Named after a giant ceiba tree that once grew at its dock, La Ceiba is a bustling Caribbean port and the self-proclaimed “Tourism Capital of Honduras”. It serves as a gateway to the Bay Islands and wildlife-filled Pico Bonito National Park while it also hosts a famous carnival in honour of the Catholic patron saint of farmers.
Things to do in La Ceiba
Sprawling south of La Ceiba is Pico Bonito National Park, which encompasses the rugged peaks of the Cordillera Nombre de Dios. It forms part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, a natural land bridge that allows species to migrate between South America and North America. In addition to catching a glimpse of jaguars and toucans, the park provides a setting for whitewater rafting on the Cangrejal River.
Stretching west of La Ceiba is Playa Bonita, a picturesque beach where the Rio Bonito meets the Caribbean Sea. Offshore lie Roatan, Utila and Guanaja, which are a popular holiday base for scuba divers and snorkellers. The surrounding coral reefs form part of the world’s second-largest barrier reef system and provide habitat for sea turtles and whale sharks.
Want to come face-to-face with manatees? Head to the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, which can be accessed aboard a vintage train that once served the local banana plantations. The estuaries and mangrove forests are best explored by canoe or motor boat, with sightings of howler and capuchin monkeys common. In addition to endangered Antillean manatees, the refuge is home to an abundance of birdlife.
Getting around La Ceiba
Goloson International Airport is 15 minutes’ drive from the centre of La Ceiba and has flights to destinations across Honduras and the Caribbean. Buses travel throughout La Ceiba and taxis are readily available for getting around. Ferries connect from La Ceiba to Roatan and Utila.