Sitting midway around the Bahía de Tela, surrounded by sweeping beaches, TELA has a near-perfect setting. In the past, the town has suffered from a reputation for violence, but a pilot force of tourist police is substantially cleaning up the town’s image. Whether you choose to partake in the nightlife or not, the wealth of fantastic natural reserves – including Punta Sal – within minutes of the town makes Tela well worth a visit. The town is also one of the main destinations for Hondurans during Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week): it’s best to book several weeks or months ahead for that period.
Today’s Tela is a product of the banana industry. In the late nineteenth century United Fruit built a company town – Tela Nueva – here, on the west bank of the Río Tela; the old town became known as Tela Vieja. These distinctions still stand. The old town, which lies about 2km north of the highway and two blocks from the beach on the east bank of the river, encompasses the Parque Central and main shopping area. Five blocks west from the Parque Central is the Río Tela, beyond which lies Tela Nueva. A fifteen-minute stroll covers practically everything there is to see.