Five Things First Time Travellers To Honduras Should Know
- English isn't widely spoken. Due to Honduras not being as popular as other Central American destinations, most people only speak Spanish. To make your trip easier, learn a few essential phrases and words to help you get around.
- Check your bill before you tip. In Honduras, most restaurants will add a service charge to your total. If you don't see "service" on your slip, then it's standard to leave about 10% gratuity for your server.
- It's cheaper to pay with cash. If you pay your bill with your credit card, you'll be hit with an extra 2-4% processing fee. Avoid this unnecessary expense by paying with cash when you can.
- Public toilets are not that common. If you need the bathroom, go to a nearby restaurant or hotel. Just remember that Honduras plumbing system can't handle toilet paper, so you'll need to make use of the wastepaper basket.
- Don't drink the tap water in Honduras. It's not safe, and you'll end up sick. Instead, stick to the bottled water that's readily available in any of the local supermarkets.
Best Time To Visit Honduras
The best time to visit Honduras between February and March. The temperatures are warm, there is little chance of rain, and the rainforests are at their best. It's also the country's shoulder season, and prices will be lower compared to the busy summer months.
September to November is when the country sees its highest rainfall. The floods and mudslides can make travel difficult during this time, and there is also the threat of hurricanes. The unfavourable weather means it's the best time for budget travellers to visit. Hotel rates and flight prices will be at their lowest.
The most popular time to visit Honduras is from December to February. Travellers from the Northern Hemisphere descend upon the country in search of warmer weather. If you're planning your trip during this time, expect prices to be at their highest and crowds at the country's top attractions.
If you're travelling to Honduras for diving, the best time to visit is between February and April. The country's coastline sees massive pods of whale sharks and visibility is at its best.
The capital city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa is full of colonial architecture and bustling streets. It's by no means the most beautiful metropolis in the country, but it still has its charms.
Visit the many museums, dine at its restaurants and explore its underground urban scene of musicians, artists and designers.
Don't miss Tegucigalpa's top attractions: a giant statue of Christ, the Cathedral of Saint Michael Archangel and the Plaza Square.
San Pedro Sula
San Pedro Sula is home to Honduras main international airport. While it's a main entry point into the country, most people only pass through due to its bad reputation.
However, if you linger, there are a few sights to see. Visit the Museo de Antropologia e Historia, the St. Peter the Apostle Cathedral and the Zizima Eco Water Park.
Comayagua was the first capital of Honduras. It remained an important religious and political hub for three centuries until power shifted to Tegucigalpa.
Today, the city has a lot to offer intrepid travellers. It boasts a variety of hotels for every budget, beautiful colonial architecture and is one of the safest destinations in Honduras.
Be sure to visit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, America's oldest clock and Bishop’s Palace.
Top Attractions in Honduras
Located in the Bay Islands, Roatan is one of Honduras' top destinations. The Roatan Marine Park is famous for its pristine dive sites and excellent snorkelling conditions.
Besides its underwater heritage, Roatan's idyllic beaches make it a popular stop for cruise ships. Avoid the West Bay Beach if you want to escape the crowds. The strand is where most of the boats dock and is usually full of day trippers.
The island's other highlights include the Blue Harbour Tropical Arboretum and the Roatan Butterfly Garden.
The Copan Ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Honduras most popular tourist attractions. Dating back nearly 2,000 years ago, the site was once a thriving Mayan city.
Today, it's one of the most studied Mayan sites in the world and is a must-visit for history buffs. Copan's most famous ruins are the Hieroglyphic Stairway; a temple that boasts the longest known Mayan text and an Acropolis featuring carved reliefs of 16 kings.
Due to the sheer size of the ruins, it will take a couple of days to see everything. If you can, avoid trying to fit it into a day trip as you'll quickly develop "ruins fatigue".
If you want to escape to a tropical paradise, head to the Cayos Cochinos islands. It remains one of Honduras most pristine natural environments due to its remote location and difficulty to access.
But if you do decide to visit you won't be disappointed. Its Marine Biological Reserve is home to black coral reefs and offers excellent snorkelling and diving conditions. Back on land, numerous hiking trails weave through the jungle, and there are loads of opportunities for bird watching.
For those that want to stay on the islands, there are a few rustic eco-resorts as well as hammocks. Or if you're looking for a unique experience, you can book a hut at a local Garifuna village.
Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve
The Rio Plato Biosphere Reserve is one of the few remaining tropical rainforests in Central America. It's home to 2,000 indigenous people, countless Mayan ruins and a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna.
Inside its borders, you'll find undisturbed beaches, coastal lagoons and lush mangroves. Endangered leatherback turtles nest on its shores and exotic birds, jaguars and iguanas can be spotted in its forests.
Unfortunately, UNESCO placed the area on the World Heritage in Danger list in 2011. Due to illegal hunting and logging, the fragile ecosystems are in danger of disappearing forever.
If you decide to visit, make sure it's with a company that promotes ethical eco-tourism.
El Cusuco National Cloud Forest Park
El Cusuco National Cloud Forest Park is a must-visit for nature lovers. It's home to the critically endangered quetzal bird that has been hunted to the brink of extinction.
The park also has a plethora of other threatened species. Keep a lookout for the jewel scarab beetles, Baird's Tapir and the many types of frogs.
Rising to an altitude of 2,200 metres, the park also offers hikers some challenging routes. It's recommended to hire a guide if you want to explore the trails. You'll be able to learn more about the park's biodiversity and have a better chance of spotting its elusive creatures.
Major International Airports in Honduras
- Ramon Villeda Morales International Airport
- Toncontin International Airport
- Juan Manuel Galvez International Airport
- Goloson International Airport