Do you want to go on an epic backpacking adventure in one of Central America’s least-visited countries? If you answered yes, well, I’m going to guide you through everything you need to know about backpacking Honduras.

Honduras is certainly not the first country people think of when planning a trip to Central America, which makes it a prime candidate for backpackers who love off the beaten path travel experiences.

All too often backpackers traveling on the Central America gringo trail skip over Honduras entirely, but I’ll tell you right now: Don’t make that mistake!

I loved my time spent backpacking Honduras. This country is full of exciting things to discover. To start with, Honduras has truly spectacular Mayan ruins at Copan, some of the best/cheapest scuba diving in the Northern Hemisphere in the Bay Islands, and a fascinating mix of different cultures, food, and traditions.

All of that said, one quick Google search of Honduras will reveal a cascade of negative news stories about the country. The fact is, if we all listened to the travel warnings issued by our governments, we would be missing out on some of the world’s most exciting backpacker destinations.

Despite what you may read in the news, Honduras is a relatively safe country for backpackers who know their stuff. Whilst it is true that Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world, much of the violence is drug and gang-related, taking place in specific areas of the cities. Violence against backpackers is very rare.

Honduras truly has heaps of incredible experiences to offer travelers and travel guide on backpacking Honduras aims to show you the way.

I’ll provide everything you need to know about backpacking Honduras, including travel tips, the best places to visit, the top things to do in Honduras, where to stay, safety advice, Honduras backpacking itineraries, travel costs, scuba diving, and much more…

Vamos amigos!

Why Go Backpacking in Honduras?

Where you choose to go backpacking in Honduras will depend on your interests. The country is diverse and if you are short on time, you will need to pick and choose the right places to visit that align with your interests.

Of the two major cities, San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa are not appetizing backpacker destinations. You might need to pass through one or both of these cities en route to somewhere else in Honduras, but as a destination, I would suggest spending your time in Honduras elsewhere.

A few days spent in Tegucigalpa might be appealing to backpackers, myself included, who want to appreciate the colonial architecture, markets, and urban chaos.

backpacking Honduras

I spent the majority of my time in the Bay Islands. Utila is the main backpacker island, though the diving is arguably better off of the more expensive/touristy island of Roatan.

For hiking, outdoor pursuits, and mountain time, Honduras’ national parks have plenty to offer. Pico Bonito National Park is ground zero for all things outdoor adventure.

The most famous and significant Mayan ruins in Honduras are found at Copan near the Guatemala border.

In essence, Honduras has a lot going for it: gorgeous islands, raging rivers, and a cloud forest… It’s all here…

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    Best Travel Itineraries for Backpacking Honduras

    So, let’s talk Honduras itineraries. Whether you have 2 weeks in Honduras or a few months to become a full-on scuba diving island bum, I have assembled several Honduras backpacking itineraries to help you make the most of your time in this cool Central American country.

    These Honduras backpacking routes can be combined or tailored to suit your own interests and time frame.

    7 Days in Honduras: Copan and Pico Bonito National Park

    With seven days in Honduras, you can see many of mainland Honduras’ backpacker highlights. This itinerary assumes that you are traveling overland from Guatemala.

    Since public transportation travel can be slow, I recommend under planning your Honduras schedule. A realistic itinerary will need to plan for slow transportation days.

    This seven-day Honduras itinerary takes you through the famous Mayan ruins of Copan, San Pedro Sula, Lago de Yojoa, and Pico Bonito National Park.

    Since Copan is the only major site of Mayan ruins in Honduras, there is a well-established tourist infrastructure in place to serve travelers visiting the site. As a whole, Honduras is NOT set up for budget travelers, which becomes obvious the minute you step foot in one of the big cities.

    honduras itinerary

    You can easily arrange for a shuttle or bus to transport you from the Guatemala side to Copan. For a cheaper option, you can use public transport to get close to Copan, though going with a direct shuttle saves you time and a boatload of hassle. More about getting to Copan later in the post.

    Take the time to explore the Copan ruins thoroughly. Visit the villages and walking trails around Copan. After spending two days in the Copan area, you should be ready to move on.

    Take a bus to San Pedro Sula en route to Lago de Yojoa, the biggest lake in Honduras. Be sure to start your journey to San Pedro Sula early as the chicken buses can take ages.

    One can easily spend two days at Lago de Yojoa. The Pulhapanzak Falls are stunning! There are many things to do in and around the lake, though exploring the Santa Bárbara Mountain area was my favorite activity. Check out the boats for hire too if you want to get out onto the lake.

    For the next several days, hit Pico Bonito National Park. The coastal town of La Ceiba is the best candidate in terms of picking a base close to the park.

    2 Weeks in Honduras: National Parks and the Bay Islands

    Two weeks in Honduras is a better timeframe for a more in-depth Honduras backpacking adventure. With an extra week, you can focus your time on getting some island time as well!

    Where to start this backpacking route will depend on where you are entering Honduras.

    If you are flying to San Pedro Sula, it makes sense in a sort of roundabout way for you to hit Copan and Pico Bonito National Park before heading off to the Bay Islands.

    Likewise, if you plan on flying to the Bay Islands and back to San Pedro Sula, it doesn’t really matter when you plan to visit “mainland” sites.

    honduras itinerary

    Let’s assume that you are traveling overland. I recommend following the same route as Itinerary #1 mentioned above to explore mainland Honduras.

    After a week of exploring the country’s best mainland destinations, you will be well situated on the coast to catch a ferry to Utila. Before going to Utila though, be sure to explore the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve.

    The reserve is home to some small, though epic Mayan sites, and wildlife like pumas, jaguars, and even sloths!

    Utila is the most backpacker-focused place in Honduras. You can easily spend a week or more here, hiking, swimming, and getting your PADI open water scuba diving certification… or just chilling the F out. Many people end up staying longer than planned.

    If you have island fever, consider heading over to Roatan for a few days. The diving around Roatan is excellent and this island will have incredible beaches, something Utila lacks being situated on the reef. Like Utila, Roatan is very well set up for travelers in terms of infrastructure and budget options.

    One Month in Honduras: The Bay Islands Scuba Bum Life

    If you love the ocean and have a month or more to spend in Honduras just go directly to the Bay Islands and never look back.

    There is a huge community of backpackers living on Utila doing just that. Many travelers travel to Utila to take a scuba diving course, and some backpackers simply stick around, getting more certifications and diving every day.

    You can then hop between islands, visiting Roatan and Guanaja each for a short period before returning to Utila.

    The advantage of having more time in Honduras is that you can take days to explore more of the national parks as well, once back on the mainland.

    honduras itinerary

    Of course with a month-long Honduras backpacking adventure, you could spend two weeks seeing the sites on the mainland before popping over to Utila, or just spend all of your time diving and chilling on the islands. It all depends on you.

    My suggestion is that if you like diving (or want to learn how to dive) go to Utila and consider your options from there. This is one of the cheapest places in the world to get certified, and the diving is incredible.

    Link up with some other backpackers, rent a house, and spend a month partying, doing yoga, and scuba diving your ass off. That’s exactly what I did, and even now my Honduras/Bay Islands backpacking adventure remains was one of the most fun and rewarding periods of my backpacking career.

