Travel to Honduras

Are You Considering Some Travel to Honduras?

If you do plan to travel to Honduras, I would like to share some travel tips to make your time in Honduras special. First of all, you should decide if your travel to Honduras will be part of a larger trip to other Central American countries, such as Guatemala or Nicaragua. If this is the case, you should plan on how you can interconnect the different countries you will visit.

Do Your Travel to Honduras Plans Include Guatemala?

If so, you should consider crossing the border at El Florido, which is only 12 km (8 miles) from Copan Ruinas.  There are plenty of alternatives to travel from Central Guatemala to Copan Ruinas. I recommend Hedman Alas, the leading bus transportation company in Honduras. They offer daily service between Guatemala City and Copan Ruinas. This is by far the most comfortable way to travel this route, unless you are driving your own car. Take note that rental cars are not easy to take out of one country to another. This is the route to follow if you are coming (or going) to Guatemala City. The same applies to  Antigua Guatemala or the Lake Atitlan area.

Copan Ruinas

Travel to Honduras
A life size replica of the Rosalila temple can be seen in the Museum of Mayan Sculpture in Copan Ruinas

Copan Ruinas is one of the highlights that should be part of any travel to Honduras. This is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Honduras. In addition to the magnificent Archaeological areas within Copan, you will love the town. It is a quaint colonial style community with many bars and restaurants. Best of all, it is safe to stroll around and explore the area. Make sure you visit the Macaw Mountain Bird Park; there is no other park like it in all of Central America. There is a special relationship between the bird park and the ruins. Many of the scarlet macaws you will see in the Copan Archaeological Park were hatched in Macaw Mountain!


The other frequently used border between Guatemala and Honduras is the Corinto Border. This border is on CA13 highway that interconnects Puerto Barrios in Guatemala with Puerto Cortes in Honduras. If you are in the Rio Dulce or Livingston area, this is good alternative for you travel route from Guatemala into Honduras. This route will bring you by Omoa, where you can visit a magnificent  fortress built during the Spanish Colonial rule. The town used to be a popular beach destination, but a Gas Plant built there a few years ago destroyed the beach.

Things to do in Santa Rosa de Copan
The Colonial Cathedral in Santa Rosa de Copan

There is one other border crossing between Guatemala and Honduras. The Aguacaliente border. This route is scenic, but the road is not in good shape. This route will take you through the cities of Nueva Ocotepeque and Santa Rosa de Copan. The road climbs up high in the mountains, and goes next to the Reserva de el Huisayote. This is reputedly the highest point where a paved highway in Honduras will take you.  This border is the least touristy, and you are better off using the El Florido or Corinto borders.


Considering Nicaragua With Your Travel to Honduras Plans?

If you are combining your travel to Honduras with Nicaragua, then you will be using a completely different route. There are three official borders between Nicaragua and Honduras. The two most used borders are Las Manos, which is close to the city of Danli and El Espino Border. The second one is on the Pan American Highway, close to Choluteca. These two routes are an option if you are going towards Estelí, Managua or Granada in Nicaragua. A third border, Guasaule, is parallel to the Pacific coast. This would be the most direct route towards Leon, Nicaragua. Take note that this is by far the worse road between these two countries. The largest city in the area is Tegucigalpa, and you will have to go through it to connect to the Pacific Coast of Honduras. Without doubt, Tegucigalpa offers the best hotel infrastructure in the Central part of Honduras.

The Las Manos route offers the opportunity to visit Danli. This city is the Cigar capital of Honduras. There are many different cigar factories in the Danli area. Most of them where set up by Cuban entrepreneurs who settled in Honduras after escaping from the Cuban Revolution. Most of them brought Cuban tobacco seeds with them to start the business from scratch.

There are Three Destinations your Travel To Honduras Must Include:

The most important aspect to plan your trip to Honduras is to determine which destinations  you should include in your visit. As a general rule, you should make sure you include Copan Ruinas, Pico Bonito in La Ceiba and one of the Bay Islands.  However, there are other destinations you should consider during your travel to Honduras. These include Lake Yojoa, the Colonial City of Gracias and the old Colonial Capital, Comayagua.  In the end, it depends on how much time you have.

Honduran Stars
The Cangrejal River is one of the Brightest Honduran Stars!

The three must visit destinations in Honduras (Copan, Pico Bonito and Bay Islands) are easy to get too. Pico Bonito is next to the city of La Ceiba, which is the gateway to the Bay Islands. From La Ceiba, you can take the ferry to Utila or to Roatan. There are several bus companies that provide service between Copan Ruinas and San Pedro Sula. There you can connect with different bus companies to La Ceiba. Again, Hedman Alas offers great service between Copan Ruinas and La Ceiba. In all honesty they offer the best service available by far.


The good thing about San Pedro Sula is that all routes operate out of the same bus station. The San Pedro Sula bus station offers a food court and many different ATM machines to get cash. You will not need to venture out of the San Pedro Sula Bus terminal unless you plan on spending the night in the city.

