Backpacking in Honduras on a Gap Year

Countries  »  Honduras

Despite being the second largest country in Central America, and home to some awe-inspiring Maya ruins, enchanting colonial villages, visually stunning national parks, and coastline that straddles both the Pacific and Caribbean, backpacking in Honduras has yet to catch on.

This is in part due to safety concerns, as Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates in the world (we recommend reading government advice for booking your trip), and much of the country living in poverty means tourist infrastructure tends to lack behind that of its Central American neighbours.

Still, things are improving, and with its dramatic mountainous interior, wild Mosquito Coast, and beautiful beaches and coral reefs, Honduras at least deserves some consideration if you’re visiting the region.

Top Things to Do in Honduras

Copán Ruins

This is probably the most popular visitor attraction for anybody backpacking in Honduras. This was the centre of one of the most important Maya civilisations until it crumbled for reasons that remain unknown. A UNESCO World Heritage Site now, visitors can explore the ruins, while learning more about their history from on-site guides and a museum. It’s not usually busy, making it easier to let your imagination fly back in time.

Utila

Whether you’re a scuba beginner or an experienced diver, the island of Utila has developed a deserved reputation as one of the best places to dive in Latin America. The island is only small, and everything revolves around its only settlement (Utila Town), where there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and dive shops to make your stay a pleasure. Get out onto the reef and experience the island’s numerous excellent dive sites.

Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve

One advantage of Honduras not having a high number of tourists is that its ecosystems remain largely unspoiled. Rio Platano is an excellent example, offering hiking and rafting expeditions through lush tropical rainforests home to jaguars, monkeys, crocodiles, and more. There are also plenty of archaeological sites to discover, making you feel like an explorer of old.