Many travelers that are en route towards the Bay Islands of Utila or Roatan pass through the City of La Ceiba. Most are traveling through La Ceiba on a budget, and consider that its best to skip La Ceiba and head on to the islands. Let’s face it, the islands are a Paradise, the most affordable Caribbean Paradise you can find. So you want to hurry and get there as soon as possible and loose interest to anything else along the way.
This happened to me on my first trips to Utila and Roatan. La Ceiba seemed like a dreary third world destination that had nothing to offer. But when I decided to scratch a bit beyond the surface, I realized I was wrong! La Ceiba has so much to offer, that I soon learned to spend a few days in the city on my way to or from the Bay Islands.
Lets face it, you going to the islands, you want to do some scuba diving and are on a budget. You do not want to spend your limited resources in La Ceiba. The good news is that you can spend time in La Ceiba at a reasonable cost.
Traveling Through La Ceiba on a Budget: Hostels
Following are some of our best tips to help you save money. There are several different hostels in La Ceiba. There are two that are popular and where you will meet friendly mates that are out exploring the world just like you are. The two best hostels in La Ceiba are El Estadio and 1877 Hostel.
The first one is owned and managed by a fellow called Peter Eden. Peter is a native Ceibeno, who migrated to the USA as a kid and did all his schooling there. He worked hard, saved some money, and built the Hotel El Estadio in the old family property. It is next to the soccer stadium in La Ceiba. The La Ceiba Estuary is just across the street. A short three block walk will bring you to the Zona Viva in La Ceiba. There you will find that bars, clubs and restaurants are abundant.
Peter is one hundred percent bilingual, and loves to travel to the bay islands. He also has outstanding contacts with the different shuttles that offer service between Leon, Nicaragua and La Ceiba. There are also other shuttles between Rio Dulce and La Ceiba also. Peter is a great source of local information and will help you save money during your stay in La Ceiba as well as in the Bay Islands.
The other hostel is in the “zona rosa” of town. It’s name is simply Hostel 1877. It is almost next to the mall, across the street from the best medical facility in the area. It is within one or two blocks to many of the nicer restaurants and bars in town. These bars & restaurants offer different prices, so you will find the right one just for you. The owner, Julio Lacayo is from Nicaragua, is bilingual and a great source of local info. He has developed a great network that is at the disposal of his guests. Rooms at his hostel are bright, spacious and clean. Unfortunately, this hostel has closed and the building it was in was demolished!
Traveling Through La Ceiba on a Budget: The Cangrejal River Valley
Looking for something closer to nature? You can stay at the Cabanas Aventuras in Las Mangas, at the Cangrejal River Valley. They offer nice cabins with up to 4 bunk beds in each room. The place is quiet, comfortable and clean. It is also community owned, which means that you will be helping the local community by staying here! Another alternative is the Omega Tours Guest House. You can stay in a room for $20 US per person. The atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed and the rooms are clean. There are a series of tours you can book if you please, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and even white water rafting! Omega Tours also has a full service restaurant and bar. Restaurante La Jungla that is a great place to meet other travelers as well as the local expat crowd that lives in the Cangrejal River Valley.
Traveling Through La Ceiba on a Budget: Affordable Meals
Getting back into town, and discussing your budget alternatives for a meal in town. There is a nice local cafeteria that offers a bit of everything, including some of the best budget breakfasts in town. I am talking about Cobel. Cobel is famous for its “baleadas” and “pastelitos” and is a great budget alternative. Cobel is on the 8th street, between Avenida San Isidro and Avenida 14 de Julio in downtown La Ceiba.
During the evening, check out the baleada stands along the old railroad track. This is on Avenida La Republica, which is on the western flank of Central Park towards the beach. Check them out , there are several different stands. You can get a plain baleada, which is a wheat flower tortilla with fried beans, cream and cheese. You can also make it fancy, by adding avocado and eggs or even some meats, that can be diced beef, pork or chicken or “chorizo” a local sausage. A couple of baleadas are an excellent, and budget alternative for a meal during your stay in La Ceiba.
Traveling Through La Ceiba on a Budget: Local Transportation
Getting around La Ceiba is affordable using the local taxi service. Take note that as a rule, taxi service is not private, but rather “colectivo”. This means that the cab driver can pick up other clients along the route to your destination. The price of a transfer within the city of La Ceiba is only Lps. 25 per person! Yes, the price is per person, not per trip. This adds up to less than $2.00 US per person per trip, which is quite affordable. The cab can pick up to 4 passengers along the way. Waking of course is another alternative.
Traveling Through La Ceiba on a Budget: In Search of a Cheap Beer
If you are in a mood for an ice cold beer while in La Ceiba, check out the Caseta Deportiva Gorcha Collins. It is in the Zona Viva, half a block from the Quinta Real Hotel. This is the Honduran version of a sports bar. Of course the only local Honduran sport is soccer. The owner, Gorcha Collins is a retired local soccer star. He also serves some of the best guiffity in town. Guiffity is a concoction of roots and weeds in a bottle of rum. It is part of the Garifuna Culture and locals claim it has medicinal and aphrodisiac properties. .
I hope my tips will make traveling through La Ceiba on a budget easier for you.