Spotlight on Honduras
Honduras is the original banana republic, but travel there is easy, enjoyable and inexpensive. The slow pace, natural beauty and low-profile tourism make it particularly appealing to travelers who enjoy getting off the beaten track. Honduras is the second biggest country in Central America. It has colonial villages (Gracias, Comayagua), ancient Mayan ruins (Copan), natural parks (Moskitia), and a Pacific and Caribbean coastline and the Bay Islands, with great beaches and coral reefs where snorkeling and diving are exceptional by any standard.
Roatan Island - Lush Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands that lie some 30 miles off the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Roatan is 40 miles long and 4 miles wide and offers a friendly and laid-back setting. Here you can enjoy the superb Tabyana beach at West Bay, the beautiful Half Moon Bay, 'Dolphin Encounters' at Anthony's Key Resort and snorkeling and diving amid the Western Hemisphere's most spectacular underwater reefs. The underwater environment is rich and extensive; reefs surround the islands, often within swimming distance of the shore. Caves and caverns are a common feature, with a wide variety of sponge and the best collection of pillar coral in the Caribbean. Several parts have been proposed as marine reserves.
Bahia de Omoa – Omoa is one of the oldest towns in Honduras that played an important role in the history of Honduras, especially during colonial times. This area of the country is of stunning beauty thanks to the impressive Merendon mountain range backbone to this part of the cost. Visit the massive fortress of San Fernando de Omoa, national monument, built by Spaniards centuries ago to protect the coast and shipments of silver bound from mines of Tegucigalpa to Spain from the continuous attacks of British pirates. A mute testimony of Honduras's colonial past, the fort's green gardens, humid rooms and massive walls will make fantasies turn to a time in the past, when pirates still roamed the Caribbean Sea. There are also very pleasant waterfalls nearby. In addition to their natural beauty, they have some very pleasant refreshing swimming holes.
Coxen Hole (also called Roatan) is the capital of the Bay Islands that lie 30 miles off the Caribbean coast of Honduras, an archipelago patchwork that is the remains of an ancient submerged volcanic mountain range. It is located on the largest island, lush Roatan and offers a friendly and laid-back setting. Here you can enjoy the superb beach at West Bay, 'Dolphin Encounters' at Anthony's Key Resort and snorkeling and diving amid the Western Hemisphere's most spectacular underwater reefs. You can also take an excursion to visit Tikal, the ceremonial centre of the ancient Maya civilization, lying in a tropical rainforest 19 miles north of Lake Petén Itzá in Guatemala. The underwater environment is rich and extensive; reefs surround the islands, often within swimming distance of the shore. Caves and caverns are a common feature, with a wide variety of sponge and the best collection of pillar coral in the Caribbean.
Guanaja Island - Completely surrounded by dramatic reefs, Guanaja once served ancient Mayan and Payan Indians as a sacred and spiritual paradise. The lush island of Guanaja is the only Bay Island to boast mountains high enough to support a true river and scenic waterfalls. Unlike the other two islands, Guanaja remains the hidden treasure of the Caribbean. Besides attracting divers, anglers and adventure travelers with its tropical jungles, pure white sand and teeming reefs, Guanaja has also captured hearts of jetsetters, including international architects and world famous archaeologists/treasure divers, who have made the island their home or home away from home. Unlike the other Bay Islands, all transportation is by boat, adding to the island’s charm. Guanaja houses three small villages, Savannah Bight, Mangrove Bight, and “Bonacca Town” (Lo Cay). Christened “The Venice of the Caribbean” by author Jane Houlson (Blue Blaze 1934), “Bonacca” rises out of the sea, forming a 17-acre stilted town a few hundred meters offshore and is home to 75% of Guanaja’s population.
Puerto Cortes is the principal port of Central America, and its port facilities are most advanced. The town has a very attractive central park. The municipal beach is a big attraction on weekends and holidays. The Saturday farmer's market draws big crowds of shoppers, tons of fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats from local producers. From Puerto Cortes there is a partially paved road to the west taking you to Chivana, Omoa, Cuyamel, other small ocean side villages, and Guatemala. It's a great drive, mountains on the left and ocean on the right. There are many beach homes belonging to upper crust folks from other parts of Honduras scattered among the local villages and homes.