    If eventually the island vibes prove to not be your thing or you need a break, you can always fall back on a mainland backpacking route.

    Places to Visit in Honduras

    Backpacking San Pedro Sula

    I’ll be straight with you. San Pedro Sula is not a prime backpacker destination. With one of the highest murder rates of any place in the world (that is not a war zone), alarm bells should go off when talking about visiting San Pedro Sula.

    However, there are several interesting things to do in San Pedro Sula. Start by exploring the Guamilito market. The market is one of San Pedro Sula’s largest and most popular markets.

    Be sure to supercharge your haggle game. You will be at a severe disadvantage if you possess the unfortunate (for money matters in Honduras) combination of having a white face and zero Spanish speaking skills. Still give it a shot! The market is located between the 8a and 9a Avenida and 5a y 6a Calles N.O. Simply tell your taxi driver the name of the market; he will have heard of it.

    The Museum of Anthropology and History of San Pedro Sula is another worthwhile spot to spend an afternoon or morning. The cost of admission is $3. The museum is free on the first Sunday of every month!

    backpacking Honduras
    San Pedro Sula Cathedral.

    Bearing in mind the security situation, if you spend a few days in San Pedo Sula you will most likely be fine. They don’t just line up backpackers against a wall and pick them off one by one.

    A little bit of common sense and a few extra precautions will go a long way to ensure you have the best time you can possibly have backpacking San Pedro Sula.

    Don’t wear flashy jewelry. Avoid carrying more cash on you than you need. Take taxis. Don’t go out at night unless you absolutely have to.

    When I was 16, I went on a volunteering trip to San Pedro Sula. Mostly, I helped paint and refurbish an ancient orphanage. At the time, what little innocence I had left at the age of 16 was shattered at this orphanage. Kids as young as six years old were coming in off the street totally addicted to sniffing glue and other drugs after being forced into being child sex slaves. Super heavy I know, but these are the realities of San Pedro Sula.

    Having been back several times since as a backpacker, it is safe to say that I still have some great attachment to San Pedro Sula even if I can’t fully explain it.

    Backpacking Tegucigalpa

    In terms of safety, Tegucigalpa is much the same as San Pedro Sula. You’ll need to have your shit together whilst backpacking here. Though I must emphasize that major violent crime against backpackers is very rare, and if you set yourself up for success you should be just fine.

    Tegucigalpa is the capital of Honduras as well as the country’s most populated city. The first thing I noticed as my bus rolled into town is how green the surrounding hills are. This sprawling mess of a city was literally built out of the mountainous jungle.

    backpacking Honduras
    Women weaving crosses on Palm Sunday in Tegucigalpa.

    You can start your visit to the city center by checking out the Iglesia Los Dolores and the surrounding square. In a city full of urban sprawl, the colonial architecture and prominence of Iglesia Los Dolores are refreshing.

    The St. Michael Cathedral adorning the Plaza Morazan is also worth a look.

    Tegucigalpa is one of the few capital cities in the world with a complete lack of backpacker accommodation! Of the one or two hostels that do exist, Palmira Hostel is best.

    Backpacking the Copan Ruins

    Copan was a major capital city of the Mayan civilization from the 5th to 9th centuries AD. Copan as a city was occupied for two thousand years!

    Throughout its storied history, Copan was the site of many different kings, conquests, and general changes of power. Now, the greater Copan archaeological site makes up the most important Mayan ruin complex in Honduras. It can take several days to properly take in all of the intricate carvings, monuments, temples, and dwellings.

    The Copan Archaeological Park entrance fee is now the equivalent to $15.00 USD, but is well worth the money!

    backpacking Honduras
    Copan was one of the most important cities of the Maya.

    A popular way to get to Copan from Guatemala is via direct shuttle from Antigua, a city popular with backpackers about an hour outside of Guatemala City. The prices vary, but the average price is around $20/30 USD one way. The journey takes roughly 6-8 hours.

    There are a few backpacker hostels around Copan that are clean and cheap.

    You should start your day at Copan as early as possible in order to get the most out of your entrance ticket. Ideally, you should be able to see a majority of the ruins in one long day. Bring water and sun protection as Copan can be super humid and hot!

    Backpacking Pico Bonito National Park

    Pico Bonito is the best place in Honduras in terms of hiking and outdoor adventure pursuits. There are numerous short hiking trails that don’t require a guide.

    The Cangrejal River Valley is one of the top places to hike in the park. To access the valley you cross this epic suspension bridge over the river. One of the best day hikes in the park is theEl Mapache Trail, which leads to the stunning El Bejuco Waterfall.

    If you have the time, money, and ambition, you can aim to tackle the Pico Bonito Mountain trek. This trek is no joke. I did not personally attempt this hike, but I intend to someday!

    backpacking Honduras
    Feeling the good vibes in Pico Bonito National Park

    The complete out and back trek and summit the mountain will take between 8-10 days. There is no permanent trail to get there, so expect days of tough hiking and hacking through the dense jungle. It would be stupid to attempt this hike without a guide.

    La Moskitia Eco-Aventuras has a reputable reputation when it comes to arranging the Pico Bonito Mountain Trek. Good on you if you go for it! Please let me know in a comment below how it all went!

    La Ceiba is the place to base yourself for Pico Bonito National Park exploration.

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    Backpacking La Ceiba

    For many backpackers, the coastal port town of La Ceiba is just the gateway to the Bay Islands and nothing more. I suggest taking at least 2-3 days to hang out here, especially if you are keen to visit Pico Bonito National Park before heading off to the Bay Islands.

    La Ceiba is Honduras’ fourth largest city, though it did not feel nearly as sketchy as San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa. That said, I still would not go out to unknown parts of the city when the sun goes down.

    backpacking Honduras
    Street scene in La Cieba

    To get to the Bay Islands simply walk down to the main ferry terminal and book your ticket.

    The best way to get to Utila from La Ceiba is aboard the ferry boat with a misleading name: The Dream. The Dream departs twice daily: once at 9:00 am and again at 4:40 pm. Ferry tickets cost the equivalent of $30 per person one way.

    The La Ceiba ticket office is based at the “Muelle de Cabotaje”, the main cargo port of La Ceiba.  The ticket counter, luggage drop off, cafe and air-conditioned waiting area are located in the orange building.

    Backpacking the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve

    Located south of La Ceiba is the rugged and wild Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve. The Rio Plantano region is a true wilderness area, home to indigenous tribes including the Miskito, Pech, and Tawakha peoples as well as Garifuna people from African descent.

    It is almost impossible to really explore the Rio Platano on your own unless you are equipped with supreme wilderness/navigation skills, a boat, and all of the necessary gear. I am guessing you do not have all of those things on hand, so consider hiring a guide.

    backpacking Honduras
    The lolly-pop bandit strikes again! Seriously guys, keep a better eye on your food. Feeding the monkeys isn’t cool.

