Honduras is the second largest Central American republic after Nicaragua, but its population is smaller than that of neighbouring El Salvador, the smallest country. Bordered by Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and a narrow coastal Pacific strip, it is the northern Caribbean coast and beautiful Bay Islands that are a natural focus and a prime destination for visitors. Curving in an arc off the coast near La Ceiba, the Bay Islands of Utila, Roatan and Guanaja, plus the smaller Hog Islands, are some of Honduras’ main tourist destinations. Travellers visiting just one part of Honduras often pick the islands. The diving is excellent and Utila is currently the cheapest dive centre in the Caribbean. The islands also have good beaches.
With the popularity of the Bay Islands as a diving destination, mainland Honduras is often missed in the frenzied rush towards the sea. And, while the beauty of the islands cannot be overstated, picking a route that takes in some of the smaller towns of Honduras gives a far better understanding of the country as a whole. The capital, Tegucigalpa, has an old, colonial sector and a new section with modern hotels, shopping malls and businesses. West of Tegucigalpa, near the border with Guatemala, is Honduras’ premier Maya archaeological site Copan, where new discoveries continue to be made, and some fine Maya art can be seen.