The Bay Islands are known around the world for their amazing scuba diving and snorkeling. The marine life around these Bay Islands of Honduras is unparalleled in its diversity, and you’ll encounter some impressive creatures on a regular basis. But it’s not just the marine life that enchants visitors and residents alike. The flora and fauna of the Bay Islands will also truly amaze and astound you.
Marine Life of the Bay Islands
The Bay Island of Utila is known as the Whale Shark Capital of the World. These gentle giants regularly migrate through the Bay Islands area, passing close to Utila throughout the year. Most scuba divers have a bucket list of marine life sightings they dream about – and swimming with a whale shark is typically near the top. To see these beautiful creatures in person is an experience unlike any other you can have on Earth.
While whale sharks are a unique draw for Utila, all of the Bay Islands enjoy incredible biodiversity of marine life. The colorful variety of fish seen all over the coral reef...the prevalence of eagle rays, nurse sharks, moray eels, and seahorses...it all amazes the average scuba diver. There is so much to see in the reefs around the Bay Islands, you could dive here every day for a lifetime and still be amazed on a regular basis.
Flora and Fauna of the Bay Islands
While enjoying a visit to the Bay Islands, you’ll find yourself surrounded by stunning tropical flowers, fruit trees, palm trees, pine trees, and so much more. Visitors are often quite curious about the variety of sightings – especially fruit trees unlike anything they’ve seen before. Depending upon the time of year you visit, you might see cashews or mangoes, bananas or coconuts growing all along the main roads. Nothing beats taking a fresh mango off a tree to enjoy its sweet juices on a hot tropical day. It is pure paradise.
You’ll also notice lots of scurrying little creatures throughout your visit to the Bay Islands. Some of these little guys will be familiar to you; others might boggle your mind. Did you know that white tailed deer are common on Roatan? Or that crabs come out at night to scour the ground around your house for a midnight snack? Did you know that geckos chitter-chatter to each other from your windows and all around your front porch at night?
A few fun and unique creatures you might see in the Bay Islands include the iconic Monkey Lala and the adorable Agouti. A Monkey Lala is no monkey at all – in fact, it’s a lizard often called the Jesus Lizard. Its name is actually a Basilisk, but its nickname is understandable once you see these little lizards scurry across the top of the water with their heads held high.
The Agouti is also called a Guatusa (or Watusa), and is known locally as an Island Rabbit. You’ll see these small brown furry creatures happily munching on fallen mangoes in your garden. They look like large guinea pigs, but once they get moving you’ll see why we call them Island Rabbits.
And - everyone’s favorite - you’ll notice iguanas all around the islands. While they look like small dinosaurs, these black and green native iguanas are gentle and merely want to dine on some banana leaves and sun themselves on tree branches. Enjoy their sightings – and watch out for them on the road!