Planning Your Time
There are so many choices of ways to spend your time on the Caribbean coast that trips of any time length are possible. If time is short, four or five days is sufficient to get a flavor for both the beach and one or two of the many nature reserves. One itinerary would be to spend a day at the beach in Tela, another day touring one of the nearby natural areas like Punta Sal, Punta Izopo, or Lancetilla Gardens, and a third at the seaside Garífuna village of Tornabé.
Then move on to La Ceiba and take a trip (rafting or hiking) along the Río Cangrejal, combined with a night out of food, drink, and music in La Ceiba’s party scene. A second day is required to explore the mangrove wetland reserve at Cuero y Salado.
Those really after a lotus-land beach vibe should head out to Trujillo, a sleepy town on a big bay at the end of a long dead-end road, where the days will slip by unnoticed. The beach hotel region around Sambo Creek, east of La Ceiba, is another soporific spot. The more energetic might want to take a multiday guided trek into Pico Bonito National Park, the jungle-covered mountain range right behind La Ceiba.
Many Central America travelers on their way down from Guatemala and Belize enter or depart Honduras via Omoa, west of Puerto Cortés, long a favored spot among the international backpacker crowd, slipping back into sleepiness now that the road to Guatemala has been fully paved.
A number of guide companies specialize in different aspects of north coast touring, all with a focus on nature and outdoor adventure travel.
Of the several companies offering rafting trips on the Río Cangrejal near La Ceiba, the most professional is Omega Tours, operating out of a lodge on the river. Omega Tours is the only operator in La Ceiba with internationally licensed rafting guides.
Another reputable guide company, La Moskitia Eco-Aventuras, run by veteran Honduras explorer Jorge Salaverri, Is also based in La Ceiba.
Based in La Ceiba, Turtle Tours (tel. 504/429-2284, www.turtle-tours.com) is a small, highly regarded company run by a pair of Germans who offer tours along the north coast, as well as to Copán and the Mosquitia.
A newer and very interesting option is the community network Cangrejal Ecoturismo (Colonia El Sauce, 3a Etapa, Bloque D, Casa #20, tel. 504/406-6782, www.cangrejal.com), which can arrange for community-based guides (often the most knowledgeable!) on various trails along the Río Cangrejal, many well off the beaten path.
Tourist Options (www.hondurastouristoptions.com) is a traditional tour company with mixed reviews, but it has tour options across the north coast, including in Trujillo, a region that none of the other companies cover.
All the main towns along the north coast—La Ceiba, Tela, Trujillo, and especially Puerto Cortés—have problems with street crime. The smaller towns along the coast are less of a problem, but care should be taken nonetheless. In particular, it is not recommended to walk along sections of beach away from towns.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition