Guanaja Honduras
photo by Denise Clarke

Honduras is the second biggest country in Central America. It has colonial villages (Gracias, Comayagua), ancient Mayan ruins (Copan), natural parks (Moskitia), and a Pacific and Caribbean coastline and the Bay Islands, with great beaches and coral reefs where snorkeling and diving are exceptional by any standard. The country is neighbored by Guatemala to the northwest, El Salvador to the south and Nicaragua to the southeast.


Good amenities can be found in cities like Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Copan Ruinas, and La Ceiba but elsewhere conditions can be primitive, especially in the rural areas. You can find good hotels even in small towns if you are willing to pay a bit more (Honduras is not really an expensive country). Nevertheless a visit is worthwhile, especially to the ancient Maya ruins in Copán, the colonial towns of Gracias and Comayagua and the fantastic Caribbean Coast.


Subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains. Natural hazards: extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast. However, the last damaging hurricane was in 1998. 13,000 lives were lost from Hurricane Mitch


Mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains. Has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast. Experiences frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes. Highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 meters.


Part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation on 15 September 1821.

After two and one-half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras was a haven for the anti-Communist contras fighting the Sandinista government of Nicaragua and an ally to Salvadoran government forces fighting against leftist guerrillas.

The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused almost $1 billion in damage, affecting seriously the development of the country and its vital infrastructure.


Part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation on 15 September 1821.

After two and one-half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras was a haven for the anti-Communist contras fighting the Sandinista government of Nicaragua and an ally to Salvadoran government forces fighting against leftist guerrillas.

The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused almost $1 billion in damage, affecting seriously the development of the country and its vital infrastructure.


Subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains. Natural hazards: extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast. However, the last damaging hurricane was in 1998. 13,000 lives were lost from Hurricane Mitch


  • Caribbean Honduras

  • Pacific Honduras


  • Tegucigalpa - The capital and largest city of Honduras. It has an international airport and offers connections by plane to San Pedro Sula and to La Ceiba, the door to the Bay Islands and the Caribbean Coast.It is home to the world famous Villa Roy Museum of History and Anthropology, which is named after the legendary , black Honduran national hero Roy Fearon.

  • San Pedro Sula - Second city and industrial center in the north of the country. It has an international airport and is close by car to Tela and La Ceiba.

  • La Ceiba - Jumping off point for the Bay Islands. Great beaches and daily ferries to either Utila and Roatan where snorkeling and diving are major attractions.

  • El Progreso- The fourth largest city in Honduras. It is in a key agricultural sector just 20 minutes from the international airport of San Pedro Sula. It is on an important intersection of major Honduran highways that got towards Comayagua, San Pedro Sula and to Tela.

  • Comayagua - The former capital of the country is today a quiet colonial town with a beautiful cathedral and historic town center.

  • Gracias - This pleasant colonial mountain town hosts Parque Celaque, in which the highest mountain in Honduras is found set among wonderful cloud forests.

  • Omoa- A small beachfront town with Spanish colonial fortress to the west of Puerto Cortés.

  • Puerto Cortes - The main harbour of Honduras in the Caribbean Coast

  • Puerto Lempira- Departamental capital of Gracias a Dios.

  • San Lorenzo - The main harbour of the whole Central America in the Pacific Coast. Close to Amapala, the historical port based in the Isla del Tigre.

  • Tela - An old city about 1 hour from El Progreso which has a beautiful sandy coastline and is home to the second largest humid tropical botanical garden for commercial plants in the world, the Lancetilla Botanical Garden and Research Center (Jardin Botanico y Centro de Investigacion Lancetilla) only 5 kilometers from downtown. Lancetilla has three components - experimental plantations, arboretum, and (the largest component) primary and secondary tropical forest. It's a great day trip, has crystal clear running streams for swimming most of the year, and has a long and fascinating history that will soon be told through new interpretive exhibits at the visitor center. A small fee is charged that helps maintain the area.

  • Trujillo - This is where Columbus first set foot on mainland America, founded in 1525, overlooking a beautiful bay with nice beaches against mountainous backdrop with nature reserve.