    You can organize a 7-10 trip down the river that includes a mix of hiking, rafting, exploring, camping, and interacting with indigenous communities. If you are backpacking Honduras with no pressing time limit, I recommend you do a Rio Platano expedition with La Moskitia Eco-Aventuras!

    If you can wrangle together a group of 7 or more, the price is $1,287 per person for a 10-day adventure.

    Backpacking Utila Island

    Once you get off the ferry in Utila you have officially entered an alternate reality. Utila is unlike the rest of mainland Honduras in just about every way. Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by backpackers, dive shops, hostels, burger shacks, smoothie stands, and pirate bars.

    It is important to know that Utila is very much a developed backpacker hotspot. Don’t expect to discover an undeveloped private island. That said, the development that has taken place has not totally sucked the island dry of its charm. It may have improved it actually.

    Utila has basically developed into a backpacker oasis where scuba diving by day and partying by night is most people’s daily routine. Losing track of time and the day of the week is to be expected. Utila is that kind of place.

    backpacking Honduras
    Enjoying the beauty on Utilia. Photo: Chris Lininger

    In fact, I fucking love Utila.

    There are now dozens of scuba diving operators on the island. This means that you have your pick of what company you want to go diving with. Options are abundant and prices are competitive.

    When you are not diving, you can explore the island on foot or by bike. There are beaches on the far end of the island where you won’t find any people at all. Sadly, when I visited Pumpkin Hill there was heaps of plastic shit lying on the beach.

    Best Scuba Dive Shops in Utila

    Welcome to (one of) the cheapest places in the world to get your PADI scuba diving certification!

    I got my PADI open water diving certificate at Utila Dive Centre; known locally as UDC. I was certified several years ago during my first visit to Utila.

    At the time (2014) it costed roughly $200 and included three nights of accommodation at the Mango Inn. I was only supposed to get a bed in a crowded dorm, but for some reason, they gave me a private room for the same price.

    UDC was nothing but professional. I highly recommend going with them if you decide to do any diving or dive training! Another great dive shop is Alton’s Dive Center.

    backpacking Honduras
    I saw several of these guys whilst scuba diving in Utila.

    For 2021, I am not sure about the exact price for a 3-day open watercourse. I suggest you shop around the dive shops when you get there; don’t book ahead, as you will probably get a better deal in person. You can contact UDC here to get prices.

    Moreover, some centers have better equipment, an instructor you’ll vibe with, a more party setting versus laidback. It just depends on what you want; ask to meet instructors, see the tanks, accommodation, etc.

    There are two places that stick out in my mind as my favorite Utila eating/drinking spots. For breakfast, hit up Thompson’s Bakery for some god damn tasty Johnny Cakes (fluffy biscuits). Their cinnamon rolls are also top tier!

    For the best place to drink in Utila, look no further than the Skidrow Bar. The true hedonism of Utila is on display here day in and day out.

    Skidrow Bar is very much an island institution. You are always bound to meet some new friends at Skidrow; it’s kinda unavoidable. Go and find out what the Guifitti Challenge is all about. Shudder.

    Also, Skidrow has some very good food at low prices as well. Try the Mexican food—it is all on point.

    Backpacking Roatan Island

    Roatan is the largest of the Honduras Bay Islands. Roatan is the more developed, more expensive, and family friendly big brother of Utila. The island attracts a very different crowd indeed. Ex-pat retirees, yachties, families with kids, and cruise ship tourists make up a large majority of the demographic found on Roatan at any given time.

    One good thing I can say about Roatan is that the dive sites are excellent around the island. If you are a keen diver, Roatan is well worth a visit.

    backpacking Honduras
    Yeah, Roatan is a bit more developed.

    If you don’t get sick of the diving around Utila, there is really no need to go to Roatan. After Utila, frankly, parts of Roatan are disappointing, less charming, and obviously more expensive.

    There is one boat leaving Utila every day for Roatan. The price at last check was $30 per person one way (though the prices may have increased some since the publication of this article).

    Getting Off the Beaten Path in Honduras

    backpacking honduras
    Honduras is brimming with beautiful landscapes to discover seen here at Cataract falls.

    As a whole, Honduras is an off the beaten path country that just happens to be on the well-beaten Central America gringo trail.

    Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala all receive far more backpackers than Honduras does annually. If you take away the Bay Islands, 99% of Honduras is essentially off the beaten track.

    There is a whole universe of potential backpacking adventures to get into in Honduras. A vast majority of them are simply not known by the collective backpacker consciousness.

    Getting off the beaten path in Honduras, however, requires treading a fine line. Go to Honduras and get off the beaten path but be smart about how and where you do it.

    There are few guaranteed “safety nets” in Honduras (which is more of a metaphor than to be taken literally. I saw no physical safety nets in Honduras FYI).

    What I mean is that you are very much reliant on your own street smarts, wits, and judgment once you leave the small backpacker trail that does exist in Honduras…but in essence, that is what a backpacking adventure is all about. Right?

    Always remember that Honduras is a country with high levels of poverty and crime. Locals are simply not accustomed to seeing large amounts of travelers passing through. Many locals I met in less-trod places were nothing but hospitable, kind, and curious.

    Use good judgment when exploring new places and you should be just fine.

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    Top Things to Do in Honduras

    There is plenty of awesomeness to discover in this beautiful country. Below I have listed the 10 best things to do in Honduras:

    1. Visit the Copan Ruins

    The Copan ruins are among the top 3 most important Mayan sites in all of Central/North America. Visit Copan to get your mind blown by the stunning engineering/artistic/cultural accomplishments of the Maya.

    backpacking honduras
    The mighty Copan ruins…

    2. Explore the National Parks of Honduras

    There are 18 national parks in Honduras and each one of them is worth checking out. Since you will likely not have the time to see them all, pick a few, lace up your hiking boots, and hit the trail.

    backpacking honduras
    Explore the national parks and keep and eye out for red milk snakes, they are beautiful!

    3. Take a boat onto Lago de Yojoa

    Lago de Yojoa is Honduras’ largest lake. More than 480 species of birds have been recorded here! Enough said.

    backpacking honduras
    Lago de Yojoa is Honduras’ largest natural lake.

    4. Get your PADI Open Water Certificate in the Bay Islands

    Want to get your scuba certification for the cheapest price this side of Thailand? Come to the Bay Islands and enroll in a scuba diving course. Prepare to be introduced to a new life-long love: diving!

    backpacking honduras
    Be warned: scuba diving is highly addictive.

    5. Arrive into Honduras by Boat

    Quick Tangent: On one occasion, I entered Honduras on a private catamaran owned by a drunken middle-aged Canadian dude named Guy. We left from Rio Dulce in Guatemala (the morning after I was stabbed and robbed, that’s another story) and arrived at Utila in the Bay Islands.

    backpacking honduras
    En route to Utila via catamaran. Photo: Chris Lininger

    The trip took 2 days and was an experience I’ll never forget. The trip was an inebriated shit show that involved fishing, naked swimming, great food, and seawater soaking me in the middle of the night because I didn’t close the porthole window properly. I’ll leave it at that.

    If you’re lucky you may be able to find Guy (if he is still alive) drinking rum at the Sun Dog Cafe in Rio Dulce or the Skidrow Bar in Utila. Good luck.

