…said our family and friends. Honduras doesn’t have the best reputation for crime. In fact, Honduras has been ranked as one of the most dangerous places in the world! The Department of State continues to caution travelers of the crime while visiting Honduras, though the rates have been declining over the last two years.
Hubby and I had requirements for our Honeymoon which consisted of 3 things: seclusion, culture, and superior diving! We researched for weeks, trying to find the perfect place to spend our week. Honduras immediately proved to be a perfect fit. But what about the crime rate again??
So we researched safety and chose a place frequented by travelers; which led us to the island of Roatan, the largest of The Bay Islands. Roatan experiences lower crime rates than the mainland as the Government has placed special police forces here to improve security for travelers. When we arrived in Roatan, we quickly found out we were the ONLY Honeymooners on the island! I know this because we were referred to (on many occasions) as “The Honeymooners”. Yes, the island is THAT small. Roatan is only 32 miles total in length and 3 miles at its widest point.
Roatan is a popular stop off for Carribbean cruises departing from the US. The cruise ships port in at Coxen Hole and usually hit the West Bay beach. Not wanting to be bombarded by tourists on our honeymoon, we made sure to stay away on the days the cruise ships were letting their herd loose!
7 Reasons we LOVED our time in Honduras:
1.) The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System: Probably the main reason Roatan has become increasingly popular to travelers is because it is surrounded by the second largest reef in the world! Second to The Great Barrier Reef. As avid divers who just returned from the Great Barrier Reef six months prior, we were ecstatic to see how the Mesoamerican Reef compared. Many parts of this Reef are protected by the Roatan Marine Park whose mission is to conserve Roatan’s coastal and marine assets. Diving in Roatan was a much different experience than diving in The Great Barrier Reef because the Reef in Roatan was literally at our doorstep. We stayed in Sandy Bay at an eco lodge and dive shop called Tranquil Seas. Diving couldn’t have been easier at this place. You’d wake up in the morning, walk out the back dock, hop in a boat with gear, and pick a dive spot, with the closest dive spot being just a few minutes away. My experience with diving thus far has always been a few hours boat ride to find a secluded dive spot. The Mesoamerican Reef did not disappoint and we were exposed to many new sea creatures!
2.) Local Cuisine and Fresh Fruit – fresh fruit smoothies, maduros, rice and beans, baleadas, queso, catch of the day tacos, lobster, crab dip, and my most favorite: the lionfish! This is our first time trying Baleadas, which is a traditional Honduran dish made of a flour tortilla folded in half and filled with mashed beans and other ingredients like chicken, pork, eggs, etc. Ryan and I are in heaven eating all this amzing food for the week!
3.) Pico Bonito National Park – I did some extensive research on this park before our trip and there was no way we were leaving Honduras without visiting this gem. It took a bit of planning to make this happen and was well worth the effort. The locals directed us to the port one morning where we could buy tickets and catch the next boat to La Cieba. We arranged a guide with Omega to pick us up in town and drive us into Pico Bonito National Park where we would eat breakfast and then hike our way up to a waterfall called Bejuco. Peter is our guide today and our hike is roughly 2 hours through the jungle. The park has no defined trails and it is very easy to lose your way so we were happy to have Peter accompany us. Plus, Peter shares his extensive knowledge about the trees and leaves and species in the park. The Park is rarely visited by travelers due to its rough terrain.
To start the hike, Peter leads us over Rio Cangrejal and into the jungles where we begin our ascent to the waterfalls.
After about 20 minutes we reach a smaller waterfall first where there is a small pool to cool off in. The day is not terribly hot and there’s a light rainfall at times, but we jump in anyways and soak up all the beauty.
Peters says to look for snails on the rocks. If there are snails there, then it is ok to drink the water. After drying off we continue our ascent until we reach El Bejuco waterfall. The view is absolutely breathtaking! I cant think of a more perfect place to sit, relax, and enjoy a pineapple while watching the falls cascade down the cliffs of the rainforest. These are moments where you wish time could be frozen. <3
4.) Beautiful Beaches – West Bay is definitely the way to go if you want clear blue waters and soft sand. But if you are looking for some quiet time just make sure to avoid cruise ship days. Snorkeling is superb here and I highly recommend it. But don’t pay more than $5 to rent the snorkel and mask.
5.) Yoga – Another reason we decided to stay at the Tranquil Seas Eco Lodge was because of the stellar “Sky Deck” they have. The Deck is the highest part of the lodge and it offers the best views of the Caribbean Sea. If this isn’t the ultimate spot to practice yoga, then i don’t know what is!
6.) Utila Island– I mentioned how small Roatan is in the beginning of this post, but it is nothing compared to Utila. Just 6 miles long and 2 miles wide, Utila is the smallest of the Bay Islands. This small, friendly island attracts backpackers from all over the world because of the pristine diving and uber cheap certification rates. Utila is ranked as the most popular place to complete scuba diving training in the Caribbean. A puddle jumper plane is the quickest way to reach the secluded island, and costs approximately $50. This is the most beautiful plane ride!
There are no stop lights on this island, only one paved road, and we are transported to our hotel in a tuk tuk!! (flashbacks to Thailand!)
We spend the day wandering the island and checking out the various shops, hostels, and food places.
Of course we are diving here but we’ve booked an afternoon dive so we can spend some time roaming first. The island is colorful and the people are friendly, and I could see myself living here for awhile.
7.) And..Land Crabs. I’m not sure why, but I found these creatures hilarious. They were everywhere, including the bars.
Our Honeymoon was a blast in Honduras and I would highly recommend others to travel here as well!