Everyone says Honduras is one of the most dangerous countries to visit, with San Pedro Sula being the current murder capital of the world (lucky we only drove through here!) but to be honest, we had no problems nor did we feel unsafe.
When you travel through foreign countries, you should automatically be on higher alert, and that doesn’t mean staying indoors when the sun goes down or never carrying money on you but it does mean you need to pay more attention to your surroundings, don’t stumble home from the local pub alone and never walk alone as a female in the streets. By following basic rules, you shouldn’t encounter any problems unless you’re just unlucky but hey it’s the same in any country, so don’t be afraid of Honduras.
Fortunately, as we were on a tour we were treated to mostly private buses as opposed to travelling on the local buses, but if you plan to travel through Honduras on your own, and want to feel safer then travel with a recognized bus company such as Hedman Alas, or if you are on a local bus, stay at the bus terminals in between stops and always take your valuables with you, off the bus.
Travelling on a private bus (with A/C!) from Antigua, Guatemala we crossed the border on our way to the Roatan Islands. On the way, we stopped in Copan for a few nights.
Copan – The town of Copan has one small plaza, and a handful of bars and restaurants scattered around. Generally, people stop here after Antigua on their way to the islands in Honduras. It isn’t necessarily a must do town to stop in, but if time is on your side, it is a cute place to explore for a night and day.
If you find yourself in the town of Copan, do us all a favour and have lunch at San Rafeael, it is a coffee/cheese shop with organic products. Any of the toasted sandwiches will melt in your mouth and will have you coming back for more, as seen by the high reviews online! The coffee drinks are also amazing and even drunk by Emily, who doesn’t even drink coffee! For a night on the drink, stop into the Twisted Bar for 2×1 double happy hour. The owner, Tanya, is full of life. Afterwards, Via Via is the local’s hangout – good value food and drinks.
Copan Ruins – Oh yes, another set of ruins! Nearby to Copan town was yet another Mayan ruin site, deep and high in the jungle. We’ve talked enough about ruins in our other posts so let’s just move on from this but hey if you’re here, go check it out! But if you’ve done 6 ruin sites previously, it’s not necessary to visit another… instead, you can take pictures and play with the colours, as below. 😉
Luna Jaguar Hot Springs are geothermally heated water pools. The perfect place to soak away all your stresses. We needed it after the 1-hour bumpy ass drive from the city along a dirt rocky street. Thankfully there were not so many bugs due to the smelly sulfur in the area. Each pool had a different temperature, from scolding hot to refreshingly cool. Tip: bring your own drinks to enjoy at the springs as there is nothing else around.
Macaw Mountain – Nearby the hot springs is the Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve, an innovative tropical bird reserve that looks after rescued and endangered birds of the American tropics. We had the opportunity to meet some birds up close, most notably toucans and macaws, which were really cool. The toucans were extremely curious, were attracted to bright things and croaked & hopped around like a frog. The macaws were just so colourful and quite gentle until they put your claws into your head (while taking a photo).
Roatan is the largest of the beautiful sun-soaked Caribbean Bay Islands. Considering we are only here for 1.5 days, check out this full guide on Roatan and hopefully you can stay longer than we did! (Do it!)
West End – One of the most fun parts of Roatan Island. We stayed in this area, which was quite local but still welcoming to tourists – it’s a big diving destination after all. The town is basically a 1.5km strip of road, with bars and restaurants and small boutique hotels/hostels lining the water. Similar to that of Caye Caulker but with cars and paved roads so maybe not quite similar but still with the island life feel!
West Bay – West Bay is the furthest-west area of the island. It has some good, but overly priced restaurants and places to stay. It’s arguably the best stretch of beach in the western portion of the island most notably from its perfect white sand & to die for water. To reach here from West End, simply take a $3 water taxi from any of the piers in West End and it will take you directly to the beach. West Bay is a drop-off point for large cruise ships (up to 5 at a time) so it definitely has a more touristy feel. If you get lucky as we did, then no cruise ships will be in port the day you visit!
Do watch out for sandflies here, they bite you and although you can’t feel it, they leave tiny red dots, which then get quite itchy! (Emily’s annihilated leg below)
Food & Drink
Street Food – There’s tons of yummy, cheap street food in the West End too, so indulge! Don’t be scared by the BBQ’s on the side of the road, their turn around is high, so you’re safe to go. For only $5 you could have a huge plate of meat, rice, beans and fried plantains.
Yah-on-greh – A breakfast shack down the south side of the strip, here you’ll find cheap-as-chips breakfast and smoothies.
Creole’s Rotisserie Chicken – If there is one place we went back to 2- 3 times over the 2 days, it was here. Juicy tender rotisserie chicken with an option of sides and mouthwatering desserts – coconut cream pie and brownie with choc-chip ice-cream. MMMMMM YAAASSS!
Sundowners Bar – (see below) Head here for 2×1 cocktails during sunset and happy hour from 5-7pm. It’s the local hangout and place to be. It closes by 10 pm so if you’re still keen to head out for drinks after, Blue Marlin is a sweet place on the water.
On Thursday nights they run Karaoke. Jacob and I, somewhere along the line thought it was a great idea to get up and sing in front of a whole crowd of people… 2×1 drinks clearly got the better of us. How embarrassing! Anyone who knows us, knows our voices are not to be heard through a microphone. Booty Bar is also a fun place for drinks.
Diving – Honduras is very well known for its diving and you can tell by the number of dive shops surrounding the streets. We can’t comment on a particular company as we booked through our own tour, but we recommend just strolling down the street and sticking your head into the many options as there isn’t a shortage!
To avoid a long, rocky ferry ride back to the mainland we were treated to a charter flight instead. One of the smallest planes we have ever been on. Fitting just 15 people, 12 were from our group. You were (we were) unable to stand without hitting our head on the rood.
We must say though, as small as it was, it was a whole lot faster than a commercial plane and there was no mucking about, straight up, straight down! Thankfully, we had a pilot who knew what they were doing as this airport, Toncontin, is rated the 8th most dangerous airport in the world to land into, due to the mountain ranges surrounding the airport. Thanks, Cap’n!
En route to Nicaragua!
Married Days survived: 250