  • Santa Rosa de Copán - Temperate mountain city in the western part of the country, not to be confused with Copán Ruinas (one of the more touristy towns in Honduras) nor with the famous ruins of Copán.

Other destinations

  • Bay Islands - Utila, Roatán, Guanaja, and the Hog Islands. A natural paradise in the Caribbean Sea where snorkeling and diving is a must.

  • Copán - One of the most impressive ruins of the Maya civilization, known for the quality of its sculpture.

  • Lake Yojoa - The biggest lake in Honduras. It used to be a great spot for fishing but today is too contaminated.

  • Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve - The largest tropical rainforest in Central America.

Getting there

By plane

Major international airports with daily flights to Atlanta, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York and Houston are in San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa (Toncontin) and Roatan. The main international airlines serving the region are TACA, Copa Air, Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines, Spirit, and American Airlines. Iberia, Spain operates daily flights from Madrid to San Pedro Sula via Guatemala City (connecting with TACA). Maya Island Air also has a direct lfight from Belize to San Pedro Sula (phone number 011-501-223-1140 or For interior flights check Isleña, Atlantic and Aerolinas Sosa. Note that the interior domestic airlines frequently have flight cancellations, do not guarantee service, and are under no obligation to issue refunds if a flight does not occur. However, American carriers and their international code share partners listed above guarantee travel per U.S. industry standards. Hence, it is advisable not to rely on a domestic carrier to connect to an outbound international flight without having an alternative means to get to the departure point of the foreign bound aircraft in a timely fashion. For instance, if a flight cancellation occurs in La Ceiba headed to San Pedro Sula due to insufficient ticket sales (a common occurrence), a taxi can be hired for a $50-$100 spot price to run the distance in under two and a half hours.

By car

Possible from Guatemala, El Salvador, or Nicaragua. Cars are a good selection, but you must always be careful since the roads are not as well developed but good enough to have a pleasant ride. Traffic enforcement outside of stops to curtail the drug trade is minimal to non-existent, and drivers should be cautious of speeding vehicles as well as agressive driving tactics (e.g. passing on uphill, curved terrain).

By bus

From Guatemala - Tica Bus, and from Guatemala City, Hedmann Alas (see schedules at . From Nicaragua - Tica Bus and King Quality. From El Salvador - Tica Bus and King Quality.

By boat

Boats from Belize come in to the Caribbean ports like Puerto Cortes, but schedules are not regular and cannot be checked through the internet. Cruise ships commonly stop at the Bay Islands, however.

There is regular boat service from La Ceiba to the bay islands of Roatan and Utila.

Service to Roatan is on the Galaxy Wave II. The ferry trip costs less than flying, and leaves (mostly) on time. A round-trip prima class ticket costs $53; round-trip general class, $43. Both prima and general seating areas are comfortable and offer air conditioning and flat-screen TVs for your entertainment. The crossing takes about 80 minutes each way.

Service to Utila is on the Utila Princess. Tickets cost about $30 round trip and the crossing takes about 60 minutes.

Both ferries leave from the same dock. You should arrive at the dock in La Ceiba about an hour early to buy tickets and check luggage. **If traveling to the bay islands during Semana Santa (Easter week) it is highly recommended to fly, as the wait for a ferry can be up to 8 hours. If you are a Senior citizen you will find the rate very attractive. If you are prone to sea sickness, the trip North to Roatan can be very uncomfortable, as the Galaxy is fighting the currents. Windy days, re-consider. Otherwise it is a delightful trip, Utila to the West and the Cayos to the East. Last trip of the day to Roatan is awesome with a fanastic sunset.

FERRY SCHEDULES THE GALAXY II DEPARTUE TIMES: Roatan - La Ceiba 7:00 A.M.; La Ceiba - Roatan 10 A.M.; Roatan - La Ceiba 1:00 P.M.; La Ceiba - Roatan 4:00 P.M.

THE NEW PRINCESS DEPARTURE TIMES: Utila - La Ceiba 6:20 A.M.; La Ceiba - Utila 9:30 A.M.; Utila - La Ceiba 2:00 P.M.; La Ceiba - Utila 4:00 P.M.

