Many travelers visiting Central America become nervous when they read the travel warnings that their governments post about Honduras. The following questions always arise: Is it safe to travel to Honduras? Which places are safe and which are not? Is it worth the risk of visiting Honduras despite the travel warnings?
Today, I am going to answer the above questions, and try to give you an unbiased view of what the reality is. Having lived in Honduras for the last 25 years, I have developed an “insider” knowledge. This is what I know about which are the safe destinations in Honduras. Following is a list of the most important safe destinations in Honduras that you should not miss. The list includes the destinations that you can travel to and enjoy at ease. They are safe to travel with your family, even if there are young kids with your group.
Of course, you should travel in a responsible manner and make use of your common sense. Do not do things you would not do at home. Consider that carrying illegal drugs on you, even if it is for personal consumption is against the law. Refrain for getting blind drunk and then walking out on the street with strangers. When possible, get a local guide to show you around. Do not walk around with flashy jewels. Remember that Honduras is a poor country, and tempting the poor people with your expensive articles is unwise. The bottom line is that Honduras is not as dangerous as they say it is!
1. Copan Ruinas
Perhaps the brightest star in mainland Honduras, Copan Ruinas is a great destination that all should visit. Copan is so much more that a great Archaeological destination. A visit to Macaw Mountain Bird Park justifies a visit here even if you are not interested in Archaeology. The town is a small charming community with cobblestone streets and plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. Copan Ruinas is one of several safe destinations in Honduras that you can enjoy during your travels. The archaeological park, as well as town, and the trails from town to the park are all safe.
2. Santa Rosa de Copan
The capital of the department of Copan, in Western Honduras is considered by many as the safest city in Honduras. This is the coffee capital of Honduras. It is a great gateway towards the Lenca Route that includes Gracias and La Esperanza. Santa Rosa de Copan offers many different things to see and do. It also has a great selection of restaurants and bars to choose from. Night life in Santa Rosa de Copan is great. This is because the city is very safe. It is a good destination to visit with family, including children and older folks.
Gracias is a charming, and until recently unknown destination in Western Honduras. The city has blossomed into a great spot to visit. It deserves to be in this list of safe destinations in Honduras. Feel free to walk around the city, visit Celaque National Park or visit the hot springs within the destination. Gracias offers a variety of hotels to stay in. You are sure to find one that will fit your budget. The current president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez is from Gracias, and he has done a great job promoting its development. Gracias offers a unique window to life in a rural, laid back corner of Honduras.
4. Lake Yojoa
The largest natural lake in Honduras is surrounded by two different National Parks. It is one of the top birding hot spots in Central America. Parque Nacional Azul Meambar is the most accessible National Park if you are coming from San Pedro Sula. The lake is on highways CA5, which connects Tegucigalpa with San Pedro Sula. Unlike the previous destinations, Lake Yojoa does not offer a community per say where everything in the destination revolves around. It’s rather large size leads to more isolated hot spots where you can relax and enjoy the destination. The most three more popular spots on the Lake are Honduyate Marina, D&D Brewery and Panacam Lodge.
The first is ideal if you are looking for water sports and sailing. Honduyate offers nice rooms, good food and great lakefront location. Panacam Lodge is the most popular spot for those looking to do serious bird watching, as well as being in the rainforest. D&D Brewery offers a great setting to meet friends. This is the perfect spot to visit the El Naranjo Eco Archaeological Park and kayak the shores of this beautiful lake. They are home to one of the few micro breweries in Honduras, and you can taste their great beers. All the above mentioned areas in Lake Yojoa are safe. Lake Yojoa is one of the top safe destinations in Honduras.
A charming sleepy beach town on the Caribbean Coast of Honduras, Tela is one of the safe destinations in Honduras. Tela developed as the center of the Tela Railroad Company operations in Honduras. Together with La Ceiba, it stands as the Banana Republic Capital of the World. In the past, cargo ships would sail from Tela and La Ceiba to distribute bananas and other fruits harvested in Honduras. Today, Tela has become the premier beach destination in Honduras.
Tela boasts the only World Championship PGA golf course on mainland Honduras at Indura Golf Resort. A variety of Garifuna Villages are around the bay. This provides the perfect setting to get to meet and know this unique culture. There are many different places to stay within town and around the bay. Both the city and the Garifuna Villages are safe. Please take note that it is not a good to walk alone on the lonely beaches between the communities.
