Tourism in Honduras 19 July, 2018 Fernando Escobar HondurasTravel We can say Tourism is the new big industry and the Hondurean people know this. Honduras isnt currently a big tourism destination, except for the Bay Islands, where American Tourists have been coming for years (many of them stayed). Roatan, Utila and Copan Ruins are probably the places where 90% of the tourists come. The History of Honduras has been characterized by political unstability. Recent political events have affected toursim seriously, Honduras is sometimes a very rough country to visit but thats because its the least visited of the countries in Central America. The reason for this is mainly its bad fame on the International News where Honduras usually appears as a country where people are in constant turmoil and revolts; this can be true in some major cities after some political events, but the tourist spots are respected and usually these spots are too far away from the big cities to be affected. Honduras is an untouched jewel, from a tourism point of view. Roatan and Utila have been widely exploited by foreigners as a must-dive destination in the caribbean. Roatan´s crystal-clear waters and white-sand beaches are uncomparable while Utila´s night life and amazing dive spots are unique. Copan Ruinas is also a very important destination for travellers through Central America. Copan Ruinas is a town on the western side of Honduras which was founded next to the archaeological Mayan site of Copan. This is the only Cultural UNESCO protected site in Honduras and its uniqueness is molded in the writing of the hyeroglyphic staircase which is the longest Mayan writing and which narrates the complete history of Copan. 16 kings governed Copan in a span of less than 500 years. One of Honduras´biggest attraction is its multi-ethnicity...Honduras is a mix of native indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica, Spanish blood and African descendants. The food and the culture in the same country change from location to location. Our traditional dishes are mostly based on the traditional corn and beans mixed with the modern plantain and coconut flavors. Honduras is the original Banana Republic, the northern coast of the country still bases its diet in banana products like the fried plantain which substitutes the tortilla sometimes. Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras 19 August, 2018 Fernando Escobar Roatansnorkelingbayislandsscubadiving Roatan is the biggest Island in the Hondurean Caribbean. Roatan is part of the Bay Islands, along with Utila and Guanaja. Roatan is reknown for its crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. Roatan is a huge destination for divers from all over the world. Scuba diving shops are everywhere in the Island, hundreds of great spots all over the Island. Roatan has two main towns, West End and West Bay, both located on the western side of the Island. West end is the inexpensive spot, younger crowds and people wanting to party come to this part of the island. West Bay has an amazing beach in front with a huge coral where you can walk and snorkel on your own. West Bay is full of all-inclusive resorts, perfect for families with young children. The rest of the Island remains virtually untouched. Roatan has an International Airport with direct flights from the USA. Roatan has also a big dock where many cruises come to visit the amazing beaches. What to do in Roatan Many things to do in the Island, of course the most popular are water-related. Snorkeling and Scuba-diving are the most popular acitivities. West Bay and West End are visited for this. Lessons to get your PADI Open Water License are under $250. The Discover Scuba Diving is aproximately $90 and prices for one tank dives are around $40, with equipment included. I can recommend Coconut Tree Divers in West End and Eco-divers in Half-Moon Bay. Both different prices and locations, but both very professional and friendly. There is a boat in West End where locals and visitors can swing from a rope that hangs from it. The legend says the owner decided to donate it to the locals as he saw how they enjoyed swinging from it. To get to it go to Half Moon Bay and you will see it from shore, its in front of Sun Downers, you can walk very close to it if you go swimming from Eco Divers, the activity is free and all you got to do is rock the boat when others swing and then they will do it for you. The best spot for snorkeling in my opinion is either in front of West Bay beach or Blue Channel. You can rent snorkeling equipment for aprox $10 for the whole day. There are places by the beach or you can also ask at the Roatan Marine Park. You can also negotiate with local boat drivers for a tour to Blue Channel, its really worth it. they will charge maybe $50-$80 for a trip there. Where to Eat, Drink and Party in Roatan Local food in the Hondurean caribbean is delicious! Try the Conch Soup which is one of Honduras Typical Dishes. Try the Baleadas which is the Hondurean sandwich, its made with wheat tortillas, beans, cream, cheese, eggs, chorizo, avocado, plantain and almost anything you want to add. My favorite baleadas