Best Places to Visit in Honduras
Located in Central America, Honduras is a tropical paradise, attracting many tourists every year to its beautiful islands, dense tropical rain forests and picturesque mountains. Honduras has direct access to the second largest barrier reef in the world, offering some of the best diving and snorkeling opportunities in the Caribbean.
More importantly, this beautiful country offers many attractions such as ancient Mayan ruins, colonial villages and festival celebrations. From white water rafting to hiking and exotic wildlife viewing, the fun and adventure there are endless places to visit in Honduras. Find more about the best places to visit in Honduras in our below guide.
17 Best Places to Visit in Honduras
1. Punta Sal
The sanctuary around Punta Sal was once used as a haven for pirates and is now a popular place to appreciate the natural beauty and wildlife of Honduras. In the diverse landscapes of beaches, mangrove swamps, tropical rainforests and coastal lagoons, visitors can see a variety of wild animals, such as tropical birds, turtles, dolphins, manatees, crocodiles, monkeys and pythons. The reserve also houses a traditional thatched cottage village where visitors can learn about local culture.
2. Cayos Cochinos
Cayos Cochinos consists of two main islands and several smaller coral reefs, providing a peaceful retreat for those who want to experience the natural beauty of Honduras while away from the crowded tourist crowd. There are no roads or cars, but there are hiking trails that connect the beach to the peaceful village. One of the most popular hikes here is to climb to the lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views of the area. In addition, these islands have attractive beaches, which are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
3. Rio Cangrejal
Rio Cangrejal is a popular spot for thrill seekers and a prime destination for kayaking and rafting in Central America. The river has long white water rapids rushing around the boulders, pouring down the steep slopes, providing a lot of adrenaline. Specify four different parts of the river based on skill level, from inexperienced to advanced. There are several travel agencies in the area that can arrange tours, and well-trained guides can help novices learn the basics of rafting and kayaking.
During the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, the quiet colonial village of Comayagua is vibrant and colorful due to its street rug tradition. The huge carpet is made of layers of colorful sawdust and other natural materials (such as rice and flower petals) and is carefully designed to depict the biblical figures and events that led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Then, the community walked on the carpet in costumes, carried religious icons and read the Bible, and joined the parade to repeat the crucifixion. Even for non-religious tourists, tradition is a must to see the artistic beauty of carpets.
The picturesque island of Guanaja provides an idyllic holiday destination for tourists, where they can relax or engage in fun outdoor activities. With year-round warm temperatures, high visibility and coral reefs, the waters around Guanaca are ideal for diving and snorkeling. Other activities include jungle trekking, hiking to Grant Peak, viewing beautiful waterfalls, and exploring the shopping, food and culture of the local village.
6. Lago de Yojoa
As a hotspot for many tourists, the largest natural lake in Honduras offers many attractions and activities. Lake Yahaya is rich in fish and birds and is an ideal place for fishing and bird watching. Travelers can also take a dip in the nearby hot springs, explore caves, hike to charming waterfalls, visit coffee plantations and explore ancient Mayan ruins. More importantly, tourists will find many restaurants and hotels in the Lake District.
As one of the Gulf Islands, Utila is considered one of the best diving destinations in the Caribbean. With the cheapest open water courses in the Caribbean, Utila has certified more new divers than anywhere else in the world. However, diving is not the only feature that makes Utila a popular tourist attraction. In addition to other water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, paddle surfing and kayaking, visitors can also hike or horseback ride through the jungle, explore caves and climb Pumpkin Mountain for panoramic views.
Copan is a relatively small Mayan site located in western Honduras, famous for its extraordinary series of portrait steles. The stone pillars and carvings of the Copán building are the finest surviving works of art in ancient Mesoamerica. Some of Copan’s stone buildings date back to the 9th century BC. By the 5th century, the city developed into one of the most important Mayan ruins, with more than 20,000 inhabitants, but was mysteriously abandoned after centuries. The nearby town of Copan Ruinas offers a variety of accommodation and other facilities for tourists.
Roatan is one of the islands in the Gulf of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea. Roatan Island is a popular port of call for cruise ships and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Honduras due to its beautiful scenery and various activities. Roatan has beautiful beaches and coral reefs, providing opportunities for diving, snorkeling and swimming. There are also many attractions on the island, such as the Iguana Farm, Caramora Gardens and Roatan Butterfly Garden.
10. Small French Key
A popular day trip from Roatan, the Petite French Key is an eco-friendly tropical paradise near the south shore of the island. Anyone looking for a tranquil tropical experience in a manicured environment will enjoy it here. Imagine a hammock suspended between coconut trees, sparkling clear waters with fantastic snorkeling, and beautiful white sandy beaches with kayaks and deck chairs.
After enjoying a few hours of beach fun, you can enjoy fresh seafood in the restaurant or go to the wildlife sanctuary to get close to the animals. Residents of the reserve include rescue animals such as monkeys, deer and toucans.
11. La Tigra National Park
Parque Nacional La Tigra National Park (Parque Nacional La Tigra) is about 20 kilometers from Tegucigalbay and is one of the most beautiful sights in Honduras. Located at an altitude of 2,270 meters, this unspoiled park retains a dense cloud forest. It is home to ocelots, cougars and monkeys, but these large mammals are rarely seen.
