This special Lionfish Research Trip is part of REEF’s ongoing effort to monitor the establishment and consequences of invasive lionfish on native fish populations and reef ecosystems. The trip includes a unique research itinerary which includes exploring the many sea mounts scattered across Utila and Roatan. These sea mounts host an abundance of hard and soft coral formations and provide the chance to encounter pelagic species like rays, large snapper and jacks. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to dive the remote Cayos Cochinos, an archipelago off the northern coast of Honduras which is only accessible by boat. Large lionfish have been encountered in the waters surrounding Cayos Cochinos, underscoring the necessity for removal efforts and further data gathering. Trip participants will enjoy complimentary nitrox for all dives, and will also have the chance to be trained in lionfish collection, handling and dissection of specimens to document prey. When participants are not diving, topside fun includes kayaking and horseback riding at the beautiful Laguna Beach Resort, located on a private peninsula in Utila. 

Cost per Person: $1,575 for double occpuancy in a shared bungalow

What is included: Your package includes 7 nights in a shared bungalow at Laguna Beach Resort, round trip domestic flights from Roatan to Utila, round-trip transportation from Utila airport to the resort, three daily meals and snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, local beer and wine, use of kayaks and horseback riding, 3 daily dives (2 morning and 1 afternoon) including a special research itinerary scheduled for remote seamounts throughout the Bay Islands, 2 night boat dives, unlimited shore diving, free nitrox, tanks, weight and weight belts.

Additional fees: A REEF Program Fee of $300 per diver will be added to each package to cover the cost of the group leaders, seminar, and survey materials. Paid on premises: $3/person/day Bay Island Conservation reef fee. Airline departure tax typically included in price of airline ticket. 

Airport/hotel transfer information: Participants will fly into/out of Juan Manual Galvez International Airport (RTB) in Roatan. From there, participants will be booked on a domestic charter flight to Utila. Domestic flight tickets are included in the package price. After arriving in Utila, participants will be transported via car and boat to Laguna Beach Resort. 

How to book: To reserve your space or find out more, e-mail us at, or call us at 305-588-5869. A $500 deposit will be collected at the time of booking. Visit our Trip Policies page for more information on deposit and payment schedules.

About the trip leaders: Lad Akins, REEF’s Director of Special Projects, is renowned as the leading expert on invasive species, specifically lionfish. He served as the Founding Executive Director of REEF and led the organization in that capacity for 16 years, helping to design and develop REEF’s widely recognized marine conservation programs. In 2005, he stepped down to focus his efforts solely on the lionfish invasion.

Peter A. Hughes is the Founder of the DivEncounters Alliance, a group of independent live-aboard dive operators, and a member of REEF’s Board of Directors. Peter is one of the diving world’s foremost live-aboard operators, having spent more than forty years in the diving industry. Peter received the DEMA Reaching Out Award for helping to evolve the liveaboard diving industry and subsequently joined the DEMA Hall of Fame in 2011.

Bungalow accommodations at Laguna Beach Resort

Relax by the pool during surface intervals.

 The Bay Islands offer excellent dive sites. Photo credit: Bay Islands Yacht Charters