Though some may think twice about traveling to this Central American country because of its history and image, we believe that Honduras is a paradise just waiting to be discovered. What makes this place so special, you ask? There are beautiful places to visit in Honduras for an adventure with nature, and a beautiful destination to visit. There are plenty of things to do in Honduras like scuba diving, white-water rafting, bird watching and eating lots and lots of seafood. The biodiversity backapcking Honduras is a privilege bestowed upon us by nature; it’s something we shouldn’t waste and must enjoy! Perfect place to visit coming from Guatemala or Nicaragua if you are doing the backapcking route in Central America.
Aside from that, there is also plenty of culture and history in Honduras. In fact, it is home to some Mayan ruins and other archeological sites. Museums can also be found all over the country to help you understand the Honduras’ culture better.
The Caribbean coast is a wonderful place to explore and this Central American paradise can be the starting point of your Caribbean adventure. In this post, we’ll let you in on the best time to visit Honduras and all the wonderful places to visit in Honduras. Sit tight, it’s going to be a bumpy and exciting ride!
Before Backpacking Honduras
Currency And ATMs in Honduras
The currency in Honduras is called the Honduran Lempira (HNL) and 24 lempiras is equal to $1 USD. Check here to see the exact rate! While ATMs in Honduras are almost everywhere in touristic places. If you do need to withdraw cash, there are plenty of safe machines especially at the airport that won’t do any damage to your card or your finances. You can also opt for ATMS inside malls or in plazas instead of the stand-alone ones. Most of the ATM machines in Honduras are reliable and safe.
Here’s a travel tip: Have a separate bank account for your travel money to make sure that you don’t overspend and try to split your money and your cards in different places in your luggage and your pockets. Makes sense, right?
Safety in Honduras
When traveling to any foreign country, we must always be our most vigilant, careful selves. Those who have been backpacking and overlanding all over the map know that part of having a good time is acting responsibly as well. So, how does when prepare for backpacking Honduras?
Honduras is a country that probably has a culture much different from yours. In fact, it may be the reason why you want to travel here in the first place, right? However, don’t forget to be mindful of the cultural differences and how things work socially in Honduras. For example, women are advised to be extra vigilant because, like everywhere else, women are more vulnerable to verbal or physical assault, robbery and other crimes.
Everyone is advised to avoid wearing fancy jewellery or showing any displays of wealth in general. When I was backpacking Honduras back in 2012, there were no night buses in the country because it was quite dangerous to travel at night. It’s best to take public transportation during the day as I did. It’s just good sense to do so, right? Everything turned out fine, not a scratch and all.
When traveling to another country, backpackers are also advised to get the necessary shots to keep their immunity up in a foreign land. Hepatitis A & B, measles, rubella, tetanus, polio and typhoid vaccinations are recommended while visitors from Panama and South America are required to present proof of getting shots for yellow fever.
Also, during the rainy season, it’s best to bring an insect repellent to avoid mosquito-borne diseases (like yellow fever and dengue) and bites from bugs. These health concerns can be avoided by always keeping clean and avoiding any suspicious looking places or food.
All travelers arriving in Honduras need to present a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. There are many countries that do not require a Visa for 90 days in Honduras. Some nations in the exemplist list are the EU nations, the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore and many more. Visa extensions are also available upon entering Honduras. Other countries are required to get a tourist card from their consulates to Honduras. However, everyone is required to have a ticket for return or onward travel. Better plan your trip well to avoid any problems with you visa! Click here to read if you need a visa for backpakcing Honduras.
How to get to Honduras
The most convenient way to go to Honduras is through an airplane. The country has four major international airports that receives flights from Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Miami and New York in the US, and from Canada. These flights typically land on San Pedro Sula’s Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport (SAP) and Tegucigalpa’s Tocontín International Airport (TGU). Those traveling from the UK or other European countries will need to transfer from the US to reach Honduras.
When traveling by plane, its best to arrive at San Pedro Sula because even if it isn’t touristic spot in Honduras, it is a hub for buses that will take you all over the country. Roatan seems to be the easiest starting point if you plan to explore Honduras’ Bay Islands. It is not the cheapest option, however, as it is easier to arrive at the mainland and just travel to the islands on a ferry. On the other hand, the airport in La Ceiba receives few international flights but is considered another good access point to the Bay Islands.
