Find out absolutely everything you need to know about backpacking Honduras! I was amazed at how much of an incredible backpacker-friendly country this is, though a lot of people don’t put in the effort to explore it. Well, be like the minority as I share with you my best travel tips, money, important information, top places to see, and more in this guide to backpacking Honduras!
Honduras is a fantastic country that honestly is seriously underrated. From the incredible jungle, beautiful wildlife, and a crazy good reef along the coast for snorkeling and diving this is the perfect place for nature lovers.
Though the country only receives a small portion of tourism compared to neighboring Guatemala and Nicaragua, and even then the majority of people just head straight to the Bay Islands! Well, Honduras is so much more than this as you will discover as you read about backpacking Honduras.
There is a pretty well-trodden backpacker itinerary in Honduras that no doubt you will find yourself on if you visit here. Sure, you may not meet a bunch of other travelers, and honestly I will say it’s not the best country to solo travel if you are hoping to meet people, so maybe bring a friend along.
Also, the average age range of backpackers here was more in the late 20s / early 30s, where they have already traveled a fair bit and are looking for a bit more of an adventure. Most of the hostels I visited only had a handful of other people staying there, though I did meet a couple of people doing tours.
I will cover for you everything you will never need to know about backpacking Honduras in this travel guide. From money matters, visas, when to go, accommodation, getting around and so much more before finally getting into where exactly you should go and do during your adventure.
I will also share some of the best places to visit in Honduras, from the stunning Bay Islands to the impressive Copan Ruins. No doubt, by the end you will be ready to pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable adventure in Honduras!
Backpacking Honduras: All You Need To Know
- What Is The Currency In Honduras
- Entry Requirements For Backpacking Honduras
- Travel Budget For Backpacking Honduras
- Best Time To Travel Honduras
- Sleeping In Honduras On A Budget
- Getting Around Honduras On A Budget
- Food & Drink In Honduras
- Internet Access In Honduras
- Buying A SIM Card In Honduras
- Best Places To Visit While Backpacking Honduras On A Budget
What Is The Currency In Honduras
The currency in Honduras is the Honduran lempira (HNL), which is divided into 100 centavos. The lempira is named after a 16th-century indigenous leader who resisted the Spanish conquest.
Check online exchange rates.
The lempira is available in both coins and banknotes. The coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 centavos, as well as 1 and 2 lempiras.
The banknotes come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 lempiras. The banknotes feature portraits of prominent Honduran figures, such as Francisco Morazán, José Cecilio del Valle, and Lempira himself.
The lempira is widely accepted in Honduras for most transactions, although some businesses may also accept US dollars or other foreign currencies. It is advisable to carry some cash with you when traveling in Honduras, as ATMs and credit cards may not be available or reliable in some areas.
We also found that Paypal was accepted in many places.
Entry Requirements For Backpacking Honduras
Honduras does not require a tourist visa for most visitors who want to stay up to 90 days. All you need is a passport that is valid for at least six months and a blank visa page.
You will receive a stamp on arrival that grants you access to Honduras and the other Central American countries that are part of the CA-4 agreement (El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua).
Before entering Honduras, you will need to fill out their online pre-check form. Ideally, this should be completed a few days prior to travel as it can take a while for the confirmation to come through.
Though as the underprepared traveler that I am I of course had no idea this existed until I was literally about to board my bus. The company made us submit it and screenshot everything in case it hadn’t been approved by the time we arrived at the border. Luckily we received confirmation an hour before arriving.
Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are a resident of or have traveled through South America or Panama in the last six months. You need to present a valid yellow fever certificate or card that shows the date of vaccination and the name of the vaccine.
The vaccination should be administered at least 10 days before your travel.
Arriving by air it is likely you will be asked to show proof of departure when arriving at the airport. This is because many people travel here and end up overstaying. If you do not have proof of onward travel many travelers use such services as Onward Ticket.
The company books a legitimate ticket in your name and cancels it after a certain period. You just need to pay a small service charge. This provides you with an actual ticket for proof of onward travel.
If you are arriving by land, you can cross the border from Guatemala, Nicaragua, or El Salvador by bus or car. The border crossings are usually straightforward and hassle-free, but you may encounter some delays or unofficial fees depending on the time and location.
