Located in the middle of Central America and known for its banana and pineapple fields, Honduras is the perfect destination for everyone from those looking for a long weekend to full-time travelers and digital nomads looking for a place to stay awhile. The country is full of beautiful hidden gems from ancient ruins to pristine islands. You will love the beauty of this country and exploring all it has to offer. These are the 15 most beautiful places to visit in Honduras…
Roatan – one of the most stunning places to visit in Honduras
Located just off the north coast of Honduras, Roatan is a popular destination for vacationers and tourists. For good reason too! With crystal clear water and excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities, Roatan easily becomes one of the most beautiful places in Honduras.
Once you get to Roatan, there are many stunning beaches where you can swim or just sunbathe. You can rent snorkel gear and explore the many coral reefs off the coast. The island offers a unique Caribbean experience complete with beach bars and delicious local cuisine.
Roatan is a stop on many cruise ship routes and the infrastructure of the island is more established than the mainland. Roatan is also a popular destination for digital nomads and ex-pats who are looking for a beautiful and affordable destination. As a result, Roatan is one of the safest areas in Honduras and English is commonly spoken on the island making it easy for travelers to communicate and get around.
Utila – a truly picturesque beauty spot in Honduras
If you’re looking for a more secluded island than the popular Roatan, Utila is the place. Arguably more beautiful than Roatan, Utila is an island just southwest of Roatan known for its amazing snorkeling and diving spots with over 24 dive spots around the island. The most popular dive site is the Black Coral Wall and a place you’ll have to experience if you visit the island.
Life on Utila is a little slower and you’ll definitely experience island time here. There are many places to stay just off the beach and the island is a great place to spend a long weekend to relax and soak in the sun on beautiful white-sand beaches and do a little snorkeling.
Copan Ruins – impressive archaeological remains of the ancient Mayan civilization
The Copan Ruins are probably one of the most famous places in Honduras. The ruins were declared an Archaeological World Heritage Site in 1980 by UNESCO. Discovered in 1570, Copan is an ancient Mayan city dating back to 427 A.D. The beauty of the ruins is evident as soon as you enter the site.
The ruins feature statues and engravings of intricate detail that are stunning considering the period they were engraved. With pyramids and other structures still standing after 1500 years, Copan is one of the most important sites of the Mayan culture.
Cayos Cochinos – one of the best places to explore in Honduras
The Cayos Cochinos are gorgeous pristine islands off the north coast. They are only accessible via boat from Roatan, Utila, or La Ceiba. Part of a marine reserve since 1994 the surrounding coral is teeming with marine wildlife.
The islands are between the mainland of Honduras and Roatan. There are no roads or cars on the islands and only a few are inhabited. Some of the most beautiful beaches in Honduras can be found here. The coral reef off these islands is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the second largest coral reef in the world.
As the islands are in a marine reserve, they are very protected and patroled to ensure compliance. Much of the area is off-limits to tourists with Cayo Grande being the main island open to tourists.
The largest lake in Honduras, Lake Yojoa, is surrounded by national parks and backdropped by gorgeous mountains and forests. The area around the lake is home to over 400 species of birds. When you visit be sure and look up to see the many different colorful species of birds.
The lake is situated along the route between the capital, Tegucigalpa, and the second-largest city, San Pedro Sula. It is the perfect picturesque rest stop when traveling between the Pacific Coast and the north coast of Honduras.
Cusuco National Park
Cusuco National Park is located near San Pedro Sula and is a remote national park that is relatively unknown to most locals. The park covers an area of 234 square kilometers. Some mountain peaks are above 2,000 meters and the views from these points, and the trek up the mountain, are stunning. Clouds in the area often sit low, just above the forest, and from the high points in the park you’re above the clouds. When you look out across the park from these points, you’ll often just see the mountains poking out above the clouds.
Being remote, it is recommended you take a guide from a local tour operator out of San Pedro Sula. The main attraction is hiking but the magnificent views make the hiking worth it!
Jeannette Kawas National Park
Another beautiful national park near San Pedro Sula is the Jeannette Kawas National Park. It is one of the more popular parks in the area as it is accessible from land and sea. This park is on the north coast and the coastline is gorgeous! The peninsula at the tip of the park jutting into the Caribbean Sea is very rocky. Listening to the sound of the sea beating against the rocks and the view of Utila in the distance is quite a tranquil scene.