    6. Go on an expedition deep into the Rio Platano Biosphere

    It’s not the cheapest option, but sometimes an excellent, truly unique adventure requires a little investment. I guarantee that afterward, the last thing you will be thinking about is the money you spent.

    backpacking honduras
    Welcome to the jungle.

    7. Explore some of the lesser known Bay Islands

    Apart from Utila and Roatan, the Bay Islands are remote, wild, and fucking gorgeous. It certainly takes some effort and a little cash to get to some of these islands (like Cayos Conchinos), but it is well worth it indeed.

    backpacking honduras
    The Bay Islands are stunning.

    8. Visit the Cathedrals in Tegucigalpa

    Tegucigalpa is not overflowing with beautiful buildings, but its colonial-era architecture is well worth the visit if you find yourself in the city for a day or two.

    backpacking honduras
    Tegucigalpa Cathedral vibes.

    9. Eat Street Food

    If you’ve backpacked around Central America (not including Mexico) then you are probably aware of how a majority of the food lacks that “wow” factor. In Honduras, you can find some very tasty street food at broke backpacker prices. I’m a huge fan of baleadas.

    backpacking honduras
    Honduran tacos for the win.

    10. Volunteer in Honduras

    There are a handful of cool projects, organizations, and hostels to get involved with within Honduras. What you get out of traveling takes on a new meaning when you start giving back to others in need. More on volunteering in Honduras later in the article.

    backpacking honduras
    Volunteering in Honduras is a great way to make a positive impact on a community there.

    Backpacker Accommodation in Honduras

    The majority of Honduras is seriously lacking in backpacker accommodation. Considering the standard cost of living in Honduras, I was shocked to learn how expensive some of the mid-range hotels found in cities can be.

    The Bay Islands and Utila do have plenty of hostels and cheap accommodation options as does the area around the Copan ruins. Across the rest of Honduras, however, there is no backpacker “scene,” so obviously backpacker hostels are an unknown fucking concept. That said, there is usually a cheap (maybe not so clean) hotel or guesthouse to be found in most places.

    In order to find the best price in a place lacking hostels, you will need to shop around and haggle your ass off.

    Something worth noting is that all hotels/hostels etc tack on a 16% tax to the nightly rate on each person per night.

    One of my favorite ways to meet locals and save some cash is to use Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing truly is one of the best tools available to help save you money traveling. Plus, you are always bound to meet interesting people! In times of COVID – CS is not really an ethical option anymore. Hopefully, someday soon the CS scene will see a revival.

    Where to Stay in Honduras

    CityHostelWhy Stay Here?!
    San Pedro SulaLa HamacaSafe. Clean. Cheap. Well located!
    TegucigalpaLa PalmiraOne of two hostels in the city, and def the most backpacker friendly spot!
    CopanHostel BerakahSuper low prices for dorm beds, decent wifi, free filtered water, nice terrace!
    Pico Bonito National ParkEl EstadioEco tours available, friendly staff, great location in the heart of La Ceiba.
    La CeibaEl EstadioClose to the ferry terminal. The hostel can arrange long-distance shuttles to Nicaragua, Belize, or Guatemala at competitive rates.
    UtilaMango InnFantastic restaurant, great HQ for scuba divers! Comfy rooms!
    RoatanBuena OndaClose to everything…cheap for Roatan.

    Wild Camping in Honduras

    Camping in Honduras is tough during the best of times. From a safety perspective camping in or around villages (certainly not around cities!) is not a good idea.

    Leaving your stuff in a tent while you go for a short walk is basically like donating all of your stuff to the general public. The vast majority of Hondurans are not thieves, but the temptation of a tent loaded with cool stuff may just be too much for them to pass up on.

    That said, there are some opportunities to wild camp in Pico Bonito National Park and the Rio Platano area.

    Another serious factor when contemplating wild camping in Honduras is the weather, mosquitos, and the natural environment. Honduras is hot, humid, and it can rain like there is no tomorrow.

    Plus, the beautiful places ideal for camping have plenty of deadly creatures you need to worry about…or at least ones you should know about.

    I don’t say that Honduras and camping shouldn’t mix. You just need to be realistic about the potential dangers, hazards, and general annoyances such an undertaking may present. Above all else, if you decide to make camping part of your Honduras backpacking experience, bring the right gear!

    Get familiar with  “leave no trace principles” and put them into practice.

    If you are in the market for a solid, lightweight, and reliable tent, I highly recommend the MSR Hubba Hubba 2-person tent. This compact tent is up to the challenge of battling Honduras’ subtropical weather. To get to know this tent better, check out my in-depth MSR Hubba Hubba Review.

    Honduras Backpacking Costs

    The prices I encountered in Honduras were often perplexing. Some things were outrageously cheap, like food and beer, but other equally important things like transportation and accommodation can get expensive if you don’t do your due diligence.

    Booking adventure tours and doing LOTS of scuba diving is likely to eat a hole in your budget really quick. I suggest that you plan your trip based on your own interests.

    Come up with a plan that will allow you to spend as much time as humanly possible diving, trekking, or whatever your fancy may be.

    A reasonable backpacker budget for mainland Honduras is between $25-45/day. On the Bay Islands, your budget will be around $50-75/day (including a morning of scuba diving).

    Hostel prices do vary, but when you are able to find a proper hostel normally it will be under $15 for a dorm bed.

    Here is what you can expect to spend on a daily basis whilst backpacking Honduras:

    A Daily Budget in Honduras

    Honduras Daily Budget
    ExpenseBroke BackpackerFrugal TravelerCreature of Comfort
    Accommodation$10-15$10-20$25 – 50+
    Food$10-15$10-20$15-30
    Transport$2-5 (short local bus)$5-10 (longer local bus)$20-80 (long distance private transfer)
    NightlifeStay Sober$5-10$10-20+
    Activities$5-15 (entrance fees, etc)$15-30$30- 60 (2 scuba dives)
    TOTAL$25-45 (Mainland)$30-55$50-100 (on Bay Islands)

    Money in Honduras

    The national currency of Honduras is the Lempira. ATMs are available at or around backpacker destinations in Honduras, including the Bay Islands as well as in the big cities.

    Whilst I was on Utila Island, the ATM machine ran out of money, twice. I’d say for the islands it is ok to have a stash of cash on you or in your hostel room (maybe lock it up). The last thing you want is for the machine to run out of money on you and prevent you from scuba diving (or eating!) so plan accordingly.

    backpacking honduras
    Honduran Lempiras.

    Some of the dive shops on Utila and Roatan accept USD as payment.

    Travel Tips – Honduras on a Budget

    Camp: There is no shortage of physical places to camp in Honduras. The practicality and safety of camping, however, needs to be judged on a case by case basis. The higher elevations in the national parks/cloud forests make for the most enjoyable camping spots, in my opinion. Realistically though, you will not be doing much camping in Honduras.