Travel Budget For Backpacking Honduras
Before my life of travel took over I actually spent many years studying to become an accountant. Therefore usually I keep a tight track of my budget and costs on the road, though this kind of fell to the wayside in Honduras.
This was mostly due to being too scared to actually know how much I was spending on scuba diving, and that we actually stopped traveling, and instead set up a base in Roatan. Nevertheless, I still am aware of how much things cost in the country and how much you should approximately budget.
Now before we get into prices you should know mainland Honduras is a hell of a lot cheaper than the islands. Copan Ruinas was actually one of the cheapest places I have visited in Central America so far.
Though we ended up spending large in Roatan doing our PADI Open Water and doing a lot of Fun Diving.
Overall the cost of backpacking Honduras depends on your travel style, preferences, and activities. However, a general estimate is that you can travel comfortably on $30.00 – $60.00 per day as a backpacker.
This will cover your accommodation, food, transportation, and some tours. A mix of spending time on the mainland, and in the Bay Islands. Though if you are looking to learn how to dive you probably will account for this separately, rather than work it into your daily budget.
Best Time To Travel Honduras
Honduras is a country that has something for everyone, from ancient ruins to stunning beaches, from lush jungles to vibrant cities. But when is the best time to visit this Central American gem? Well, that depends on what you want to do and see.
The dry season, from December to April, is the most popular time to visit Honduras, and for a good reason. The weather is warm and sunny, with temperatures averaging around 29°c, and the rain is minimal.
This is perfect for exploring the impressive Copán Ruins, one of the most important Mayan sites in the world. You can also enjoy some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean in the Bay Islands, where you can swim with colorful fish and coral reefs.
Or you can hike in the national parks, such as Pico Bonito, where you can spot wildlife like monkeys, sloths, and toucans. And of course, you can relax on the beautiful beaches of Roatán, Utila, or Trujillo, where you can soak up the sun and the laid-back vibe.
However, Honduras is not just a dry-season destination. You can also visit during the rest of the year, as each season has its own charm and advantages.
For instance, if you are a fan of whale sharks, you should go to Utila between June and September, when these gentle giants migrate to the area. If you are into white-water rafting, you should go after the rainiest months of September and October, when the Cangrejal River offers thrilling rapids.
The main downside of visiting Honduras outside the dry season is the possibility of hurricanes and tropical storms, which can hit the east coast and the Bay Islands from June to November.
These can cause serious damage and disruption to your travel plans. You should also be ready for high humidity and frequent rain showers.
Sleeping In Honduras On A Budget
Honduras is a country that offers a variety of accommodation options for travelers, from budget hostels to luxury resorts, from urban hotels to rural lodges. Though if you are on a budget you may find your options a bit limited.
Hostels: Hostels are a great option for backpackers and solo travelers who want to save money and meet other travelers. They offer dorm beds or private rooms, usually with /shared bathrooms and common areas. Hostels are also great places to meet other travelers and get local tips.
You can find hostels in most major cities and tourist destinations in Honduras, such as Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Copán Ruinas, La Ceiba, and the Bay Islands. Prices generally range from $7.00 to $17.00.
Guesthouses: Guesthouses are another option for budget travelers who want more privacy and comfort than hostels. They are usually family-run businesses that offer basic rooms with private or shared bathrooms. Some guesthouses also have kitchens, gardens, or terraces.
Guesthouses are more common in rural areas and smaller towns, where they can cost from $10 to $20 per night. This is a great option if you are friends or a couple traveling together.
Lodges: Lodges are another option for travelers who want to immerse themselves in nature and wildlife. They are usually located in remote or rural areas near national parks or reserves and offer rustic but comfortable rooms with basic amenities.
Some lodges also have communal areas where you can enjoy meals and activities with other guests. They will often organize tours and excursions to explore the surrounding nature and culture. You can find lodges in places like Pico Bonito National Park or La Moskitia region.
Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with locals who offer free accommodation in their homes. Couchsurfing is a great way to experience the local culture and make new friends in Honduras.
However, it requires some planning and communication in advance, as well as respect and gratitude for your hosts.
Getting Around Honduras On A Budget
Honestly, there are no super fancy ways to travel around Honduras. There are no trains, and if you choose to fly you are limited on destinations. Nevertheless, there are always a couple of choices for how to travel from point A to point B.