The coast isn’t the only thing to see in this park. It also includes over 781 square kilometers of jungle and marsh that are just as beautiful as the coastline. There are plenty of opportunities to hike and explore what the jungle has to offer.
Pico Bonito National Park
You’re probably not going to find a more beautiful place in Honduras than Pico Bonito National Park. Located just outside La Ceiba on the north coast, there is so much to see and do here! This park is popular among adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts and is the fastest-growing park in terms of tourism in Honduras.
Deep in the rain forest, the mountains are steep, rugged, and reach up to 2,480 meters. There are many tour agencies and lodges in the area and almost all of them offer white water rafting and jungle zip-lining through the rain forest. Both activities offer spectacular views and heart-racing excitement. This park is truly a gem and something you’ll want to experience.
Celaque National Park
Celaque National Park is located in western Honduras and includes the tallest peak in the country. This is one of the more mountainous regions of Honduras and the terrain is very rugged. But that ruggedness leads to its beauty! Like La Tigra, much of this park is considered to be a cloud forest as well.
The hiking trails in this park are well maintained. There are also serviced camping facilities in this park. The biodiversity of the forest is immense with over 1550 species of plants and 287 different species of birds. There are several waterfalls in the park that make perfect swimming holes at the end of a long hike.
Once one of the most influential cities in Honduras, Comayagua is known for its colonial architecture. Located on the route between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, Comayagua is one of Honduras’ most beautiful cities. The most notable buildings are all downtown and include the Spanish Baroque cathedral, several churches, and the first university in Central America. The buildings were all built during the 16th century and have been restored to their original state.
There are many waterfalls in Honduras – you practically trip over them – so believe me when I say Pulhapanzak Waterfall is not one you want to miss. Pulhapanzak is the largest waterfall in Honduras, and at 43 meters, it is almost as high as the Niagara Falls in New York. Located deep in the rain forest near Lake Yojoa the falls are spectacular.
You can explore the falls by yourself and swim in the pools below the waterfall. However, to go behind the waterfall you will need a guide. Going behind the falls is an intense experience and well worth the guide. If you’re in the area, you’ll want to stop and see the falls.
La Tigra National Park
Closer to the capital, Tegucigalpa, is the La Tigra National Park. It was the first national park in Honduras and is one of the highest. Located in the mountains, the park is above 1,800 meters and is a cloud forest. With only 1% of forests in the world considered a cloud forest, it is one of the few cloud forests in the world.
The majority of the time the forest is shrouded in clouds giving off an eerie feel. The forest is filled with wildlife, including pumas if you are lucky enough to get a glimpse of one. There are eight hiking trails and you can enter the park from Jutiapa or El Rosario.
Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve
Another beautiful area, almost untouched, is the Rio Platono Biosphere Reserve. At over 5,250 square kilometers, it is the largest protected area in Honduras and one of the most remote areas in Central America. The reserve is home to many different species of plants and animals, including a few threatened or endangered species such as the Jaguar and Mexican Spider Monkey. There are also 2,000 inhabitants are living in this reserve who have maintained their centuries-old traditional way of life.
It was placed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1982. Located in northeastern Honduras, the area is largely undeveloped, and rivers the main thoroughfares of the reserve. Several tour companies offer guided tours of parts of the reserve.
Another beautiful site in northeastern Honduras is the Talgua Caves. The caves are home to the oldest known burial site in Central America. Mineral deposits over the years dropped on the remains and caused the bones to appear as if they were glowing. The cave is sometimes called “The Cave of the Glowing Skulls” because of this.
Due to vandalism over the years, much of the cave is not open to tourists. However, you can hike and explore about 500 meters of the cave, although the cave goes much farther than that. The part of the cave where the bones are located is not open to the public.
Lancetilla Botanical Gardens
Located on the north coast near Jeannette Kawas National Park, is the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens. Founded in 1925 by the United Fruit Company, it is Honduras’ only botanical garden. There are two sections of this garden. One is the arboretum and the other is a tropical forest preserve.
The garden includes hundreds of different species of plants and there is a natural bamboo tunnel that is absolutely fantastical to walk through. It is also a great location for bird watching, with over 331 species of birds found there. If you are in the area, it is worth the stop.
Written by Phillip is a digital nomad with his wife, Bridgette, and two kids, Hope and Archer. He blogs at The Coddiwomple Life where he helps other families live their dreams and travel the world as digital nomads.