    Cook your own food: Travel with a portable backpacking stove and cook your own food when possible/practical to save some serious cash whilst backpacking across Honduras. If you plan to do some overnight hiking trips or camping having a backpacking stove will be ESSENTIAL to your success. My two personal go-to stoves are the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 and my Jetboil. Hostel cooking (at least one meal per day) is also key to saving money long term.

    Do activities in Groups: If you plan to go for a chartered snorkle boat ride or a long trek, the prices will always be cheaper as you have more people in the group to chip in.

    Check out my in-depth review of the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 here.

    Why Should You Travel to Honduras with a Water Bottle?

    Whilst there’s a lot that we can do when it comes to traveling responsibly, reducing your plastic consumption is one of the easiest and most impactful things you can do. Don’t buy one-use water bottles, don’t take plastic shopping bags, and forget straws.

    All of this just ends up in landfill or in the ocean. I have seen first hand how bad the plastic problem is on Utila Island. Do your part and don’t contribute to the plastification of the earth.

    If you’d like some more tips on how to save the world, be sure to watch the video below.

    Best Time to Travel to Honduras

    February and June are the driest months in Honduras and also when the diving in the Bay Islands is at its best. Hurricane season in much of the Caribbean is in September and October. It makes sense to avoid the Bay Islands during that time.

    Apart from the dry season in the Bay Islands, Honduras really doesn’t experience the huge highs and lows of seasonal tourism felt in neighboring countries.

    backpacking honduras
    The dry season is the best time to visit Honduras.

    That said, spillover backpacker activity from neighboring countries does slow down during the rainy season as there are fewer backpackers traveling in Central America in general. (IE fewer backpackers visiting Copan from Guatemala, etc.)

    The Caribbean coast is always going to be muggy, hot, and prone to sudden showers any time of year. Your best bet for dry weather falls between March and May.

    Festivals in Honduras

    There is always something fun to get into in Honduras. Depending on the time of year you find yourself backpacking in Honduras, there are many cool festivals to check out. Here are a few of the top festivals in Honduras:

    backpacking honduras

    Catch a cultural festival in Honduras and you won’t be disappointed.
    • Semana Santa: The Easter holiday is huge across all of Latin America. Honduras is no different; Semana Santa is a big deal. Oddly enough one of the best places to experience Semana Santa in Honduras is near the Copan Ruins (the Mayans were not Catholic).
    • Lluvia de Peces: Listen up! This festival is a little—how shall I put this —halfway rooted in reality. After a massive rainstorm in the small mountain town of Yoro, it is said that fish rain down from the sky. You read that right. The residents claim it happens a few times a year. Fish literally flopping on the streets, alive. Only one way to find out.
    • Punta Gorda Festival: This festival, held both by and for the Garifuna People of Honduras, takes place on April 12th of each year. The largest event takes places at Punta Gorda. Food. Dancing. Rum.
    • Feria Juniana: If ever there was a time to party with the locals in San Pedro Sula it would be for the Feria Juniana. This festival takes place in June. Lots of live music and drinking. Don’t party down so hard that you let your guard down completely…this is San Pedro Sula we’re talking about!

    What to Pack for Honduras

    What you decide to pack will depend on where you’re going, what activities you have planned, and what the weather will be like. If you’re just going to hang on the beach, you can just show up in your swimsuit and tank top and be ready to rock.

    Be sure to pack some good shoes if you plan on exploring the cities and/or engaging in outdoor activities. It’s also a good idea to bring an extra day bag to carry with you to the beach or for big sightseeing days.

    Depending on the time of year, you’ll probably want to wear a hat and sunglasses.

    On every adventure, there are six things I never go traveling without:

    Product
    Description
    Somewhere to hide your cash
    money belt compressed png
    Somewhere to hide your cash

    Active Roots Money Belt

    This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside – you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off.

    A travel water bottle
    Grayl Geopress Water Purifier Bottle
    A travel water bottle

    GRAYL Geopress Filtered Bottle

    Having a filtered water bottle means you can drink from just about any source. The GRAYL Geopress is hands-down the most effective one we’ve ever used as well!

    For those unexpected messes
    AR Towel
    For those unexpected messes

    Active Roots Microfiber Towel

    Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

    When the power goes out
    Gifts for backpackers
    When the power goes out

    Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

    A decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples, or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must.

    Sleep anywhere
    Hammock for backpackers
    Sleep anywhere

    Active Roots Camping Hammock

    Taking a tent backpacking is not always practical but hammocks are lightweight, cheap, strong, sexy (chicks dig hammocks), and allow you to pitch up for the night pretty much anywhere.

    To stay a clean backpacker
    To stay a clean backpacker

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

    I always travel with a hanging toiletry bag as it’s a super-efficient way to organize your bathroom stuff. Well worth having as it helps to have quick access to all your stuff.

    Staying Safe in Honduras

    Okay, so you know that Honduras has its lion’s share of security and safety issues. So, is Honduras safe? Remember – this ain’t Switzerland. The streets in Honduras are rough and the last thing you want to do is put yourself in a position where harm could come your way.

    Again, Honduras is a safe place for backpackers to travel. The violence and murders running rampant throughout the country for decades are gang, drug, and power-related. This should not involve you in any way, shape, or form unless you get very unlucky or put yourself in a bad situation through a series of poor choices.

    Always keep a close eye on your stuff. Never take your eyes off of your backpack or daypack. Try to limit the amount of cash you carry at any one time.

    Never dress fancy or rock any expensive shit like fancy jewelry, high-end watches, earrings, etc. Basically, don’t draw unnecessary attention your way.

    Being white or obviously looking foreign will automatically draw curious eyes your way. Curiosity is one thing. Curiosity is normal human behavior. People eyeing your $3000 Sony camera like a dog watching a cooking steak is another thing and should be cause for concern.

    backpacking honduras
    The police in Honduras certainly have their hands full. Photo: Maria Pineli

    The point being, stash your valuables and watch your gear like a hawk watches its chicks, especially in the big cities.

    Look like the dirty backpacker that you are. Look like you have nothing worth a damn to steal. Again, a vast majority of Honduran people are honest, hard-working, light-hearted human beings who will do you no harm whatsoever. You get what I am saying though.

    I did not take any anti-malaria pills whilst backpacking Honduras, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them.

    Check out our Backpacker Safety 101 for tips and tricks to stay safe wherever the heck you are in the world.

    Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll in Honduras

    Honduras is full of opportunities to get down. Utila is ground zero for all things party related. Booze, weed, ecstasy, cocaine are abundant. The cocaine is a little more under the radar (as it should be), though it’s around if you want it.

    Anywhere other than the Bay Islands I would not try to buy drugs of any kind.

    Keep in mind that the blow you are putting up your nose is the cause of much of the terror, murder, and general chaos carried out by rival drug gangs in Honduras.

    Ethical cocaine simply does not exist. In short, Honduras is fucked up largely due to cocaine and other drug trafficking, which is directly linked to the foreign desire for the product. Something to ponder anyway.

    backpacking honduras
    Ah, Salva Vida beer.

    All over Honduras, you can find cheap beer. Sugar Cane liquor is also dirt cheap and probably strong enough to run a motorbike to Guatemala City and back.

