Honduras

Essentials

Capital: Tegucigalpa

Size: 112,492 km²

Population: 6.25m

Currency: Lempira

Language: Spanish

Visas: Not required by British nationals

Food: On the north coast, look out for pan de coco (coconut bread) made by Garífuna (Black Carib) women.

Drink: Go for twelve-year-old Flor de Caña Centenario rum.

Honduras is the second largest country in Central America but its population is no larger than that of neighbouring El Salvador, the smallest country.

The capital, Tegucigalpa, is a chaotic celebration of colonial architecture divided by steep cobbled streets. Get out of town and the mountainous interior has minimal road access, keeping it firmly off the beaten track and making it a haven for trekking, hiking and bird-watching. Tranquil hillsides are dotted with tiny communities and, close to the Guatemalan border, the spectacular ruins at Copán mark the southernmost tip of the Maya Empire.

Resting off the Caribbean coast, the Bay Islands bask under sunny skies and are still the cheapest place in the world to learn to dive. Unwind to the Caribbean rhythms on endless beaches, snorkel in the pristine waters or hop over to the mainland to explore the thriving market towns of the northern coast or the cloud forests of Pico Bonito National Park.

Bearing the brunt of Hurricane Mitch in late 1998, Honduras was quick to repair its basic infrastructure, although rebuilding in terms of loss of life and economic setbacks has taken much longer. Today, the country is very much open for business – and if you go now, you’ll find the villages still quiet and the hillside paths less travelled.

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Getting there