The easternmost island of the Bay Islands was hit hard during Hurricane Mitch in 1998, clearing much of the rolling pine forests that had inspired Christopher Columbus to call the island Isla de Pinos, Pine Island. However, Guanaja retains much of its lush vegetation. 90% of the island is a national forest reserve and marine park and offers excellent nature hikes to several waterfalls and lookout points.
Travelers ready to dive will not be disappointed. There are several dive shops in towns scattered around the island and in the more expensive all-inclusive dive resorts. There are plenty of options for dives to nearby coral reefs, cays and shipwrecks dating back hundreds of years.
Guanaja is a growing tourist destination, but remains fairly casual and laid-back. The main town Guanaja, or Bonacco to locals, has no cars or roads. An intricate maze of canals provides the main expressways. Independent travelers will find the most accommodation here and in nearby cays like South West Caye.
Regular flights land on the small airstrip in Guanaja from La Ceiba. The flight is 25 minutes.