    Prostitution in Honduras is rampant. As I said before, I have met kids who were forced into the industry. Most of the people who are sex workers (I assume) in Honduras are only doing sex work for lack of anything else to do for work (or they simply don’t have a choice in the matter).

    On top of all of that heaviness, AIDS and other STD’s are also an ever-present threat poised by hiring sex workers.

    I would seriously think twice (maybe five times) before hiring a sex worker in Honduras. Both from a human/ethical point of view and a health/safety perspective; sex tourism in Honduras is not a positive thing no matter how you look at it.

    Travel Insurance for Honduras

    Traveling without insurance would be risky so do consider getting good backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure.

    When looking for insurance, make sure the company you go with covers adventure sports like scuba diving and trekking.

    I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.

    If there’s one insurance company I trust, it’s World Nomads. To find out why I use World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance review.

    Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple—just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

    world nomads insurance banner
    will in the wild

    A Story on the Necessity of Travel Insurance

    “Once upon a time, I almost lost my leg in a sweltering jungle… 

    I battled a seriously nasty infection that snaked up past my knee and by the time I made it to a local hospital they wanted to amputate. I was delirious, unable to walk, and in a lot of pain but I managed to call my insurance provider – they moved me to a much better private hospital where the doctors were able to save my leg.  

    I wracked up $15,000 in hospital bills, but these were completely covered by my travel insurance. Luckily, I still have my leg today, and whilst it is permanently damaged, I’m grateful every day it’s still attached!

    Moral of the story: consider getting travel insurance before you head out into the wilds, people!

    How to Get Into Honduras

    The two main international airports in Honduras are located in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. More travelers are now flying into San Pedro Sula as it provides a better jump off point to the coast as well as other major backpacker destinations within Honduras.

    It is also possible to fly to La Ceiba and Roatan in the Bay Islands, but the flights are far from cheap.

    It is possible to take an overland bus to a big city in Honduras from any of the surrounding countries capital cities, though these journeys are often arduous (I have done it twice).

    Entry Requirements for Honduras

    Citizens of the US, the UK, Western Europe, Australia, Canada, etc do NOT need to apply for visas in advance. Actually, Honduras has some of the least restrictive border policies I have ever heard of.

    Whether traveling to Honduras by land or plane, you’ll get your stamp on arrival at customs. A tourist visa on arrival is valid for 90 days.

    Note: The government of Honduras requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if a traveler is arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever, which is important to know if you are coming from Colombia or Venezuela.

    Traveling to Honduras During COVID Times

    Last Updated: December 28, 2020

    Like most countries around the world, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the tourism economy in Honduras. While I have not personally visited Honduras in COVID times, here is the latest info I found:

    The Honduran government announced the resumption of domestic flights on Monday, August 10, 2020 and international flights on Monday, August 17, 2020. Travelers should communicate directly with individual air carriers to confirm flight options.

    Travel to Honduras is permitted with a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR or rapid test. You must also fill out an online precheck form. So, in theory, Honduras is currently open for tourism.

    Due to the awful combination of COVID and recent hurricanes, there may or may not be strict evening curfews in place for the foreseeable future. Do you research and due diligence before getting on a plan to Honduras right now!

    Keep in mind that this information is subject to change at any time – that is the reality of travel blogging in COVID times.

    bus iconNeed to travel to Honduras on the cheap? Use Bookaway to find the best deals on bus, plane, train, and ferry tickets. It’s easy to use and saves you time and money. Once you’ve arrived, why not use what you’ve saved to treat yourself to a cold beer and a bite to eat?

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    How to Get Around Honduras

    Traveling By Bus and Private Car in Honduras

    The cheapest way to travel in Honduras is by chicken bus. Chicken buses are not nearly as cheap as they should be! Skyrocketing fuel prices in Honduras have created a surge in transportation prices. Still, chicken buses are the cheapest option.

    The more comfortable, faster, and much more expensive option is to book a shuttle or to hire a private driver. Shuttles only operate from big cities to popular tourist hotspots like Copan and La Ceiba (to get to the islands).

    riding a chicken bus
    Riding a chicken bus is an amazing experience in Latin America (this is a Guatemala bus, but they are similar in Honduras). Long distance buses tend to be comfier too FYI.

    Honduras is still figuring out how the hell to get backpackers around the country.

    If you are only planning to visit a handful of spots, shuttle travel may be the best way to go from a convience point of view.

    Hitchhiking in Honduras

    I did not hitchhike in Honduras, nor did I meet anyone who did. I’d say for very short distances out in the countryside or around some of the national parks, you shouldn’t have any trouble, but I admit I don’t know that for sure.

    Use your instincts. If somebody or a place gives you bad vibes, stop hitching and take the bus.

    Onward Travel from Honduras

    Getting in and out of Honduras is relatively easy since there are many long-distance bus operators. What is easy may not always be fun though. The distances can be quite tedious as the long-distance buses never travel fast, stop often, and are prone to breaking down.

    I took a 12-passenger shuttle bus from La Ceiba to Leon, Nicaragua. The journey took 16 hours non-stop and was one of the most uncomfortable rides of my life. Plus it was something like $80 USD!!

    Backpacking Nicaragua budget travel guide
    Nicaragua isn’t far from Honduras!

    I thought my partner at the time was going to totally freak out; she couldn’t take it anymore. I also thought the driver was going to fall asleep at the wheel for sure, but at 2 am, we made it!

    You can also cross overland to Guatemala or El Salvador! Check out our guide on Backpacking Central America if you are planning a long trip across multiple countries.

    Flying is always the most comfortable option, though the prices are so high it can be hard to justify it. Do some flight research; you never know when you will find a good deal.

    Working in Honduras

    Picking up a little work in Honduras is a bit complicated. All of the young foreigners I met “living” in Honduras who were working in some capacity were doing so on a tourist visa (so in other words, illegally).

    There are some opportunities to be had here though – pretty much exclusively on the Bay Islands. Some people come to Honduras to get their scuba certification, fall in love with scuba diving (or their instructor), and then end up staying to get their instructor certification – with the hopes of eventually finding a paid gig leading scuba dives for clients.

    The Bay Islands are awash with foreign scuba instructors, but there is always a chance one of the operators will hire you after you do your full instructor course with them. The pay won’t be great, but you will probably make enough to cover some of your accommodation and food while living the scuba dream.

    There are also work-exchange opportunities in some of the ex-pat bars on Utila as well.

    Digital nomads will find the Bay Islands to be a great base for a little while (if you can find a good internet connection).

    Internet in Honduras

    Internet in Honduras is pretty hit or miss. I found the WiFi to be pretty slow on Utila and in other parts of the country, though I imagine going into 2021 the situation will be better than when I was there. If you have recent experience with the internet on Utila, let us know in the comments!

    To be frank, I wasn’t using the internet much in Honduras. Since my phone was stolen in a knife-attack robbery in Guatemala, I did not have any device with me to regularly check-in online. It was fantastic.

    In rural areas, don’t expect there to be much internet of any quality. You will find the best wifi in the whole country in the two big cities, San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa.

