If you’re looking for a destination that is full of surprises and off the beaten path, then Honduras is definitely worth considering. As someone who has traveled there recently, I can attest to its beauty, culture, and friendly people.
One of the things that struck me the most about Honduras is its incredible natural beauty. From the pristine Caribbean beaches to the lush mountain landscapes, this country is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. I highly recommend checking out the Bay Islands, which boast some of the world’s best coral reefs and offer unparalleled diving and snorkeling opportunities.
But there’s so much more to Honduras than just its natural wonders. The country is steeped in rich history and culture, with ancient Maya ruins and colorful colonial towns that are a delight to explore. I particularly recommend visiting Copán, which is one of the most impressive Maya sites in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And let’s not forget about the food! Honduras has a vibrant culinary scene that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as baleadas (a type of Honduran tortilla filled with beans, cheese, and other toppings), catrachas or pupusas (a traditional Salvadoran dish that is also popular in Honduras).
Best Things To Do In Honduras
I am excited to share my top recommendations for things to do in this Central American country. From stunning natural wonders to vibrant cities with rich cultural heritage, Honduras offers a wide range of experiences for travelers. Whether you are an adventure seeker, a history buff, or a beach lover, there is something for everyone in Honduras. Join me on this journey as we discover the best that this fascinating country has to offer.
Visit the Bay Islands: Roatán and Utila
Ringed by vibrant coral reefs and offering a laid-back tropical vibe, Hondura’s Bay islands are a paradise for nature lovers, beachgoers, and adventure seekers alike. With pristine beaches, clear waters, and an abundance of wildlife, the Bay Islands are a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best that Honduras has to offer.
Roatán is the most popular and developed Bay Island, with a unique mountainous backbone and surrounding coral reefs that offer great diving and deep-sea fishing opportunities. Despite its popularity, Roatán has beautiful beaches, such as West Bay Beach, which boasts crystal-clear waters, excellent snorkeling, and nearby shops and restaurants. Sandy Bay is the cultural center of Roatán, where you can visit the Roatán Institute of Marine Sciences to get up close and personal with dolphins, the Roatán Museum, the Carambola Gardens, or the Roatán Marine Park for great snorkeling.
Utila, a 13-kilometer-long island located 32 kilometers from the west coast of Roatán, is known for being the most budget-friendly of the Bay Islands. Backpackers and budget-conscious travelers are attracted to Utila for its affordable dive vacations. Utila Town is the main settlement, where visitors can enjoy fresh seafood and traditional Honduras cuisine at one of the waterfront restaurants, and locals can be seen playing domino games. Besides diving, visitors can also bask on the island’s two beaches, snorkel in the lagoon, explore cays off the southwest coast, and visit the Iguana Research & Breeding Station. Additionally, visitors can have the chance to dive or swim with whale sharks, which are frequently spotted in the island’s waters from March to April and August to September.
Visit the Mayan ruins of Copán
The Copán Ruins Archeological Site is a must-visit destination for history buffs like me. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most extensively studied Maya city in the world, with a history that dates back 2,000 years.
I visited a Mayan site for the first time as a child. From the first moment I set food in Tikal in Guatemala I was mesmerized by the Mayan history and Mayan cities. Since then visited many from Caracol in Belize and Tazumal in El Salvador to Guayabo National Monument in Costa Rica. Being from Guatemala the Mayan culture is part of my heritage with makes visiting these ancient Mayan cities even more interesting and exciting.
When I visit the site’s massive plaza, I’m always struck by the collection of stelae and altars, many of which were erected between 711 and 736. The ball court, Hieroglyphic Stairway, and Acropolis with its stunning carved reliefs of the 16 kings of Copán are also fascinating. I also make sure to visit the Las Sepulturas archaeological site, located approximately 1.6 kilometers away, which offers valuable insights into the daily life of the Mayan elite before the collapse of Copán. Scarlet macaws flying overhead add to the overall experience.
After exploring the ruins, I always make sure to visit the Museum of Mayan Sculpture to see impressive artifacts from the site. I also enjoy strolling along the nature trails, spotting birds and butterflies among the lush foliage. If time permits, I like to check out the smaller El Puente Mayan archaeological site on the Chinamito River, where several partially restored pyramids can be found. Overall, the Copán Ruins Archeological Site is a must-see destination for anyone interested in Mayan history and culture.
Go in Search of the Majestic Quetzal at Cusuco National Park
Cusuco National Park, located in Corinto just west of San Pedro Sula in the Merendon Mountain Range, is home to the enigmatic quetzal, a beautiful tropical bird that is unfortunately on the brink of extinction due to unsustainable hunting and habitat loss. The park’s biodiversity also includes several other threatened species such as frogs and salamanders, jewel scarab beetles, Baird’s tapir, and over 260 species of birds. In addition, the park houses several species of wild cats such as the ocelot, margay, and jaguar.
The frogs in the park play a crucial role in controlling the insect population and maintaining the health of the ecosystem, which ultimately impacts the well-being of the residents of San Pedro Sula. Hikers can take on the challenge of the park’s many trails, with the highest point rising to 2,200 meters above sea level. Local guides can offer access details and information on the rich flora and fauna of the area. Cusuco National Park is truly a unique and important ecosystem that must be protected for future generations to enjoy.
