How to have an Authentic Honduras Experience.

Looking for an authentic Honduras experience? Many travelers are searching for authentic experiences versus just visiting a site. A full, authentic experience will allow you develop empathy with the local communities. You will experience the lifestyle and daily activities that make out the everyday life of your hosts. Because of this, many travelers are shunning the large franchise hotels. In their place they are looking for small, intimate and even boutique hotels. They know that they can get more of a local feel staying there. But just how should you go about looking for the small intimate hotels in the right places?

Stay at Small Hotels to Insure an Authentic Honduras Experience.

rainforest of Pico Bonito
Early Morning at La Villa de Soledad

To achieve an authentic Honduras experience while traveling through Honduras, you will first need to plan y our trip. I am happy to share some tips so that you can live a great experience while in Honduras. There is a Small Hotel Association of Honduras that has hotel members throughout Honduras. Hotels must have between 5 and 50 rooms to belong to this association. Most have between 5 and 30 rooms. These small hotels are both in the large cities as well as in the smaller cities. There are even some in the rural areas of Honduras.


By choosing to stay in them, you will have a chance to meet the owners and get their best tips about where to go and who to contact while traveling through Honduras. Hotels are selected taking into consideration many different items. Most are family owned and run and committed to taking care of the environment and look after their communities. Many of the owners are members of the local Rotary Club or Lions Club and are very involved in their community.

Spending More Time in the Small Cities and Rural Communities will Insure an Authentic Honduras Experience

authentic Honduras Experience
Guancasco Celebration at La Campa, near Gracias. Photo by Peter A Hughes

About half of Honduras’ population lives in rural areas. As a general rule, you will have a better opportunity to interact with people in the rural areas. The Lenca Route is a great area to meet the Lenca people and have an authentic Honduran experience. Throughout that region, you can visit coffee farms, learn about coffee and meet the people that make it possible for you to enjoy a great cup of coffee in the morning. This area includes the cities of Santa Rosa de Copan, Gracias, La Esperanza and Siguatepeque. But in addition to these larger cities, there are many smaller cities in the area that you can visit and enjoy. Yamaranguila, near La Esperanza is a perfect example. La Campa, near Gracias is another.


best hotel views in Honduras
View of Copan Valley from the Clarion Copan grounds.

Of course, Copan Ruinas is an ideal destination to get a full, authentic Honduras experience. Most hotels in town are small and family owned. There are several tour options to visit working farms and coffee plantations. In most cases, these will take you through rural areas where you will be able to get a glimpse at daily life in this part of Honduras. The best option to achieve that authentic experience is by choosing the right tour operator or tour guide. In Copan I suggest you check out Base Camp Tours at Café Via Via and Choose Honduras.


Visit Atlantida on the Caribbean Coast of Honduras!

Garifuna People
Garifuna Women during the Carnival at La Ceiba

The destination of Atlantida, on the Caribbean Coast of Honduras is another great place to have an authentic Honduran experience. The Garifuna villages that you will find near Tela and La Ceiba offer the possibility of interacting with the Garifuna people. These people have a unique culture and are very friendly. If you make it to the village during the celebration of the patron saint, you will get a full experience. As a rule, all towns and cities in Honduras have a patron saint. This is part of the Spanish colonial heritage and the Catholic religion they brought to the colonies.


La Cuenca del Rio Cangrejal
Bedroom at La Villa de Soledad

Also, in Atlantida, you will find many towns and communities that are adjacent to the national parks in the area. Without doubt, the most attractive of all is the Cangrejal River Valley. This river is the border between the Nombre de Dios and Pico Bonito National Parks. There are several different lodges in the area where you can choose to stay. My favorite is La Villa de Soledad B&B a lovely, family run bed and breakfast.


Honduras Travel Advisory for 2019
The Nature and Adventure Hub in Honduras. Photo by Luis Aguero

This area is the nature and adventure hotspot in Honduras, and it is truly a great place to have an authentic Honduras experience. Walk between the lodges, hike through the National Parks or remote villages and interact with the locals. There is a community owned tour operator that offers tours that will provide you with an authentic Honduras experience. They are Reservaciones La Ceiba. Feel free to contact them and arrange a tailor-made program!


The Bay Islands of Honduras Also Offer an Authentic Honduras Experience

Curfew and Travel in Honduras
The Pedestrian Streets in Utila

As for the Bay Islands of Honduras, you can also have an outstanding authentic Honduras experience there. It will be easier to achieve your goal in the two smaller islands, Utila and Guanaja. The community at the Utila Cays is ideal for your authentic Honduras experience. This community is a small fishing village that is on some small cays, separate from the rest of the island. Access is only by boat, but there are a couple of small hotels and restaurants on the Cays where you can have comfortable accommodations. The largest is the Hotel Keyla.


This is a tightly knit community that you are sure to enjoy. The other option is the community worth considering is Bonacca, the largest town in the island of Guanaja. Because of the British heritage, you will find that the authentic Honduras experience on the islands will be different to that on the mainland.

The Bay Islands
Charming Caribbean Setting in the Bay Islands of Honduras. Photo courtesy of Calabash Bight Resort

In Roatan, you will find some nice communities that still retain their original island heritage. As a rule, these are on the East End of the Island. Communities like Calabash Bight, Jonesville and Camp Bay are worth visiting. There are even some small hotels in these towns where you can spend your vacations. If you want to get a real glimpse at authentic island life in Roatan, I recommend you stay in one of these communities. You will be happy you did!


I hope that you found my tips for an authentic Honduras experience worthwhile and useful. If you have any suggestions, please reach back to me and I will be happy to consider adding them to this post. Enjoy your visit to Honduras and get the real feel for Honduras! Hondurans are a friendly folk who will welcome you to their communities. This is one of the many reasons why you should visit Honduras when you travel to Central America!