Puerto Cortes is the Most Important Port in Central America!
Puerto Cortes was founded as the Villa de Puerto Caballos in 1524. Today, this port is the most important in Central America! Most of the goods thatcome into or out of Honduras pass through Puerto Cortes. It is only 55 km from San Pedro Sula, and it has become, together with this industrial city one of the most important economic growth areas in Central America. Puerto Cortes is a bustling port, where you can see a lot of seafaring activity every day of the year. A modern four lane highway links Puerto Cortes with San Pedro Sula. Travel time to Puerto Cortes is a short 45 minutes at the most if traveling by car and one hour if traveling by bus.
In the old days, the Ferrocarril Nacional de Honduras had an important terminal in Puerto Cortes. However, there is no longer any regular railroad service between Puerto Cortes and Tela or San Pedro Sula.
Puerto Cortes is however, a lot more than the leading port of Honduras. Following east along the shores of the Caribbean, you will arrive at the Garifuna communities of Travesia and Bajamar. These two are some of the most important Garifuna communities in the country, and reflect the interesting live culture of these people. Every year, a Garifuna dance festival is held in Bajamar.
The Beaches in Puerto Cortes
In this area of Puerto Cortes, in the Beaches of El Faro, you will find the Costa Azul Beach Hotel. This is most complete hotel in this area. There you can enjoy the tranquil beaches in a pleasant setting. Heading west from Puerto Cortes, and following the coast towards the community of Cieneguita, you will pass the Coca Cola municipal beach. The name, which is obviously quite commercial, came to be as the local Coca Cola Depot is located very near to the beach. These are by far the most famous and popular beaches in the area, and are frequented by the locals as well as by people from afar during the weekends and holidays. During the week the beaches are quite quiet. You will find many different Here you will find the Costa Azul County Beach Hotel. This is a pleasant oasis just across the road from the beach.
Just beyond the Coca Cola beach is Cieneguita. In my opinion, these are the best beaches within the city. Here you will find several hotels that are right on the beach.
Ferry Service from Cortes to Belize
There are a couple of regular ferry boats leaving from the Puerto Cortes’ Muelle de Cabotaje, located just under the bridge that is next to the El Delfin Restaurant. These boats are 20 to 30 passenger boats that make the run between Puerto Cortes and Big Creek, Placencia and Dangriga, Belize. The travel time is between 1 hour and forty five minutes and two hours, depending on the weather and number of passengers. There are actually two different companies operating this service. The newer boat is “The Express” which departs Puerto Cortes on Mondays at noon bound for Big Creek and Placencia. Return Trip from Belize to Puerto Cortes is on Fridays, departing Placencia at noon. The cost of the trip one way is $50.00 USA per person.
The other company, Water Taxi Nesymein Neydy, offers trips from Cortes to Belize on Tuesdays, departing at 11:15 a.m. This boat stops at Big Creek, Placencia and Dangriga. On Mondays they also operate the Puerto Cortes direct to Dangriga Route with departures also at 11:15 a.m.
All incoming passengers can check immigration at the small immigration office adjacent to the market. However outgoing passengers must check into the main immigration offices located in downtown Puerto Cortes prior to departing. New immigration laws in Central America limit the time a foreigner can stay within the region. This includes Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua to three months total time. Getting an extension is very difficult and will not be for more than 30 days. If you plan to stay longer, you must leave the region beyond these four countries. This means that you must travel at least as far as Costa Rica or Belize to stay legal. This ferry service offers the fastest, cheapest option. Best of all, by leaving on Tuesday and returning of Friday you comply with the minimum 72 hours out of the region to qualify for an additional 90 days.