Many travelers that are exploring Central America are set on not visiting Honduras. The main reason is that they have read that Honduras is not safe. Rather than finding if Honduras is safe to travel or not, they decide they want to avoid it all together. The truth, is that there are many safe destinations in Honduras that you can visit without a problem or putting yourself at risk.
Do you Plan to Skip Honduras?
If you have decided to skip Honduras altogether, you will need to spend some extra money. There are no land routes between El Salvador and Guatemala to Nicaragua without traveling through Honduras. This leaves only two alternatives: The first is to fly from El Salvador to Managua. Be prepared to pay between $200 and $300 US dollars for a one way ticket.
The Ocean Route to Skip Honduras
La Ruta del Golfo, an El Salvador Tour operator manages a ferry between El Salvador and Nicaragua. The service is between the Port of La Union in El Salvador and Potosi in Nicaragua. Travel time is more or less 3 hours. The trip will take you across a 55 kilometer long route through the Gulf of Fonseca, that El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua share. You will check out of El Salvador in La Union and into Nicaragua in Potosi, completely avoiding Honduras. You will be navigating close to some of the islands that Honduras has in the Gulf of Fonseca, the largest of which is Amapala.
The service operates twice weekly, departing from La Union in El Salvador on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Arrivals are in Potosi, Nicaragua is around 11:30 a.m. Departures from Nicaragua are one hour later, at 12:30 and you will be in El Salvador at 3:00 p.m. Do keep in mind that you must make reservations in advance. The boat operates only when a minimum of four passengers have booked. The way around it if you simply must travel is to buy four tickets! The cost of the service one way is $65 US. Since you will be in the sun for several hours, make sure you bring a hat and some sun block for the trip. If coming from Nicaragua, the meeting point is at immigration in Potosi.
The Shortest Land Route Through Honduras
The shortest route be land departing the El Amatillo Border between El Salvador and Honduras and traveling down the CA1 highway, which is also known as the Panamerican highway to the border in Nicaragua. The best route is through El Espino Border at San Marcos de Colon, Choluteca. Tica Bus and Platinum Centro America offer service on this route. Platinum will cost you about $52 US one way. The distance is less than 90 miles (only 130 kilometers). The route takes you next to San Lorenzo and Choluteca. These buses do not stop to drop off or pick up anyone along the route. Because of this, they are your best alternatives.
You can also get to the border at El Amatillo and catch a colectivo or a chicken bus to the Guasaule or El Espino borders. The first is the best option if you are headed towards Leon. The second is the best alternative if you are going to Managua or Granada.
Does in Make Sense to Skip Honduras?
Now that you know the best way to skip Honduras during your Central America Trip, I do feel obliged to tell you that this would be a huge mistake! Honduras has the best pristine Caribbean Beaches in Central America. They also have the unique Mayan Archaeological Park of Copan in Copan Ruinas. The best and most compete coffee farming in Central America is in Honduras. You can visit coffee estates and learn about the coffee process in the highlands of Western Honduras. Honduras is the largest producer of coffee in the region. It also has the best reputation for the quality of coffee produced in the region.
If the above is not enough, you may want to know that some of the best national parks in Central America are in Honduras. The area within Atlantida offers a total of 8 national parks. Choose between Pico Bonito National Park or Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge. If you are more interested in the beach scene, check out Jeannette Kawas National Park (AKA Punta Sal) or the Cayos Cochinos Marine Monument. These are all within 100 kilometers of each other!
What You Should See if you do not Skip Honduras?
Every country in Central America has its own charm and highlights. In my opinion, it is a big mistake to skip Honduras. You should plan on spending several days in Honduras. Start with Copan Ruinas, near the border with Guatemala. Continue to the Caribbean coast, and discover the magical Cangrejal River Valley. There you can do some jungle hiking to secluded waterfalls. The white water rafting along the Cangrejal River is superb. The same can be said about birdwatching in Pico Bonito National Park. From there, head out to the lovely Bay Islands of Honduras. There you can marvel at the well preserved coral reefs.
After the Bay Islands, you can continue your journey to Nicaragua. There are some shuttle services that provide direct service from La Ceiba to Leon Nicaragua. Alternately, if you want a unique adventure, try traveling along the Caribbean Coast. The route to travel from Honduras to Nicaragua through La Moskitia is true adventure in itself!
If you have some extra time, plan on visiting Comayagua, the old Colonial Capital of Honduras, as well as the Gulf of Fonseca. You can visit the Amapala on the Volcanic Isla del Tigre in the Gulf of Fonseca.
I can guarantee one thing. You will be happy that you did not skip Honduras and gave the country a chance. The truth, is that as a tourist, you are safer in Honduras than in Guatemala, El Salvador and even Costa Rica! Come and check it out! You will not regret one minute of your time in Honduras!