Honduras is a fantastic destination filled with natural sites and fun attractions that are perfect for an exciting getaway. Found in the corner of Central America, Honduras is the second-largest country there and offers a great vacation at a low cost. The best weather is between February and March, when the weather is warm and more predictable – the rest of the year is prone to sudden rains. Even so, the rainy weather is also a great time to see the country’s lush tropical rainforests come to life. Attractions that shouldn’t be missed include the Bay Islands Underwater Museum, the beaches of Cayos Cochinos, and Copan Ruinas Archaeological Park.
1.Bay Islands Underwater Museum
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A museum like no other, Bay Islands Underwater Museum takes visitors on a journey beneath the warm waters of Roatán. Filled with tropical wildlife and historical artifacts, the museum tells a story of the local marine life and the history of the Garifunas, the Mayans, and Spanish settlers. Just beneath the surface, visitors will be able to see a Spanish galleon, canoes, statues, and even a Mayan cemetery. In addition to the historic pieces, visitors will come face to face with an array of animals such as stingrays, turtles, and a collection of tropical fish.
Main Road Sandy Bay, Roatán 34101, Honduras, Phone: +5-04-94-77-45-11
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Carambola Gardens opened in 1985 after an inspiration by the lovely Lancetilla Gardens in Tela, Honduras. Situated along the banks of Mahogany Creek, Carambola Botanical Gardens showcases Honduras’ spectacular and varied flora to its visitors. Exploring the eco-friendly and 100% natural 40 acres of land, visitors will be able to see flowering plants, fruit and nut trees, ferns, hardwoods, and many native plants. Some of the more popular species of plants at the gardens are soursop, cashews, and carambolas themselves, which are also known as star fruits. Some fauna such as Guatusa rabbits, anole lizards, and black iguanas can also be seen while exploring the gardens.
Carambola Gardens Rd, Sandy Bay, Honduras, Phone: +5-04-24-45-31-17
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Found on the northern shores of Honduras, Cayos Cochinos are a group of small islands and coral cays situated 30 kilometers off the coast. There are a little over a hundred residents on the stunning and secluded lands. There are many tour companies that offer visitors day trips to to the islands; once there, visitors can explore so much, including a part of the second largest coral system in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Other aspects that shouldn’t be missed include the beaches on Cayo Grande, the scenic jungles, and a lighthouse on the highest point of the island. Visitors can also take part in diving, snorkeling, and sunbathing while on the islands. The archipelago is a unique retreat and lets visitors get away from the sounds and crowds on the mainland.
4.Celaque National Park
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Celaque National Park was established in 1987 and is the sight of Cerro Las Minas, or Pico Celaque, which is Honduras’ tallest peak. The rugged lands are classified as a cloud forest, and within it visitors will find a diverse collection of flora and fauna unique to Honduras. Visitors will be able to see coffee plantations and others forms of agriculture on Celaque’s pristine slopes. Some of the animals that can be seen while exploring the park include ocelots, pumas, and Bolitoglossa celaque, which is a unique salamander that is endemic to Honduras.
5.Cerro Azul Meambar National Park
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Cerro Azul Meambar National Park was established in 1987 and is home to a number of biodiverse ecosystems and animal species because of its range of elevation. Other than being the home, or host, of hundreds of migratory bird species, the national park also has jaguars, howler monkeys, and various other mammals as residents. There are orchids, bromeliads, and many other plants that can be seen in the varying geographic conditions. Visitors can hire local guides and gain an insight into the park’s history as well as be able to see magnificent views of the Sula Valley, Yojoa Lake, and much more.
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Found in western Honduras, Copan is an archaeological site remnant from the Maya civilization. Copan was occupied for over 2,000 years, dating back to the Early Pre-Classic period, and was once a major capital city. Visitors will be able to see the remains of Copan’s distinctive architecture. The UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises the remains of several buildings, a central plaza, pyramids, palaces, and a large court. Main features are the Acropolis, the Hieroglyphic Stairway, and Monument Plaza, which has a great many number of sculpted monuments. Visitors may even be able to see parts of the excavated tunnels beneath the Acropolis, revealing how complex the city really was.