    Make Money Online Whilst Backpacking Honduras

    will laptopKeen to live the digital nomad dream while traveling the world? Who the hell isn’t?

    Teaching English online is a great way to earn a consistent income on the road. Depending on your qualifications, you can work remotely from your laptop and make a positive impact on the world! It’s a win-win!

    Check out this detailed article for everything you need to know to start teaching English online.

    Teaching English in Honduras

    Finding paid English teaching gigs in Honduras are not unheard of – but one needs to have realistic expectations. If you end up teaching in a school, the wages will be modest and you might not make enough to properly live on. This will need to be a passion project endeavor – though I imagine the experience would be truly special.

    You will need some qualifications however.

    teach english online

    In addition to giving you the qualifications to teach English online, TEFL courses open up a huge range of opportunities and you can find teaching work all over the world. To find out more about TEFL courses and how you can teach English around the world, read my in-depth report on teaching English abroad.

    Broke Backpacker readers get a 35% discount on TEFL courses with MyTEFL (simply enter the code BACKPKR), to find out more, please read my in-depth report on teaching English abroad.

    Volunteer in Honduras

    My first ever major international travel trip on my own was when I was 16 – and I went to Honduras. I ended up volunteering in an orphanage outside of San Pedro Sula for a few weeks. The experience was sobering to say the least – but I made some genuine connections with some of the boys living there and I felt like a made a difference with my work. Plus we played a TON of football every day.

    Volunteering abroad is an amazing way to experience a culture whilst helping your host community. There are plenty of different volunteer projects in Honduras including teaching, construction, agriculture and pretty much anything.

    Honduras is one of the least developed countries in Central America so there is a high demand for volunteers. English teaching and social work are areas where you can make a huge difference to local communities. Other opportunities include hospitality, conservation, and web development. You don’t need a visa to volunteer in Honduras for less than 90 days, but longer stays may have specific requirements depending on the work you’re doing.

    If you want to find volunteering opportunities in Honduras, then we recommend that you Signup for Worldpackers –  a volunteer platform that connects local hosts directly with traveling volunteers. As a Broke Backpacker reader, you’ll also get a special discount of $10 when you sign up. Just use the discount code BROKEBACKPACKER and your membership is discounted from $49 a year to only $39.

    Volunteer programs run through reputable work exchange programs like Worldpackers are usually very well-managed and reputable. However, whenever you are volunteering, do stay vigilant especially when working with animals or children.

    Worldpackers: connecting travellers with meaningful travel experiences.

    What to Eat in Honduras

    Hondurans know how to make tasty food! Here are some of my favorite Honduran traditional foods to try:

    Baleadas honduras
    A montage of awesome.

    Baleadas: The perfect eat anytime snack or meal. Baleadas are fucking delicious creations that are basically large soft tacos filled with avocado, meat, egg, and cheese. You should probably eat at least one per day.

    Pastelitos de Care: When I first try one of these savory meat pies, it reminded me of something I ate in Tunisia, of all places. It was the raisins! Pastelitos contain the perfect balance of meat, wine, raisins, onions and spices to keep your mouth watering for more.

    Pupusas: Now people from El Salvador will argue that the Pupusa comes from their country, and Hondurans vice versa. I say who the hell cares? Let’s eat pupusas!

    Tacos: Outside of Mexico, Honduran tacos are my favorite tacos in Central America.

    Black Bean Soup: A traditional soup that tastes a bit like American Chili minus the cumin.

    Fried or BBQ Fish: When you are on the coast or around Lake Yojoa, eating some variation of fried or BBQ fish is mandatory!

    Horchata: A creamy, rice-based beverage spiced with cinnamon and loads of sugar. I love horchata so much that I make a huge batch a few times a year no matter where I am.

    Johnny Cakes: When in Utila, Johnny Cakes are a staple in the diet of any dedicated scuba diver. They are basically just biscuits (American biscuits, not British cookies) topped with whatever is on hand. I am an egg-ham-and cheese man myself.

    Honduran Culture

    When the opportunity presents itself, I highly recommend you get to know some locals! You have to be able to speak some Spanish to connect with people as English is not commonly spoken in Honduras (outside of the Bay Islands). So study up, gringo (or non-Spanish speaking folks who don’t identify as gringos)!

    A majority of the population of Honduras are of mixed Spanish and indigenous origin (Mestizo). The rest of the country’s demographic is made up of several main ethnic groups.

    These prominent indigenous groups are:

    backpacking honduras
    Honduran people love their cowboy hats.
    • Ch’orti’: A Mayan group living in the northwest on the border with Guatemala;
    • Garifuna: A community originating from Africa and the West Indies speaking a Carib language.
    • Pech or Paya Indians: From a small area in the Olancho department;
    • Tolupan: Primarily living in the Department of Yoro and in the reserve of the Montaña de la Flor.
    • Lenca Indians: A group from the western highlands of Intibuca, Lempira, La Paz, Valle and Choluteca departments.
    • Miskito Indians:  Northeast coast group in the Gracias A Dios department.

    Useful Travel Phrases for Honduras

    Learning a bit of Spanish is a great way to get the most out of your trip. When I became fluent in Spanish, it really changed the way I was able to travel around Central America and beyond. It is such a useful language to know! You can speak it in over 20 countries!

    Below are some useful Spanish phrases for backpacking Honduras. While most people speak English in the Bay Islands – which was a British colony for a long time by the way – for everywhere else pretty much – knowing a little Spanish will carry you a long way!

    Hola = Hello

    ¿Cómo está(s)? = How are you?

    Mucho gusto = Nice to meet you

    Estoy bien = I’m fine

    Por favor = Please

    Gracias = Thank you

    De nada/Con gusto = You’re welcome

    ¿Cuánto? = How much?

    Adiós = Goodbye  

    Sin bolsa de plastico = No plastic bag

    No paja por favor = No straw please

    No hay cubiertos de plástico por favor = No plastic cutlery please

    Lo siento = I’m sorry

    ¿Dónde está el baño? = Where is the bathroom?

    ¿Qué es esto? = What’s this?

    Quiero un taco/una cerveza. = I want a taco/a beer.

    ¡Salud! = Cheers! 

    Books to Read when Backpacking in Honduras

    Here are some of my favorite books set in Honduras:

    • Lost City of the Monkey God — In 2012, author Douglas Preston joined a team of explorers searching for Ciudad Blanca (“The White City”), a legendary ruin hidden in the dense jungle of eastern Honduras. This book reveals the socio-political consequences that such a discovery brought upon a country like Honduras.
    • Enrique’s Journey — “An astonishing story that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about immigration reform in the United States.” Powerful and important to understanding the current situation in Honduras.
    • Madness is Better Than Defeat — “Shot through with intrigue, ingenuity, and adventure, and showcasing Beauman’s riotous humor, spectacular imagination, and riveting prose, Madness Is Better Than Defeat is a novel without parallel: inventive, anarchic, and delightfully insane.”
    • Reinterpreting the Banana Republic — A sobering new analysis of Honduran social and political development over the last century.
    • Lonely Planet Honduras — For all of the stuff not covered by me here in this guide.
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    A Brief History of Honduras

    From the great Mayan civilization to colonization, pirates, rum runners, slaves, and years of political unrest, Honduras’ past is as complicated as its present moment. Let’s take a look at some of the major events that shaped Honduras.

