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Friendly and un-crowded, Honduras is waiting to be explored. This affordable country reminds many visitors of the Costa Rica of decades past. It is a land of lush cloud forests, sunny beaches and surprising biodiversity.
The capital, Tegucigalpa, is located in a high valley between pine covered mountains. The city’s cool evenings invite you to stroll the Plaza Morozan (fix A’) or visit its historic churches. La Tigra National Park, just fifteen miles from the capital, is a cloud forest preserve that sustains orchids, monkeys, ocelots, and hundreds of bird species, including brilliant green and red quetzals.
The western part of this country’s territory was Mayan domain for over 2000 years. One of their most impressive cities, Copán, was rediscovered near the Guatemalan border in 1839. The city was built atop an Olmec settlement on the banks of a now-dry river. By some estimates, this site was first inhabited over 3,000 years ago. Long at war with neighboring city-states, Copan began its decline in the 8th Century. Set in a lush forest, this vast city astounds visitors with its Great Plaza, 63-step hieroglyphic staircase, and Los Jaguares tunnel. As part of the Mayan world, Honduras is logically paired with trips to Guatemala, Belize and El Salvador.
To the northeast, the Caribbean port of La Ceiba reminds visitors to relax and enjoy life. The towns surrounding La Ceiba are home to the Garífuna people—descendants of West African, Arawak and Carib peoples. Towns like Tela and Omoa have an inviting, laid-back atmosphere. Here, the peaceful sound of the surf is combined with traditional punta rhythms.
Just 20 minutes south of La Ceiba is Pico Bonito, one of the country’s most celebrated national parks. Over 22 rivers crisscross this lush reserve, which is located at the feet of the imposing Nombe de Dios Mountains. The park’s highlights include waterfalls and wildlife such as jaguars and ocelots. A short drive to the west of La Ceiba is the Cuerno y Salado tropical wetland, home to manatees, crocodiles, monkeys and shorebirds.
The sparkling Bay Islands lie a short distance off this northern coast. These islands share a colorful history of explorers, pirates and exiled slaves. Due to centuries of British influence, English is widely spoken here. Utila, the smallest of the islands, has a reputation for inexpensive scuba classes and excellent sea kayaking. To the northeast, the pine forested island of Guanaja offers excellent diving and snorkeling. Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands, is surrounded by coral reef. Here, divers can swim with eagle rays, sea turtles and over 800 species of fish. Roatan’s other attractions include a bottlenose dolphin research center, a thrilling zip line, an iguana reserve, and several white sand beaches.
The ideal time to visit Honduras is during the dry season, which extends from February to September. However, even the green season can be pleasant; most showers are short and refreshing. PanAmerican’s knowledgeable travel counselors can help you design trips to Honduras and its Central American neighbors.