La Villa de Soledad B&B is happy to be associated to the new Honduras Travel Blog. This new site, which is the result of over 23 years of traveling around Honduras and being part of the tourism private sector in the country is yet one more effort to change the image of Honduras abroad and educate the potential traveler so that they can feel more secure and at ease when planning a trip and visiting Honduras!
This blog is meant to have a full, regularly updated section about the different destinations in the country, highlighting the different things to do, the unique National Parks to visit, as well as tips about where to stay, where to eat and how to be a better traveler within Honduras and Central America.
Honduras travel will also have regular travel posts, which will make up the blog, and share the experiences of someone who has traveled extensively throughout Central America. If you love Honduras, and feel that potential travelers are not getting a fair image of the country, pitch in, Honduras and the different tourism service entrepreneurs need all the help they can get!
Initially, Honduras Travel is offering information on the three most important and popular destinations in Honduras: Atlantida, with its hubs in the Cangrejal River, La Ceiba and Tela; The Bay Islands, including Guanaja, Roatan and Utila, and Copan, which includes Copan Ruinas and Santa Rosa de Copan. They will be expanding this initial limited information progressively, and are confident that they will soon become “The Travel Blog for Honduras”, with updated travel info on all of Honduras .
We are happy to share this breaking news with you, and invite you to visit the Honduras Travel web page and send Honduras Travel your comments and suggestions, as well as sharing the tips with your friends. They now have a facebook page as well as a twitter (@hondurastravel) account which you can follow. Surely Honduras Travel will become an important tool to market Honduras!
As of early March, there will be changes in the La Ceiba-Utila ferry schedules 2016.
You see the new Utila Dream Ferry, which has been operating at identical departure times as the Utila Princess will be expanding its itinerary to include runs from Utila to Roatan as well as from Utila to Puerto Cortes. Due to these new routes, there will be changes in the La Ceiba – Utila ferry schedule as follow:
Utila – La Ceiba: Departure from Utila at 6:30 a.m. Arrival in La Ceiba at 7:15 a.m.
La Ceiba – Utila: Departure from La Ceiba at 8:30 a.m. Arrival in Utila at 9:15 a.m.
Utila – La Ceiba: Departure from Utila at 3:30 p.m. Arrival in La Ceiba at 4:15 p.m.
La Ceiba – Utila: Departure from La Ceiba at 5:00 p.m. Arrival in Utila at 5:45 p.m.
In addition, the Utila Dream will be operating a Roatan run on Thursdays and Saturdays as follows:
Utila – Roatan: Departure from Utila at 9:30 a.m. Arrival at West End, Roatan at 10:10 a.m.
Roatan – Utila: Departure from West End at 2:00 p.m. Arrival in Utila at 2:40 p.m.
Also, on Friday and Sunday, the Utila Dream will be operating between Utila and Puerto Cortes as follows:
Utila – Puerto Cortes: Departure from Utila at : 9:30 a.m. Arrival .in Puerto Cortes at 12:00 noon
Puerto Cortes – Utila: Departure from Puerto Cortes at 12:30 p.m. Arrival in Utila at 3:00 p.m.
This new schedule means that people can enjoy some extra time in Utila on their departure day. It also means that it gives passengers traveling overland from faraway places a bit extra time to make it to the port facility in La Ceiba in order to catch the outbound ferry to Utila.
The new La Ceiba – Utila ferry schedules 2016 promise to make getting to Utila easier than ever, by allowing travel directly between Roatan and Puerto Cortes to Utila! Congratulations Utila Dream for innovating and providing new routes and new schedules!
As for the Utila Princess ferry, the La Ceiba – Utila ferry schedules 2016 remain as they have been up to now, with no changes for the time being.
Hope that this update to the La Ceiba – Utila ferry schedules 2016 is helpful to arrange your vacation in Utila!
Despite being sister islands, traveling between Utila and Roatan has always been complicated. With no scheduled service between both islands, it has always been a travelers nightmare traveling between them. Until now, the easiest, and practically only way of travelling between Utila and Roatan has been to take the ferry from Utila to La Ceiba, and then board the ferry from La Ceiba to Roatan. While the schedules worked in both directions, not only where you paying more, you were actually traveling twice the distance and spending more than twice the time you really needed.
