Largely unexplored by tourists, Honduras is hotly tipped to be the next big thing in the travel industry. Practically destroyed by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, the country is slowly but surely rebuilding. This fascinating former Mayan civilisation offers a diverse set of landscapes. There are the powder-soft white sand beaches of Parque Nacional Jeanette Kawas and the world-class waterfalls of Lago de Yoja, plus more howler monkeys, scuba-diving spots and tropical fruits than almost any other nation.
The Bay Islands sit on the world’s second largest coral reef.
The Copán Mayan ruins and their fully intact hieroglyphs are considered to be the most important Mayan artefacts on the planet.
The five stars on the Honduran flag represent the five countries of Central America.
Honduras is known as the Banana Republic.
What to see
Tegucigalpa the capital of Honduras and is a colonial city with a rich history spanning for more than 400 years. The old historic centre is well worth a visit - other popular landmarks include the Metropolitan Cathedral and the former Presidential Palace, which has recently been converted into a museum.
An exotic collection of islands, Bay Islands offer picture-postcard escapism. Lose your stress on the white sandy beaches of Utila or explore the coral reefs and tropical landscapes of Guanaja and Roatán.
This former capital city features archaic cobbled avenues, picturesque plazas and whitewashed buildings. During holy week the streets spring to life with parades, performances and festivities.
Explore Honduras’s fascinating pirate history at Trujillo on the Caribbean coast. This one time bustling port features beautiful Spanish architecture and impossibly perfect beaches.
Top experiences / sites of particular interest
Delve into Honduras’s Mayan heritage at the ancient city of Copán. Its ruins include the Acropolis, the Great Plaza and the Court of the Hieroglyphic Stairway, all found at the Copán Ruins Archaeological Park.
Pico Bonito National Park
The best hiking opportunities are to be found at this expansive national park, close to La Ceiba on the northwest coast. La Ceiba is also considered to be Honduras’s main tourist draw thanks to its excellent beaches, spectacular scenery and active nightlife scene.
Located in the northeast of Honduras a short distance from Trujillo, the Cuyamel Caves date back to pre-Columbian times. Many examples of pre-classic ceramics have been unearthed from this site and the caves have been used through the ages by many ethnic groups. The caves are hard to find; for your own safety it’s best to hire an experienced guide if you plan to go spelunking.
Sail the crystal waters of the Cuera y Salado Wildlife Refuge and spot monkeys, alligators, water birds and manatees along the way.
There is no better location to learn to dive then Honduras. Experienced underwater explorers can take a course in cave diving or underwater photography at one of the many schools found on the Bay Islands.
When to go
Weather: Honduras has a tropical climate, with a dry season from November to April and a wet season lasting from May to October. Cooler climes can be found in more mountainous areas, while the northern regions are very hot and wet throughout the year.
Important Dates and Festivals: Holy week is a time of great celebration, with festivities that spill out onto the streets in most villages and towns. Day of the Americas on April 14th is a national public holiday, while Columbus Day in October celebrates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. The biggest and best Honduran festival is undoubtedly the La Ceiba Carnival with its floats, parades and wild street parties.
Getting there / around
Flights: There are four international airports in Honduras, Toncontín International Airport (TGU) in Tegucigalpa, Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport (SAP) in San Pedro Sula, Golosón International Airport (LCE) in La Ceiba and Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport (RTB) on the island of Roatán in the Bay Islands. Flight times clock in at around 10 to 11 hours, depending on which region you choose to visit. Smaller domestic airports also offer a wide network of internal flights.
Rail: Honduras has just three railways - and they are pretty isolated. However, intrepid (and well organised) travellers may enjoy a journey on the banana train from San Pedro.
Car: Road conditions tend to be poor, especially away from the major towns and cities. What’s more, roads are often closed as a result of flooding. Night driving is not recommended, due to wild animals on the road and local drivers without headlights.
Boat: Ferry crossings from La Ceiba to the Bay Islands are scheduled several times a week.
Short Trips: A seven-night stay gives enough time to get a taste of key Honduran highlights. Must visits for your itinerary include the island of Roatán, the ruins of Copán and the Reserva de la Biosfera del Río Plátano.
Longer Trips: In four to six weeks you can thoroughly explore this diverse destination. Start in San Pedro Sula – which is a three-hour taxi ride from the famous Copán ruins, close to the Guatemalan border. From here you can progress to Lago de Yojoa, the largest lake in the county and a good location for exploring the pre-Hispanic ruins of Los Naranjos. Take a bus from here onto the city of La Ceiba, before hopping on a ferry to the idyllic Bay Islands.
ITMB - International Travel Maps
Local seafood is available in abundance is one of Honduras’s signature ingredients. Mexican influenced cuisine including tortillas and enchiladas are also popular. Specialities to try on your travels include Tamales de Elote (corn cakes stuffed with chillies, cheese or dried fruit) and Plata tipico, a rice based dish of fried beef, beans and potatoes. Local drinks to seek out include zingy-fresh fruit juices, known as Licuados, and regional beers including Salva Vida and Port Royal.
Socialising on the Bay Islands tends to be a laid back affair, with hip beach bars attracting an eclectic mix of international young travellers. Mainland party towns include San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba, plus there’s plenty happening in Tegucigalpa - try Pupusería El Patio for an affordable Saturday night of live music, drinking and dancing, or Sabor Cubano for Latin-style salsa. Culturally, your Tegucigalpa options include the spectacular Teatro Nacional Manuel Bonilla which stages live performances including opera, ballet, jazz and classical concerts, or the more intimate Cafe Paradiso – a bar/entertainment venue hosting film screenings, poetry readings and acoustic gigs.
Lempira (L), made of a 100 centavos.
90-day tourist visas are available to citizens of most Western European and Commonwealth countries.
No particular vaccinations recommended
Safety, FO travel advice
Useful Telephone Numbers
Honduran country representatives can be found
in the UK at115 Gloucester Place, Marylebone, London, W1U 6JT. Tel:- 020 486 4880
and in the US at3007 Tilden Street, NW, Suite 4M 20008 Washington. Tel:- 202 966 7702.
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