Here is a little overview of the types of transport you may find yourself taking while backpacking Honduras:
Fly: Planes are a quick and convenient way to travel long distances or to reach the Bay Islands. Planes connect the main airports of Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, and Roatá. They can save you hours of travel time compared to buses or boats, though you will be paying for this luxury.
Shuttle: Tourist shuttles are another option for travelers who want to travel comfortably and safely between the main destinations in Honduras. These are usually minibusses or vans that offer door-to-door service, air conditioning, and luggage storage.
Tourist shuttles can be booked online or through tour operators or hotels. They can cost anywhere from 300 to 1,000 HNL ($12-40 USD) per person depending on the destination and the company. Roneey Shuttle Service is the most popular company with domestic and international routes.
Bus: Buses are the most common and affordable way to get around Honduras. They connect most major cities and towns, as well as some rural areas. Buses range from local or “chicken” buses that are cheap but slow and crowded, to express or luxury buses that are more comfortable and faster but more expensive.
Buses usually run from early morning to late afternoon, but some routes may have night services. Some of the main bus companies are Hedman Alas, Viana, Cristina, and Catisa.
Boat: Boats are a fun and scenic way to travel to the islands or along the coast. They connect La Ceiba with Roatán and Utila, Trujillo with Guanaja, Puerto Cortés with Omoa and Belize, and Puerto Lempira with La Moskitia. Some of the main boat companies are Galaxy Wave Ferry, Utila Dream Ferry, Safeway Maritime Transportation Company, and Miskito Coast Travel.
Food & Drink In Honduras
In Honduras, you can easily find a wide assortment of food. This is even more true in the tourist hot spot of Roatan, Utila, and even Copan Ruinas. From vegan, Italian, Mexican, and more.
There is a variety of cuisines here for foodies. Though wherever you find yourself in the country good food will not be far behind. I am a fussy eater and a vegetarian, luckily I had no issues whatsoever finding something suitable here in Honduras.
Some common local dishes include Honduran enchiladas, Carne Asada, Tamales, Sopa de caracol, Pollo con tajadas, and of course baleadas. A typical Honduran lunch or dinner usually consists of rice, beans, tortillas, meat, and salad.
The meat can be chicken, pork, beef, or seafood, depending on the region and availability. The salad can be made with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, or other vegetables. Sometimes, the meal also includes fried plantains, cheese, sour cream, or chismol.
One of the most iconic and popular dishes in Honduras is baleadas. Baleadas are thick wheat flour tortillas that are filled with refried black beans and other ingredients, such as cheese, sour cream, eggs, avocado, or meat.
They are street food that can be found in stalls or carts all over the country. They are cheap and delicious and can be eaten at any time of the day, perfecting for anyone backpacking Honduras on a budget.
Internet Access In Honduras
If you are planning to visit Honduras, you may wonder about the availability and quality of internet access in the country. The answer is that it depends on where you go and what you need. Internet access in Honduras is not very widespread or reliable, especially in rural and remote areas.
However, as a tourist, you will mainly be sticking to the main backpacker trail.
The only place I had issues with internet access was in Pico Bonito National Park. During our stay here we had Wifi in the common area of our hostel, but not in our rooms. Luckily our mobile phone data still worked so I could still scroll from the comfort of my bed.
Buying A SIM Card In Honduras
If you are a backpacker who wants to stay connected while traveling in Honduras, you may want to buy a local SIM card for your phone. By buying a local SIM card, you can avoid expensive roaming charges and enjoy cheaper rates for calls, texts, and data.
Though be aware you will need an unlocked phone to use a sim card abroad.
There are two main mobile operators in Honduras: Tigo and Claro. They both offer prepaid SIM cards that you can buy and top up with different plans and packages.
Another option for getting a SIM card in Honduras is to use an eSIM card. An eSIM card is a digital SIM card that you can download to your phone without needing a physical chip.
You can order an eSIM card online from providers like Airalo, which offers affordable plans for Honduras and other countries. For example, you can get 1 GB of data for 1 week for $9 USD with Airalo.
Top Places To Visit While Backpacking Honduras On A Budget
Honduras is an absolutely incredible country with so many awesome places worth visiting. From paradise islands to cultural and historical sites. Whether you are interested in ancient Mayan ruins, experiencing nature in a national park, quaint towns, or wildlife, you will find something to suit your taste and budget.
