Honduras is slowly beginning to shed its negative violent reputation and is becoming a hotspot for backpackers who are looking to get off the beaten path in Central America. Tremendous wildlife, Mayan Ruins, and vast national parks attract people to Honduras. Moreover, the country has made a name for itself with its dive spots Utila and Roatan. It’s one of the cheaper destinations in Central America and, though often skipped by most travelers, I think it offers the best value in the region.
Accommodation – Budget dorms begin around 200 HNL per night, with private rooms costing 450-700 HNL. Accommodations are cheap in this country, though it is usually more expensive in Ultila and Roatan.
Food – A meal will be around 65 HNL at cheap local place. Restaurants cost slightly more at 110 HNL.
Transportation – There are plenty of taxis in Honduras, but they don’t use meters, so agree a price before you get in. A short ride will start at around 45 HNL, with a cross-city trip starting at 65 HNL. The national bus system is inexpensive. Generally, for every hour you travel, it’s 45 HNL.
Activities – Diving is likely to be your biggest expense in Honduras with most operators charging 765 HNL per dive. Entrance fees in to the national parks are relatively low at 65 HNL. The Copán Ruins can get expensive if you factor in entrance fee (220 HNL), entrance to the tunnels (240 HNL) and a guided tour (525 HNL).
Money Saving Tips
Hitchhike – Some rural areas do not have a bus service, so this is a common way for backpackers to get around.
Eat in Comayaguela when in Tegucigalpa – Cheap restaurants, markets, and lodgings can be found in this district of the capital city, Tegucigalpa.
Top Things to See and Do in Honduras
Copán Ruins – These are the ruins of a Mayan city and are one of Honduras’ most popular tourist attractions. It takes a couple of days to see the entire site, so try not to squeeze your visit in to a day trip. The tunnels underneath the ruins are kind of spooky and “other worldly” and well worth the 240 HNL to see them.
Utila – If you can’t decide where to go diving in Honduras, consider going to Utila, the smallest of the Bay Islands. Prices are pretty much the same as in Roatán but accommodation is cheaper, the locals are friendlier and the nightlife is better.
Lago de Yojoa – This is the country’s largest lake and is a great place for bird watchers with 375 species of birds. The restaurants on the banks of the lake offer fantastic fish and are an ideal stop-off point of you’re traveling from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula.
Parque Nacional Jeannette Kawas – White sandy beaches and fabulous snorkeling in the coral reefs meet howler monkeys in the nearby forest. There are also hundreds of species of birds and monkeys around Laguna de los Micos.
Mercado Guamilito – Located in San Pedro Sula, this huge traditional market is an excellent place to buy handicrafts from Honduras. The food here is amazing, and locals say it is one of the best places to eat a baleada (wheat flour tortilla with cheese, cream and fried beans – a Honduran speciality).
Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve – This heavily-forested area contains Mayan ruins, over 2000 indigenous people, pumas, jaguars, giant ant-eaters, and even sloths. It’s pretty badass.
Carnaval de La Ceiba – For two weeks in May, the streets of La Cieba are transformed into party central. Bars and clubs are filled to capacity for the entire week before the main event, “La Feria de San Isidro” (the parade), which takes place along Avenida San Isidro. This is the biggest carnival in Central America with approximately half a million visitors each year.
Pico Bonito National Park – Tour the rain forest, kayak, or go whitewater rafting down the Rio Cangrejal – Pico Bonito National Park is the best place in Honduras for outdoor pursuits. The River Zacate trail offers you the chance to catch a glimpse of a keel-billed toucan or a white-faced monkey.
Tegucigalpa – Surrounded by mountains, the capital of Honduras is a maze of bustling streets and charming colonial architecture. The Plaza Central is at the heart of the city with the City Hall and the Cathedral of Saint Michael Archangel just off the square. Take a trip to the north of the city for a fantastic view and a chance to get up close with the giant statue of Christ.
Valle de Angeles – This colonial town is said to offer the best handicrafts in Honduras and is particularly known for its wood crafts. Head to the Centro de Artesanians to purchase everything from pottery and cigars to tapestries, hammocks, and rum.
Roatan – There are dozens of diving sites here. You can get multi-dive packages from various shops to ensure you see many different spots. Mary’s place is a particularly good site, as the labrynth of coral formations is beautiful and one of a kind.
Parque Nacional Cusuco – This cloud forest is nestled into the Meredon mountain range and can be somewhat difficult to access. There is an abundance of wildlife here and an excellent visitors’ center. There are five different hiking trails to choose from. April-June is the best time to see parrots, toucans, and the quetzals.
Hacienda El Jaral – Kind of like a cheap Disneyland, this resort is host to a hotel, a waterpark, a food court, a mini-mall, and a movie theatre. It is located in the Copan Ruins and is home to one of the only Hollywood film theatres in the region.
Roatan Butterfly Garden – This 1,000 square foot enclosure is home to over 30 species of moths and butterflies, as well as a large collection of orchids, birds, and tropical plants. It is best to visit during the heat of the day or early morning when the butterflies are most active.
Hide away on Cayos Cochinos – These two islands are a great spot to escape from the tourist crowds and enjoy the best that the coast has to offer. There are good opportunities for fishing, snorkeling, and diving here, and it is a lovely spot for a romantic getaway.