Balancing on the edge of the Caribbean sea, Honduras is a highly under-the-radar Central American country, only really known for it's high-quality coffee beans, tropical fruit plantations and endless swathes of sweet sugar cane fields. Now, more and more this hidden gem is making its way to the top to compete with the big guys. With its dense forests and envy-inducing sandy specs scattered across the sea that make up the bay islands - Honduras is fast becoming a vacation destination force to be reckoned with.
Itzama - Pico Bonito - $$$
Nothing is Honduras is really "pricey," especially compared to many other tropical destinations. Itzama at the Lodge at Pico Bonito is no exception. The food is reasonably priced with a wide range of drink selections including local beers, a choice of cocktails and wine. The newly renovated, rustic-chic Itzama offers Meso-American cuisine using fresh seafood and locally grown herbs and vegetables. Try the Honduran specialties, like coconut milk curry seafood soup and medallions of beef dusted with coffee and cacao. The food is only matched by the incredible surroundings and natural beauty.
Roatan Oasis - Roatan - $$
Great service, great prices, spectacular food and evening entertainment, what else could you ask for? If you're an oyster fan, then this is the place for you. Fresh Honduran oysters are brought in and served raw on the half shell. Try the ribs or the tiki masala, and make sure you save some room for dessert. Key lime pie and the snickers ice cream sandwich are always a huge hit.
Chachauate - Cayo Cochinos - $
A tiny island of a just few hundred people, no electricity or water. The residents rely on the small boats of visitors that pass by every day looking for lunch. Stop off here to eat and watch the fisherman head out on their wooden canoes and bring back nets packed with scrambling fish for the villagers to fry. None of the huts on the island have names, but they all come essentially the same dishes, fish with rice and beans and plantain. Because the food is so fresh, it Chachauate just might have some of the best red snapper you have ever tasted. Aside form the food, the tiny island is the definition of paradise. It is surrounded by a dream-like, bone-white sand beach and aquamarine waters.
The Lodge at Pico Bonito - $$$
After you land in La Ceiba, take a short drive into Pico Bonito, and up some windy, picturesque roads to find The Lodge. The main area of this luxurious, eco-lodge is absolutely stunning, with everything made from rich mahogany wood, you'll find that the property is everything that an eco-lodge should be. The grounds are wonderfully landscaped and each private bungalow is beautiful and spacious. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with local options, to international favourites. Take a dip in the pool or wander around the surreal surroundings, you may even hear the rushing of the nearby waterfalls. With the highest point of Pico Bonito soaring through the clouds in the distance, you'll be amazed by the natural beauty and exotic creatures at The Lodge.
Turtle Bay - Cayos Cochinos - $$
You'll need to take a short boat ride to reach Cayos Cochinos, but you'll be happy you did. You'll be greeted by friendly staff who will offer you a tropical drink as soon as you step off the boat. You'll then be escorted to your spacious ocean-front room at Turtle Bay, perched in the hills of one of the small, nearly deserted island. You'll have plenty of time to relax, but also time to enjoy what is truly special about Cayos Cochinos - the environment and pure stillness. Spend an afternoon diving in one of the most beautiful and untouched spots in the Caribbean.
Seagrape Plantation Resort - Roatan - $
This is the spot to come to if you're seeking some relaxation and a bit of diving. Roatan is known for its incredible, clear-water diving, being home to the second largest barrier reef on the planet. So strap on your fins and get exploring. When back on dry land, this little resort offers the best bang for you buck. You'll have access to the pool area, and a recently opened restaurant. The location is also great, just a few minutes walk into West End, where you can find shops, more food and a bit of entertainment.
Dive or Snorkel
Honduras is home to the second largest barrier reef on earth. Take advantage of this. Charter a boat out to the reef and strap on a tank or just float on the surface with a snorkel. You'll find the waters saturated with tangerine coloured fish and bright corals. You'll probably encounter a turtle or two, and possible some larger fish like rays or sharks. The water's visibility is crystal clear and you wont need a wetsuit, as it's warm all year round.
Sambo Creek Canopy Tour and Spa
This attraction offers what it claims, and so much more. The canopy tour starts with a drive up to the top of the hill, where you are hooked up with a harness and gloves. From there, you'll zip line across the lush, dense hillside, where the view opens up over the rushing waterfalls and the tree tops. When you're done, you can relax in the hot springs that trickle down the mountainside. If you're up for the whole treatment, have a mud bath and a massage to really unwind.
Cayos Cochinos is comprised of two main islands and about thirteen or so cays, which are tiny strips of land. Each one of these are special and unique in their own way. These deserted-island style spots you can explore or just see from the boat. The beaches are gloriously powdery and shimmering with the limp waters lapping against the shore. If you're lucky you might even spot one of the world's most rarest snakes, the pink boa constricta.
Honduras is one of the Central American countries that is steeped in a fascinating Mayan history. The ruins, just outside of Copan, are a popular with tourists, and its for good reason. Go early to avoid crowds, you'll hear how the Mayan civilization rose to prominence before dramatically collapsing, and you'll be able to wander the grounds freely. Bring some sunscreen, you could spend hours out in the sun, but it will be well worth the trip. make sure you don't forget your camera, as these ruins are truly stunning.