The cheapest option when backpacking Honduras and Central America is to travel via bus. It’s the perfect option for overlanders and backpackers who aren’t in a tight schedule and would like to explore Honduras and its culture more deeply. Tica Bus is a popular choice for travelers in Central America which has daily trips within Honduras and to and from other places like Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Hedman Alas offers first class trips to and from San Pedro Sula airport, La Ceiba, Copan, Tegucigalpa, and Tela for those who want to travel in style.
Aside from being the most affordable option, traveling by bus is also a great way to see local sites and to get to know the locals themselves. Your travel time mainly depends on how many stops the bus makes so you can always ask locals how long it takes and how much it costs to reach a certain place. It was really fun traveling by bus in Honduras!
Weather/Best time to visit Honduras
Honduras is a mostly hot and humid country all year round. It is a tropical nation, after all, and has its typical dry season from November to April and a wet season from May to October. The dry season is a great time to visit Trujillo, La Ceiba, Tela and Puerto Cortes to fully enjoy the Caribbean coast. The Caribbean Honduras is also the ideal place to explore jungles and to visit the the UNESCO World Heritage site Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve. However, the Caribbean coast gets plenty of rain especially from September to February.
You can get the coolest temperatures in the Honduran Highlands. The capital city Tegucigalpa can be found in this region. The peak season in Honduras is from January to June, a time when the weather is dry and cool in most parts, especially in the the nation’s capital. It is the best time to visit Honduras’ Spanish colonial hill towns and see some Mayan ruins.
How to get Wi-Fi in Honduras
Travelers of all kinds like to stay connected to the internet wherever they go for various reasons. Some need to get work done, while others enjoy posting selfies and landscapes in real time. There are also those who need to get in touch with family members so that they wouldn’t worry. Whatever reason you might have, getting an internet connection in Honduras won’t be na issue.
Lucky for us, Honduras’ government offers a program called “Internet para el Pueblo,” or Internet for the People. This means that Wi-Fi access is free for everyone in Honduras’ town squares, parks and plazas.
Most establishments and tourist spots also offer Wi-Fi to its customers and visitors. Even in somewhat remote places, you’re sure to find hotels and resorts that have good internet service.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Honduras
There are plenty of ways to save up on accommodation costs while backpacking Honduras. From dorms and B&B’s to hotel rooms and apartments, you’ll always find ones that won’t burn a whole through your wallet. If you are to stay in a dorm, expect to pay 7 to 9 USD a night. This usually comes with free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Those who feel much comfier staying in budget hotels should allot 12.50 to 15 USD for a room. These fees may cover some amenities like the swimming pool and a kitchen. Though a bit uncommon, Airbnb is available in Honduras and may cost around 15-25 USD for shared accommodation and up to 40 USD for an entire apartment. Not bad, right? Click here to get $30 USD with your first booking. No tricks just sign up and book! Remember: Accommodations in Roatan and Utila tend to be much higher than other places in Honduras since these are the country’s most touristic locations.
Just make sure to choose a room you most feel comfortable in but also fits your budget. You can also try sleeping for free! Click here to read the many ways you can get rid off your accommodation budget wherever you travel.
Transportation around Honduras
There are 3 kinds of buses that go around Honduras: “chicken” buses, rapiditos and express buses. “Chicken” buses can often be boarded in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba, and make frequent stops all across the country. It makes the trip much slower but “chicken” buses are the cheapest option. As these buses are also used by locals on their daily commute, they tend to get full. Make sure you get in line early and secure a seat.
For those who want a faster vehicle, riding the rapiditos is a more expensive option. These minibuses also take local routes all around Honduras and can be found in the country’s major cities and some localities. On the other hand, express buses have scheduled stops and take intercity routes. Also called ejecutivos or lujos, these are luxury buses and are prefered by those who don’t want to ride crowded or slow buses. Bus fares around Honduras only cost up to 2 USD an hour for most intercity routes.
Car rentals are available all over Honduras, especially in the airports at Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. There are many reliable international car rental companies like Avis, Hertz and National in the area, while there are also local companies that offer this service. You can rent a small car for around 45 USD and around 90 USD for bigger models or four-wheel drives. It´s a good option if you travel a few people and you can move with more freedom.
Travelers can also take the taxis in Honduras’ big cities and are the safest option, especially after dark. These taxis don’t run on meters so prices should be negotiated up front. Cab fare around the main cities should cost only as much as 2 to 3 USD.
