Honduras Travel Guide
Honduras is a Central American country that still sees few visitors, but for those wanting to get off the beaten track on vacation, it offers plenty. There are great beaches and cheap diving, colonial cities to explore, Mayan ruins and great hiking.
Honduras flights are generally to the capital Tegucigalpa, or to San Pedro Sula on the Caribbean coast. Tegucigalpa has little to offer tourists, who might want to quickly travel onwards. The Mayan ruins at Coban are some of the best in Central America. Horseriding and birdwatching are popular vacation activities in the area of Coban. There are beautiful National Parks offering rainforest tours and rafting, one of the most luxurious lodges in Honduras being Pico Bonito. One can catch a flight from San Pedro Sula to Roatan, a Caribbean paradise for snorkeling and scuba diving holidays.
Honduras’ capital is Tegucigalpa, which is a dynamic and exciting city, a kilometer above sea-level. There is some great colonial architecture still visible in the city, and one of Honduras’ most spectacular natural sites, La Tigra National Park, is located to the northeast of the city. For visitors with a religious interest, there are a great many churches and religious sites around the city, including the famous Basílica de Suyapa, a Gothic church which is renowned for the many miracles performed within its walls.
Like many of its neighboring countries, Honduras is rich in pre-colonial history too, with incredible Mayan ruins accessible at Copán Ruinas. These include the famous 613 AD Stelae of the Great Plaza and the Acropolis.
For a Caribbean beach experience, look no further than Honduras, which has many great coastal towns and beaches. Tela is always a favorite with visitors, offering fresh seafood, stunning coastline and a range of accommodation. Trujillo is another beach resort famous also as the site of Columbus’ landing.
As well as hiking and climbing in Honduras’ many national parks and scenic spots, the outdoors visitor may enjoy the amazing snorkeling and diving the country has to offer particularly on the islands of Guanja and Utila, approximately 50kms off the coast.
Visitors to Honduras will most likely land at its primary airport, Tegucigalpa International Airport, which is close to the capital. Hotels in the capital come in every price range, but outside the city, accommodation becomes much cheaper and more basic.
Birding in Honduras
Honduras is the second largest country in Central America and although its 757 species (and counting) cannot be compared with the larger lists of countries to the south it does, however, offer some excellent birding opportunities throughout. The fact that Honduras is larger than many Central American countries and that fewer people come here, more often than not allows visitors to have trails or even entire parks or reserves to themselves!
There are so many good places to bird in Honduras with each region and specific sites offering their own unique birding opportunities. The most accessible areas to bird watch are in the western and southwestern regions and along the north coast. More adventurous visitors can venture into central and eastern Honduras and really be rewarded by vast extensions of untrammeled wilderness.
Honduras is a mixing ground for many northern Mesoamerican endemics that range from Southern Mexico to Northwest Nicaragua. More than fifty Southern species range no further north than La Mosquitia. In all, there are more than 110 species that either end their normal southern or northern range limits in Honduras. No other Central American country has as wide a variety of habitats on as large a scale where such a wide array of species meld together.
Scuba Diving In The Bay Islands
The Bay Islands are a part of the world’s second largest barrier reef system. They offer greatly diversified wall diving at each of the islands where the walls can start at fifteen, forty or even sixty feet. The reefs along these walls are abundant in stony corals and colorful sponges. It is a fitting finale to this journey along the Great Maya Reef.
With just one glance of our crystal blue waters and teeming marine life you’ll see why why Roatan is one of the premier dive spots in the world. Endless diving opportunities are to be found including dolphin dives, walls, volcanic tunnels, shallows, whale shark encounters and a dazzeling soft corals and sponges. The adventurous can explore canyons, ridges and stunning walls rich in marine life. Now a protected marine park, the waters around West End are home to dozens of exciting deep water dive sites.
Explore the sheer walls of Roatan including Eel’s Garden, Port Royal, and the Enchanted Forest, all complete with enormous stands of black coral, brilliantly colored elephant ear sponges and delicate blue bell tunicates.
Guanaja and Utila are similar and because of there remote location and fewer accommodations and divers in the water it can be better diving. One thing is for sure, the pace of life is tuned way down and your vacation here will be laid back and restful.
Off the Island of Guanaja there is the Jado Trader, a cargo boat deliberately sunk several years ago for divers, a 160 foot ship that rests in about 100 feet of water. Home to numerous sea creatures.
