When wintry weather hits, it's natural to yearn for a sunny getaway near the water -- but everyone else is doing the same. When you arrive at that sunny patch of heaven, you're often battling the crowds for a spot on a white sand beach, going great distances to find a patch of water where you can snorkel without bumping into another person's fins or waiting on long lines to get a turn at the white water on a river.This is not a problem in
The islands and the waters surrounding it are a marine preserve, which means there's no commercial fishing allowed. This means that you're likely to spot species that are heavily fished commercially, like tuna. And since the only way to reach the preserve is by a 40-minute boat ride, you can snorkel in the 200 square miles of the marine preserve's waters without banging into any human's plastic flippers. All boats from the mainland stop at Cayos Menor; access to the marine reserve costs $10 a person.
Mayan ruin sites in the world, the remains of a city that was once home to tens of thousands. Today, the ruins of 3,500 buildings are guarded by a flock of bright red and noisy macaws and a great many statutes depicting kings and other important Mayan personages. Work in a water component to your cultural and historical edification at the Luna Jaguar Hot Springs , set in a lush rainforest where the waters run 188 degrees Fahrenheit. Everything here is meant to emulate the hot-water treatments the Mayans were said to enjoy. Luna Jaguar Hot Springs admission costs $25, including transportation from Copán.
The best time to visit Honduras is November through April, after the rainy season and the risk of hurricanes has passed. April and May are the warmest months, with highs in the mid-80s and evening lows in the mid-60s in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. One big caveat: Honduras has a reputation for being dangerous, and
crime is a problem in the cities, but the most beautiful parts of the country are a great deal safer. Travelers who are comfortable visiting the developing world will be equally comfortable here. Recommended guidebooks for Honduras include the Lonely Planet's guide to Honduras and The Bay Islands , published in 2007. Moon's Honduras guide is also worth a look, although it is slightly older. Honduras has four international airports, in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba and Roatan. Continental Airlines ( CAL) flies direct from Houston, TACA direct from New Orleans, Delta ( DAL) direct from Atlanta and American Airlines ( AMR) direct from Miami. The most luxurious accommodations can be found at eco-lodges: in La Ceiba, The Lodge at Pico Bonito from $180, or Las Cascadas from $155 and in Copán, Hacienda San Lucas from $85, or Hotel Marina Copán from $85. (All prices for doubles.) Most water-based activities, from whitewater rafting, to snorkeling to diving, are best accomplished here with a guide. In La Ceiba, try La Moskitia Ecoaventuras , Omega Tours or Garifuna Tours .