7.El Cristo del Picacho
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El Cristo del Picacho is a 30-meter-high statue dedicated to the Christ of “The Picacho” and can be found inside United Nations Park. The monument was opened to the public in 1998 and weighs over 2,500 tons. The towering statue can be seen from almost anywhere in the surrounding town, but visitors can get up close to it from 8:30am to 4:30pm daily. Visitors will be able to learn all about the statue and Mario Zamora Alcantara, the famed Honduran sculptor who designed it. It’s a beautiful site to see when in Honduras.
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8.Cusuco National Park
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Established in 1959, Cusuco National Park comprises over 58,000 acres of protected area. The park is a part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot and visitors will be able to experience a great many habitats because of the elevational gradient within the park. Though visitors will come across many types of flora and fauna, key aspects include seeing the jewel scarab beetles and the rare dwarf forest habitat. Visitors get to walk right into the heart of Honduras and experience its beauty in a way that can’t be done from the capital. The park undertakes many efforts to protect the animals and their homes; visitors can learn all about how they’re doing so, among other sustainable practices they’ve implemented.
9.Fortress of San Fernando de Omoa
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The Fortress of San Fernando de Omoa was built between 1756 and 1775 to protect the city of Omoa off the Caribbean Sea coast of Honduras. The 18th-century Spanish fort measures over 4,400 square meters and was originally constructed to safeguard against pirates raiding the Atlantic Ocean. Funnily enough, the fortress was never attacked by pirates, but instead besieged by British forces, who held the fort for a few months and then abandoned it. Visitors can still see the craters on the fort’s walls that were created by British cannons. Visitors will also be able to see an extremely well-preserved Spanish royal coat of arms at the entrance.
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Found in Bay Islands, Honduras, Gumbalimba Park has a varied collection of attractions for visitors of all ages to enjoy. The 20-acre beachfront park comprises fun water activities including water sports such as scuba diving in the ocean. There is an animal preserve for visitors to enjoy with free-flying exotic birds, friendly monkeys, and many other animals. The park’s botanical gardens display a wide range of plants and tree species that are native to Honduras. After all the fun and excitement, visitors can buy gifts at the Coxen’s Cave gift shop or have a meal at one of the many poolside cafes.
West Bay, Honduras, Phone: +5-04-96-76-45-09
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Perhaps the largest single piece of text in the world, the Hieroglyphic Stairway is a 30-meter-high stairway covered in Mayan hieroglyphics. Found inside Copan Ruinas Archaeological Park, the epic stairway is a striking remnant of the Mayan civilization that lived there for over 400 years. Visitors can see nearly 2,000 glyphs etched into the staircase and get insights into the rich history of Mayan culture; the hieroglyphics tell a story of Copan’s royal history, identifying the names, births, and deaths of the many kings. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a beautiful sight to see and will be a favored memory from a trip to Honduras.
12.La Tigra National Park
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The first national park in Honduras, La Tigra was established in 1980 and covers nearly 240 square kilometers. Its indescribably natural beauty offers one of the most stunning views visitors in Honduras will see. There are many tour companies that offer safari tours of the park and its varied flora and fauna; there are over 200 species of migratory and resident birds, among other rare animals. The park has two visitor centers and two eco lodges; depending on the route taken, visitors will come across the Rosario’s Visitors’ Center, which also has a museum for visitors to explore.
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Lake Yojoa is the largest lake in Honduras and has a surface area of over 30 square miles. The lake is around 50 feet deep and lies in a depression formed by volcanoes; the volcanic field comprises craters, cones, and lava flows. Bordered by the mountains of Cerro Azul Meambar National Park and Santa Barbara National Park, the expansive lake is a beautiful sight to see. The surrounding area has a rich biodiversity with over 800 plant species and 400 bird species, some of which visitors are sure to come across. There’s a rest area for visitors to appreciate the views and dine on some amazing local cuisine, including fresh fried fish, at the many restaurants on the banks.
