- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
Located in Central America, Honduras is a tropical paradise attracting many tourists every year to its gorgeous islands, lush rainforests and picturesque mountains. With its immediate access to the world’s second largest barrier reef, Honduras presents some of the best diving and snorkeling opportunities in the Caribbean. What’s more, this beautiful country offers many attractions like ancient Mayan ruins, colonial villages and festive celebrations. From whitewater rafting to hiking and exotic wildlife viewing, there is no end to the fun and adventure here. Learn more about the top tourist attractions in Honduras.
Tourist Attractions in Honduras
1 Roatán, Bay Islands
oatán is the largest and most developed of the Bay Islands. Once a well-kept secret, it is now a cruise-ship port and a popular vacation spot - especially for avid divers and snorkelers. A mountainous backbone undulates through the island's center, and flourishing coral reefs fringe its shores offering superb opportunities for diving and deep-sea fishing. Even with the influx of travelers, Roatán's beaches are beautiful. One of the best strands is West Bay Beach. Although packed on cruise ship days, it ticks all the boxes, with clear waters, snorkeling, swaying palms, and plenty of shops and restaurants nearby.
The picturesque island of Guanaja offers tourists an idyllic escape where they can relax or engage in fun outdoor activities. With its year-round warm temperatures, high levels of visibility and coral reef, the ocean waters surrounding Guanaja are ideal for diving and snorkeling. Other things to do include jungle trekking, hiking to Grant’s Peak, viewing a lovely waterfall, and exploring the shopping, cuisine and culture of the local villages.
3. Copán Ruins Archeological Site
Copán Ruins Archeological Site (Copán Ruinas Sitio Arqueológico) is the most studied Maya city in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating back nearly 2,000 years, the society that lived here was highly stratified, deeply symbolic, and focused on tradition. Visitors will find plenty to appreciate here. The site is famous for the stelae and altars that are scattered around the immense plaza, most of which were erected during the years 711 and 736. Other highlights include the ball court; the Hieroglyphic Stairway, a unique temple, which holds the longest known Mayan text; and the Acropolis featuring superb carved reliefs of the 16 kings of Copán.
Located in western Honduras, Copán is a relatively small Mayan site famous for its remarkable series of portrait stelae. The stelae and sculptured decorations of the buildings of Copán are some of the very finest surviving art of ancient Mesoamerica. Some of the stone structures at Copán date back to the 9th century BC. The city grew into one of the most important Maya sites by the 5th century with more than 20,000 inhabitants but was mysteriously abandoned a few centuries later. The nearby town of Copán Ruinas has all types of accommodations and other facilities for tourists.
5. Utila, Bay Islands
About 32 kilometers from the west coast of Roatán, Utila is the most budget friendly of the Bay Islands. Backpackers flock to this small, 13-kilometer-long-island, and many visitors come here on affordable dive vacations. Presiding over an arching bay, Utila Town is the main settlement where locals compete fiercely over domino games and tourist shops and dive centers dot the streets. Besides diving, most visitors bide their time basking on the two slivers of beach, snorkeling in the lagoon, zipping out to a sprinkling of cays off the island's southwest coast, or soaking up the rustic tropical vibe. Dive operators also offer visitors the chance to dive or swim with whale sharks. These gentle giants are frequently spotted in the waters around the island - especially during March to April and August to September.
6. Dolphin Encounter, Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences
On the northwest coast of Roatán at Anthony's Key Resort, the Roatán Institute of Marine Sciences educates locals and visitors about marine ecology and offers a popular dolphin encounter in a natural lagoon. Besotted animal lovers can swim and snorkel with the dolphins, play simple games with them, participate in a dolphin specialty course, or enjoy a dolphin dive experience. Budding marine biologists can also sign up for the "Dolphin Trainer for a Day" program and perform their own dolphin show for their proud parents at the end.
7. Lago de Yojoa
Along the main road between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, Lago de Yojoa is the largest natural lake in Honduras and a haven for birders. More than 480 species have been spotted here, including whistling ducks, northern jacanas, and crakes. Visitors can explore this shallow lake from shore, or glide through the reeds in a canoe. Two mountainous national parks border the lake: Santa Bárbara National Park on the northern shore and Cerro Azul Meambar National Park to the south. Other popular activities in the area include hikes to waterfalls, exploring an underground cave system, and tours of coffee plantations and archeological sites.