You can always hitchhike in Honduras, too. I tried hitchhiking for short distances and it was working great! I didn´t try hitchhiking for long distances in Honduras.
Ferry boats traveling to the Bay Islands from La Ceiba are available regularly. A roundtrip ticket to Roatan costs around 53 USD for a first class ticket and 43 USD for a regular one. Those going to Utila can take a ferry from La Ceiba for 25 USD one way, there are two daily ferries going from La Ceiba to Utila.
You should arrive at the docks at least an hour early so you can secure tickets and have your luggage checked.
Honduras Travel Itinerary
If you are coming overland as I did i from Guatemala, its convenient to visit Copan Ruins on the North. You can visit San Pedro de Sula and we don´t recommend spend so much time there. If you are traveling slow you can spend a couple of days. If not you can go to La Ceiba where you can get a ferry to Roatan or Utila the Bay Islands. Utila is one of the cheapest places in the world to do your Open water course scubba diving. It will cost you around $250-300 USD and it will take 3-4 days to finish. You can stay longer doing more dives or snorkeling. There is a good nightlife with bars and restaurants in this small island.
After your experience diving it would be great to visit the cultural part in Comayagua and Tegucigalpa, you can spend 3-4 days walking around, meeting local people, practicing your Spanish, visiting museums, cathedrals and trying local food. You can also go to Pico Bonito and Rio Platano to have a great experience with the nature in Honduras. It would be fine to spend 4-5 weeks so you will have enough time to try all the things to do in Honduras. After Honduras you can go backpacking Nicaragua or backpacking Guatemala.
Daily Budget for backpacking Honduras
Since 1 USD is equivalent to 24 HNL, people from North American and European countries already have an advantage when backpacking Honduras. As we have mentioned, there are many ways to go around this mountainous nation. If you ride the bus, a trip for every hour only costs 2 USD. There are also different kinds of taxis in Honduras. A typical air conditioned taxi will charge around 2.50 USD for a short ride, while one without air conditioning can go for much cheaper. If you’re going from one city to another with a taxi, you an expect to pay 8 USD or more.
There are also plenty of budget-friendly authentic local restaurants in every city of Honduras. A meal at a local place can cost less than 3 USD, which is much cheaper to a fast food meal that’s around 6 USD. On the other hand, having a meal at a restaurant can eat up around 5.50 USD from your budget. Here’s a travel tip when eating at a restaurant in Honduras: make sure to read your bill. If you see servicio written on it, it means you are already paying for the obligatory tip. Beer in Honduras’ bars is pretty cheap at around 1.70 USD.
Another item you’d most likely spend money on is entertainment. This covers the activities you’re going to try, the sites you are going to visit and the tours you’re going to take. For example, most scuba diving joints charge around 32 USD per dive. It’s pretty cheap compared to other countries, I’m telling you. If you want to see the Copan Ruins, the entrance fee is around 9.20 USD and the guided tour costs 22 USD. You can also pay for going inside the tunnels which will cost you an extra 10 USD. Another fun activity in an area rich in natural resources is zip lining. From here, you can see Honduras from a bird’s eye view. A typical zip lining experience costs 21 to 42 USD per peson.
There are many things to do in Honduras and I’m sure you’d like to try them all. Honduras is an inexpensive country; I’m sure you’d make the most out of your money here. So, plan your trip well and make sure you have enough budget to keep you going and flowing all over the country.
Places to visit in Honduras
Located in the Southern-Central highlands, Tegucigalpa is Honduras’ capital and largest city. This hilly city has a huge population and has an international airport, 12 universities, 5 sections and 892 colonias. Tegucigalpa is a bustling city with so much potential but is often overlooked when backpacking Honduras. Here, you can visit Museo para la Identidad Nacional and get to know Honduras better with their very accommodating and knowledgeable tour guides. You can also stop by Catedral de San Miguel Arcángel, a church that was constructed in the 1700’s. There are truly plenty of cultural gems in Tegucigalpa! Also, just 20 km outside this city is Parque Nacional La Tigra that has a beautiful cloud forest and well-marked hiking trails.
If you’ve always wanted to try diving but is looking for the most beautiful yet affordable spot to learn, Utila is just that. Backpackers seem to always have this island in their Honduras travel itinerary because of its beauty and simplicity. It is the smallest of the major Bay Islands at only 13 km long and 5 km wide. Aside from diving, there are a number of other water activities to try here like snorkeling, canoeing, paddle boarding, kayaking and fishing. For relaxation, there are spas, yoga and pilates centers all around the island. Utila’s beaches and cays are also a main attraction and each spot is definitely one of a kind.
An Open water course costs around $250 USD and they include accommodation, check and compare prices and choose your best option. You can do in different languages for sure English and Spanish. Food is little bit more expensive than mainland and internet was working fine! Nightlife was great in Utila and day trips diving and snorkeling were incredible. In Honduras the coral reef coming from México and Belize is the second largest coral reef in the world!
Travel Tip: There are two daily ferries going to Utila from La Ceiba around $25 one way. Make sure leaving La Ceiba 9 am and 4 pm.
Lying on the southern edge of the second largest barrier reef in the world is Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands and the most visited as well. It is another excellent diving and snorkeling spot and one of the main places to visit in Honduras. You can also enjoy Roatan’s waters by going sailing, Flyboarding, and even swimming with dolphins. These adventures are both safe and fun and are perfect for families, couples and solo travelers. There is so much to explore in this island from its beaches to its mountains to its remote areas. Roatan is a paradise filled with wonderful surprises!
Roatan is bigger than Utila and prices are higher! You have all the things that you need in Roatan if you want to spend long time!
San Pedro Sula
Passing through San Pedro Sula usually comes up in any Honduras travel guide because it is a travel hub and a business zone in the country. Despite not having too many sites to explore, it serves well as an entry point for those coming from Guatemala and other foreign countries. If you’re planning to spend at least a day in this city, you can drop by one of El Merendon’s hills and take a photo with the iconic Coca Cola sign here. Those who want to experience a fun-filled nature trip can go zip lining at Mountain Adventures. It is also a private hiking destination and has a beautiful restaurant that serves truly amazing food. Finally, Mercado de Artesanias Guamilito is a great place to buy souvenirs and local crafts.
It´s well connected with transportation and there are local buses going to all the destinations in Honduras!
Known as the “Entertainment Capital of Honduras,” La Ceiba has a fun, inviting vibe because of its friendly locals and the city’s zona viva or the nightlife district. This is the perfect place to party in Honduras and will serve as your jumping point to the Bay Islands. Before heading over to the islands, you can explore La Ceiba’s parks and nature reserves. Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge is a site that’s perfect for nature lovers. You can also take eco tours, horseback riding tours and wildlife tours to appreciate La Ceiba’s natural charm.
It´s very quiet and if you can manage to get on time to get the ferry to Utila, I recommend this. Otherwise there are a few bars adn restaurants at night if you have to stay in La Ceiba.
From La Ceiba or Tela, you can reach Cayos Cochinos. Also known as Hog Islands, this breathtaking paradise that stands out from other places to visit in Honduras. Cayos Cochinos is made up of 2 small islands and 13 small coral cays that are all very exciting to explore. This is also a great place to meet the Garufina people and learn about their rich culture. With Cayo Cochinos’ crystal clear waters, pristine beaches and incredible views, its hard not to fall in love with one of the best destinations in Central America.
If you’re looking for historical sites in Honduras, Comayagua is a great place to see some Spanish Colonial architecture, neo-classic buildings, colonial plazas and old churches. The Immaculate Conception Cathedral was completed in 1711 and is one of the oldest in Central America. As it is a very Catholic city, you might want to spend your Easter week in this idyllic town. You can also visit Mudeo de Comayagua, an imporant building in Honduran history as it used to house the presidential office, congress and supreme court during the country’s years of independence.
More Places to visit in Honduras
Lago de Yojoa
If you are enjoying your stay in Honduras and would like to extend your Central America adventure to Nicaragua, don’t forget to stop by Lago de Yojoa. This beautiful lake is a wonderful fishing and bird-watching destination and is known for its biodiversity. There are coffee plantations to visit in the area as well.
Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve
A safe haven to some endangered species like the jaguar, giant anteater and the Central American tapir. With plenty of animal and plant life, the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the La Mosquitia area of the Caribbean Honduras. It is an important area that is preserved with the help of its indigenous people and local inhabitants. Migratory birds visit this beautiful forest every February and March.
Pico Bonito National Park
Another beautiful protected area in Honduras in the Pico Bonito National Park in the Nombre de Dios mountains. The site is perfect for hiking, with trails that are also enjoyable for bird watchers and nature lovers in general. There are great waterfalls in the park and you can even swim in natural pools. How refreshing! It’s definitely not just a place for birders and hikers; it is for families and lovers as well. Some things you might want to bring on your visit include extra clothes, hiking boots (and extra socks, too!), and a windbreaker. Get ready to have fun with nature in this national park!
Jeanette Kawas National Park
If you’re looking for an unspoilt paradise in Honduras, you can take a day trip to this area in the northern Caribbean coast. Also known as Parque Nacional Punta Sal, it is one of the best places to enjoy snorkeling, hiking and other activities with nature. Even just walking along its beaches, exploring its mangrove and tropical forests, or encountering howler monkeys is enough for you to appreciate Mother Nature in all her splendor.
Things to do in Honduras
Visit the Copan Ruins
Just by the border between Honduras and Guatemala lies the remains of a Classic period Mayan kingdom that is frequented by tourists from all over the world. If you are thinking of places to visit in Honduras, this is one that should definitely be on your list. This complex of ruins has temples and hieroglyphs that date back to around 400 to 800 A.D. The city was abandoned due to lack of resources but this site now flourishes as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1980.
The entrance fee is $15 USD and its totally worth it!
Snorkeling and scuba diving in the islands
Honduras’ Bay Islands is one of the most affordable diving spots in the world. You won’t have any trouble finding a good spot because, as an upside to the country’s notoriety, there’s more than enough Honduras for everyone! You can go snorkeling at Roatan and the Jeanette Kawas National Park. Scuba diving spots also abound all over Roatan, Utila and Guanaja. The coral reefs here are spectacular!
Riding buses where the radio plays the Holy Mass
I was riding local buses and I found for first time playing the pray on the radio. People were listening to the pray since it was so loud. I love living these experiences that´s why I love riding public transportation.
Try the famous baleada
Baleada is a traditional Honduran dish with ingredients famously eaten all over South and Central America. Perfect for breakfast or lunch, this street food is basically made of mashed fried red beans on the inside and a flour tortilla on the outside. Some add cheese, butter, scrambled eggs, plantain, avocado and chismol to their baleada for that extra flavor. Is it a taco? A burrito? No, it’s a baleada!
Enjoy some enchilada
We may be familiar with the enchiladas of Mexico, but Honduran enchiladas are actually quite different. Similar to tostadas, the Honduran version are served with fried flat corn tortillas. On top of the tostillas are ground beef, cabbage, tomato, ketchup or tomato sauce, and other spices. This is an excellent food to enjoy with your hands.
Order a plate of pupusa
There are so many ways to prepare and enjoy corn tortilla. One of the most famous dishes in Honduras and El Salvador is pupusa, or thick corn tortilla stuffed with all sorts of delicious fillings. You can eat an assortment of cheese, beans and beef pupusas that are then served with curtido de repollo.
Stay healthy with a Palmito Salad
While tortilla and its many varieties are famous all over Latin America, dishes like ensalada de palmitos also abound in Honduras. This simple salad dish is made of hearts of palm (which taste similar to artichokes) and can be mixed with typical ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, olives, capers and garlic. Order this in any Honduras restaurant; it’s a definite must-try!
Cool off with a glass of licuado
A licuado is a smoothie made from fresh fruits or fruit juices. The fruits are blended with milk, yogurt, ice and a sweetener and will save you from hot and humid days in Honduras. This non-alcoholic drink is popular among tourists and locals alike. It can be drank in your hotel, at the beach or in the busy streets.
Festival in Honduras
Like other predominantly Roman Catholic nations, Holy Week or Semana Santa is a big deal in Honduras. One of the best time to visit Honduras is during this week because of all the marvelous parades all over the country. In these parades, events in the Bible from the Easter story are reenacted by locals.
Celebrated every year on the 12th of April. Punta Gorda celebrates the 4,000 Garufina people who settled in Roatan many years ago. It is one of Honduras’ biggest festivities, with tourists and locals partying in the Caribbean coast and beyond.
La Feria de San Isidro
This festival is considered the carnaval of La Ceiba and is comparable to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Festival. If you’re looking for places to visit in Honduras, you might want to stop by La Ceiba during the week before the third Saturday of May to take part in this festival.