Honduras has had a rocky history and it’s a place where, in certain parts, travellers still need to err on the side of caution. That doesn’t mean the country is off-limits though. In fact, done the right way, there are some incredible experiences awaiting you in Honduras and throughout Central America.
The country is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.
Honduras is best known for the production of minerals, coffee, tropical fruit, and sugar cane, as well as for its growing textiles industry, which serves the international market.
The Honduran territory consists mainly of mountains, but there are narrow plains along the coasts, a large undeveloped lowland jungle La Mosquitia region in the northeast, and the heavily populated lowland Sula valley in the northwest.
The region is considered a biodiversity hotspot because of the numerous plant and animal species that can be found there. Like other countries in the region, Honduras contains vast biological resources. The country hosts more than 6,000 species of vascular plants, of which 630 (described so far) are orchids; around 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than 700 bird species, and 110 mammal species, half of them being bats.
Honduras has rain forests, cloud forests (which can rise up to nearly three thousand meters above sea level), mangroves, savannas and mountain ranges with pine and oak trees, and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.
Consisting of two main islands and several smaller cays, Cayos Cochinos provides a peaceful retreat for those who want to experience the natural beauty of Honduras without the hustle of tourist crowds. There are no roads or automobiles here, but there are hiking trails that link the beaches to the quiet villages. One of the popular hikes here is a climb to the lighthouse to enjoy panoramic views of the area. Additionally, the islands feature stunning beaches that are ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
The picturesque island of Guanaja offers tourists an idyllic escape where they can relax or engage in fun outdoor activities. With its year-round warm temperatures, high levels of visibility and coral reef, the ocean waters surrounding Guanaja are ideal for diving and snorkeling. Other things to do include jungle trekking, hiking to Grant’s Peak, viewing a lovely waterfall, and exploring the shopping, cuisine and culture of the local villages.
During the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, the quiet colonial village of Comayagua bursts into a flurry of activity and color with its street carpet tradition. Made with layers of colored sawdust and other natural materials like rice and flower petals, the huge carpets are elaborately designed to depict Biblical figures and events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Once used as a haven for pirates, the protected territory around Punta Sal is today a popular place to encounter the natural beauty and wildlife of Honduras. Amid diverse landscapes of sandy beaches, mangrove swamps, rainforests and coastal lagoons, tourists here can see a wide variety of wildlife species like tropical birds, sea turtles, dolphins, manatees, crocodiles, monkeys and boas. The reserve also features a traditional village of thatched huts where visitors can learn about the local culture.
Located in western Honduras, Copán is a relatively small Mayan site famous for its remarkable series of portrait stelae. The stelae and sculptured decorations of the buildings of Copán are some of the very finest surviving art of ancient Mesoamerica. Some of the stone structures at Copán date back to the 9th century BC. The city grew into one of the most important Maya sites by the 5th century with more than 20,000 inhabitants but was mysteriously abandoned a few centuries later. The nearby town of Copán Ruinas has all types of accommodations and other facilities for tourists.