14.Lancetilla Botanical Gardens
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The Lancetilla Botanical Gardens and Research Center came to be in 1925, when they wanted to test the adaptability and marketability of plantains; today, the center has one of the largest and most diverse collection of plantains in the world. In addition to a great variety of plantains, the botanical gardens conserves and preserves much of Honduras’ flora and fauna. Visitors can explore both sections of the gardens: the Biological Reserve of virgin forest and the Wilson Popenoe Arboretum. In the biological reserve, visitors may come across many mammals, such as wild car, deer, howler monkeys, and pumas in the tropical humid forest. The arboretum has the largest collection of Asian fruit plants, including many rare and exotic species.
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Offering visitors the unique opportunity to explore the unspoiled lands of Honduras, Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Reserve is fun for the entire family no matter how young or old. Visitors can interact with the colorful, intelligent birds of Central America and learn fun facts about them. Often considered one of the most unforgettable experiences on a trip to Honduras, Macaw Mountains lets visitors carry parrots on their shoulders while listening to them talk. Visitors can get up close to many native butterflies in the tropical garden or horses in the stable. Other features include Old Growth Forest, which has a large collection of mahogany, Spanish cedar, and much more near freshwater springs and large boulders.
16.Montana Santa Barbara National Park
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Montana Santa Barbara National Park is a 50-square-mile national park that was established in 1987. The park is popular with locals and tourists who enjoy some moderate to strenuous hiking. The 4-hour hike has a gradual uphill that will take visitors through farm area before entering the forest. The atmosphere of the cloud forests is beautiful; crossing over streams and climbing over rocks, visitors will be able to see the diverse range of animals and plants that call the park home. The park is also home to la cascada mistiriosa, or “the mysterious waterfall,” which appears to cascade over the rocks but with no stream above or below it.
17.Museum for National Identity
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The Museum for National Identity, or MIN, focuses on acquiring, investigating, conserving, and exhibiting historical materials from the population of Honduras. MIN can be found in the 19th-century ancient Palace of the Ministries, which itself is a stunning national monument. The collection of artifacts and art found within the museum has been bought from throughout the country and goes back to the geological formation of Honduras until the present day. Visitors can request to be taken on a free guided tour; one aspect that shouldn’t be missed is a virtual tour of the Mayan ruins of Copan.
18.Our Lady of Suyapa
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Considered one of the most religious aspects of Honduras, the 18th-century Our Lady of Suyapa statue is also the focus of a pilgrimage held by people from all over Central America. The statue, which depicts the Virgin Mary, can be found in the Basilica de Suyapa when it isn’t taken on tours throughout the country. There is a feast held annually on February 3rd to celebrate the day the statue was found. While there, visitors will be able to learn all about the statue’s discovery, its early history, and how many across the world believe that that statue holds miraculous powers.
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Phone: +5-04-22-57-16-51
19.Pico Bonito National Park
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Established in 1987, Pico Bonito National Park has nearly 220 square miles of breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. The variations in altitude allow the park to be a home to many animals and plants. Found within the Cordillera Nombre de Dios mountain range, the park is a part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. Pico Bonito has many programs in place to protect the forest; these allow for visitors to experience the natural beauty and take park in popular activities such as hiking, rafting, kayaking, and birdwatching. There are many tour operators surrounding the park, offering day and overnight trips within the national park.
20.Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve
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The Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve is a national park that was established in 1982. The UNESCO World Heritage Site covers over 1,300,000 acres and is governed by the State Forestry Administration and the Department of Protected Areas & Wildlife. There are many private tour companies that take visitors through sections of the tropical rainforest as well as the 200+ archaeological sites within the reserve. There is much flora and fauna to be seen within the park, including 39 mammal species such as pumas, anteaters, jaguars, and West Indian manatees. The diverse amount of flora has over 2,000 species of plants scattered throughout the forest, prairie, marshes, and swamps.
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Roatán is a Caribbean island off the coast of Honduras and is the largest of the country’s Bay Islands. The island rests on an exposed ancient coral reef that is the largest of its sort in the Caribbean Sea, and offers opportunities for visitors to go diving and explore the wondrous lands. Visitors can see coral, wrecks, and even a few dolphins while diving there. The island’s capital, Coxen Hole, is a charming town complete with a stadium and a hospital. Visitors will be able to explore the land, which was once a pirate settlement but is now a cruise ship destination.
