Did you know that Central America’s Caribbean Secret is in Honduras?
Yes Honduras holds the key to Central America’s Caribbean Secret, and it is closer and more affordable than you think! Few travelers even think of Central America when planning a trip to the Caribbean, but the fact is that Central America does have an extensive Caribbean shoreline, which extends all along the coast from Belize to Panama. Even fewer travelers know that there is a small archipelago with several islands just off the coast of Honduras that is known as the Bay Islands. Shhhh… This is Central America’s Caribbean Secret!
While the cruise ship companies, like Carnival and Royal Caribbean have invested heavily in passenger terminals in the Island of Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands, and included it is a port of call for many of their Caribbean cruises, there are other islands that are still little known. Such is the case of Utila, a lovely gem surrounded by magnificent reefs that is only a 45 minute trip from the mainland. Utila has carved itself a name as the most affordable destination in the World to get scuba Certified!
The island of Guanaja was actually “discovered” by Christopher Columbus himself during his fourth and final voyage in 1502. Reputedly, Columbus was impressed with the quality of fresh water that was found on the island. Guanaja is a mountainous island that has a natural pine forest on its slopes! Yes pine trees in the Caribbean!
Although these three are the most important islands in the Bay Islands Archipelago, there are others, such as Barbaretta, Morat and St. Helene, however the best Central America’s Caribbean Secret are the Hog Cays, AKA Cayos Cochinos. Cayos Cochinos are a set of two small islands and 13 tiny cays, located just a few miles off the coast of mainland Honduras, very easily accessible from the Garifuna Village of Sambo Creek in La Ceiba.
Cayos Cochinos is a protected area under the status of Marine Natural Monument and Cochino Menor, the smaller of the two islands is dedicated 100% to scientific study and preservation. There are two small communities that live in the Hog Cays: Chachahuate and East End, both are Garifuna Communities that have lived and survived by fishing the rich waters that surround the cays. In total, they are home to about 500 persons. The first of these is the most picturesque of all Garifuna Communities, and to this day retains the look that the Garifuna Villages had when they were first established 200 years ago in Honduras!
Cayos Cochinos can be easily visited as a day tour from La Ceiba, and there are several outfits in both Utila and Roatan that offer charter trips to Cayos Cochinos, although these are more expensive because the distance is longer and a more seaworthy boat is required. From Roatan, check out Ruthless Roatan Charters, and in Utila, check out the guys at the Venue.
For those looking to spend more than a half day in Cayos Cochinos, Central America’s Caribbean Secret, there are several different alternatives, the Turtle Bay Eco Resort offers nice rooms and facilities on Cochino Grande island, there is also a community owned facility called Cabanas Laru Beya in the Community of East End and there are some truly rustic and basic facilities in Chachahate Cay.
For a unique, truly pristine, idyllic Caribbean experience, visit Honduras, and choose between the many different islands that form part of this Paradise.
So now you know all about Central America’s Caribbean Paradise! Come and discover it before everyone else does!