in Roatan are in West End, in a store called Calelus, very good prices you may also want to try the local Pollo Chuco, its a mix of fried breaded chicken and plantains, with coleslaw. Its also a very typical hondurean food. A very good place is the Creole Rostisserie, located almost at the end of the live street of West End, their chicken is incomparably juicy. I also really like Cannibal Cafe, located in front of Franks, their hondurean style mexican food is really good. In Roatan, West End is the place to be if you want to party. There is a chronological order in the Party Life of West End. Everything starts at the sunset at Sundowners, they have a happy hour until 7pm and also close early...at around 10pm. The music and the bonfire create a perfect harmony. Then people move to Franks, to enjoy a little of Electronic Music, Franks is located next to the Water so its very pleasant to come at night. On thursday nights a mandatory stop is at the Blue Marlin Karaoke. Everybody in the Island knows thursdays are karaoke nights. At around 11pm people move to Booty Bar, which is my favorite bar of Roatan. They have a dance floor and also a bar next to the water where you can come and breath in between songs. Copan Mayan Ruins, Honduras 19 September, 2018 Fernando Escobar Copanmayanruins Copan Ruinas is a small town in the west of Honduras, its right next to the UNESCO protected site of Copan. This used to be a very important Mayan City with an estimated population of 25,000 people during its Cultural Peak. Copan Ruins town has many museums, restaurants, bars and amazing views from the mountains. The best ways the arrive to Copan are either flying to San Pedro Sula and then driving 4 hours to Copan Ruinas or flying to San Salvador Airport and then driving 6 hours to Copan Ruinas. Copan Ruinas is a must visit spot when you come to Honduras. History of Copan Archaeological Site The History of Copan is very complex, but its also one of the best documented cities in the prehispanic Mayan World. We know that Yax Kuk Mo founded a dinasty in Copan in the year . We also know there were 15 succesors to the throne, all from the same bloodline, we even know the majority of the names of the kings of that dinasty. We know Copan was abandonded by the Mayans around the year 820ad. We also know Copan Ruins original name wasnt Copan. We know Copan's Name was a glyph that represented a Leaf-nosed Bat. We know the Acropolis was a place for ceremonial, oficial and social rituals: the ball game court is in front of the Acropolis and the Hyeroglyphic staircase. These three buildings are the most important from the whole site, they went through several reconstructions and expansions. The Temple of the Inscriptions is the most representative and highest point of the Acropolis. The best ways the arrive to Copan are either flying to San Pedro Sula and then driving 4 hours to Copan Ruinas or flying to San Salvador Airport and then driving 6 hours to Copan Ruinas. Copan Ruinas is a must visit spot when you come to Honduras. What to do in Copan Ruinas, Honduras Obviously the Main attraction of Copan is the Main Site, the archaeological park. There is more than ruins in Copan. Very famous in the area is the Luna Jaguar Spa, its a Hot Springs Spa where you can see how water actually comes out from the rocks at boiling temperatures. There are different pools and you can bring your own food and drinks. There is an area nearby to do barbecues. The Luna Jaguar Spa is located aproximately one hour away from Copan Ruinas. The drive is mostly on a dirtroad but in decent conditions. The views of the hondurean mountains is amazing. The Macaw Mountain, this is a Rescue and Information Center for birds like macaws, parrots, parakeets and others. The Center receives animals that have been under stress conditions and then release the ones able to go back to nature. They offer a guided tour, bilingual available, where they teach you about the different birds in the Center. Then you can take pictures with some of the macaws. The entrance here is of around $10. The place is located aproximately 5 kilometers away from town, its not recommended to walk there as its very lonely. You can take a tuktuk from town that will charge you aproximately $10 for the whole ride. Horse back riding in Copan, this is one of my favorite activities. You have to be very careful which operator you use for this activity, it can be a very unsatisfying and dissapointing experience if you choose an operator which abuses its horses. But I need to clarify, Animal Care in Honduras is very different from Animal Care in first world countries. Horses in Honduras are smaller and thinner than horse in first world countries. Horses in Honduras have been bred with no care, food is sometimes not as nutritous, veterinarian attention is almost non existent. Having mentioned all the above, horse back riding can be a very unpleasant experience if you dont have the proper horse, the proper guide and the proper trail. I really enjoy the trail that departs from town and takes you next to the Main Site and then turns right through the river and unto the river...you can cross