Travelers seeking off-the-beaten-path adventure, without having to sacrifice the comfort of pristine luxury accommodations, should look no further than Honduras. From Roatan – with its turquoise waters and wide array of unique activities both on land and sea – to Tela, home of the largest botanical garden in the Western Hemisphere, Honduras offers endless attractions for explorers, and with a bevy of luxury and boutique hotel options – it’s the perfect place to enjoy the best of both worlds.
“What makes Honduras such a great destination for adventure travelers is the variety of landscapes it offers,” said Emilio Silvestri, minister-director of Honduras Institute of Tourism. “Travelers can choose from SCUBA diving in the Caribbean waters in Roatan then relaxing in a private villa or hiking in the region’s largest rainforests, spotting all types of birds and animals, then retreating to a luxury hotel spa. In Honduras, you do not have to choose between one or the other. Most importantly, these properties have been developed sustainably, with respect for surrounding landscape, allowing us to ensure the natural qualities that make our country so unique remain the centerpiece of all our attractions.”
Intimate Boutiques in Roatán
Roatán is one of Honduras’ Bay Islands, known for its crystal-clear waters and home to the southern part of the Mesoamerican Reef, the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere. SCUBA divers, kite boarders, kayakers and more will enjoy this active island. Punta Gorda, located on the eastern end of the island, is home to Honduras’ largest ethnic group, the Garifuna. Here, guests can truly experience the Garifuna culture, their cuisine, customs, and more.
After daily adventures, guests can retire to one of many luxury hotels on the island, such as Ibagari Boutique Hotel. Built in 2017, this boutique property promises a “stress-free life,” staying true to its name which translates to “life” in the dialect spoken by the Garifuna. The hotel offers a private beach and a beautiful infinity pool. Guests can enjoy a range of activities including “Dip & Sip” sessions, where they can create their own art on recycled bottles while enjoying cocktails and the Caribbean breeze. The hotel’s restaurant, Luna Muna, is considered one of the finest on the island offering specialty dishes such as Lobster Ravioli, Tuna Toast and Beef with Risotto.
Also in West Bay, Xbalanque opened its doors in 2013 and has held the reputation of being one of Roatan’s top luxury hotels since. The intimate five-star retreat offers five beachfront villas including a one-of-a-kind out-door living villa with an open kitchen space and private infinity pool and Heliconia, a 4000-square-foot private villa with direct access to the hotel’s nature trail, several deck patios and an indoor/outdoor dining space. Guests can enjoy peaceful walks through the nature trails that surround the hotel, or visit the Indonesian pagoda, perfect for relaxation, meditation and nature observation.
Luxury in the Venice of Honduras
Located off the Honduran Atlantic Coast, Guanaja is the most untouched of Honduras’ Bay Islands. Bonacca, a small cay off the main island has been nicknamed the Venice of Honduras due to the waterways that run through it, and is home to 45 dive sites. Guanaja offers a mountainous landscape, various fresh water springs and two waterfalls, the only waterfalls in the Bay Islands.
Travelers looking for a unique and luxurious escape far from civilization should look no further than Villa on Dunbar Rock. Locals say the small cay was used as a mooring or anchoring spot for the infamous Blackbeard. The resort features eight suites with private balconies, a rooftop bar, infinity pool and a private helicopter pad. For diving enthusiasts, “The Rock,” offers access to dive boats and the ability to create customized diving adventures by picking which dive sites and wrecks they want to visit.
Biodiversity meets Luxury in Atlántida
Back on the mainland in the northern coast, Tela offers a quiet escape. The region is home to Lancetilla Botanical Gardens where guests can traverse through bamboo tunnels and spot exotic birds, Jeannette Kawas National Park offering jungle scenery and Punta Izopo National Park where visitors can kayak alongside trees that are home to howler monkeys.
Located in Tela, INDURA Beach & Golf Resort, part of the CURIO Collection by Hilton, is the most luxurious resort on the Honduran mainland, offering a beautifully-designed pool that greets guests as they check in. The Maina Spa, one of the most popular in the country, features signature Honduran-inspired treatments like coconut scrubs and Mayan cacao massages. Avid golfers looking for a tropical backdrop can tee off from the first championship 18-hole golf course, designed by Gary Player.
Located east of Tela near the city of La Ceiba, The Lodge and Spa at Pico Bonito (pictured at top) offers the perfect mix of nature and luxury in Honduras. The lodge is located on 400 acres of tropical wilderness, between two rivers with miles of private trails and breathtaking waterfalls. Guests can enjoy tours to the nearby Manatee Refugee, whitewater rafting, botanical gardens and much more as well as guided tours throughout the neighboring tropical rainforest.
For easy connectivity to any of these hotels, there are direct flights to/from the U.S. to Roatán, Tegucigalpa, and San Pedro Sula.