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Honduras with Kids

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, this Central American nation is a tropical paradise. If you’re looking for somewhere to go with kids, you don’t want to miss out on a trip to this Caribbean dream. Famed for its white beaches, calm blue waters and unbeatable snorkelling, Honduras has a lot more to offer you and your family than you might initially think. Though some balk at safety statistics, it is a mistake to overlook this mountainous rainforested jewel, especially when the violent crime rate is higher in the USA and Mexico, and no one bats much of an eyelid at visiting these nations! The Bay Islands of Roatan and Utila in particular are as safe as any other resort-type tropical island and certainly not to be discounted, especially when exercising general good practice travel precautions. You just have to be sensible; don’t flash your phones and watches around, don’t wander around alone at night, be aware of certain local scams and learn where the sketchy areas are and avoid them etc. De Nada!

I’m so glad we managed to fit Honduras into our route, my only disappointment is that we couldn’t spend more time there and it was largely wrecked by bad weather! So below please find our run down of our 8 days in Honduras, as well as a summary of what I would do differently should we have had more time/better weather.

Here is our route though the country. Below lists our day-by-day blow through an all-too-short whirlwind tour of this exciting nation with our three young children.

If you're interested in how this fits in with our 2 month Central America backpacking trip here. The day of the overall trip is included within the day-by-day itinerary of our time in Honduras below.

Day 1: Transit Day (Day 28 Overall)

After 4 weeks on the road (see the full route and itinerary for 2 months in Central America here) we bid goodbye to the Mayan empire (thanks for the chocolate and calendars guys!) and headed towards the Caribbean/Garifuna culture once more. The temperature increased by an outrageous ten degrees in just a six hour portion of our journey out of the highlands down into the bonkers lowland rainforest. We entered Honduras via the El Florido land border with Guatemala (after a 7-8 hour drive from Lake Atitlán), which was, as the other land border crossings have been, surprisingly straight forward. No one even touched our bags, there was no security checks so to speak. We simply checked out of Guatemala at one window, and checked into Honduras at another a mere 2m away from the first. We paid $3 each exit fee (this was clearly signposted everywhere and a genuine tax) and left! The beautiful and tiny town of Copan Ruinas is a mere 15 minutes from the border and makes a sensible (vital!) first stopping point - this quaint little town is not to be missed! We arrived late into our lovely hostel and flopped to bed.

Day 2: Copan Ruins and Town (Day 29 Overall)

After our ballache two day drive we woke up in Honduras to a glorious view from our balcony following a horrific and beautiful storm overnight. We started it off with our last Mayan ruins; the ancient city of Copan, which was the most southern extent of the Mayan empire. They seemed to have more intact sculptures than any other we’ve visited and the kids always like trying to copy their expressions! In the afternoon we explored the town of Copan Ruinas itself (where we are staying for three nights before our last 10 hour mammoth drive!). I really liked it here, it’s absolutely dead quiet from a tourist point of view, everything is close together and walkable, there are Macaws hanging out all over the place, loads of friendly locals fist bumping and cheek pinching the kids, cute buildings and it’s CHEAP! We’ve managed every meal to feed all five of us for less than £10 today. We found an artisanal chocolate shop and got some hot drink and a bar to celebrate. You can find more details on Copan, including visiting the ruins with kids here.

Day 3: Macaw Mountain (Day 30 Overall)

Today we explored Copan some more starting with a visit to Macaw Mountain, a rescue and captive breeding centre for lots of parrot species. As well as the aviaries there are loads of wild birds just chilling in the branches overhead and even at eye level. Wonderful place.

In the afternoon we made our first big mistake; Google had been telling us that the local hot springs and waterfalls were a 2km walk away, so we trekked there in the blistering heat only to find that was the ticket office and the springs themselves were an hours drive away. Telling the kids we hadn’t enough time when they were already dressed in their swim stuff was brutal but some quick thinking/googling led us to paying a fancy 4* resort to use their pool as day guests for a salvaged afternoon swim. They had a little park too so everyone left very happy. Read more about this here.

Day 4: Tela and Transit to Le Ceiba (Day 31 Overall)

Today we drove half way across the widest strip of the subcontinent to Le Ceiba, stopping at Tela.

Our 8 week Central American adventure was initially meant to be 10-12 weeks long (we had to cut it short as I got an exciting new work contract!) and we sadly had to make our cuts from Honduras. I had originally intended to spend 2 days in Tela and 2 nights in Le Ceiba itself. As a compromise, and going against our usual penny pinching, I was unwilling to take a public bus or even tourist shuttle for this one. Not specifically to save money but because I really wanted to stop at Tela (with the added bonus of the flexibility of toilet and lunch stops at our desired times). I had calculated that if we left at 8:30, we could stop just outside San Pedro Sula around 11:30 for an hours lunch break. Then we could do a further two hours for the baby’s lunch time nap and end up in the beach town of Tela at 14:30/15:00 for an hours swim, followed by the final 2 hour leg to Le Ceiba. So that is what we did! We were really chuffed to eventually get this for $280 dollars for a large 12-seater minibus - I know it seems like loads but sadly needs must for speed. We originally got quotes for $400 for an SUV, $380 for a Toyota Corolla and then found one for $350, but the owner at Hotel La Escalinata managed to sort us out an excellent deal – what a legend.

