Honduras Travel Guide

Little-Cay-Utila

Little Cay, Utila

Why Visit Honduras?

Honduras is great for Mayan ruins, white water rafting, SCUBA diving, beautiful beaches and tropical islands… and visiting the city with the highest homicide rate in the world (if that is your thing).

The northern beaches of the country also connect to the  second largest coral reef in the world. Honduras is also home to amongst the cheapest SCUBA diving in the world and one of our favourite places in Central America (The Bay Islands).

Top Things To Do in Honduras:

  • Cheap Watersports In Utila (One of the Bay Islands): Utila is a small low lying tropical island, a backpackers paradise for those interested in water sports. Amongst the cheapest SCUBA diving in the world, extremely popular for SCUBA courses (PADI open water from $250). Utila is home to a bunch of equally fun (but less well known) activites including swimming with whale sharks and freediving. The majority of accommodation is right on the waters edge, a great place to sink a beer and watch stunning sunsets over the water. Utila is an easy place to stay for an extended period. If you just want to dive for the experience (and are willing to pay a little extra), head to Roatan.
  • White Water Rafting (via La Ceiba): Rated as the best White Water Rafting in Central America (and cheaper than Costa Rica). The Cangrejal River offers class II, III and IV rapids, amongst lot’s of drops, waterfalls, and narrow passages.
  • Swim with Whalesharks (via Utila): A 20 minute boat ride from downtown Utila and you are in suitable Whaleshark watching waters. Utila is said to be one of the only places on earth where Whalesharks can be spotted all year around. There are definite main seasons though, between the months of March-April and August-September.  For US$20 you can hope on a boat with one of the dive centres for a chance to go snorkelling with these fish (plus a $20 ‘tip’ if you get in the water with a Whaleshark). Tours normally last for about 3-4 hours.
  • Learn to Freedive (via Utila): The art of holding your breath for an extended period whilst swimming deep underwater. Sounds like fun no? Freediving is a fast growing sport and a fantastic beginner course is run out of EcoMariners Gunter’s dive shop on Utila (as well as advanced and master courses). Once you have finished plenty of opportunities to hone your skills in the rest of Central America/the Caribbean.
  • Visit the Crash Site of a Drug Smuggling Plane (via Utila): In 2009 a plane running cocaine to the US crashed  on the eastern side of Utila. Today you can find the wreckage of this drug smuggling plane lying amongst thick jungle – ready for you to explore if you wish.  How to get there: Head to the eastern end of the Airport runway, the site is approximately 250m directly north  (if you want to cheat, it lies at the coordinates 16.117345°, -86.874931°).
Macaw, Honduras

Macaw, hanging out just outside the town of Copan, Honduras

  • Copan/Copan Ruins: A little town in eastern Honduras, just over the border from Guatemala. Most travellers drop by to visit the Mayan ruins just outside of town. Which are one of the largest and most impressive of the Mayan ruins. There is also other options such as horse-ride, zip-lining,  hot springs and farms/coffee plantations to visit. Nice and quaint little place but not worth a long stay.
Horse riding near the town of Copan, in Western Honduras

Horse riding near the town of Copan, in Western Honduras

  • Beautiful Beaches At Tela: Tela is a beach town in northern Honduras. Slowly gaining a attention amongst tourists  as a laid-back place with beautiful beaches.
Marine life off Roatan (Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/alfonsator">Alfonso González</a>)

Marine life off Roatan (Photo Credit: Alfonso González)

  • Fantastic Diving In Roatan (One of the Bay Islands): The most built up of the Bay Islands. Tends to be visited by travellers that are not backpackers. More expensive than Utila but arguably better diving as well. Good reputation if you want to dive with sharks.
  • Pass Through Tegucigalpa: The capital of Honduras, a good place to catch connecting flights or buses on your way to safer and more interesting/attractive places.
  • Visit The City With The Highest Homicide Rate In The World (San Pedro Sula): San Pedro Sula has the honor of having the highest homicide rate of any city in the world. So.. not exactly a place you want to spend a lot of time. If you are travelling through Honduras there is a reasonable chance you will need to make a bus or flight transfer in San Pedro Sula.
  • Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve: A reserve which makes up part of the largest rainforest in Central America. A long way off the trail for most travellers to Honduras.