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Rosalila Temple was Copan’s principal religious sanctuary in the late 6th century. The temple and its rooms, niches, and moldings were ceremoniously buried with mud, plaster, and stucco panels, all of which protected the temple extremely well over the years. Once it was excavated, archaeologists found numerous artifacts within the well-preserved temple, such as ceramic incense burners, ceremonial scepters, carved jade jewelry, conch shells, the remains of flower petals, and stone pedestals. There is a life-sized replica inside the Copan site museum for visitors to explore and experience what the temple was like in its prime.
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Located in the Olancho Valley in northeastern Honduras, Talgua Caves is also known as “the cave of the glowing skulls” because of the way light reflects off the calcite deposits on the skeletal remains that were found there. The cave is considered one of the most extensive ossuary cave sites to have been used by Mayan societies. Visitors can tour a part of the beautiful natural cave with an experienced tour guide. About half a mile from the cave’s entrance, visitors will be able to see an unearthed settlement with over 100 standing structures.
Boulevard Las Acacias, Honduras, Phone: +5-04-99-80-02-64
24.Zoo Joya Grande
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Zoo Joya Grande is a fun and unique place for visitors to meet the wild and exotic animals of Honduras. There are over 50 species of animals at the zoo; some of the residents include the white Siberian tiger, toucans, peacocks, African lions, giraffes, and gray hawks. Zoo Joya Grande has many safe and exciting attractions for visitors to take part in, such as a canopy tour, an amphibious tour, a horse tour, and a program that lets people come in close contact with rhinos. Other attractions are the natural caves, speedboats, go-karts, water bikes, paintball facilities, and a swimming pool. There is cabin lodging available within the zoo as well as a museum, restaurant, and cafeteria.
Santa Cruz de Yojoa, Cortes Honduras, Phone: +5-04-26-08-39-05
25 Best Things to Do in Honduras
- Bay Islands Underwater Museum, Photo: Courtesy of John Anderson - Fotolia.com
- Carambola Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of Kitti - Fotolia.com
- Cayos Cochinos, Photo: Courtesy of John Anderson - Fotolia.com
- Celaque National Park, Photo: Courtesy of reisegraf.ch - Fotolia.com
- Cerro Azul Meambar National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Matyas Rehak - Fotolia.com
- Copan, Photo: Courtesy of Vojtech Vlk - Fotolia.com
- El Cristo del Picacho, Photo: Courtesy of chaudron0 - Fotolia.com
- Cusuco National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Vladimir Wrangel - Fotolia.com
- Fortress of San Fernando de Omoa, Photo: Courtesy of aglphotography - Fotolia.com
- Gumbalimba Park, Photo: Courtesy of vader1088 - Fotolia.com
- Hieroglyphic Stairway, Photo: Courtesy of fotoember - Fotolia.com
- La Tigra National Park, Photo: Courtesy of diegograndi - Fotolia.com
- Lake Yojoa, Photo: Courtesy of travelphotos - Fotolia.com
- Lancetilla Botanical Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of Roman Stetsyk - Fotolia.com
- Macaw Mountains, Photo: Courtesy of filipefrazao - Fotolia.com
- Montana Santa Barbara National Park, Photo: Courtesy of cameris - Fotolia.com
- Museum for National Identity, Photo: Courtesy of underworld - Fotolia.com
- Our Lady of Suyapa, Photo: Courtesy of sverine - Fotolia.com
- Pico Bonito National Park, Photo: Courtesy of Quasarphoto - Fotolia.com
- Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, Photo: Courtesy of filipefrazao - Fotolia.com
- Roatan, Photo: Courtesy of emperorcosar - Fotolia.com
- Rosalila Temple, Photo: Courtesy of Jane Becker - Fotolia.com
- Talgua Caves, Photo: Courtesy of Nguyen Vu Quan - Fotolia.com
- Zoo Joya Grande, Photo: Courtesy of gudkovandrey - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of LMspencer - Fotolia.com