How to get around in Honduras

The second largest country in Central America, Honduras is a collection of mountains, islands, coastal plains and tropical lowlands. But despite the distances and varied topography, getting around is relatively easy.

The country is well covered by a network of airline and bus routes, with boats plying to outlying islands and local variations of the ‘taxi’ bridging any gaps.

However, travel can be weather-dependent – ​​in addition to the occasional earthquake, you can be slowed down by landslides and mudslides during the rainy season (June to October), so plan extra travel time.

And while Honduras hasn’t seen a hurricane since 1998, weather patterns are less predictable these days — canceled shipments during the September-November hurricane season are a possibility. Here’s everything you need to know to explore Honduras by plane, bus, boat, bike and taxi.

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Get on the plane if you’re short on time

You might prefer to avoid flying for environmental reasons, but for those on a tight schedule, Honduras’ largest airport at Tegucigalpa connects the capital with regional destinations like San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Tela, Choluteca, and Puerto Lempira . There are also runways on the three Bay Islands of Roatán, Utila and Guanaja.

Domestic flights are operated by Avianca, Aerolíneas Sosa, CM Airlines, Aerocaribe, Aviatsa and Lanhsa. Several airlines serve popular routes such as Tegucigalpa to Roatán, La Ceiba to Roatán, Guanaja and Puerto Lempira. There are also daily flights to Utila with CM Airlines and Aerolíneas Sosa from San Pedro Sula.

Honduras rewards “slow travel” on two wheels

Biking in Honduras is an extremely eco-friendly way of getting around, the main roads are paved and generally in good condition, and the distances between cities are not so great that you would have to worry about wild camping. Be prepared for the muggy conditions of the lowlands, take plenty of water and expect torrential flooding during the rainy season.

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Traffic outside of major cities and towns is fairly light, most major roads have hard shoulders, and drivers are generally respectful of cyclists. While long-distance cycling tours in Honduras are rather uncommon, you’ll see many locals biking around the countryside to get from A to B.

A touring bike with good tires is essential, as is a comprehensive repair kit, as spares for non-mountain bikes can be difficult to source and bike repair shops are scarce. Bikes can be stowed in the luggage hold on most local flights, some long-distance buses and the La Ceiba to Roatan ferry for an additional fee.

Canoes on the Rio Platano at La Moskitia in Honduras
Boats are the primary means of transportation in the dense jungle of the La Moskitia region © helovi / Getty Images

Explore the Bay Islands and secluded waterways of La Moskitiia by boat

Utila Island, the closest Bay Island to the mainland, can be reached from La Ceiba via the small and rather basic Utila Princess catamaran ferry. The crossing takes about an hour and seating is on benches on the sides of the boat.

The more expensive (and far more comfortable) option is the Utila Dream – a modern catamaran yacht that connects Utila to La Ceiba (45 minutes, 4-5 daily), with services to Roatán (1 hour, twice daily). There is also a single daily service between Roatán and La Ceiba.

You can also reach Roatán – Honduras’ largest and most popular island – from La Ceiba on the twice-daily Galaxy Wave, a modern two-deck ferry with a café and comfortable seating.

Galaxy Wave also offers daily trips between Roatán and Guanaja – the most remote and easiest of the three Bay Islands. There are also irregular boat services between Guanaja and Puerto Cortés and between Guanaja and Trujillo.

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The lagoons, rivers, pristine jungles and little-visited settlements of the La Moskitia region of eastern Honduras represent one of the most remote parts of Central America. The area can only be reached by collective Boats departing from Batalla (accessible by bus and pickup from Trujillo and Tocoa).

Local buses at the bus terminal in Tela near San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Simple Parando buses are the backbone of local transportation in Honduras © urf / Getty Images

Save money by using the bus to get around Honduras

It is very easy to get around Honduras by bus. Long-distance transport is divided into three categories: service a escala or parando (local buses that make many stops and are filled to the brim with people, miscellaneous luggage, and the occasional live chicken); service direct (faster, more expensive and more convenient services) and service de lujo (European and Brazilian air-conditioned buses with reclining seats).

Direct or lujo Buses are best for comfort and safety; Well-known bus companies include Viana Transportes and Hedman Alas. Many buses tend to depart early in the day; It’s best to avoid overnight trips as they are more prone to accidents and the occasional mugging by robbers.

It can be quicker to get to your destination aboard a local minibus, but they tend to travel at breakneck speeds and there’s a greater chance of not getting there at all than the quieter big bus rides.

Rent a car for maximum flexibility when exploring Honduras

Renting a car or bringing your own motorbike gives you the most flexibility when it comes to getting around Honduras, but is unlikely to save you any money.

You need a license from your home country to rent a car; International car rental companies have offices at airports in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba and Roatan. Initial rental costs are typically around $45 per day, or up to $90 if you want to rent a 4×4.

There is usually compulsory Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance which can more than double your daily car rental costs. Major highways, including the Panamericana, are paved and in fair condition, and some roads incur tolls.

In other locations, roads may be unpaved and road conditions can vary widely depending on recent rainfall. a 4WD is an advantage.

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There is no Uber in Honduras, but taxis are cheap

Uber does not operate in Honduras, but taxis in major cities and towns are ubiquitous and inexpensive and come in two types: cooperatives and independently. That cooperatives operate on set routes, identified by a sticker or sign on the windshield, and fares are non-negotiable.

you can cheer independently on every road and they take you wherever you want; Prices depend on your negotiating skills. In rural towns, taxis are almost always three-wheelers, known as either “mototaxis” or “tuk-tuks.”

Woman snorkeling in the Caribbean waters of the island of Roatan
Regular ferries take you to the beaches of Roatan and the other Bay Islands © Antonio Busiello / Getty Images

Why I love boat trips in Honduras

No two boat trips are the same in Honduras. Sometimes it’s a tranquil ride as the sea breeze blows through your hair as you lounge on the sunny upstairs deck as the catamaran glides through sky blue waters.

Other times you look up at the stormy sky over the sea and think maybe the short crossing to Utila won’t be so bad, only to find yourself clinging to the wooden bench you’re sitting on for the hell of it and wish you had a puke bag handy, as the boat bounces house-sized waves and you pray to every deity you can think of.

Then there are the riverboat trips through the virgin jungle in the La Moskitia region, where you’re often the first stranger the locals see in many weeks, and you get as much attention as a Hollywood star as you drift leisurely between Honduras’ most remote settlements . Smooth or rough, boat trips here never get boring!

Accessible travel in Honduras

Honduras doesn’t offer much assistance for disabled travelers except in upscale hotels and resorts. Wheelchair users will find it difficult to get around due to the poor sidewalks and cobblestones.

Public transit is not geared towards disabled travelers, although ferries to Roatan are wheelchair accessible. For more information on accessible travel, visit the Lonely Planet accessible travel resources.

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