6. La Ceiba
The original capital of the Banana Republic, La Ceiba is often overlooked due to concerns about safety. These concerns are unfounded. Unless you are looking for night life, I suggest you plan on visiting and staying in the Cangrejal River Valley. This is by far the nicest area in La Ceiba, probably one of the nicest areas in Central America. There is a cluster of 10 small hotels and 4 tour operators that are in this area, so it is easy to find the right place for you. My favorite hotel here is La Villa de Soledad B&B. The area is only 9 km. south of La Ceiba, up in the Nombre de Dios Mountains.
The area is ideal to enjoy nature, and if you are looking for some adventure activities, this is your place! World Class white water rafting, hiking in the tropical rain forests and zip lining though the forest canopy are only a few of your alternatives. Most travelers plan on spending at least 3 nights in this lovely Shangri La like valley. Another great excuse to visit La Ceiba is the fact that this is where the ferry terminal for the Bay Islands is. From the Cangrejal River Valley, you are only 30 minutes away from the ferry to Roatan or Utila!
The Cangrejal River Valley is one of the safe destinations in Honduras. Travelers walk between the different lodges and activities at easy. Birdwatchers stroll down the main road with their fancy binoculars and cameras. Locals appreciate the tourists and take care of them!
The Colonial Capital of Honduras is often overlooked. Although easy to get to, as it is on the CA5 highway between San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, it is off the regular beaten path that tourists travel. Comayagua is Honduras’ colonial gem. It’s downtown has been renovated, there are several museums in town and strolling through the city is a pleasure. A variety of hotels, restaurants and bars provide the perfect selection for every budget and taste. Best of all, Comayagua is one of the top safe destinations in Honduras. You will feel safe and comfortable strolling through this charming city.
This island is perhaps the most well known destination in Honduras. Roatan has become an important port of call for many different cruise ships. This means that on certain days of the week, normally between Tuesday and Thursday, the island is full with cruise ship passengers. These day travelers can turn the island into a tourist trap. The good news is that few cruise ship passengers make it out to Roatan’s East End. So if the island feels crowded, head out to the East End! Roatan is one of the Safe Destinations in Honduras. Remember, it is always a good idea to use your common sense. Do not venture out to lonely places. It is a bad idea to hike along the beach and coast from between West End and West Bay. This area is lonely, so save yourself some grief and take a cab or a water taxi to your destination!
World famous as the most affordable destination in the World to get Scuba Certified! Utila is a charming island where everything is within walking distance. The waterfront beach bars are a fun place to enjoy the sunsets and meet friends from around the world. Utila has to be one of the safest destinations in the World. Most young travelers visiting the island don’t want to leave it! There is even a fun video put together by a couple of Ausies that tells the story of travelers that do not want to leave the island. The videos title is “If you come to Utila” and I recommend you watch it! If you decide on visiting the island after viewing the video, you will want to meet “Dr. John”, one of the characters that lives in Utila.
Until recently, it was hard to travel between these two islands. However, the Utila Dream ferry boat now offers regular service between Utila and Roatan on the weekends. The trip beats having to travel back to La Ceiba and then to the other island.
The most isolated of the three main Bay Islands, Guanaja is the most beautiful and less visited. The island has a personality of its own, and offers a true Robinson Crusoe setting. There is no regular ferry to Guanaja from La Ceiba. This means that you either have to travel to Trujillo to take the ferry to Guanaja or fly from La Ceiba. Most travelers fly, as it is a lot more time efficient. Guanaja has small family owned and run resorts. It offers a peaceful setting with spectacular sunsets, friendly people and lots of places to explore. Guanaja is one of the 10 safe destinations in Honduras that we feature in this post.
In all honesty, I could continue writing about more safe destinations in Honduras. Most of Honduras is safe. As a matter of fact, even the two large cities, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula are safe to travel to if you use your common sense. Southern Honduras also offers many safe destinations. San Lorenzo, Choluteca and Amapala are just a sample of these.
You should plan on visiting Honduras before the world realizes that it is a safe destination and everyone tries to visit. At the moment, you will feel welcome, pampered and plain lucky to have the country almost to yourself. Now you know of at least 10 safe destinations in Honduras. Start planning your trip and try to visit as many of them as possible. There is something for every taste. Mayan Archaeology, Nature and Adventure, Diving, Colonial Monuments and live cultures are all here for your enjoyment. There is no doubt that despite being one small country, Honduras offers a huge alternative of things to do! Enjoy!