Situated on a deep natural harbor on the northwest corner of Honduras , only 60 kilometers from the industrial capital of San Pedro Sula , Puerto Cortés is perfectly located to serve as a transfer point for much of the country’s trade. It handles the largest amount of boat traffic—though Puerto Castilla near Trujillo  moves more total tonnage—and is considered to have one of the best port facilities in Central America. Since a duty-free zone was created in the port area in 1976, a sizable assembly industry has developed, mostly of clothing exported to the United States.
More recently, international cruise ships have begun docking at Puerto Cortés for a day stop, while their tourist clients spend the day visiting the ruins at Copán .
City officials have made much talk of cleaning up the docks and downtown area for the new tourists, but they’ve got a long way to go to make Puerto Cortés look attractive. And beware of downtown during a heavy rain, as the mostly dirt streets flood with regularity. Several hotels just outside of town  on the road to Omoa  on Playa Cienaguita keep their strip of golden sand clean and inviting, perfect for a day out or an overnighter.
The thriving economy supports a population of 45,000.
By Bus: Impala (4 Av. between 4 and 5 Calle E, tel. 504/665-0606) and Citul (4 Calle E between 4 and 5 Avenidas, tel. 504/665-0466) offer bus service to and from Puerto Cortés.
By Car: The 60-kilometer, four-lane highway between San Pedro Sula  and Puerto Cortés is in good condition and takes less than an hour to drive. A toll of US$0.30 is levied leaving San Pedro to Puerto Cortés, but not the other way. The highway on to Omoa  and the 51 additional kilometers to the Guatemalan border have now been fully paved. On the other hand, the dirt road from Puerto Cortés east to Bajamar  and Travesía  continues in rough shape.
By Boat: D-Express (tel. 504/9991-0778, info@honduras divers.com), run by Hotel Playa manager Roberto Alvarez, runs boats from Puerto Cortés to Big Creek, Mango, and Placencia, Belize, departing Mondays at 11 a.m. from under the bridge over the mouth of the Laguna Alvarado. Coming from Belize, the boat departs Fridays from the Placencia Shell Dock at 9:30 a.m. and from Big Creek at 11 a.m. The ride costs US$53 per person.