Here are some of the best places to visit in Honduras that you should not miss.
Copan Ruinas is a charming town in western Honduras, near the border with Guatemala. It is famous for its Maya Site of Copan, one of the most important and well-preserved archaeological sites of the ancient Maya civilization.
Copan Ruinas is built on the site of a major complex dating to the Classic period. The town offers a variety of attractions and services for visitors, such as museums, restaurants, hotels, shops, and tours, and even the popular Macaw Mountain, a must for bird lovers. There is a really quaint vibe here with colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, creating a cozy and picturesque atmosphere.
Personally, I stayed at Hostel Iguana Azul which is the only hostel option with a dorm room, but I did book in the private rooms which are equally as affordable. We had a shared bathroom and it was fan cooled. Facilities were on the basic side, but for the price point, this was an excellent choice.
My favorite choice for an affordable option. Dorm rooms start from $12.00 per night and private $22.00 per night.BOOK NOW
Another affordable choice close to the town center. Private rooms start from $21.00 per night with a shared bathroom.BOOK NOW
This is the fancy sister property of Iguana Azul. It’s super nice and rooms start from $70.00 per night.BOOK NOW
A little bit more pricey but there is a small pool. Dorms start at $18.00 per night and privates $30.00BOOK NOW
La Ceiba / Pico Bonito National Park
La Ceiba is definitely on the backpacking Honduras itinerary, though most people decide to simply stay here one night on the way to the islands. This means a lot of accommodation in the city center does leave a lot to be desired, even the hostels are quite on the basic side.
If you are also simply planning on staying in La Ceiba one night then this is perfect. Though if you are wanting to discover more of mainland Honduras I highly recommend spending a few nights in the Pico Bonito National Park.
The park itself covers an area of 564.30 km2 and has a variety of ecosystems, from lowland dry forest to cloud forest to rainforest. It is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, a network of protected areas that aims to conserve the biodiversity and cultural heritage of Central America.
The Pico Bonito National Park is a great place for adventure lovers, who can enjoy activities such as hiking, rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, or birdwatching. The park has several trails that vary in length and difficulty, from easy to challenging.
You can hike to the waterfalls, the lookout points, or the cloud forest. There is also white water rafting on the Cangrejal River, which has rapids of different levels and offers a thrilling experience.
I decided to stay at Jungle River Lodge here which is an excellent hostel located right in the middle of the jungle alongside the river in Pico Bonito National Park. It was surprisingly budget friendly with some of the cheapest white water rafting I have ever seen.
There are also some hikes you can do around the area to nearby waterfalls. They have dorm rooms available, as well as privates.
A hostel stay right on the river in Pico Bonito National Park. Dorms start at $19.00 per night.BOOK NOW
More of a luxury stay in Pico Bonito National Park. Rooms here start at $80.00 per night for a private room.BOOK NOW
A basic hostel in the city center of La Ceiba. Dorms here start for around $13.00 per night.BOOK NOW
A basic and affordable hotel in the town of La Ceiba. Private rooms here start at $26.00 per night.BOOK NOW
Utila, Bay Of Islands
Utila is a small island in the Caribbean Sea, part of the Bay Islands of Honduras. It is the smallest of the three major islands, after Roatán and Guanaja. It is also one of the most popular and affordable destinations for scuba diving in the world, with over 80 dive sites and rich marine life.
No wonder it’s such a popular choice for travelers backpacking Honduras.
Utila is known for its laid-back and friendly atmosphere, its diverse and colorful culture, and its natural beauty. Utila also has a vibrant nightlife, with bars, restaurants, and parties that cater to backpackers and divers.
Utila offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors who love the ocean and the outdoors. You can learn how to dive or improve your skills at one of the many dive centers on the island, which offer courses for all levels and budgets.
Though what makes it a super affordable destination as most dive centers will include accommodation in shared dorms for free if you do a diving course through them.
As a result of this, there isn’t a whole heap of backpackers on the island, so if you are thinking of visiting here I recommend contacting one of the dive centers directly and organizing your accommodation through them. Also why not try doing your PADI open water, it was the best thing I did in Roatan!
