Honduras, a Central American republic that is smaller than most states in the United States, is fairly new to big tourism, but its wealth of Mayan ruins, beautiful beaches and lush rain forests is steadily luring more outdoor lovers to the region. The country, which is warm year-round, is bordered by Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua and two bodies of water--the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific to the south.
Beaches and Islands
Honduras' Bay Islands--Roatan, Guanaja, Utila and the Cayos Cochinos--are the most popular attractions and have the best resorts and hotels. They offer diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking and white sand beaches. The diving is especially exciting because the islands are surrounded by the world's second-largest barrier reef.
The Copan Ruins Archaeological Park in the city of Copan near the Guatemalan border is home to what is considered one of the best pre-Columbian cities in Central America. It comprises buildings, sculptures and hieroglyphics.
Eastern Honduras is known for the lush rain forests of its Mosquito Coast. The Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve is part of the largest rain forest north of the Amazon River. Eco-hiking and boat rides there are highlights of many tourists' visit.
The capital of Honduras is Tegucigalpa, and the largest city is Santa Rosa de Copan. Trujillo has an interesting pirate history and La Ceiba, a major banana port, is a lively city and home to popular festivals.
Though Honduras has rebuilt its infrastructure since Hurricane Mitch devastated it in 1998, poverty and drug- and gang-related crimes remain problematic, especially in cities. Check with the U.S. Department of State's travel advisory website before traveling.