The good news is that the Utila Dream, the new ferry that has come to service Utila will now be operating twice a week a Utila to Roatan route, which will be running on Thursday and Saturday making traveling between Utila and Roatan a piece of cake. Departures from Utila will be at 9:30 a.m. from the Municipal dock in Utila, and return from Roatan will depart at 2:00 p.m. from the Coconut Tree Dock at West End. By using this arrival and departure location, passengers will actually be arriving or departing directly from the heart of the most popular location in Roatan: West End. The trip will be a short 40 minute ride between both islands!
Island Air, a small airline based in Utila is also offering round trip service between Utila and Roatan on Saturdays, which of course is even more convenient if you are traveling to Roatan to catch an international flight, since you arrive at the Roatan International Airport (RTB).
For those tourists coming in from Belize and Rio Dulce in Guatemala, we have even more good news! The Utila Dream will be traveling between Utila and Puerto Cortes twice a week on Friday and Sunday! Departures from Utila will be at 9:30 a.m. from the municipal dock and the passage will be only 2 ½ hours, arriving at Puerto Cortes at noontime. Departures from Puerto Cortes will be at 12:30, arriving in Utila by 3:00 p.m. The cost of the service will be only Lps 700 each way, which is approximately $31 US. Not only will you be saving time, you will also be saving money!
This new routes will be in effect starting the first week in March, 2016, and will certainly make traveling between Utila and Roatan, and between Rio Dulce and Utila much, much easier!
This weekend I had a chance to travel to Utila for a couple of days. It was a work trip, but nonetheless, there is always time to kick back and relax. After the cold front that passed through the area the week before, the sky was clear, the ocean was calm, and traveling on board the new Utila Dream Ferry was truly a treat! Although I usually hide from the sun, as my skin does not take it very well, I could not resist traveling on the outside deck on the bow, and enjoying the scenery while feeling the fresh marine breeze blowing on my face…
And this is where my post about Pico Bonito National Park comes to be. You see, when the air is crisp and clean, you get a magnificent view of the Nombre de Dios Mountains and Pico Bonito National Park, especially from Utila, although you can also see it from Roatan. The skyline of the coast, with the rugged peaks jutting over the clouds makes you wonder about Pico Bonito National Park and everything it has to offer. Truly, a visit to the Caribbean Bay Islands of Honduras is magnificent, however a visit to the mainland to discover all there is about Pico Bonito National Park brings your visit to Honduras to a complete new level!
As seen from Utila, you can only imagine what lies within these spectacular, jungle clad mountains. From afar, you will notice that if you look towards the east, (left if you are on Utila) of the triangular shaped peak appropriately named Pico Bonito, you will see a dip in the mountains. It is precisely along this valley where the Cangrejal River, which is the natural boundary between Pico Bonito and Nombre de Dios National Parks, flows towards the Caribbean.
The Cangrejal River Valley is probably the most unique tropical rainforest area within Central America. Its scenic setting, together with a variety of different lodges and activities are to be found, making it a prime spot to look for a hotel in La Ceiba where to stay and enjoy yourself.
If you are traveling to Roatan or Utila, make sure that you plan a couple of days to visit the Cangrejal River Valley in the mainland and learn about Pico Bonito National Park, the most bio-diverse national park in Central America!
Don’t get me wrong with this title! This is not about an actual, physical war, and instead of driving you away from the area, you should take immediate advantage of this “war” and travel to La Ceiba and Utila!
You see, it turns out that a new ferry has begun service between La Ceiba and Utila: The Utila Dream. This new ferry is providing much more comfortable service and a much more pleasant setting. But this new Utila ferry service has brought about a fare war, and getting to Utila has never, I mean, never been cheaper! Take advantage of this great opportunity to visit the island of Utila, a true gem in the Caribbean that will easily be a highlight of your visit to Honduras and Central America!
As I am writing this post, and as a result of the Utila ferry wars, the cost of a passage between the ports of La Ceiba and Utila has dropped to only 99 lempiras, this, in US dollars, is under $4.50 US dollars!
The Utila Princess boat is offering the lowest fare, and although the new Utila Dream is a much bigger and nicer boat, the rock bottom fares have kept much of the local population and domestic tourists using the service of the Utila Princess. Furthermore, the new service provided by the Utila Dream is not yet known by all international tourists, who would gladly pay a much reduced fare of $9.00 US one way to travel between these two ports.
Before the new service came into operation, the cost of the passage between La Ceiba and Utila is approximately $25 US, making it a true bargain to travel in these days while the Utila ferry wars are raging!
