Honduras’ long stretch of Caribbean Coast is a mixture of isolated beaches, indigenous Garífuna villages, banana and pineapple plantantions and port-cities. The Bay Islands are just off the coast and are a huge destination for travelers from all over the world. The eastern half of the north coast is called La Mosquitia, or Mosquito Coast, named after an indigenous group, not the insect, this jungly part of Honduras, as with most of the rest of the coast, is nonetheless fairly infested with pesky mosquitoes and proper protection from malaria is strongly recommended. Semana Santa, the week leading up to Easter, is high-tourist season and hotels fill up, so plan ahead.
Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras’ Caribbean Coast hard in 1998 and many of the port cities are still staggering from the blow.
People and Culture
The Caribbean Coast is home to a mixture of cultures, in addition to Latino Hondurans, there are many descendents of Jamaican and other Caribbean people from the times of British rule. The Garífuna people are a mixture of African and Carib Indians and have small fishing villages from Belize to Nicaragua. They have their own language, a mixture of Arawak, French, Yoruba and maybe more, as well as their own foods, dance, music and religion.
Among the highlights on Honduras’ Caribbean Coast are:
-The beautiful Bay Islands, Honduras’ most popular tourist destination, consist of three large islands: Utila, Roatán and Guanaja; they are surrounded by about 70 smaller, mostly uninhabited islets, and an extension the world’s second-largest coral reef after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
-Honduras’ third-largest city and the major jumping-off point to the Bay Islands, La Ceiba is also a growing center for eco-tourism and nightlife. Surrounded by a national park, a wildlife refuge and a marine reserve, tours are being offered more and more that emphasize the many hiking, rafting, bird watching and natural exploration in the area.
–The Mosquitia, or Mosquito Coast, is a large rainforest that fills Honduras’ northeast corner along the Caribbean Coast. This forested, swampy section of Honduras is rich in wildlife and flora and is sparsely inhabited with native tribal groups that still practice traditional lifestyles.