Offical language: Spanish
Currency: The Honduran lempira
Honduras is one of the biggest and most heavily populated countries in Central America. Yet, there is still an abundance of open spaces and wildlife in large parts of the country. The total size of Honduras is 112,492 square km and the population is over 8 million. While it isn’t as well known among tourists as many of the neighbouring countries, it is a fascinating place which offers a chance to soak up an authentic culture and meet some of the friendliest people on Earth. The biggest city is Tegucigalpa, which is also the capital. The term banana republic was reportedly first used to describe Honduras. Although you will find plenty of delicious bananas on offer, the country has worked hard in recent years to obtain a more positive image in the rest of the world. There are some intriguing facts about this Central American country that not many people are aware of. For a start, the world’s 2nd largest coral barrier reef is located here and it is second only to Australian in terms of amount of coral reef in its waters. Platano Forest was recently nominated for the list of the seven new wonders of the world. More bizarrely, the town of Yoro holds an annual festival celebrating the fact that fish fall from the sky every single year.
Must see places in Honduras
If you like to start your trips with some time in the capital then in Tegucigalpa you will find that the fun starts right away. The city’s airport is incredibly close to the mountains and the famously short runway gives tourists an unforgettable arrival. It isn’t the most tourist-oriented city you are likely to visit but it will give you a taste of the country. The historic centre of Tegucigalpa has recently undergone some impressive restoration work and the contemporary centre is the most modern part with the best facilities. Much of the rest is a sprawling, slightly chaotic city whose development was severely set back by Hurricane Mitch.
Tela is a coastal town in Honduras that is becoming more and more popular with visitors looking for an interesting beach destination. The area has long been inhabited by Afro-Caribbean people known as the Garifuna. A wonderful initiative here that has reaped dividends lately had seen a group of bilingual tourist police officers roam the streets. This has led to recent statistics showing no crimes committed against tourists here in the last few years. The beach is the big attraction here but you could also check out the botanical gardens, as well as the swamps and lagoons of the Punta Sal national park. On the beach you will probably be tempted by the vendors offering the likes of shark’s tooth necklaces and other delights.
It doesn’t get much weirder or more interesting than in the town of Yoro. For more than a century this otherwise fairly unremarkable place has received an annual rainfall of fish. If you are in Honduras around May or June time you should check whether the first major rainfall of the year has fallen in Yoro. If it has then the annual festival won’t be long behind it. It is thought that the fish are brought to the city after being scooped up by storms. You might even be lucky enough to have a fish fall on your head while you are here.
This is the biggest of the Bay Islands in Honduras and the perfect place from which to strike out and explore the world’s second biggest barrier reef. Roatán is now a popular base for tourists where cruise ships and scuba diving trips set out from on a regular basis. It has its own airport, so getting here isn’t too difficult. There are plenty of places to eat and drink on the main strip and the place has a friendly, welcoming vibe to it.
Anyone looking to explore the wonderfully rich and complex history of Honduras can’t afford to miss the chance to visit Copán. This is an amazing Mayan archaeological site in the west of the country near the border it shares with Guatemala. There are now about 3000 people living in the valley Copán sits in but it was once a hugely important capital city.
San Pedro Sula
As the second biggest city in Honduras, San Pedro Sula offers a lot of interesting sights and activities for visitors. It is an important industrial centre and the international airport makes for a nice place to enter the country. The centre isn’t all that big but Parque Central is the main square and a fine place to watch the world go by. You can also access Cusuco National Park easily from here. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Tela comes with the markets that are present throughout the city.
Utila is one of the Bay Islands and is justifiably popular with visitors looking to get in the water. This is one of the best and most popular diving destinations in the Caribbean, which is really saying something. There are some very good reasons why so many travellers come here to go diving for the first time. For a start, it is incredibly good value. Another reason is that the warm, clear waters often contain a spectacular Whale Shark or two in them. It’s not really a beach destination but there are plenty of things you could here when you aren’t in the water.
This small and relaxing city is an ideal place to check out some colonial buildings and feel good about the world. Comayagua used to share the country’s capital city status with Tegucigalpa, which is only a couple of hours away by road. The main plaza is always a good place to start in any city in Latin America and in the case of Comayagua you will get treated to a fantastic 18th century cathedral here, as well as a clock that is supposedly the oldest in the Americas.
If you want non-stop action and adventure than Gracias probably isn’t for you. However, if you want a cool, laid back place to spend a couple of days then it has a lot to offer. The best thing about this place is that you can simply kick back and relax in a friendly setting. There is some nice colonial architecture about the place and if you want a day trip from here then the thermal waters just outside of town are recommended. The highest mountain of the country is fairly nearby too, in the Parque Nacional Celaque.
Things to do in Honguras
Explore the Barrier Reef
Go to the Beach
For a country with such a big coastline, Honduras doesn’t have all that many truly excellent beaches. However, the ones that are here are excellent places to enjoy the tropical weather and make new friends. The top beaches around here still have the feel of being secret treasures that the wider world hasn’t yet found out about.
Take in the Festivals
In Honduras you might not find the same sort of wild party spirit you find in other parts of Latin America but it is still clear that they love their festivals here. Carnival is a very special time of year here and it isn’t the only time when everyone lets their hair down for a good party. No matter what part of the country you go to, you should check out the upcoming festivals.
Visit the Markets
As with everywhere in Central America, the markets are usually fascinating places to spend some time. Even the fruit and vegetable markets are interesting, as they contain big selections of exotic, tropical fruit in them. If you want to buy some souvenirs to take home then hammocks, wood carvings and coffee are among the best options.
Feel at Home
Of all the places you visit during your life, there is a good chance that Honduras is where you feel most welcome and relaxed. The country has suffered economic and social troubles in the past but the majority of the Hondurans you meet are likely to be warm and friendly, with a ready smile. You will probably feel right at home here if you stay for more than a few days
Best time to visit Honduras
Tourists visit Honduras from December to February
This is a tropical country, so you can expect it to be hot and humid whenever you travel to Honduras. The higher areas in the mountains tend to be cooler, while the northern part of the country is the hottest and the wettest. The rainy season in most of the country covers May to October, with the rest of the year designated as the dry season.As is common in most Central American countries, tourists tend to stay away from the rainy season if they can. The most touristy areas can usually handle the heavy rain but if you plan to get off the beaten track then mud slides and closed roads could cause some headaches after heavy rain. The hurricane season is from June through to November and probably not the best time to visit this wonderful country.