April 17, 2020
Official Name: The Republic of Honduras
Location: Central America
Population: Over 9 million
Economy: Honduras is famous for its rich natural resources. Exports include minerals, coffee, tropical fruit, and sugar cane. The country is also known for its growing textiles industry.
Honduras is unique Central American country in that its economy seems to struggle more than the others. It is one of the poorest countries in the western Hemisphere. This largely due to the political strife that seems to endure in this country. It is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua. Heading south will take the traveler to the Gulf of Fonseca at the Pacific Ocean. The northern border, in contrast, is created the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.
Places to Visit When Traveling to Honduras
- Amapala Valle
- Cangrejal River Valley
- Canopy Extremo la Campa
- Copan Ruinas
- Costa Deliziosa
- Lago de Yojoa
- Bay Islands
- Cayos Cochinas
- Rio Goascoran
- Sandy Cay Island
- Santa Rosa de Copan
- Tela, Atlantida
- West Bay Beach
- Mahogany Bay
Each of the locations listed above offers its own unique views, sites, and experiences. You can chose to go hiking or backpacking. Or, you might opt to hit the water for some snorkeling or scuba diving. It’s up to you but, rest assured, the options are plenty.
Pulhapanzak is located in the Western part of Honduras. Pulhapanzak is a Mayan word and translates to “white river overflow”. Travelers are drawn to the wondrous site created by the Rio Lindo (beautiful river) dropping from a high cliff. There are also camping available allowing one to wake up to the waterfall.
Amapala is composed of El Tigre Island and the satellite islets and rocks surrounding it in the Gulf of Fonseca. Its land mass is 29 square miles. A natural deep channel made this location perfect the main Honduran port in the Pacific Ocean. Large quantities of gold, silver and other ores flowed from this port in the 1800’s.
Cangrejal River Valley
The Cangrejal River is probably one of the most scenic rivers in Central America. Beginning around 15 miles from its mouth on the Caribbean Sea, the Rio Viejo, Rio Blanco and Rio Yaruca come together and plunge into a deep canyon dropping from 870 feet to sea level making it one of the steepest rivers in Central America!
Canopy Extremo, La Campa
For the traveler that loves zip lining, Canopy Extremo is the perfect choice! Many of the instructors speak English. You can expect to spend around two hours completing the course. Just take the 6 mile or so trip down the road from Gracias to the town of La Campa.
Choluteca is located in southern Honduras on the Pan-American Highway. Its a river side town positioned on the Choluteca River distinguished by a big arching silver bridge crossing the river into the city. Choluteca is either the fourth- or fifth-largest city in the country, depending on who you ask and it is the only major Honduran city that you will find on the Pan-American Highway. Be prepared for the heat because it is considered to be the second-hottest city in Honduras!
Copán Ruinas is an interesting site to be found in the town of Copan near the Guatemalan border. Visitors get an opportunity to tour the Pre-Columbian ruins. Like many of the other destinations in Central America, the ruins are a UN World Heritage site. Popular places that interest tourists include the hieroglyphic staircase and the museum.
The Costa Deliziosa cruise ship was launched in March 2009 offering traveler’s a chance to stop off in Honduras. Its 958 feet long and 106 feet wide. It can hold up to 2,828 passengers (1,138 cabins) so there is plenty of room to enjoy the ride and the experience.
Roatán is an island in the Caribbean about 40 miles off the northern coast of Honduras. Situated between the islands of Útila and Guanaja, it is the largest of the Bay Islands. At 48 miles long, and less than 5 miles across at its widest point, it rests on an exposed ancient coral reef. For the scuba diver, the offshore reefs provide some excellent opportunities. Most of the residents will be found on the western half of the island.
Lago de Yojoa
Lake Yojoa is the largest lake in Honduras and sits in a depression formed by volcanoes. The scenic view includes steep mountains to the west and Cerro Azul Meambar National Park to the east. It often serves as a rest area for travelers allowing them to appreciate the view and enjoy the tasty foods offered by the restaurants on its shores. It’s also a popular fishing destination with many of the local inhabitants earning their living from the sale of fish caught in the lake. In addition, you’ll see the vast coffee plant fields that bolster the economy of the area.