Getting Around

One of the least visited countries in Central America, Honduras offers only a small number of locations normally visited by tourists. These being the town of Copan Ruins and The Bay Islands Islands (with stops over in some of the larger cities). Head away from these locations and you will see few tourists, and your chances of running into troubles may rise considerably (in our opinion/experience).

The unsafe reputation of Honduras is a pity as the country has some excellent natural attractions. Such as beautiful mountain ranges,  the best white water rafting in Central America, and some beautiful tropical beaches in the north of the country.

The coasts on either side of Central America are quite different. The Caribbean has nicer beaches, the sand is whiter, this is the side where most of the SCUBA diving takes places and some of the remotest parts of Central America are located on this side. Most of the Honduras coastline is on the Caribbean side, so this is what you can expect on a visit to the country. The opposite coastline has less attractive beaches but far better surfing opportunities.

Here is a map to show where some of the more common travel destinations in Honduras are located. The backpacker route highlighted on the map can undertaken by bus, and a ferry when getting over to Utila or Roatan.

Map Of Honduras Travel Destinations

Map Of Honduras Travel Destinations

Honduras Travel Tips

  • Parts of the country are prone to blackouts. So avoid using unnecessary electricity and consider taking a little headlamp or flashlight/torch with you.
  • The official language of Honduras is Spanish, although on the Bay Islands English and Bay Islands Creole are spoken. It is not too difficult to get around Honduras with only limited Spanish.
  • The official currency of Honduras is the Honduran Lempira, which converts at about 1 U.S Dollar to 19 Lempiras. Although U.S Dollars are commonly accepted on the Bay Islands.
  • The dry season runs from February to June. The rainy season lasts from August to December.
  • It is worthwhile having a couple of avenues for sourcing money (i.e. a couple of different bank cards). It is reasonably common for the ATMs to only take particular bank cards, to have run out of money or have no power. Given this, you may also consider stashing away a small amount of emergency money, in case you have difficulty accessing a bank/ATM. The further off the tourist trail the harder it might be for you to source money.
  • You might also wish to take into account the dry vs wet season. The dry season runs from February through June.  The rainy season lasts from August to December.With January and July  considered transition months.
  • Don’t flush your toilet paper after use, put it in the bin provided. It might seem a little odd to start with, but you’ll get used to it. Otherwise some poor person may have to unblock the toilet after you have left.
  • Travel like the locals and avoid the tourist buses, if you are looking to save money. Chicken buses are a great way to get around and will only set you back about US$1 for each hour of travel
  • It is always handy to have small change and notes on you, as many shops and transport options may not have change for large denominations.

Honduras Safety Tips

  • Honduras  is probably one of the more dangerous countries to visit in Central America, if you are looking for a safer destination try Belize, Costa Rica or Panama (which is not to say these areas are completely trouble free).
  • Do not drink the tap water in Honduras. It is reasonably common for Hotels and Hostels to provide purified water.

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3 Responses

  1. March 18, 2014

    […] Honduras – There are only a small number of sites  where tourists normally visit in Honduras (Copan Ruins and Caribbean Islands being the primary ones). The rest  of the country is viewed as a little unsafe. Honduras is for those seeking Mayan ruins, white water rafting, SCUBA diving, snorkeling… and  saying you have visited the city with the highest homicide rate in the world (if that is your thing). Read More Here. […]

  2. March 26, 2014

    […] Top Things To Do In Honduras […]

  3. January 15, 2015

    […] world. Home to one of our favorite spots in Central America (Utila). Read more about travel tips or things to do in […]

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