It was surprisingly smooth, not so many mental hairpin mountain bends and kids behaved well – I put a film on the laptop for part of it! Lots of poverty and environmental damage out the window though, as well as lots of rainforest and mountains and then suddenly the ancient Maya lands gave way to the sandy shores of the reggae Garifuna and beautiful Caribbean again (we’ve missed you!). Tela wasn’t a patch on what we’ve seen before but had a very local vibe with a drum circle in the background and was certainly worth the stop to break up a long ride. There was a lot of traffic just outside Le Ceiba which added a dicey drive at the end to arrive before our 6:30pm latest check-in instructions (at one of the worst rooms we've had no less!)

Day 5: West Bay, Roatan (Day 32 Overall)

The last of our brutal travels for a while involved one of the most vomit inducing water crossings I’ve ever endured (the English Channel still sitting at the top for the worst bodies of water to cross!). The kids amaze me with how little they even noticed the crazy ship rolling around everywhere even as the locals were throwing up and falling out of their seats! I spent the journey with my eyes fixed on the horizon, but despite how much I hated it, as usual the very best the world has to offer is at the end of a difficult journey (a metaphor for life!!). We arrived on Roatan or “Paradise island” to do nothing for a few days after a hell of a busy week/month. Back to the relaxed pace of life that the Garifuna and Caribbean have to offer, we swam, we played beach games, we ate and we sponsored a local kid with HIV by way of a crab race, followed by a touristy fire show. The kids squealed and went mental for it! I summarise all this alongside more details on Roatan with kids here.

Day 6-7: West Bay and West End (Day 33-34 Overall)

These two days were generally the same! It took us 2 days to get here, two 7 hour drives and a god awful ferry. The prize at the end has been somewhat tainted by terrible storms sadly. Roatan looks sublime in the sunshine but we haven’t seen much of it. We ran in and out of the pool and the two local beaches between severe and sudden lighting storms and lashing rain. We did manage a brief snorkel off West End but we have been disappointed we’ve not been able to get out on the excursions we hoped. We used some downtime to play games, write diaries and blogs, and plan and organise Nicaragua (the only country left in the sub-continent to require covid tests). For this, all we could find online was the repeated info from various embassies stating we needed them - even for newborns. Max only became eligible for a first dose in May, too late for the trip and we were shocked at the $200 per test price anywhere we could find online. Thankfully our accommodation hooked us up with $150 for the three. The kids hated it as expected, and the whole day really gave us our first deflated spell. Particularly as it took so long and cost so much to get here. You win some you lose some, it’s all part of the adventure! I’d certainly rather have been here in the rain here than in the rain at home. For what we WOULD have done if we hadn’t suffered the terrible weather, check out this summary here.

Day 8: Exit to El Salvador (Day 35 Overall)

Absolutely hands down the busiest day of the trip. To read some of the research around options for getting in and out of Roatan please check out the end of the Roatan with kids summary. It’s harder than we thought it would be due to our lack of time!

Our chosen method started at 5am hitching a ride to the ferry at 6am, then a three hour bus to the Honduran airport. Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport in San Pedro Sula was recently voted as being one of the best in Central America, and we had a good 4 hour wait there before flying to San Salvador. The airport is quite clean and has a ton of shops and restaurants with cheap Baleadas and a Dunkin Donuts! However, we had a pretty naff experience with our airline. We were unable to check in for our flight online in advance as the site wouldn't translate. We regularly can't successfully check in online due to having an infant on lap situation (?) so weren't worried, but firstly, the queue took an hour and a half! Then the airline slapped us with a us $30 fee for not completing this in advance! Then, despite booking our checked baggage in advance for £200 when we bought our flights, we were charged an additional £80 by the airline (Aviana), even though we showed all our receipts! We protested hard and managed to get the check-in charge withdrawn but we will have to take up the checked baggage fee with the head office.

The flight itself was fine however, and we got our brief 5 hour fly around an art gallery and tasting the Salvadorian take on the tortilla/black beans/salsa/avocado/egg combos - papusas! Gloriously warm thick flat breads stuffed with whatever. Alongside some fabulous meat parcels, we really enjoyed our only meal in El Salvador! Interesting point, at the border a $12 tourist card is required for a long list of countries to enter El Salvador BUT Brits don't pay this. After our short and uneventful flight to Managua, Nicaragua, we had a lot of delays at the Nicaraguan border crossing. We had been half expecting bribes, confusion and delay at the all borders but they’ve been consecutively easier and easier with no issues whatsoever. Sadly this one was actual hell which was disappointing but expected. An absolutely hectic and extremely expensive 700 mile day using all forms of transport and arriving in the capital at midnight. The worst thing? They didn't even ask for the kids covid test results we were absolutely assured we needed! That aside, we arrived safe and sound in Nicaragua, having all bases covered!

In Summary

It felt like we barely got our teeth into Honduras when it was time to leave, there was so much we couldn’t do but this was bound to happen really. Copan was excellent; cheap, cheerful and easy. On Roatan, the few moments where the sky cleared a bit and the sun came out, the feeling of toes in the sand, the sound of the shushing of palm trees and the gentle waves of the sea, rum in hand really felt like a true Caribbean holiday – a vacation within a vacation if you will! If the weather was kinder, it really would have been paradise. Choose from a number of kid friendly activities from fishing, to snorkelling, zip lining to doing nothing but enjoying the clear, warm, water and fine white sand in Honduras.

Total spend: coming soon

Total distance: 580 km

Number of macaws: 5,702

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