tour page. It lists the cost that you pay all the different resorts. If the $40 you found includes the taxi than that is a good price. If not just grab a taxi from the port and tell them to drop you off at Infinity Bay and it will cost you $25 per person once you get there.  I believe Rony also has a shuttle for cheaper than the private tour. It looks like it would drop you off on a different section of the beach and you might have to walk to Infinity Bay. I would contact them for prices. The private car was about the same amount of money because we had seven people. We thought we might go somewhere else other than the beach as well but once we got there we didn't want to leave. We also got to stay later because we had the private driver. We left the beach about an hour and a half before the ship was leaving and got there an hour before. Had time to look around the port before getting on the ship.

Thanks, that's really helpful! 

 

I'm glad now to have the choice, because it sounds like we could plop at Infinity Bay and be very happy or take the Eco tour out. Did you and yours try to snorkel out through the Blue Channel to the wall? I think both options could be lovely, both just staying close exploring *and* going out to the wall. But I think to get my ds out to the wall, it's going to be safer with the boat. But I also wondered if maybe it's not that far and we could do it? I just think he'd get anxious. It's not the length of the swim or the endurance so much as that anxiety about the depth. Guess you could say I'm a "safety girl" on this, lol. 

 

The first time we came to Roatan, we weren't really impressed. We saw the seedy side, felt like we were treated dishonestly, dealt with bad roads and traffic shut downs that could make it hard to get back to the ship, long lines at the sloth/monkey place, disheartening levels of poverty, etc. So I'm hoping maybe we see a better side this time or have a more comfortable experience. Just being with a completely honest operator would be nice, lol.

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We did see all the poverty on the drive and our guide told us all about the island.  The roads are a bit crazy with the winding areas and drop offs.  I didn't feel scared during it because the driver was cautious and slow.  I was happy to pay a bit more for the private tour because we read all the good reviews and wanted someone safe.  They even brought us 2 car seats for the babies.  My husband went all the way down the channel with the go pro and got some amazing video.  He took the girls out one at a time and had them kind of ride on his back. They made it about halfway down the channel.  They are younger then your boy though. I did see people snorkeling with cheap blow-up rafts under their chest to help them stay afloat.  I will be bringing some next time. They saw so much without going all the way down the channel.  I think the boat would be great when they are older.  Not sure what would be better for you. Ask them questions. Do they let you hang out on the beach at all or is it just the boat the whole time?  I could see the sun getting too hot to be out in all day.  Make sure you bring long sleeve SPF shirts and lots of sunscreen on the boat. Is there food offered on the boat? I'm sure you will love it no matter what choice you make. Hope you have a great time!

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Sorry, I realized I was signed into 2 different accounts depending on whether I was on my phone or computer. Hopefully did not confuse you!

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6 hours ago, JeremeT said:

Make sure you bring long sleeve SPF shirts

The irony is my ds has these shirts and I haven't bought them for myself! Thanks for reminding me, need to get that done pronto! It is SO easy to get burnt in the Carribbean. You'll think it's fine because the temp is moderate, and then you're red, oops.

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