Rainforests, cloud forests, beaches, jungles, lakes, islands, Mayan ruins, colonial cities, and buzzing metropolises come together in Central America’s least discovered country. Here is our pick of the best things to do in Honduras.
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On entering the grounds of the archaeological site, a path leads to the claustrophobic Rosalia and Jaguar tunnels. The tunnels give an idea of how the Maya layered construction, building one temple over another. The trail continues to the Acropolis and Temple of Inscriptions. On the Great Plaza, diagonal from the Temple of Inscriptions, the city’s most important symbol is the Hieroglyphic Stairway.
If you are planning a backpacking trip to Honduras, check out our list of tips for backpacking in Central America.
Along the lakeshore are several fine hotels, which mostly attract Honduran families, and even a small craft brewery. The American-owned D&D also runs guided boat excursions on the lake.
Much of the original Spanish grid, topped by a small fortification on a hillside called El Fuerte de San Cristóbal, has been reconstructed, with boutique hotels and cafés filling the whitewashed houses. Once the home of a wealthy colonial family, Museo Casa Galeano is a restored colonial house stocked with artefacts, old photographs, and a folk art collection. It’s adjoined by a botanical garden, one of the oldest in the region.
Most development has taken place on the Western half of the island. The crystal clear waters of West Bay Beach, the best in Honduras, has seen a surge in development over the past decade. Resorts and condo projects have bought up every last hectare. In the hills above West Bay is Gumbalimba Park an island adventure park with watersports, a monkey island, and a canopy tour that cruise travellers often visit.
The Gumbalimba park also houses a museum with artefacts from Honduras' pre-Columbian heritage, as well as examples of traditional Honduran houses and other cultural artefacts. In addition to all the above, one of the main attractions of the park is its popular swimming area, which includes a natural swimming pool with a waterfall and a beach. Here you can enjoy snorkelling and diving in the nearby coral reefs.
It should be noted that apart from its exotic beauty Central America is also one of the cheapest destinations to travel to. Read our guide to budget trips around the world and find more places that combine excellent leisure activities with accessibility.
However, these same ranges harbour some of the country’s last untouched expanses of tropical forest and cloud forest. The national parks of El Boquerón and Sierra de Agalta are awe-inspiring. Along the valleys, now given over to pastureland for cattle, are scattered villages and towns. Both Juticalpa, the department capital, and Catacamas, at the eastern end of the paved road, are good bases for exploring the region.
Los Micos Lagoon is separated by a small sandbar near Miami, and canals here weave through the rich landscape where hundreds of species of migratory birds can be seen. Outside of driving to Miami and hiring a boat to enter the lagoon, private transportation here is difficult. We recommend to use Tela-based tour operators like Garífuna Tours, which have regular trips to the lagoon and peninsula.
Some coffee plantations are open for guided tours where you can get an insight into coffee production. During the tour, you can see coffee plants, learn about the harvesting and processing of coffee beans, and taste different types of coffee. Some coffee plantations also offer accommodation for visitors wishing to experience life on a coffee farm.
One of the best things to do in Honduras for bird watching is to choose one of the popular destinations such as Pico Bonito National Park, La Tigra National Park, Selache National Park, or Copán Archaeological Reserve. All of these sites offer guided birdwatching tours and hikes led by local guides who will help visitors see rare and endemic species.
The array of flora and fauna is dazzling, with bucket list species after bucket list species: jaguars, harpy eagles, Baird’s tapirs, and many others. Despite its natural wonders, most of the park is almost inaccessible. For much of the rainy season, travel here is impossible, while during the dry seasons, running from February to May and August to November, it requires a series of air, boat, and overland connections to get into the interior.
The 6km (3.7 miles) Sendero Principal is the primary route across La Tigra, though a handful of other trails in various states of maintenance branch off it. Even though the park is so close to Tegucigalpa, it has a surprisingly rich collection of flora and fauna. Mammals like pumas and armadillos are rare, though more than 350 species of birds have been identified, including the resplendent quetzal and wine-throated hummingbird.
At the north end of Parque Central, the Catedral de Santa María dates to the late 17th century and is a masterpiece of colonial architecture. Four of the original 16 hand-carved wooden altars have been immaculately maintained. Outside in the tower, the clock dates to around 1100 and was built for the Alhambra in Granada. Iglesia La Merced, four blocks to the south, is the oldest church in Comayagua.
In Honduras, the Cangrejal River, on the border of Pico Bonito National Park, has Class III-IV rapids in turquoise water, dodging giant boulders as toucans fly overhead. The region’s longest rafting experience is in La Mosquitia, however, where 13-day expeditions run through the remote Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, giving spectacular views of rare wildlife.
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