The two main islands of Cayos Cochinos hold such rare jewels as fingerprint tongues, wrasse blennies, sailfin blennies, painted tunicates, and richly colored encrusting sponges. While diving the area you could be joined by black tip sharks, eagle rays or turtles.
What To Do in Roatan, Guanaja & Utila
Delight in one of the most extensive reef systems in the world, that offers spectacular diving and snorkeling. Surrounded by warm Caribbean waters, these hilly islands are as picturesque as unspoiled. There are numerous different coral types, sponges, fishes and marine life as well as warm, clear blue water and excellent visibility.
Have a tropical drink and savor the very best in seafood and native cuisine while viewing spectacular sunsets from our dockside bars and restaurants. Horseback riding, scuba diving and snorkeling, charter fishing trips, sailing, day hikes, and sea kayaking are some of our local activities…to name a few!
For an interesting day trip, arrange a visit to the ancient Maya city of Copán on the mainland of Honduras. These impressive ruins represent one of the most sophisticated and culturally developed of all the ancient Maya cities. Or if it’s true adventure you seek, journey deep into the tropical rain forest on a river rafting trip.
Most divers around the world have probably already heard of Roatan as a diving destination. Roatan is a world class destination for students wishing to become divers and certified divers looking for a great location. The Honduran government has designated the reefs around the Bay Islands as a national treasure. These reefs form part of the second largest reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Lying in the Western Caribbean they are undoubtedly the most pristine and bio-diverse in the region as yet untrammeled by large numbers of divers.
Roatan’s reef system lies against the Caymans Trench which drops away to thousands of meters in depth.
In a few sites along the north coast it touches the island and creates spectacular drop offs from the coral wall.
Offering technical sport divers the chance to explore these incredible vistas. Diving with dolphins, turtles and the occasional whale shark can be the highlight of the diving vacation. Many can be found in the waters around Roatan.
The great advantage for snorkeling on the reefs around Roatan is the reef come to the surface around the island, large areas safely tucked inside the shallow lagoon make ideal areas for the novice snorkeler and children to experience the wonders of the reef in controlled conditions. With a small tidal range of less than one foot and no strong currents, Roatan makes the ideal location for all the family. For the more experienced free diver spectacular drop offs offer depth ranges to suit all levels.
Roatan has one of the finest beaches in Central America let alone the Bay islands.
West Bay Beach is a ¾ mile stretch of pristine white coral sand fringed with palm trees and lapped by the azure waters of the Caribbean, safe for swimmers and bathers it makes for an ideal days outing where ever you are staying on the island.
Other good beaches exist up at the east end of the island at Camp bay and Paya bay.
Although Roatan may not be known as a sport fishing destination, because of the close proximity of the Caymans Trench and its associated deep water, Marlin, Sailfish and Tuna are to be found in good quantities.
In the shallows and lagoons, Bone fishing can be had at very reasonable rates with expert local guides.
Several outfits offer rental and guided trips around the island in kayaks, there are endless opportunities to explore the out of the way places and hidden secret coves around the island, maybe catch dinner on the way and cook out over a camp fire on some secluded beach. It’s away to meet the remote fisherman and villagers living around the island.
Opportunities are endless for those who come with there own craft, however, several local yachts are available for rental or charter, either on a daily basis or just for a sunset cruise.
Two glass bottom boats operate in the marine reserve of Sandy bay and West End fully air conditioned they represent the latest in observation technology and provide a safe and informative introduction to the wonders of the reef.
Photographers and nature lovers can always find plenty to interest them on Roatan.
The many varied habitats offer a wide variety of opportunities to view migrating birds, rare and exotic indigenous fauna and flora, the natural landscapes and peoples of the island.
The island has a botanical gardens where plants and trees are labeled as to economic use and an institute for marine sciences where research is conducted on the reef and Dolphins.
There is also a small museum attached with the local history of the island.
Horse back riding, is a must on this island, a few operators with good horses offer excellent treks through the country side and some faster ‘gallops’ along the beaches.
What a glorious way to explore the island.
In many of the towns and villages you can find restaurants and bars offering local fare.
In West End village a number of restaurants offer international cuisine, these establishments are usually run by ex-patriots and have some of the best dinning on the island.
The island has two disco/nightclubs for the hardy party goers and many resorts run special nights with Garifuna dancing or Mexican fiesta themes.