Honduras //

The north coast

Honduras’s north coast stretches for some 300km along the azure fringes of the Caribbean. A magnet for Hondurans and foreign tourists alike, the region provides sun, sea and entertainment in abundance, especially in the coastal towns of Tela, La Ceiba and Trujillo, with their broad expanses of beach, clean warm waters, plentiful restaurants and buzzing nightlife. San Pedro Sula, the region’s major inland city and transport hub, provides amenities of a strictly urban kind. Dotted along the north coast between these main towns are a number of laidback villages blessed with unspoilt beaches. Populated by the Garífuna people, descendants of African slaves and Carib people, these villages are often very much removed from the rest of Honduran culture and society, and can feel like visiting an entirely different country.

When beach life loses its appeal, there are several natural reserves to visit in the region. The national parks of Cusuco, Pico Bonito and Capiro y Calentura, whose virgin cloudforest shelters rare wildlife, offer hiking for all levels; the wetland and mangrove swamps at Punta Sal and Cuero y Salado require less exertion to explore.

The region’s rainy season generally runs from November to January, while the hurricane season is August to October. Obviously, it’s best to visit outside of these times but you won’t necessarily be battered incessantly by rain or winds if you do visit during this period. Temperatures rarely drop below 25–28°, but the heat is usually tempered by ocean breezes. Transport is reasonably good, with frequent buses along the fast, paved highway that links the main coastal towns; as usual, reaching the remoter villages and national parks requires some forward planning.