This is one of the most visited parks in Honduras and provides what the area looked like long before logging led to most of the surrounding forest. The park is also a haven for birds-more than 200 species of birds fly in its territory, including toucans, burrowing birds and the elusive quetzal. Well-marked hiking trails wind through dense forests, where bromeliads and orchids thrive.
12. Parque Nacional Jeanette Kawas
Originally known as Punta Sal National Park, this beautiful wilderness area is now named after environmental activist Jeanette Kawas, who has been passionate about protecting its rich ecosystem throughout her life.
The park stretches along the peninsula at the western end of Terra Bay and supports a variety of habitats, from tropical jungles, mangroves and wetlands to sparkling beaches and coral reefs.
Wild animals are abundant, including many rare species. Visitors may encounter dolphins; howler monkeys; and a wide variety of tropical birds, including toucans, quetzals, and motmots. The Mikos Lagoon has the largest number of birds in the area, with as many as 350 different bird species.
13. Lancetilla Botanical Garden
The Lancetilla Botanical Garden is about 5 kilometers from the city of Tela and is the second largest tropical botanical garden in the world. In 1926, the United Fruit Company established these gardens as test grounds to test the economic viability of various fruit trees and broad-leaved trees. Today, magnificent trees from Central America and other tropical regions form part of the protected wildlife corridor on the north coast of the country.
Due to a large number of fruit trees, more than 200 species of tropical birds also settle in the garden. Birders walk along the well-marked trails, passing through a large number of palm trees, orchids and mango trees, etc., and they will receive many rewards for sightings.
14. Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve
In 2011, UNESCO included this large area of the jungle along the remote mosquito coast on the World Heritage List in Danger. It is one of the few tropical rainforests in Central America.
The reserve is located in the watershed of Río Plátano and consists of lowland tropical rainforests, coastal lagoons, undisturbed beaches, mangroves, grasslands and pine savannas.
This important wilderness area is immersed in tropical humidity and is rich in wildlife, including howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, giant leatherback turtles, toucans and tapirs. Sadly, reports of logging and hunting continue to threaten the fragile habitats of the reserve.
The mountainous landscape slopes down to the Caribbean Sea and is also home to more than 2,000 Miskito and Page tribes and Garifuna people who continue to live their traditional way of life. Archaeological sites are also located in its territory.
The best way to explore the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve is to take an organized tour. An experienced guide can take you to a safe place in this remote area of Honduras, away from drug smugglers and illegal loggers who often go deep into the reserve. Ecotourism companies provide wilderness adventures and rafting trips along Río Plátano.
15. National Identity Museum
To experience the culture and history of Honduras, visitors should visit the excellent National Identity Museum. This is one of the most important events in the country’s capital, Tegucigalpa.
The museum is located in a beautiful national heritage building called Palacio de Los Ministerios, and also displays an impressive collection of Honduras and international art. The historical exhibition reveals the fascinating past of this country from the pre-Spanish era to the present.
A highlight here is the virtual tour of the Mayan Acropolis of Copan, which provides good introductory knowledge for those who have not visited the site, and a welcome review for those who have already visited. There are very few parking spaces in this central city, but taxis will take tourists directly to the door.
Another place worth visiting in Tegucigalpa is Parque Naciones Unidas El Picacho. Drive or take a taxi to the park located about 6 kilometers outside the city, and then hike along the trail to one of the city’s iconic landmarks: the 20-meter-high statue of El Cristo del Picaccio towering over the capital. Most importantly, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and the mountains in the distance.
16. Carambola Botanical Garden
The beautiful carambola botanical garden and trails provide a peaceful island nature experience. The trail winds through a forest of fruit trees, palm trees, ferns, orchids, spices and mahogany.
To enjoy the magnificent scenery, follow the mountain road to the top of the ridge, where the observation deck overlooks the azure Caribbean Sea and the adjacent barrier reef. For those who seize the opportunity, you can see jumping from the water at Anthony’s Key Resort Dolphins out. Along the way, keep an eye out for some tropical wildlife. Colorful birds fly around on the leaves, and you may also see Roatan Anole lizards and interesting leaf-cutting ants parade.
Also in the garden, the iguana wall is a cliff that provides breeding grounds for iguanas and parrots.
17. Copan Ruins
Copán Ruinas is the most studied Mayan city in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating back to nearly 2,000 years ago, the society living here is highly stratified, has deep symbolic significance, and emphasizes tradition.
You will find a lot to appreciate here. The site is famous for the stone steles and altars scattered around the huge square, most of which were built in 711 and 736. Other highlights include the stadium; the hieroglyphic staircase, a unique temple that preserves the longest known Mayan writing; the Acropolis has exquisitely carved reliefs of the 16 kings of Copan.
The archaeological site of Las Sepulturas, located about 1.6 kilometers from the Central Acropolis, is part of the “PAC” (Proyecto Arqueológico Copán) and provides valuable insights into the life of the Mayan elite before the collapse of Copán. As you explore the site, look out for the spectacular scarlet macaws flying through the ruins.
After visiting the ruins, don’t miss the Mayan Sculpture Museum, which displays impressive artifacts restored from the ruins. Many tourists also like to walk along the well-marked nature trails, where birds and butterflies fly in the dense foliage.