My advice is drop what you are doing and hurry to visit Utila and La Ceiba, It will never be more affordable to visit these two destinations! Despite the fact that the Utila Dream is twice as expensive as the Utila Princess, it is still a bargain, so go ahead and travel in the new ferry and treat yourself like a VIP! When in La Ceiba, don’t be silly by staying in town, and stay at the truly unique Cangrejal River Valley, where you will find lovely boutique hotels, such as La Villa de Soledad B&B that offer the perfect spot to relax in nature and also gives you access to a variety of adventure and nature activities to choose from.
A perfect vacation… We all work hard throughout the year to be able to take a much needed vacation. In addition more and more psychologists are saying that true happiness and well being is best provided by the pleasant experiences achieved during out times of travel. All this being said, it seems really important to be able to plan and enjoy the perfect vacation!
But where can we go to have the perfect vacation? Being able to visit different sites that complement each other is usually one of the top factors to take into consideration when planning the perfect vacation. But then you do not want to spend half of your vacation time traveling from one site to the other …
Nestled just off the coast of Central America, in the northwestern Caribbean Sea, you will find a beautiful small archipelago of islands known as the Bay Islands of Honduras. The largest and most developed of these islands is called Roatan. With a population of 60,000 souls, it has an international airport that is serviced by the most important US airlines, who offer flights from Miami, Atlanta, Dallas – Fort Worth and Houston. Flying time from these gateways is less than 2 ½ hours, making it a short, easy, and most of all affordable trip.
Roatan offers everything an idyllic Caribbean island is supposed to have: white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, friendly people, outstanding coral reefs that are truly healthy and unique, friendly people, beach bars and lovely island resorts. The one island drawback, the fact that it is an island and therefore somewhat isolated from other places does not apply to Roatan. You see there is a state of the art water jet catamaran ferry that runs twice daily between Roatan and mainland Central America, with a travel time of approximately 90 minutes!
This means that getting to from Roatan to the coast of Central America is a “piece of cake” Within less than 20 minutes from the port in La Ceiba, you can find yourself in a true tropical paradise, where the rain forests of Central America are within majestic, green clad mountains, with cristal clear rivers and creeks rushing towards the nearby Caribbean. Truly the setting for the perfect vacation: Tropical paradise and Caribbean beaches… What more can you ask for? The Cangrejal River Valley offers outstanding lodging facilities, such as La Villa de Soledad Bed and Breakfast, a lovely, unique boutique hotel in the forests of Nombre de Dios National Park.
The setting in the mainland is ideal for white water rafting, zip line canopy tours, hiking in the rain forests and bird watching, amongst many other activities. Go ahead and plan the perfect vacations, come to Honduras, and have the vacation of a lifetime!
Now it is even easier to travel between La Ceiba and Utila!
Over the years, travel between La Ceiba and Utila has gotten easier and easier. Twenty plus years ago, on my first trip to Utila, the only option was to travel by air or take a cargo boat. Air travel in Honduras back in those days was simple and affordable, and the flying time was a rather short 7 minutes! The old Utila runway was located within the area called “The Point” were Bongo Beach is located these days. Over the years, the first ferry service between the mainland and the islands came into service.
The ferry was a modified crew boat, operating under the name of “Tropical” which was running the route of Roatan to La Ceiba, La Ceiba to Utila and back, and then again back to Roatan. This was indeed a game changer, it made it much easier and affordable to get to the islands, and there is no doubt that this service created a boom in visitors traveling between La Ceiba and Utila.
In time, the folks from Utila decided that they were ready to have their own ferry boat to service their island, this with the idea of having two daily departures. An early morning departure from Utila would mean that the islanders could travel to the mainland to get their groceries, visit the doctor, do whatever they needed and still be back on the island by taking the late afternoon departure from La Ceiba to Utila. The original Utila Princess was also a modified crew boat, extremely sea worthy however rather uncomfortable for passengers when the going got rough. Different boats were brought in to replace the original Utila Princess, with the Utila Princess IV being the longest lasting ferry to operate, a catamaran boat that was functional and relatively fast.
Originally, the Utila Princess had a canvas top, and while it was great for traveling in smooth seas and with nice weather, it could get rather wet in rough weather passages. Eventually, the boat was modified and a hard shell rough was put up to replace the old canvas top.
Last week, a new alternative was put in service and will make travel between La Ceiba and Utila even easier! The brand new Utila Dream, a beautiful, modern and comfortable waterjet catamaran that makes the passage between these two ports in only 45 minutes. Truly, it has never been easier and more comfortable to travel between La Ceiba and Utila.
