Honduras is relatively untrodden on the tourist path. Its pristine beaches and ancient Mayan city of Copan rival that of Mexico but the country is still developing as a travellers destination and you need to be very careful away from the main tourist areas. Many people who visit here head straight for the Bay of Islands from La Ceiba – the country’s third largest city.
As well as being the gateway to the islands, you can whitewater raft on the Cangrijal River and if you fancy some luxury, La Ceiba has swanky waterfront hotels to choose from. Just off the coast you can enjoy a cultural experience with the Garifuna people who live in traditional villages on the Cayos Cochinos and will teach you about their indigenous culture and you may even witness a traditional Dugu dance.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to dive, take a ferry from here to the turquoise waters of the Bay of Islands, part of the world’s most bio diverse barrier reef. This is the one of the cheapest places to get scuba certified and people stay for weeks and even months in Utila which has a great social vibe for solos (and they speak English here).
Just across the water is Roatan, more expensive than its neighbour. With its azure water and white sand, West Bay in Roatan is considered one of America’s top five beaches and has luxurious hostels lining the sandy stretch. Sharks, turtles and even Bottlenose dolphins can be spotted here. There are bars with trivia nights to keep you entertained but the main areas are a bit touristy so if you want to stay near local villagers, head to Sandy Bay (although not much there) for some local interaction.
Although the islands are extremely safe, they are not a true representation of the rest of the country and the mainland is where you can really experience the true Honduran culture. Honduras is a very mountainous country with coffee plantations, national parks, jungle and cloud forests and the majority of Hondurans live within the highlands. The cities and towns have kept their historic architecture but the most popular site in Honduras has to be the Copan ruins. After you’ve visited these impressive ruins, there are bars and restaurants for socialising and you’ll meet many travellers here coming and going from Guatemala.
Christopher Columbus is actually said to have first set foot upon the American mainland in Trujillo, one of the oldest towns in Central America. This is a safe place to visit and you can learn all about the pirate history then explore the old spanish fort and open-air restaurants along the bay.
It’s wise not to solo travel in Tegucigalpa, the capital and the largest city in Honduras so if you choose to visit, team up for extra security. If you do visit the cobbled streets of the city there are national parks and museums including the National Gallery of Arts with paleolithic stone carvings. The area of Plaza San Martin has a nice atmosphere with a few bars and Tegucigalpa is actually a good place to pick up jewellery.
Honduras is perfect for wildlife lovers; go bird watching at Lake Yojoa or spot a howler monkey at Jeannette Kawas national park near Tela. If you love exotic birds, the Macaw Mountain Park is a must see. Originally started as a safe haven for birds being killed or smuggled out of the country the park now acts as a rehabilitation centre. Coffee here is fresh from the coffee beans grown on-site and a river runs through the park making it a gorgeous place to visit. On the northeastern coast is the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve with many different ecosystems and jaguars amongst the wildlife. Another great spot for bird watching is the country’s biggest lake; Lago de Yojoa.
Honduras is great for adventure too; hike in a cloud forest at Pico Bonito National Park or visit the manatees, go kayaking in the mangroves of Punta Izopo or visit Punta Sal a good spot to snorkel. Hand glide in the mountains or fly through the air on canopy zip-lines pr caving at Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve.
Honduras is an unsafe country but if you want to travel here, stick to the tourist areas and avoid the main cities.
A new non-stop flight from Belize City to Roatan is due to start in November 2013.
Don’t venture outside of the bus terminal in San Pedro Sula at night.
WARNING There is no British Embassy in Honduras. If you need emergency consular assistance, you should contact the British Honorary Consuls in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula or Roatan, or the British Embassy in Guatemala City.
Tours in Honduras
If you are feeling apprehensive about travelling solo, sometimes taking a tour for part or all of your trip can give you the confidence you need before going it alone. G Adventures are a sustainable tour company and include Honduras on their Central America adventures so you can combine it with Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Most buses go into and out of San Pedro Sula. From the dock in Puerto Cortes, walk along the bridge to the end where collectivos (small buses) will take you into San Pedro Sula for 55 Lempira for the 90 minute journey. Buses from the city to La Ceiba take 3 hours and the last one leaves at 5.45pm. The Diana Express bus runs from La Ceiba and San Pedro Sula and are safe and comfortable.
Bamba Experience are a hop on hop off bus service throughout countries in Latin America and provide a safe way to travel around and meet other travellers at the same time.
Boats run regularly from the mainland to the Bay of Islands or you can fly directly to Roatan. The ferry from La Ceiba to Roatan leaves at 9am and 4.30pm and a taxi to the terminal costs approx 50 Lempira p/p. The Utila Princess costs US $24 one way from Utila to La Ceiba on the mainland. To travel between Roatan and Utila take a speedboat with Bushes Bay Charters for US $65 for the hour’s journey. He departs from Coconut Tree Divers Pier at West End 4 times a week.
Taking a taxi in Honduras you have to pay per person and not per taxi!
From the Airport
Resorthoppa operates a cheap airport shuttle that will take you to the city centre or your hotel.
San Pedro Sula – Only taxis run the 8 miles to the city and cost £10 or you get a taxi to the overpass for £3 and take a bus from there.
Tegucigalpa – The Airport Taxi Company will take you anywhere in the city for £5 for the 20 minute journey.
Roatan – Local buses run to hotels and taxis have fixed rates to other places on the island.
La Ceiba – Collectivos will take you to the city for £1 or use an airport taxi for £4.
How long do I need?
At least one week to see the Bay of Islands with one stop on the mainland. Longer if you’re planning on taking a scuba diving course.
Travelling onwards (check visas before you travel)
To Belize – The D-Express leaves Puerto Cortes to Placencia in Belize, stopping at Mango Creek for immigration. TIP – At Puerto Cortes immigration you can pay in Belizean dollars as well as Lempira.
To Guatemala – El Florido is the border crossing near the Copan Ruins and the most popular. Another is Puerto Barrios in Guatemala.
To Nicaragua – Via the Leimus border crossing.
To El Salvador – At El Poy and El Amatillo.
- Can I drink the water? No.
- Is tipping expected? In restaurants it is appreciated.
- Fixed price or barter? Barter.
- Any ATMs? Yes In the main cities and towns and on the Bay of Islands.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Right.
- Good for vegetarians? Yes.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No
*This is accurate at time of writing but we appreciate things can change. Please let us know if you experience anything otherwise. Thanks…