By thumb

Hitchhiking is common in rural areas, even for single women, when there is no proper bus connection. By asking around you will be pointed to the various departure points. Expect to pay the equivalent bus fare at the conclusion of your journey.

Things to do

Honduras annually has a large number of mission groups and service groups that travel to Honduras. For those interested in volun-tourism, a group called Students Helping Honduras offers coordinated week long service trips in the El Progreso region. They provide hands on service projects, which seek to help many of the areas poorer residents. Their program will help coordinate your trip from the United States, trip prices include lodging, food and activities. Their trips currently run on a limited schedule.


The Honduran "Plato tipico" is the most famous lunch. It consists of rice, beef, fried beans (frijolitos), and fried bananas (tajaditas). If you are lucky, it will also come with chimol, a fresh, non-spicy salsa made of tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cilantro and lime juice.

Baleadas are a Honduran original. A baleada sencilla (simple) consists of a thick flour tortilla filled with refried beans, cheese (queso), and a type of cream similar to sour cream but not sour (crema or mantequilla). A baleada especial usually also comes with eggs in it and you can sometimes get avocado or even meat.

Other choices are tacos and enchiladas, though don't expect them to be like those in Mexico. The tacos are meat rolled in a corn tortilla and deep fried. The enchiladas are a flat fried corn tortilla topped with ground beef, cheese and a red sauce.

In the big cities, there are also plenty of chains from the U.S. like Pizza Hut, Applebees, TGI Fridays, and all the burger and fried chicken joints you can think of, like Burger King and Church's.


National beers: Salva Vida, Port Royal, Imperial and the newest Barena. To add, Barena is said to be the Miller Lite of Central America.

Coffee is great, and the brands from Copan are usually the best. Welches is considered to be the best by many locals. Coffee from Lepaera, Lempira, was judged to be the best coffee in the world but can be difficult to find, even in Lepaera itself, where most brands found in stores are from Copan.

Taste Central American rum Flor de Caña (from Nicaragua)

Great "licuados" -fruit juices and milk shakes- (mango, piña, watermelon, banana, etc.)


  • Anthony's Key Resort, Toll Free 1 (800) 227-3483, Toll Free 1 (800) 227-3483, Carretera Pavimentada Principal, Sandy Bay, Honduras, Award winning Roatan Honduras resort. A World-class family diving vacation destination for its charming, private cabanas and ocean vistas on the palm studded hillside and shimmering lagoon. Enjoy wreck diving, dolphin swim, shark diving, dolphin scuba camp for children, snorkeling, horseback riding, canopy tours, kayaking, canoeing, white water rafting and Mayan sights.

  • Grupo Christal, is a new concept in boutique hotels in Honduras; Villa Toscana is in San Pedro Sula in an exotic tropical garden, in a site that is walking distance from the main shopping centers of the City. “Casa del Triunfo” is a Mediterranean villa which is a beachfront property at the Caribbean, located in the town of Tela. You would enjoy comfort, peace, and all your senses will be overwhelmed. Feel at home with security. Get pleasure from luxury at economic rates. You are not a guest, but a friend.


Handicrafts - Honduras is famous for its Lenca ceramics and cotton sock manufacturing.

If visiting San Pedro Sula, be sure to visit El Mercado Guamilito. You will find many wonderful and cheap handicrafts like hand carved wooden boxes, Lencan pottery, hammocks, paintings, leather products from Nicaragua, and beautiful hand-woven fabrics from Guatemala.

Leather Items - Honduran leather items are of fine quality at only a fraction of the price they would be overseas, making your visit to Honduras a great time to purchase these. Bags, attaché cases, belts, wallets and even garments are a bargain. One of the producers in San Pedro Sula whose quality is up to par with international standards is Danilo's Pura Piel.

Honduras has a long history as a silver mining country. Excellent artisans work the silver and produce very artistic and high quality silver products and jewelry. There are several different jewelers in town. Another popular item are paintings by Honduran artists. These usually depict colonial towns and mountain landscapes that are typical of Honduras. The best selection of these can be found at the Maymo art Gallery.