Roatan, Bay Of Islands
Roatan is a beautiful island in the Caribbean Sea, about 65 kilometers off the northern coast of Honduras. It is the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras and has a rich history and culture.
This is also a popular port for cruise ships that visit set days of the week. Therefore sometimes parts of the island will be quiet, and other times overrun with tourists.
Roatan is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The reef offers a variety of marine life and coral formations to explore.
Roatan also has several cays and smaller islands nearby, such as Jesse Arch Cay, Sarah Cay, Second Cay, Morat, Barbareta, and Pigeon Cay.
There are a lot of awesome things to do in Roatan such as scuba diving, snorkeling the blue channel, enjoying the incredible beaches, and more! Though one thing to note is that Roatan has A LOT, like HEAPS of animal tourism activities, and I do not support this in the slightest.
Though if you partake in animal tourism of any sort it is important you book ethical experiences and do your research. I didn’t support any of the activities involving animals on Roatan, whether that was because dolphins were captive, sloths were used as photo props, etc.
The only real proper hostel on the island. Rooms start from $14.00 for a dorm and $20.00 for a private.BOOK NOW
Across the road from the beach in more of a quiet location. Single and double rooms start at $30.00.BOOK NOW
A lovely affordable hotel in Half Moon Bay. Private rooms here start at $50.00 per night.BOOK NOW
A slightly dated resort in a good location. Prices start from $80.00 per night.BOOK NOW
Lago de Yojo
Lago de Yojoa is a hidden gem in Honduras, a country often overlooked by travelers. It is the largest natural lake in the country, with a surface area of 79 square kilometers and an average depth of 15 meters.
It lies in a volcanic depression surrounded by lush mountains and cloud forests, home to a rich biodiversity of birds, plants, and animals.
Here you can enjoy fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming in the clear waters of the lake, or exploring the nearby waterfalls, caves, and hiking trails. You can also visit the Los Naranjos Ecological and Archaeological Park, where you can walk along a boardwalk through wetlands and see ancient Lenca pottery.
And don’t forget to try the fresh fried fish and the locally grown coffee that are specialties of the region.
The most popular spot to stay here for travelers backpacking Honduras is called D&D Brewery. If this sounds like you the shuttle company Rooney Shuttle Services runs regular routes here from other parts of the country. This also makes a great stop to break up a long journey if you are traveling from Honduras to Nicaragua.
San Pedro Sula
San Pedro Sula is the second largest city in Honduras and the industrial and economic hub of the country. It is located in the northwest corner of the country, in the fertile Sula Valley, about 50 kilometers from the Caribbean Sea.
However, San Pedro Sula is not a popular tourist destination. Many travelers only come here to change transport, not to stay overnight. There are several reasons for this.
First, San Pedro Sula has a reputation for being one of the most violent cities in the world, with high rates of homicide, gang activity, and drug trafficking.
Second, San Pedro Sula lacks many cultural and natural attractions that other cities in Honduras offer, such as colonial architecture, Mayan ruins, national parks, and beaches.
Therefore, most travelers who visit San Pedro Sula only use it as a transit point to reach other destinations in Honduras or Central America. The city has an international airport, a bus terminal, and a railroad that connects it with other major cities and towns.
Tegucigalpa is the capital and largest city of Honduras, with a population of about 1.3 million people. It is located in a highland valley surrounded by forested hills and has a mild and fresh climate.
It is the political and administrative center of the country, as well as the home of several cultural and historical attractions, such as museums, churches, parks, and monuments
However, again Tegucigalpa is not a very appealing destination for most travelers. Many travelers only come here to change transport, not to stay overnight.
Work For Accommodation In Honduras
Give working for your accommodation a try. Many hostels in Honduras offer those who are staying a free place to rest their head. Though in exchange you must be willing to help with cleaning, front desk, and other general duties.
Another option is WWOOFing or Helpx.
Any Questions? Let me know in the comments!
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Want more Honduras Inspiration? Check out….
- BEST THINGS TO DO IN COPAN RUINAS
- ANTIGUA TO COPAN RUINAS
- VISITING MACAW MOUNTAIN IN COPAN RUINAS
- BACKPACKING COPAN RUINAS
- VISITING THE COPAN MAYAN RUINS
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