Top Five Facets of Honduras
Whether you’re visiting Honduras as a tourist or moving there as an expat, here are some of the features that make up the country’s individual spirit that you should not miss:
1. The Bay Islands. These islands sit between ten and forty miles off the north coast of Honduras. There are eight of them in all and over fifty smaller cayes. They are the very definition of a tropical island paradise. Roatan, Guanaja, and Utila are the three main islands, with Guanaja being the first place in Central America where Columbus landed. Nowadays, these islands are a scuba-diving mecca for travelers from all over the world.
2. Copan. The Copan ruins mark the southern and easternmost limit of the Mayan Empire. And they are spectacular. Outside of the Bay Islands, they are the reason why many people come to Honduras in the first place. Copan is not as big as Tikal or other Mayan sites in Guatemala, Belize, or Mexico, but it does have some of the finest sculptures and examples of Mayan art that still exist. Copan was a mystical place, even to the Maya themselves.
3. Lake Yojoa. This is the latest lake in Honduras and home to some fish that live nowhere else on earth. It’s a little-known place outside of Honduras, but once you see it, you’ll want to stay. It sits surrounded by verdant rainforests. It’s easy to reach and offers a taste of Honduras’s natural beauty.
4. Rio Cangrejal. The Rio Cangrejal empties into the Caribbean Sea, but before it does that it passes through some of the most beautiful landscape in Central America, set inside the Nombre de Dios National Park. Rushing waters through dense jungle offer some of the best white water rafting in the world.
5. Trujillo. Honduras is not known for the beauty of its cities, but Trujillo is an exception. This is where Columbus landed in 1502, and the site of Honduras’s oldest Spanish town. It sits on a beautiful bay surrounded by white-sand beaches backed by pristine jungle.
Month-by-Month Guide to Honduras (When to Come for What)
If you’re planning on a trip to check out Honduras, you might want to know what’s going on in the time that you’re there. This guide will help you get the most out of your visit.
- January. New Years Day is the only official holiday in January. Hondurans party pretty hard the night before, so it’s a time to chill.
- February. The Basilica of Suyapa, a suburb of Tegucigalpa, is home to the Virgin of Suyapa, the patron saint of Honduras. Her feast day is on February 3, and Hondurans from all over make their way in pilgrimage to the Basilica to give thanks. This is Honduras’s most religious festival.
- March / April. Easter, or Holy Week, falls in either March or April each year. Like the rest of Latin America, this is a big deal as all work stops and the parades start. There can be a carnival atmosphere, as participants build floats and put on costumes. Copan and Comayagua are the best places to check out the Easter parades. In the town of Punta Gorda, Roatan (not to be confused with Punta Gorda, Belize), April 12 is the Garifuna celebration of the day they arrived on the island. It’s a cultural occasion with theater, music, and dance. Lots of great food gets eaten, too. Pan American Day (April 14) is celebrated in Honduras with a little more gusto than elsewhere. Honduras was always about Central America sticking together rather than splitting nom different countries. Although not an official holiday, Hondurans use the day to celebrate nonetheless.
- May. The biggest event of the Honduran calendar is the La Ceiba Carnival. Taking place on the third or fourth Sunday of May, this celebration is reminiscent of Mardi Gras in New Orleans with partying going on all week in the run up to the carnival parade itself.
- June. Over on Roatan, June sees the Roatan International Shrimp Festival. originally set up to honor those working in the island’s shrimp industry, it has now transgressed the small marine animal to become quite the party!
- July. Bajamar, on the Caribbean Sea close to Puerto Cortes hosts National Garifuna Festival on the third weekend of July. Garifuna people come from all over to celebrate their heritage.
- August. There’s not normally much to keep you in Puerto Cortes, Honduras’s main seaport. But during the month of August there’s a reason to stick around. The August Fair goes on all months and features all of the usual festivities.
- September. Independence Day falls on September 15 in Honduras. It’s marked with marching bands and festivities. The Roatan Fishing Tournament also takes place in September, one of the premier fishing tourneys of the Caribbean.
- October. The Festival de Cristo Negro (Festival of the Black Christ) is a special one in Panama. It takes place in Portobelo, where people from all over Panama come to pay homage to the wooden effigy of Christ in the Iglesia de San Felipe. It’s the one time of the year that the effigy gets taken out of the church and paraded around to music. This is Panama’s most religious event.
- October / November. These months are pretty quiet as things gear up for the Holidays. Halloween and the Day of the Dead happen during this time.
- December. Like all of Latin America, Christmas is a time for family and festivities. San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa empty out as everyone hits the beach to relax and enjoy themselves.