This is truly good news, because both, La Ceiba and Utila offer many different activities that complement each other. This means that travelers will be able to combine the experience of diving in the most bio diverse barrier coral reef in the World and then alternate to some of the most pristine tropical rain forests in Central America with one quick, easy ferry ride.
If you are planning on traveling between La Ceiba and Utila, make sure you check out the Cangrejal River Valley, the most beautiful tropical rain forests in Central America, which offers many different activities and at the same time, has some truly unique lodges, such as the boutique bed and breakfast known as La Villa de Soledad, a pleasant, comfortable, and unique lodge that has been awarded the distinction as the number one bed and breakfast in Honduras by tripadvisor.
Enjoy your travels between La Ceiba and Utila and take full advantage of the new Utila Dream ferry boat!
Getting to Cayos Cochinos AKA the Hog Cays is easy!
Cayos Cochinos is one of the last pristine set of islands in the Caribbean Sea! Fortunately, they are not out in the middle of nowhere and impossible to get to. Getting to Cayos Cochinos is actually easier than you think!
Located about 14 miles off the Caribbean Coast of Honduras, Cayos Cochinos are an idyllic set of islands, consisting of 2 small islands and 13 tiny sandy cays. The area is under a protection status by the Honduran Government, as a National Marine Monument. This means that access to the islands is restricted and there are rules to comply with.
There are two major launching points that provide the proper best options for getting to Cayos Cochinos. One is from the Garifuna Village of Sambo Creek, very near the city of La Ceiba, the other is from the Island of Roatan. Most people take the first option, which is much more affordable, however the boats and service are also quite a bit more basic. From Sambo Creek, getting to Cayos Cochinos will take you about 45 minutes. Because the boats are relatively small, the tour always leaves early in the morning and returns early in the afternoon, to insure they are back on the mainland before the surf gets rough.
From Roatan, you will find several different options. By far the best is offered by Ruthless Roatan Charters, which operates once a week from Roatan to Cayos Cochinos. Enjoy the trip in a vintage 41 foot Hatteras that has been fully refitted, and offers the classiest option as far as getting to Cayos Cochinos is concerned. The trip departs from West End at 7:00 a.m. and returns around 4:00 p.m. This is one heck of a tour!
One of the highlights of Cayos Cochinos is the Garifuna community at Chachahuate, another are the extremely healthy reefs and beautiful white sand beaches.
Regardless of whether you are vacationing in Roatan or La Ceiba, a trip to Cayos Cochinos will certainly be one of the highlights of your trip. Many travelers like to experience both, La Ceiba and Roatan. If you are interested in visiting both, we, at La Villa de Soledad would be more than happy to help you arrange your trip to Cayos Cochinos departing from either location. Come and enjoy the magic of the tropical rain forests of Central America, and then take a short trip to Roatan to relax in some of the best beaches in the World, in a true Vintage Caribbean Style!
Planning your trip to the Bay Islands? Here are some things you need to know before going to Roatan:
Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands, is by far the most visited of the Bay Islands in Honduras. It is also the largest of the islands and the most populated. Roughly 60,000 souls live and work on the island, however rather than one large city; there are actually several different towns and villages throughout the island. Your experience on Roatan will depend on where you stay, because each of the towns on the island has their own, unique feeling to them. That being said, and if my advice is of any good, generally stay away from staying in Coxen Hole and French Harbour, these two are the largest towns, this is where the working people live, and they are definitely not touristy or for that matter, pretty. You might need to go to them to go to the bank, purchase groceries, or even to eat at a nice restaurant, but other than that, there is really no reason to go there.
The most pleasant, charming area is by far West End. This small beach side community offers many small hotels and inns, many restaurants and bars, and is where you will find most of the tourists. Nearby, in West Bay Beach, you will find several larger hotels located on what many consider the best beach in Central America. Many of these hotels are larger, all inclusive operations, however if you look around, you can find a jewel or two hidden between the larger resorts and right on the beach. One of these jewels is the Bananarama Resort.
Another area that offers different options is Sandy Bay. Properties here are more spread out, and you need to walk along the beach to get from one to the other. Although there are not so many restaurants and bars available, the setting is indeed more intimate and quiet. The East End of Roatan is generally speaking much less developed. With the exception a few resorts, such as the Parrot Tree Plantation, the Media Luna Resort and the Turquoise Bay Resort, that are isolated, free standing resorts and kind of far from the rest of the island; you will find fewer hotels and tourist services on this part of the island. However you will also find some really nice and picturesque towns, such as Calabash Bight, Jonesville and Oakridge, just to mention a few.