    1502: Honduras was first “discovered” by Europeans when Christopher Columbus arrived at the Bay Islands on July 30th 1502 on his fourth voyage to this part of the world. On the 14 of August 1502, Columbus landed on the mainland near modern Trujillo.

    Columbus named the country Honduras (meaning “depths”) for the deep waters off its coast.

    1536: During the period leading up to the conquest of Honduras by Pedro de Alvarado, many indigenous people along the north coast of Honduras were captured and taken as slaves to work on Spain’s Caribbean plantations, mostly sugar cane fields. It wasn’t until Alvarado defeated the indigenous resistance headed by Çocamba near Ticamaya that the Spanish began to conquer the country in 1536.

    Fast forward a few centuries.

    1821: Honduras declared independence from Spain.

    1920 -1923: Seventeen uprisings or attempted coups in Honduras contributed to the United States’ growing concern over political instability in Central America.

    1932-49 – Honduras is now under right-wing National Party of Honduras (PNH) dictatorship led by General Tiburcio Carias Andino.

    backpacking honduras
    Tegucigalpa in the 1920s. Photo: Vintage Everyday.

    Late 20th Century Honduras

    1969 – Brief but costly war with El Salvador over heavy immigration and disputed border.

    1981 – Roberto Suazo Cordova of the centrist Liberal Party of Honduras (PLH) is elected president, leading the first civilian government in more than a century.

    But armed forces chief General Gustavo Alvarez retains considerable power and Honduras becomes embroiled in various regional conflicts. US-run camps for training Salvadorans in counterinsurgency are set up on Honduran territory.

    1982 – US-backed Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries, or Contras, launch operations to bring down Nicaragua’s Sandinista government from Honduran territory.

    1982-83 – General Alvarez responds to increasing political unrest by ordering the detention of trade union activists and left-wing sympathizers. Death squads are allegedly used to eliminate subversive elements.

    2002 January – Honduras re-establishes diplomatic ties with Cuba which it severed in 1961 when Cuba was expelled from Organisation of American States.

    2012 May – Thousands march to protest the wave of violence against journalists – more than 20 of whom have been killed in the past three years.

    Some Unique Experiences in Honduras

    Backpacking Honduras is so special because it is an off the beaten path country in a complicated part of the world. Getting to know what makes Honduras tick is half the fun of backpacking here.

    The people in Honduras have seen hard times in recent years, but there is a certain determination in their spirt and a deep desire to make their country drive once more.

    Backpackers who get to know Honduras fall in love with the country’s food, people, islands, mountains, and jungles. In Honduras, the good times just keep rollin’.

    Trekking in Honduras

    Trekking in Honduras has the potential to have a fully developed industry, but as of now, most backpackers are limited to day hikes rather than full-on multi-day trekking.

    Depending on your motivation and keenness to get out and explore, there are plenty of hiking opportunities in Honduras if you know where to look. Let’s take a look at some of the best treks/hikes in Honduras…

    Cusuco National Park: Located near the legendary Mayan city of Copan, Cusuco National Park is a great place to discover some of Honduras’ amazing wildlife. Waterfalls, impressive flora, and the Taulabe Caves all make Cusuco an accessible hiking destination in Honduras.

    Montaña de Celaque
    Beautiful cloud forest on a trek through the Montaña de Celaque region.

    Montaña de Celaque National Park: Here you can tackle Honduras’ tallest mountain: Cerro Las Minas. Once you start to climb into the cloud forest’s altitude, the weather cools and you begin to feel a freshness that you haven’t felt since you entered Honduras. Camping within the park is possible and in fact, there are even campgrounds! Campamento Don Tomas, El Naranjo, and El Quetzal are the three main campsites found along the hike to/from Cerro Las Minas. Hiring a guide isn’t really necessary as the trail is well marked once you find it.

    Pico La Picucha in Olancho: Another stunning area of the cloud forest variety. Be prepared for the weather though as it rains here more than it doesn’t. Also, you are almost guaranteed to not see any other hikers, so enjoy this slice of Honduran heaven.

    Hikes around Las Marias/Rio Platano: There are a number of treks I have heard about in the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve. I did not personally tackle these treks, but I hear good things. It is possible to arrange 2-4 day treks here—which I’m sure would be very impressive as the whole rest of the Rio Platano is bloody gorgeous.

    Scuba Diving in Honduras

    The Bay Islands are sitting on top of the 2nd largest great barrier reef in the world: The Great Mesoamerican Reef.

    As you now know, I am a big fan of the scuba diving scene in Utila. In fact, I think if you asked backpackers why they chose to come to Honduras, most would tell you that diving is the main reason. Cheap beer, affordable diving, island living… what the hell is not to like?

    scuba diving in honduras
    Honduras has some of the best and cheapest scuba diving in the Caribbean.

    Whether you have five days or five months, the scuba diving in Honduras and the associated backpacker community that has swelled around the sport has certainly formed Honduras into a world-class diving destination… and a bit of scuba diving is not to be missed!

    In Utila, the dive/backpacker scene is easily half the draw of the place, but for a more diving focused trip, there are essentially endless options to be found off the coast of all of the Bay Islands. That is if you have the money to hire a boat to take you out.

    With boat transport, you can reach some truly untouched, spectacular dive sites in the more remote parts of the Bay Islands. Buena Suerte!

    Surfing in Honduras

    The Honduras coast and its geography do not make for good waves. There isn’t really any consistent quality surf breaks here. Head to Nicaragua or Costa Rica and you will find all the surf you need.

    Stick to diving in Honduras!

    backpacking honduras
    For surfing, better to head to Nicaragua or Costa Rica instead.
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    Final Advice Before Visiting Honduras

    In Honduras and especially the Bay Islands, there is no shortage of occasions or opportunities in which to get down. I am all for people having a good time and letting loose. That said, don’t drink so much that you embarrass yourself, your country, and everyone within 100 feet of you.

    I am far from innocent. There have been many times during my travels where I let myself and the situation get out of hand. It’s easy to do! With all the booze around in Honduras, it doesn’t take much before you do something that you will later regret. Ah, the hangovers while scuba diving.

    Go to Honduras and have the time of your life, do the things you’ve dreamed of, but be respectful along the way. Traveling the world makes you an ambassador for your country, which is awesome.

    backpacking honduras
    Honduras is a beautiful country, please do your part to keep it that way and have an awesome time backpacking here!

    Try to limit or eliminate your consumption of plastic and single-use containers as much as possible. When I was traveling around Central America, I simply bought a cheap bowl, carried it with me, and would just have street vendors fill it.

    We can have a positive impact on people when we travel and get rid of ugly stereotypes that may be associated with our countries… Climbing on ancient Mayan temple walls, monuments, or other historical artifacts should be avoided. Duh! Learn to appreciate the cultural treasures of Honduras and don’t be that asshole who adds to their demise.

    Happy travels amigos…


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