it sometimes and then ride up the mountain where La Pintada community is located. Then you ride to Hacienda San Lucas where you can enjoy a cold beer or a delicious lemonade. The sunset from this place is also beautiful. Valle de Angeles and Santa Lucia 20 September, 2018 Fernando Escobar tegucigalpa Valle de Angeles is a cute town, located only 30 minutes away from Tegucigalpa, this charming town is a big attraction for toursists that seek some fresh air, contact with nature and beautiful views. The locals of Valle de Angeles are very friendly and are probably the biggest attraction of this town. Another highlight is having a world quality coffee in the house of ex-president Marco Aurelio Soto. Food is also a very important attraction here, things you should try are all the products from corn and Anafre, which is a hondurean-style fondue. Without a doubt its a great escape from the city. Valle de Angeles is located only 22 kilometers away from Tegucigalpa, it was founded in the year of 1781 with the name of El Cimarron. Its been a touristic destination since 1996, when it was officially named by the government as a "Touristic Artisanal Town". Valle de Angeles is also very close to La Tigra National Park where you can take long hikes, camp or try the local canopy. Santa Lucia, the town of flowers and great weather. Walking on the cobble-stone-streets of Santa Lucia is a unique pleasure in Honduras. The red roofs and the flowers everywhere, which makes it one of the nicest towns in the whole country. Santa Lucia was founded in 1820, its become a great attraction for tourists that look for peace and quiet around pinetrees. This town started as a mining town, the colonial church is from the XVI century. La Tigra National Park 21 September, 2018 Fernando Escobar LaTigrahiking La Tigra National Park is located only one hour away from Tegucigalpa and its without a doubt the most important ecosystem around Tegucigalpa. La Tigra National Park is a protected cloudforest at an average altitude of 2000mts above sea level. The Lush green vegetation is everywhere. There are different trails where the visitor can enjoy the great temperature and peace that you can only feel in the cloudforest. Some of the wildlife you can find in La Tigra National Park is the emerald toucanet, agoutis, quetzals, white tail deer, etc. You can also check out many bromeliads, ferns, avocado trees and many moss over the trees. Copan Ruinas Update 03 June, 2019 Fernando Escobar copanruinasmayanruins I recently visited Copan Ruinas archaeological site and noted some small positive changes. First of all, the roads around Copan Ruinas have been fixed amazingly well, I drove from San Pedro Sula to Copan Ruinas in aprox 3 hours at a moderate speed. That is a big improvement from the old roads filled with potholes. Another change I noticed was the new bird chart located at the entrance of the ruins. That definitely helps the visitor to understand the different species of birds in the park, I spotted a hawk up on a tree by the way. I visited the Sculpture Museum and its always a big pleasure to witness the amazing artistic style of the scribes and artisans from Copan. The sculpture museum hosts the original facades of some important buildings, as well as the original statues or stellaes located in the site. The original Altars and benches where the local nobles sat and hung around. Its an amazing experience to be so close to the past through the exhibitions of this museum. Cayos Cochinos 03 March, 2020 Fernando Escobar cayoscochinosbeach The Marine Sanctuary of Cayos Cochinos consists of a group of islands, Cayo Mayor and Cayo Menor, and 13 smaller cays or atolls (sandbars) of coral origin, located 30 kilometers northeast of La Ceiba, on the north coast of Honduras, and 45 kilometers from Roatán. In Cayo Menor there is a scientific research station and the Visitor Center, which provides information on rules of use and behavior of the Marine Natural Monument. The laws prohibit all types of commercial fishing, nets and traps within the marine park. The keys have a more related flora and fauna with land than with the islands of the bay. They are surrounded by sandy beaches, optimal for the nesting of the Carey sea turtle. Among its terrestrial fauna, the Boa de los Cayos Cochinos is famous, distinguished by its pink coloration. The vegetation of both keys is shrubby and is in excellent condition. These keys are also famous for the abundance of their fishing. Its coral reefs are modest and do not form a continuous barrier around the keys. Some of the cays or atolls are privately owned, and one of them inhabits a community of Garifuna fishermen where you can have lunch, to enjoy a tasty fish fried in coconut oil, accompanied with rice and beans, and slices of banana. You can also enjoy the famous drink prepared with roots, leaves and bark of plants and liquor that has medicinal and aphrodisiac properties. You can also buy handicrafts made in your presence. In front of the key you can enjoy a swim while snorkeling in its crystal clear waters. If you want to spend more time in this paradise, you can stay at the hotel in Cayo Mayor.