Pico Bonito National Park

Although it is possible to get to La Ceiba in time to catch the ferry on to the Bay Islands, I suggest that you break the trip in La Ceiba. This is the perfect time to get up and close with Pico Bonito National Park. There are several different alternatives to visit Pico Bonito National Park. In my opinion, the easiest to visit, is the Cangrejal River Valley area.

travel to honduras
Aerial view of the Cangrejal River and Pico Bonito National Park. Photo by Luis Aguero

You will find a nice selection of Cangrejal River Hotels. My favorite is La Villa de Soledad, an award winning bed and breakfast. Your stay there will become a highlight of your travel to Honduras! I must state that the Cangrejal River Valley area is safe. Tourists from around the world walk up and down the main road between the small inns and lodges. They usually carry their cameras or binoculars in search for new birds to add to their bird list. They are never harassed, and the community actually looks after them! The area offers many different activities, and you should plan on spending at least two nights in the area. You will be happy you did!


The Bay Islands of Honduras

From there you are only 30 minutes away from the passenger ferry terminal in La Ceiba. There are two daily regular ferry departures to both Utila and Roatan. As a rule, there is always plenty of space and you will not need to make reservations in advance. The exception is during important holidays. These include Easter Week, Christmas and New Years and the first week in August. There are several Bay Islands but only three offer facilities to travel to. These are Guanaja, Roatan and Utila. The three could not be more different from each other!

Guanaja

Guanaja is the most remote of the three. There is no regular ferry service to Guanaja departing from La Ceiba. Your best alternative is to fly from La Ceiba to Guanaja. The other two islands, Utila and Roatan are more developed for tourism.

Utila

Honduras Holiday week
Taxis waiting for travelers at the dock in Utila

Utila is more popular with the younger crowd. It has carved itself a reputation as a party destination. It offers the most affordable prices in the world to get scuba certified. As a general rule, Utila is relaxed, quite basic and has a lot of charm. Accommodations are not fancy, and getting around town is easy. It is small and you can walk from one end to the other in a few minutes. There are a couple of nice more upscale resorts on the island. Most of them are on the far side of the island and rather isolated from the party scene.


Roatan

Escape plan to become an expat
Playa Barbon at Roatan’s East End

Roatan is by far the largest of the three islands. It offers diverse areas, and you will find one to fit your needs. From the resorts at West Bay Beach to the pristine beaches in the East End, there is something for everyone! The eclectic community at West End offers a nice setting if you like to walk along the beachfront and enjoy bar and restaurant hopping.

In the last year and a half a new service has sprung up on the islands. Now it is possible to catch a ferry between the islands of Roatan and Utila. The Utila Dream Ferry is operating the route three times a week on the weekends. Service is available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


Other Destinations to Consider:

travel to Honduras
Regatta at Honduyate in Lake Yojoa.

Besides these three destinations that your travels in Honduras must include, you can add a visit to Lake Yojoa. Once there you can also visit La Esperanza, Gracias and Santa Rosa de Copan. We call this section of Honduras Lenca Route. Do you travel plans include crossing the border into Nicaragua? If they do, you should make a stop in Lake Yojoa on your travel from La Ceiba towards Nicaragua. I would also try to stop a day or two at Comayagua, the Colonial Capital of Honduras. The city has a lot of charm and some nice hotels and restaurants. Many of the old colonial buildings have been restored to their colonial glory.


If you are in a hurry to get from the Bay Islands to Nicaragua, you will be happy to hear about a shuttle service. The service departs La Ceiba early in the morning. It takes about 15 hours of travel, but will get you to Leon that same night. This is a good deal, but then you may need a day to recover from the trip. I suggest that you break the trip up and spend one night in Honduras, either in Comayagua or Tegucigalpa.

Tiger Island, Honduras’ Island in the Pacific

Although way off the beaten path, you may consider traveling to the Pacific Coast of Honduras. You could visit the volcanic Isla del Tigre and stay in Amapala, the largest town in the island. Can you imagine visiting different islands in the same week? You can leave the Bay Islands of Honduras and travel to Tegucigalpa to spend the night. Then continue to San Lorenzo early the next morning and take a boat across the Gulf of Fonseca to Amapala! This is a real treat and is possible! I have done it myself. You will go from the white coral sands of the Caribbean to black volcanic sands in one day! Find different cultures, taste different meals… two different worlds within a small country. This is a great transcontinental trip you can enjoy during your travel in Honduras!

I hope the above tips inspire you to travel to Honduras. I am more than happy to help out with any tips you might need. My advice is free, and my wish is that more people visit Honduras. Although not a native to Honduras, I have lived here for 24 years, almost a quarter of a century! It is a great country with a reputation it does not deserve. The people of Honduras are friendly and hospitable. Enjoy your travels throughout Honduras!