Honduras is rapidly growing in popularity as a tourist destination, with its colonial villages, ancient Mayan ruins, spectacular natural parks and a Caribbean coastline with fabulous beaches and coral reefs offering exceptional opportunities for snorkeling and diving. From the breathtaking sunsets in Roatan, to the misty green mountains of Pico Bonito, Honduras is a vibrant vacation wonderland, full of adventure and spectacular natural beauty.
Honduras is a popular destination for ecotours, inexpensive diving, river rafting and mountain treks. For travelers, Honduras is still one of the world’s best bargains. Honduras is home to people from various ancestries, from the Mayans, who left the Copan Ruins archaeological site, considered one of the most artistically advanced and detailed of all Mayan cities, to the Garifuna communities, which are found today on the island of Roatan, Cayos Cochinos, and costal towns within Honduras.
Tegucigalpa, the capital and largest city, is a sprawling metropolis in the mountains with a population of more than 1.25 million. The 400-year-old city, a former mining center for silver and gold, features a large number of old colonial building and many old stone streets, winding intriguingly up steep hills to hidden parks, stone steps and old houses. The city's main buildings include the former Presidential Palace, which is now a national museum; a 20th-century Legislative Palace; the headquarters of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration; the campus of the National University of Honduras, which was founded in 1847; an 18th-century cathedral; and the Basilica of the Virgin of Suyapa. There are several charming colonial villages within easy driving distance from Tegucigalpa, including Santa Lucia, Valle de Angeles, Ojojona, Yuscaran and San Juancito.
The northern coast of Honduras features a series of beautiful towns along the Caribbean coast, offering pristine beaches and clear turquoise waters. Tela, an old city with a beautiful sandy coastline, is near the Parque Nacional Jeannette Kawas, one of the most scenic places on the north coast. The park has several white-sand beaches, the prettiest and most popular being Playa Cocalito. Offshore are coral reefs that make for excellent snorkeling, and the nearby mangrove forest is home to a multitude of howler monkeys.
Roatán, one of the Honduras Bay Islands in the Caribbean Sea, is a hidden gem, with some of the most beautiful white beaches and the best snorkel and diving spots in the Caribbean. Located near the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea, it has become an important cruise ship and diving destination in Honduras. Visitors are primarily divers, but the island is perfect for beaching and snorkeling, and the addition of the new cruise ship port is bringing more traditional tourists to the island. Another island in the chain, Utila, is ranked among the best diving destinations in the Caribbean.
Dining in Honduras typically features fresh fruit, rice and beans, with fresh fish near the coast, and beef in the interior. Honduras dining is not as distinctive and varied as in Mexico and in other Central American countries, but sampling Honduran food is still one of the best things about taking a vacation to Honduras. For dining out, La Cacerola, near the former Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa, specializes in traditional Honduran soups. In San Pedro Sula, El Portal de las Carnes is the place to go for any steak or meat dish. On the island of Utila, El Ranchito serves up a fabulous menu of authentic Honduran food.
Often, some of the best food in Honduras is found not in a restaurant but from a small street vendor. Fast food in Honduras includes baleadas (buttered tortilla), pinchos (grilled meat) and grilled corn.
Toncontin International Airport near Tegucigalpa serves American, Continental and Delta airlines, as well as several regional carriers. The country’s busiest airport is Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport, near San Pedro Sula in the northwest part of the country, which serves American, Continental, Delta, Spirit and Aeromexico airlines, and is much more convenient for travelers heading to the Caribbean beach towns. Both airports offer taxi and bus service to neighboring cities.
The temperature in Honduras is fairly consistent all year, changing by only a few degrees. The nationwide average high temperature is 90° and the average low is 68°. However, as with the rest of Central America, the temperature does change considerably based on elevation. Tegucigalpa has a temperate climate, with temperatures between 75º and 84º during the day in the dry season, and a bit cooler in the rainy season. The coastal lowlands on the Pacific and Caribbean sides are warmer and more humid, with temperatures from 82º to 90º in the dry season, and a few degrees cooler and more comfortable in the rainy season. In the mountainous interior, temperatures in the rainy season range from 61º to 68º, and a little warmer in the dry season.
In general, the rainy season in Honduras runs from May to November in the interior and from September to January along the north coast and Bay Islands. Heavy rains can cause flooding in the lowlands and mudslides in the mountains, and both can cause serious damage and impede travel. Hurricane season is from August to November and while direct hits are uncommon, they can be devastating.