The smallest of the Honduras’ major Bay Islands, Utila lies in a region that marks the south end of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (the second-largest in the world). An interesting fact is that the island was documented by Columbus’ fourth voyage. Currently, Utila enjoys growing tourism and recreational diving having become known as one of the world’s best dive locations. The inhabitants of the island are of African (Garifuna), English and Dutch descent.
Travelers will find Omoa located on a small bay a little over 12 miles west of Puerto Cortés on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. It is populated by about 30,000 people spread out over a an approximately 237 square mile area. In the late 18th century, Omoa had a diverse population of Spanish, Indians, and enslaved Africans. Historiaclly, the Africans consisted of the four contracts of royal slaves deployed to build and maintain the fort, mulattos, and free blacks (escaped English slaves, mostly from Belize).
The Bay Islands consist of eight islands and 53 small cays that lie between 10 miles and 40 miles off the northern coast of Honduras. Combined, the islands cover a total surface area of about 155 square miles. With a population of around 72,000 people (2013), the Bay Islands are divided into 3 smaller groups of islands; The Swan Islands, Islas de la Bahia, and Cayos Cochinos.
The Cayos Cochinos or Cochinos Cays are comprised of two small islands (Cayo Menor and Cayo Grande) and 13 more small coral cays. Travelers will find them about 19 miles northeast of La Ceiba on the northern shores of Honduras. Of note, they won’t find many people there as the population numbered only 108 at the 2001 census. The total land area measures less than 1 square mile. There are no roads, cars or bikes. but there is, however, a hiking trail that connects residences and beaches on Cayo Grande. There is also lighthouse on the highest point of the island which travelers can hike to through scenic jungles which are home to the only pink Boa Constrictors in the world. Truly a rare place to visit on the planet, much less in Honduras!
The Goascorán River or Río Goascorán divides the two countries of Honduras and El Salvador that divides the two countries. It gathers in the La Sierra mountain ridge in Honduras and flows gracefully southward along the border for about 75 miles. Flowing past Goascorán city to La Unión Bay, it empties into the Gulf of Fonseca.
Sandy Cay Island
One of two incredibly affordable private islands for rent, Sandy Cay lies off the coast of Utila. Itself a very small island less than 19 miles from mainland Honduras. It was bought by a local family in 1968. The entire island is about the size of a football field with a solitary house at the west end. The fortunate visitor gets to watch in comfort as the sun slowly sets into the sea each evening. They can also rise in the morning and enjoy some convenient backyard snorkeling.
Santa Rosa de Copan
Santa Rosa de Copán, is the largest and most important city in western Honduras. It has a population of around 43,000. With its Republican or Neoclassical architecture and cobblestone streets it has been declared a Honduran national monument. The city has its origins in a prosperous tobacco farming industry of the 18th century. Travelers will find Santa Rosa situated between Copán Ruinas, Gracias, Lempira, and the Celaque National Park. Tobacco farming remains a primary component of the local economy and the cigar smoking traveler will enjoy a visit to the La Flor de Copán cigar factory.
Siguatepeque was founded by the Spanish in 1689 as a religious center for retreats and monastic training. Intermarriage of colonists, the indigenous Lencas and the Mexican Nahuatl immigrants caused the city to grow into what we find today. The city is located in and surrounded by the Central Mountains of Honduras. It’s a major stop for both local and international inter-city traffic.
The town is at the center of a regional vegetable and fruit production area, ensuring a year-round supply of fresh cheap produce.
Tela , a department of Atlantida, is situated on the northern Caribbean coast. In 1797, the English exiled the Garifuna, a group of Afro-Carib origin from St Vincent to the island of Roatan. They were later moved to Trujillo and began to migrate along the coast from there. In 1808, they settled in Tela founding the community that sightseers find today.
West Bay Beach
West Bay is a larger area located on the west side of Roatan largely consisting of West Bay Beach. More precisely, it is part of the biggest Bay Island in Honduras. Not to be confused with the similarly named West End, West Bay is not a paved road lined with shops and small hotels.
Mahogany Bay, located in Dixon Cove, is situated on the southern coastline of Roatan Island. The bay’s Port is owned and mostly operated by the Carnival Corporation. In recent years, Roatan has become a popular western caribbean cruise ship destination. Travelers will often see this destination in conjuction with stops in Belize and Cozumel.