La Ceiba is the Eco tourism capital of Honduras, and there are many things to do in La Ceiba! Most of these have to do with adventure and eco tourism activities, and you can choose from many different options.
One of the must do on the things to do in La Ceiba list is white water rafting. The Cangrejal River offers unique crystal clear, pleasantly refreshing waters (not icy cold) with huge, house size boulders that create fun drops and rapids, making the run down the river in a raft a lot of fun, and even a bit technical. Most rapids are a good class III, providing lots of excitement with little or no danger. The regular commercially run stretch of the river goes downriver for several kilometers from the village of El Naranjo. There are several outfitters that provide white water rafting and kayaking service in La Ceiba, I recommend that you use either Omega Tours (www.omegatours.info) or La Moskitia Ecoaventuras (www.lamoskitia.hn). If you are planning on enjoying this activity while in La Ceiba, you should definitely plan on staying at the Cangrejal River Valley, and a perfect option is La Villa de Soledad B&B, a lovely boutique bed and breakfast that is within a short walking distance from the rafting put in.
Another great option, also within walking distance of La Villa de Soledad, is hiking into Pico Bonito National Park. A short 5 minute walk will put you at the Pico Bonito Visitor Center, where you will be able access the park via a 400 foot long swinging bridge that will lead you to a network of trails, one of which will take you to the foot of the El Bejuco waterfall, a lovely fall with a great view of the valley. If you are feeling adventuresome, you can even climb to the top of the falls, but this is a steep climb, so be cautious in your efforts! Although you can go on the trails on your own, I fully recommend hiring a local guide, they are familiar with the jungle and can spot the snakes on the trails, plus they know the best spots to take pictures and the access to the top of the waterfall! If you are staying at one of the hotels in the Cangrejal River Valley, ask your hosts to set a guide up for you. They know who the best guides are!
Other nearby trails include the “Guaruma” Trail, the “El Turco” trail and the “La Relumbrosa” trail. These are ideal for a short walk and especially the first two do not require a big effort, so they are ideal of kids or older folks that are not used to serious hike in the steep forests of Pico Bonito and Nombre de Dios National Parks.
Worth mentioning are the hot springs in Sambo Creek. They present a truly natural setting, in the middle of the tropical rain forest, with a nice creek creating natural swimming holes as it cascades down to the Caribbean Sea. Here the hot water is ideal to soothe your body and soul as well as to relax your mind, and the service even includes a massage! The location also features the longest Zipline Canopy Tour in the area, with just one cable measuring one mile in length! They have a total of 16 cables in the tour! The hot springs are only one kilometer past the detour to Sambo Creek on the CA13 in the direction of Trujillo.
Perhaps one of the best kept secrets of Honduras is the Garifuna Cultura. The result of racial and cultural mix between African slaves that were shipwrecked off the coast of St. Vincent in the Caribbean and the local Carib Indians, The Garifuna developed a unique culture with blends in beliefs and traditions from both cultures into their own, creating their own language and cultural expressions. The UNESCO has declared the Garifuna Culture as World Heritage Culture. La Ceiba has two Garifuna communities within its boundaries, Corozal and Sambo Creek, both located east of La Ceiba on the CA13 highway towards Trujillo.
Also in the vicinity of Sambo Creek is the Cacao Lagoon, part of the Nombre de Dios National Park areas that are open for tourists. This is a small lagoon with some mangrove canals that are totally forested and home to both howler and white faced monkeys. You are almost 100% guaranteed to see monkeys during your trip in the lagoon. You can either take a big boat which is paddled by guides or one or two person sea kayaks, which requires your efforts to move around the lagoon. There is a nice sand bar separating the lagoon from the sea, and on a clear day, you can clearly see the Cayos Cochinos from here!
And as long as we are talking of Cayos Cochinos, one of the favorite things to do in La Ceiba, the easiest way to get to these absolutely stunning little islands is precisely from Sambo Creek. Although there are several different operators that provide boat transportation service between the coast and the Cayos Cochinos, I truly recommend that you hire Tourist Options. They have regularly scheduled tours that depart daily at 8:00 a.m. sharp and return around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, depending on the sea conditions. Cayos Cochinos is part of the Mesoamerican Reef Barrier System, and offers access to some of the best conserved coral reefs in the region. In addition, you will be able to visit a truly authentic Garifuna community at Chachahuate Cay, which will surely be one of the highlights of your visit here!
Last but not least on the things to do in La Ceiba list is Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge. Entrance to the Refuge is via the community of La Union, where you can enjoy a unique “banana train” ride into the protected area. Cuero y Salado is a paradise for birdwatchers, and also provides excellent opportunities to see other wildlife, such as howler monkeys, alligators and if you are truly lucky, the iconic species of the refuge, the Caribbean Manatee!
As you can see, there are many things to do in La Ceiba. You should plan on at least 3 nights in the area to enjoy the destination and get a feel for it. I strongly suggest you stay in the Cangrejal River Valley area; truly the crown jewel of La Ceiba as far as nature and tourism is concerned. La Villa de Soledad Bed and Breakfast is a perfect base from where to base your adventures in La Ceiba! Let us know if there is anything in particular you need to know!