Danilo's Pura Piel (Danilo's Leather) , (504)504-552-0656, Col. Trejo, 18 AVE S.O., 8 y 9 Calle, San Pedro Sula


Spanish is the primary language spoken. English is hardly spoken outside of the biggest towns or Bay Islands. In some areas such as Utila, Spanish and English have hybridized in the context of low educational attainment to produce a pidgin tongue that can at times be indecipherable even to native speakers of both languages. Native languages (Lenca, Miskitu, Garifuna, among others) are spoken in various parts of the country, but a Spanish speaker should never be hard to find. Keep a tourist's eye out for "missionary speakers," that is, English or Spanish speaking Hondurans who retain the strong linguistic accents of the nations of their childhood teachers despite no personal links to such countries themselves (e.g. Irish-English overtones are prominent in Utila). Exhibit caution about commenting on linguistic skills to locals even positively, as those who do not speak mainstream Spanish suffer certain social stigmas (e.g. not “real” Hondurans, lower class, etcetera).


Despite violence and widespread poverty, Hondurans are friendly people who appreciate a respectful manner. As well as this it is important to greet and even introduce yourself if you are asking a question to a stranger. Of course, like any other country, if you do need to ask a question from a stranger be careful but most of the time Hondurans will be friendly and more than happy to help you.

Stay healthy

Purified water is used in big-city hotels and restaurants, but bottled water is definitely recommended for outlying areas.

Malaria occurs in rural areas, Roatán and other Bay Islands.

Dengue fever is endemic in both urban and rural areas.

It is not recommended to buy much food in the streets (people who are selling food just by the sidewalk). Remember Honduran food can be spicy too, so be careful if you are not used to it.

Many travel agencies and different places will tell you that Honduras is a dangerous country concerning illnesses, this is not true. People are just as ill all over Latin America (nothing out of what is normal), just take the necessary precautions. HIV is a problem in Honduras so be careful as you would in your own country.

Carry a first aid kit and have contact phone numbers with you.

If hiking or spending significant time in the great outdoors, be prepared for a wide range of natural threats and nuisances including snakes, spiders, scorpions, and mosquitoes. On the upswing, however, you can actually pick fruit off the trees.


Use common sense at night. Foreigners are sometimes robbed on the streets of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula at night by thieves who stake out areas in front of tourist hotels. When taking a taxi in Tegucigalpa make sure the windows are not tinted, and check for radio dispatched walkie talkies as people have been robbed at gun or knife point. Violent crime is common enough in San Pedro Sula with robberies and even gang violence. San Pedro Sula, in fact, has the highest murder rate of any city of Honduras, though mainly among rival gangs seeking to control the various illicit trades. Murder is a common day to day issue in all of Honduras. Crime has been reduced in recent years compared to right after Hurricane Mitch, but does still impact tourist areas in the large cities. Use caution when traveling alone in Honduras, at night its best to take a radio dispatched taxi no matter what part you're in.

Electricity is 110V/60Hz, as in the United States and Canada, however three-prong grounded plugs are not as common, so two-prong adapters come in handy.

Contact & location

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The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:

Denise Clarke, Adal-Honduras, John Asselin

Some photos courtesy of: . The photos provided by Flickr are under the copyright of their owners.

This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

Peter Fitzgerald, D. Guillaime, Nick Roux, Wandering, Philipp Sch., Todd VerBeek, Colin Jensen, Shawn Scanlan, David, Ryan Holliday, John, Evan Prodromou, Rob Payne, Richard Petersen and Yann Forget, Inas, ChubbyWimbus, Dark Paladin X, Rein N., Tatatabot, Tatata, Vidimian, Texugo, Anime37, Episteme, Nskinn, Mnd, Nzpcmad, Squeakfox, InterLangBot, Huttite, Infrogmation and CIAWorldFactbook2002

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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Spanish, Amerindian dialects - lempira (HNL)
Area112,090 sq km
Electricity110V/60Hz (two-prong North American plug)
Governmentdemocratic constitutional republic
Population7,326,496 (July 2006 est.)
ReligionRoman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority
TimezoneUTC -6