Honduras 51Find out more For suggested itineraries and practical information about travel in Honduras, please see page 53.www.audleytravel.comInteractive maps and features, further suggested itineraries, accommodation, climate information and articles written by our specialists.Discuss your plans with our Honduras specialists 01993 838 660%Audley in HondurasHonduras is a fabulous country to visit in its own right, especially for divers and snorkellers lured by the appeal of the Bay Islands. However, it is often combined with neighbouring Guatemala, crossing the border near the Copán ruins. It is a friendly country that offers straightforward road travel between the main centres. Despite steady development, the mountainous interior has minimal road infrastructure leaving much of the country still waiting to be discovered. Our specialists keep up to date with developments and can recommend a variety of routes around the country, while our local guides' expert knowledge will make your trip an even more rewarding experience.AccommodationAround Copán and Pico Bonito National Park there is a choice of accommodation including some charming, good value options with plenty of local character. The rest of the mainland, however, is limited to more basic properties. The popular Bay Islands are becoming increasingly developed and all-inclusive style resorts are a regular sight. Our specialists have sought out something a little more special though, and can recommend a number of simple but comfortable options set in fantastic locations and in keeping with the Caribbean atmosphere.CopánThe ruins of the archaeological site of Copán mark the southeastern limit of Maya dominance and are the most significant in Honduras. As with many of Central America's pre-Colombian sites they were hidden by dense jungle growth when rediscovered in 1839. The site was cleared in the 1930s to reveal intricately carved three metre stelae (columns of stone), a hieroglyphic stairway and several ball courts. The nearby town of Copán Ruinas is a quiet and charming settlement with cobbled streets: a perfect place to while away some time before or after visiting the ruins. Copán is set in the hills of western Honduras near the border with Guatemala, and a visit can easily be incorporated into a trip combining the two countries. Accommodation near CopánThe town of Copán Ruinas offers a handful of simple, characterful hotels. Our favourites include the Don Udo's Hotel and La Casa Rosada, which are good value B&B-style properties in the heart of the town. For those looking for a more rural, rustic experience, the 100 year old family-owned Hacienda San Lucas, just ten minutes from the ruins, offers simple accommodation and home cooking in a relaxed and peaceful environment.Pico Bonito National ParkA few hours' drive northeast of Copán lies San Pedro Sula, the commercial capital of Honduras. From here you can fly or take the coastal road through rolling hills and banana plantations to La Ceiba, the country's third largest city. The area is surrounded by beautiful subtropical forest and numerous waterfalls, many of which are protected by the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge and Pico Bonito National Park. Diverse in both flora and fauna and easily accessible, these parks provide great walking and wildlife spotting opportunities as they are a haven for monkeys and numerous species of bird. The more adventurous can raft the Cangrejal River or take the bumpy boat ride to visit the nearby villages of the Garifuna community and Cayos Cochinos, the nearest cayes to the Honduran coast.CopánDon Udo's Hotel, near CopánWaterfall, Pico Bonito National ParkScarlet macaws, Copán
Aerial view of Roatán Island52The Bay IslandsThe Bay Islands are located approximately 60 kilometres off the northern coast of Honduras. Accessed by air from San Pedro Sula or La Ceiba, the archipelago consists of three beautiful islands; Guanaja, Roatán and Utila. All are surrounded by warm, tropical waters and extensive coral reefs. The sea here is literally teeming with tropical fish. Most people come to dive or snorkel the spectacular reefs but the lovely white-sand beaches also provide a great opportunity to relax and catch some sun. Scuba diving day trips can easily be arranged locally but we can also pre-book longer stays including a dive package. The calm waters and the proximity of the reef to the shore make this a perfect place to learn to dive and we can arrange a five day PADI course if you are interested in taking up the sport.Wreck dive, off Roatán IslandDiving and snorkellingThe Sandy Bay-West End Marine Reserve encompasses many of these dive sites. This is part of the world's second largest reef and divers and snorkellers can see innumerable species of tropical fish, dolphins, sharks, turtles, moray eels, 300 metre coral walls and sea sponges. There are also some excellent wreck dives close by. For alternative diving and snorkelling options in the region see the Belize section of this brochure (page 47).Tropical fish and sponge, off Roatán IslandThe pristine waters, spectacular coral reef and choice of world-class dive sites make the Bay Islands an ideal destination for both beginners and more experienced divers. One of the most incredible things about diving here is the proximity of the coral reef to the shore. More than 30 imaginatively named dive sites such as Spooky Channel, Doc's Elbow and Mary's Place are a 10-15 minute boat ride from the beach making first class diving and snorkelling easily accessible.