Explore the Colonial City of Gracias
One of my favorite destinations in Honduras is the colonial city of Gracias. This charming city has a rich history, and it is considered the birthplace of Honduras. The city’s colonial-era fort is a must-visit attraction, and it provides a glimpse into the past when the Spanish built it in the 16th century to protect the city from pirates and other invaders. The fort is now a museum where visitors can learn about the region’s history and enjoy spectacular views of the city and the surrounding hills.
Aside from the fort, Gracias also offers several other exciting attractions, such as the Celaque National Park, which is just outside the city. The park is home to diverse flora and fauna, including the highest peak in Honduras. The city is also home to many beautiful colonial churches, such as the Iglesia de la Merced and the Cathedral of Gracias. I enjoy walking through the streets of Gracias, admiring the traditional architecture, colorful buildings, and local markets. The city’s delicious cuisine, which includes baleadas, tamales, and pupusas, is also worth mentioning. All in all, a visit to Gracias is an excellent opportunity to experience the rich culture and history of Honduras.
Get Close to Natura at La Tigra National Park
La Tigra National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Honduras, located about 20 kilometers from Tegucigalpa. This unspoiled park preserves a lush cloud forest that is home to ocelots, pumas, and monkeys. Whenever I visit La Tigra, I am always struck by its natural beauty and how it offers a vision of how the area looked long before logging claimed much of the surrounding forests.
I also know that La Tigra is one of the most visited parks in Honduras, and it’s no wonder why. The park is home to over 200 species of birds, including the elusive quetzal, and well-marked hiking trails wind through the thick forest, where bromeliads and orchids flourish. It’s truly a nature lover’s paradise.
Whenever I plan a visit to La Tigra National Park, I always make sure to stop by the visitor’s center at each entrance for maps and park information, as well as to pay the admission fee. Guides can also be arranged here, which is a great way to learn more about the park’s history and wildlife.
Explore the Vibrant Capital City of Tegucigalpa
If you have enough time take a day to explore Honduras’ vibrant capital city of Tegucigalpa. The city offers a mix of modern and traditional architecture and is known for its bustling markets and vibrant culture. One of the must-see landmarks in Tegucigalpa is the National Museum, which showcases the country’s rich history, from its pre-Columbian roots to modern times. The museum’s exhibits include ancient artifacts, traditional costumes, and colonial-era paintings, providing visitors with a fascinating insight into the country’s past.
Another highlight of Tegucigalpa is the National Theater, a beautiful neoclassical building located in the heart of the city. The theater was built in 1915 and has been a cultural hub ever since, hosting performances of music, dance, and theater. Visitors can also explore other cultural landmarks, such as the Basilica of Suyapa, a stunning Catholic church, and the Chiminike Children’s Museum, which offers interactive exhibits for kids of all ages. Overall, Tegucigalpa is a vibrant city with a unique blend of history, culture, and modernity that offers plenty of opportunities for travelers to explore and discover.
Visit the Parque Nacional Pico Bonito
As a nature lover, I highly recommend visiting Pico Bonito National Park, which is one of the most popular hiking areas in Honduras. The park is located near the northern coastal city of La Ceiba, and its 2,480-meter summit can be seen from the Bay Islands. The lush green rainforests and diverse wildlife in the park are truly breathtaking, and visitors can also witness several dramatic waterfalls along the way, some of which can be viewed from the road.
The park offers a range of hiking trails, suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers. One of my favorites is the La Roca loop, which takes around an hour to complete and offers spectacular views from a swing bridge that crosses the Cangrejal River. For those looking for a more challenging hike, there are longer trails that visit waterfalls and swimming holes, as well as scenic vistas. Most of the trailheads are located at the park’s visitor center, which is only a few kilometers away from La Ceiba.
Take a boat tour of the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve
As a traveler who loves nature and adventure, I was intrigued to learn about the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve in Honduras. This massive jungle along the remote Mosquito Coast was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage in Danger list in 2011. It is one of the few remaining tropical rainforests in Central America and contains a mosaic of lowland tropical rainforest, coastal lagoons, undisturbed beaches, mangroves, grasslands, and patches of pine savannah. However, reports of logging and hunting threaten the reserve’s fragile habitats and wildlife, including howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, giant leatherback turtles, toucans, and tapirs.
Despite these threats, the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve is still home to over 2,000 indigenous people of the Miskito and Pech tribes, as well as the Garífuna, who continue to live their traditional lifestyle. Archaeological sites can also be found within its borders. The best way to explore this remote area is on an organized tour with experienced guides who can take you to the safe places to visit. Ecotourism companies offer wilderness adventures and rafting trips down the Río Plátano, allowing visitors to discover the incredible biodiversity and cultural heritage of this unique and endangered biosphere reserve.
Honduras is a country that is truly worth visiting. With its warm weather, friendly people, and breathtaking natural beauty, it is a perfect destination for travelers of all interests. So why not add Honduras to your travel itinerary and discover this hidden gem for yourself? You won’t regret it!