Honduras is relatively small, yet it boasts some World Class Destinations! The top destinations in Honduras are without doubt Copan Ruinas and Roatan. These are well known, offer great experiences and outstanding lodges and gastronomic adventures. However, there are several other lesser known top destinations in Honduras that you need to be aware of. These include the Island of Utila, Atlantida on the Caribbean mainland of Honduras and Lake Yojoa. Just what do these 5 top destinations in Honduras have to offer and why are they special?
Set in a lovely valley in Western Honduras, Copan Ruinas is home to the World-famous Copan Archaeological site. This site is the most artistically elaborate site in all the Maya World. It offers the longest Maya hieroglyphic text in the World. The UNESCO declared Copan as a World Heritage site several decades ago. It is the pride and joy of Honduras and they take very good care of it. A walk through the park takes on a different dimension as you see and hear flocks of Scarlet Macaws flying over your head.
The combination of this magnificent archaeological park with World Class Museums and a charming colonial town creates a product that is unique. Sidewalk bars and cafes, souvenir shops and boutique hotels coexist in perfect harmony. Best of all, is the fact that getting to Copan Ruinas is quite easy. Most visitors arrive from Guatemala via the El Florido border, which is only 12 kilometers (8 miles) from Copan Ruinas. Those coming from Honduras do so via an asphalt highway from San Pedro Sula.
In addition to the above, Copan offers an insight to some World Class coffee estates. Another great addition is the Luna Jaguar natural hot springs spa. Best of all, Copan Ruinas is one of Honduras’ Safest destinations. Copan is one of the top Destinations in Central America.
The largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras, Roatan is also the most popular the Bay Islands. An international airport with regular scheduled flights from the USA makes it easy to get to. In addition, its cruise ship facilities are modern and have made the island one of the fastest growing Cruise Ship Ports of Call in the Caribbean. Roatan is the Central American gateway to the Caribbean. There is no other destination in Central America that offers such an authentic Caribbean experience as Roatan does.
Roatan offers outstanding beaches, world class diving and charming communities that retain a true Caribbean feel to them. You will find a variety of lodging facilities. These include beachfront resorts to mountain top boutique hotels with splendid views of the Caribbean. Sophisticated dining alternatives are scattered throughout the island. You can choose between a beach with all the modern amenities on the West End of the Island, or a Robinson Crusoe type beach on the East End.
Roatan is near the southeastern tip of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system. This means that diving is World Class. Best of all, Honduran reefs consistently are rated as some of the best in the world. If you are into diving or snorkeling, then you must come to Roatan. These are the best reefs in Central America by far! No wonder that Roatan is one the top destinations in Honduras!
The island of Utila is Roatan’s smaller sister. Yet it is so different to Roatan! Where Roatan is mountainous, Utila is flat. Roatan is large, Utila is small. But Utila has a small island charm that Roatan does not have. You can pretty much walk all around the town of Utila without the need of transportation. Although Utila has enough merits on its own to be one of the top destinations in Honduras, it provides for an enhanced experience when visited together with Roatan! If you have the time, and want to get a more complete Caribbean experience, you should plan on visiting both islands. It is very easy to travel between Utila and Roatan using the Utila Dream ferry boat service.
Utila is world famous for its affordable diving and is one of the most economical places in the World to get your scuba certification. There are many different dive shops in Utila that compete for your business. Utila is also one of top destinations in the world to spot whale sharks. These gentle giants thrive in the warm waters around Utila. They can be seen throughout the year. Utila is also on the same barrier reef as Roatan, and as such, offers World Class diving. You will love the charm of Utila and the friendliness of its people!
This department on the Caribbean Coast of Honduras is best known for its three shining stars: Tela, La Ceiba and the Cangrejal River. Atlantida was the birth place of the banana companies that made Honduras famous as a “Banana Republic”. Both cities are on the coast and had their own port through which the fruits they produced where exported. But Atlantida has much more to offer in addition to its banana heritage!
Atlantida is one of the top destinations in Honduras thanks to the many National Parks within its environs! The Western end of the department has four distinct National Parks. Jeannette Kawas National Park, aka Punta Sal is one. The Lancetilla Botanical Gardens, the second largest tropical botanical garden in the World is the second. Punta Izopo National Park is the third and finally the Texiguat Wildlife Refuge is the last. On the eastern end, near La Ceiba you will find the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, Pico Bonito National Park and Nombre de Dios National Park. Last, but not least, the Cayos Cochinos Marine Monument. This is just off the coast of La Ceiba and offers a spectacular, pristine Caribbean setting!
The Cangrejal River Valley
The Cangrejal River Valley stands out like a star of its own. Nestled between Pico Bonito and Nombre de Dios National Parks, it is a natural barrier between both. Various boutique lodges, hostels and community owned businesses offer quality lodging at affordable prices. The area is the Adventure and Nature Hub in Honduras and offers diverse activities. These include white water rafting, canyoning, zip lining, mountain biking, hiking, and more.
Best of all, Atlantida is between Copan and the Bay Islands. This means that it is very easy to tie the top destinations in Honduras in one itinerary! There are ferry boats and air service from la Ceiba to Utila and Roatan. Hedman Alas, the leading bus company in Honduras offers daily service between Copan Ruinas and La Ceiba. The schedule ties in to the ferry schedules, and therefore, makes it possible to travel between Copan and the islands of Utila or Roatan in one day!
This lovely destination offers the largest natural lake in Honduras. It is south of San Pedro Sula, on the main CA5 Highway between that city and Tegucigalpa. This makes it very easy to get to from both cities. The Hedman Alas bus company offers daily service from San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa to Lake Yojoa. In addition to the large lake, the destination offers two national parks. Montaña de Santa Barbara and Parque Nacional Azul Meambar, aka PANACAM. This destination offers some of the best birding in Central America. There are many different hotels in Lake Yojoa, and you can even explore the Los Naranjos Eco Archaeological Park. This park was once bustling Lenca Metropolis. There are many small archaeological sites in the area.
Nearby, the famous Pulhapanzak waterfalls are a site to see. You can even get a birds eye of these spectacular falls as you zip across them in a zip line canopy tour! The waterfall is said to have inspired the waterfall in the Disney animated film the “Jungle Book”! One of the most popular spots in Lake Yojoa area is the D&D Brewery near the town of Peña Blanca. There, you can bask in a hammock while you sip one of several locally brewed beers! This is the site of the first microbrewery in Honduras! There are many great tours offered through D&D. These include a visit to one of the few volcanoes in Honduras, hikes to waterfalls and birdwatching.
If you are into sailing, Honduyate, a marina that is just off the CA5 highway offers several different sailboats and dinghies for rent. This is the only place in mainland Honduras where you can do some sailing!
Plan your Schedule to Include These Top Destinations in Honduras
Now you know the top destinations in Honduras! There are many other destinations worth visiting, but these in my opinion are the top five: Copan Ruinas, Roatan, Utila, Atlantida and Lake Yojoa. They are the five brightest shining stars in Honduras. I hope that you can fit most of them in your travel itinerary and get to discover Honduras. Happy travels!