If you are interested in finding that beautiful, isolated Caribbean Beach, then one of the things to know before going to Roatan is that far out on the East End you will find some truly spectacular beaches and settings. The Paya Bay Resort offers two lovely beaches, one of them actually private to the property, and a bit farther down the road towards Camp Bay you will find the Playa Barbosa as well as Camp Bay Beach, truly unique white sand beaches that are away from the crowds you will find on West Bay Beach.
The Bay Islanders generally consider themselves as direct descendents of the original British colonizers that came to the islands at the end of the seventeen hundreds and beginning of the eighteen hundreds. Names such as Jackson, Hynds, Wood, Bush, Bodden, Tatum, McNab are still very common in Roatan. As a general rule, islanders refer to those who live in Honduras as “them Spaniards” basically because the mainland was conquered by the Spaniards and Spanish is spoken throughout Central America. There tends to be an animosity from the Islanders to “them Spaniards” and they all like to promote the mainland as very dangerous and unsafe to visit. This is not a fact or a reality, but rather an attempt to keep you on the island so that you do not discover the beauty of the mainland. Believe me, this is one of the most important tips about the things to know before going to Roatan! Mainland Honduras is a short 1 ½ hour ferry trip, and there are so many absolutely beautiful places just across the channel from Roatan, that not visiting them is a true shame!
Take for example the Cangrejal River Valley: a truly unique valley located only ½ hour from the ferry terminal! Here you can enjoy a dense tropical rain forest, where two different National Parks meet: Nombre de Dios National Park and Pico Bonito National Park. The Cangrejal River, with crystal clear waters offers the best white water rafting in Honduras, and for that matter, all of the Caribbean and even possibly Central America.
Best of all you can find a variety of small inns, lodges and boutique bed and breakfasts located within the Cangrejal River Valley. A true, unique setting to complement your stay at the lovely island of Roatan. These lodges can all arrange for pick up at the ferry or airport to have you transferred to their properties. Staff at all of them are bilingual, and you will find that they will be more than happy to help you set up a variety of activities that are all within walking distance from your bedroom. Do yourself a favor, and include a couple of nights in the Cangrejal River Valley when planning your Roatan vacation!
La Ceiba, located on the mainland of Honduras, is the natural hub for the Bay Islands.
If you are looking to travel to the Bay Islands of Honduras, chances are that you will be traveling through the city of La Ceiba. With a population of approximately 250,000 souls, La Ceiba is the fifth largest city in Honduras, but actually, the third most important! La Ceiba developed and grew around the operations of the Standard Fruit Company, owned by Dole, and quickly became an important agricultural and economic hub in the Caribbean Coast of Honduras. Because of its geographical location, La Ceiba is the natural hub for the Bay Islands.
The Bay Islands of Honduras are a small archipelago in the Western Caribbean that offers the perfect setting for vacations. Regardless of whether you are looking for diving, beaches, or both, the Bay Islands of Honduras are a true paradise. There are three main inhabited islands: Roatan, Utila and Guanaja, and all of them can be easily reached from La Ceiba. There are two daily ferry departures between La Ceiba and Roatan and La Ceiba and Utila. In addition, the airport in La Ceiba is the perfect to catch a short flight to any of the three islands, with departures being multiple throughout the day.
La Ceiba is however, much more that the perfect hub for the Bay Islands of Honduras. On its own, La Ceiba offers the best and most complete array of adventure and nature activities that will satisfy any traveler looking for a bit of the above. Activities ranging from World Class white water rafting to zip line canopy tours and waterfall descents and canyoning are all available within the Cangrejal River Valley, a unique spot just 5 miles from downtown La Ceiba. Hiking through trails in the tropical rainforests of Pico Bonito and Nombre de Dios National Parks are also readily available from this same area. Bird watching can be enjoyed from the comfort of a hammock in your verandah at La Villa de Soledad B&B.
So when planning your visit to the Bay Islands of Honduras, make sure that you remember that La Ceiba is the hub for the Bay Islands, and that there is a lot more to La Ceiba that just being a perfect hub for the Bay Islands!
Not to be forgotten, another great option that you have from La Ceiba is the fact that you can launch your expedition to the unique Moskito Coast region, located east of La Ceiba towards the border with Nicaragua from here. This area is home to the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Honduras.