10 Things to Know Before Visiting Honduras

Macaws are a common sight in Honduras
Macaws are a common sight in Honduras | Lauri Väin / flickr
Jack Guy

Many visitors to Honduras come for the diving on Utila, but there is a lot more to the country. Here are ten things you should think about before you travel.

Bando Beach, Utila

Utila is diving central

Known as one of the cheapest places in the world to get an open water qualification, Utila is also great for experienced divers. There are stunning coral reefs to explore, lots of tropical fish, and even whale sharks from October to December.

It’s not all dangerous

The crime figures make for terrible reading and there is no denying that Honduras is a risky place to be, but the vast majority of visitors have fun and stay safe. There isn’t much to see in the big, and dangerous, cities like San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa, so head off to the islands of Utila and Roatan or visit the ruins at Copan.

Souvenirs in Honduras

Locals mostly struggle to get by

Poverty rates are high in Honduras and tourist dollars can make a big difference. If you are enjoying a cheap meal, think about leaving a more generous tip than normal. Don’t haggle too hard in the market. Buy local products from local people rather than big businesses.

Try the baleadas

These huge flour tortillas come filled with a selection of ingredients, which most of the time includes beans. Have an egg one for breakfast, and move on to meat versions later in the day. Baleadas are often the most affordable food around, so you’ll probably end up eating a lot of them if you’re on a budget.

Stela A at Copan, Honduras

Maya culture lives on

While Honduras might not be as immediately associated with Maya culture as neighbouring Guatemala, the culture is still alive in the west of the country. The ruins at Copan are a focal point for the local Maya population, and it’s well worth a visit.

See the highlights in two weeks

If you’re on a longer backpacking trip, you can easily dip into Honduras for a short time. Spend two weeks seeing the main sights, from Lago de Yojoa, Gracia, Utila and Copan, or dip in to see the ruins at Copan from Guatemala for a day trip.

Jaguar in Honduras

Insane amounts of wildlife

If you’ve got the time and the money, head off into the remote jungle for the chance to see some of Honduras’ incredible wildlife. There are lots of big cats, monkeys and birds that call the country home, and the rainforest is the largest north of the Amazon.

Birdwatchers should head to Lago de Yojoa

The biggest lake in Honduras is home to more than 400 species of birds. You can head off on tours to spot them, or visit the zip lines and butterfly farm.

Visit between January and April

The dry season in Honduras means that visibility is best for diving and the roads are in good condition for reaching other sights. Avoid the wet season, July to November, when roads in rural areas can become impassable.

Make sure you have cash

Cash is king in Honduras, where card payments are rarely accepted outside international businesses. You should make sure that you’ve always got a hundred dollars or so of emergency funds, because ATMs sometimes don’t work.

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