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Top Honduras

La Ceiba

Like so many of Honduras' major cities, La Ceiba's history is intricately tied to the banana trade. Now Honduras' third-largest settlement, La Ceiba was once a sleepy port town, named after a spreading ceiba tree that shaded its dockworkers. From humble origins, La Ceiba grew into a teeming city under the patronage of America's Standard Fruit Company. The banana barons made it into their administrative hub, coordinating export activities here even after shipping was rerouted to Puerto Castilla. The company's influence can still be seen today, most obviously in the Parque Swinford, a gift to the city built adjacent to their sprawling corporate housing complex.

For many travelers, La Ceiba is just a stopover on the way to the Bay Islands. But the city is fast becoming a prime draw in its own right. The chief reason for this is its location smack-dab in the middle of so many pristine eco-tourism attractions. The area around La Ceiba offers a wealth of spectacular natural beauty, including the peaceful cloud forest of Pico Bonito to the magnificent reefs of Cayos Cochinos.

La Ceiba is also well known for its thumping nightlife. There is a Honduran saying that calls San Pedro Sula a city of workers, Tegucigalpa a city of thinkers and La Ceiba a city of dancers. Show up for a weekend and you'll get a taste of how the place earned its rowdy reputation. But if you really want to experience life the Ceibeno way, try to make it to their spectacular May Carnival, which is claimed to be the biggest fiesta in Central America and certainly the biggest in Honduras.


Although the city lacks good beaches, rich history and impressive architecture, it certainly deserves to be more than a transit stop on any traveler's itinerary. Give La Ceiba at least a few days, if you have time, and take some day-trips around the area. We promise that the Bay Islands will still be waiting for you afterwards.

Neighborhoods in La Ceiba: Tela,

Other places nearby La Ceiba: Tela and Omoa.

By Mike Karanicolas

Michael Karanicolas is awesome.

20 Nov 2008

Things to do in La Ceiba

ruta garifuna

108388Good place to get to know the Garifuna culture of Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and ...
Cultural Tour
La Ceiba, Honduras


The area's rivers and lagoons have made La Ceiba a popular place for water sports. Rafting is more challenging during the wet season than the dry. Tour operators here offer a half-day excursion for ...
La Ceiba, Honduras


The best trekking options are in the Bejuco area, a birder's paradise with toucans, parrots, and many other beautiful species. Many tour operators feature guided hikes, including an optional ...
La Ceiba, Honduras


During our stay in La Ceiba we heard some seriously negative reviews of the beaches and, indeed, they're nothing to scream about. Waters are dirty and not pleasant for swimming; the general area just ...
La Ceiba, Honduras

Parque Swinford

This delightful park comes courtesy of the Standard Fruit company, and is decorated with several of their rusting trains. One of these is open to exploration, a fun activity for kids or anyone with ...
City Park
La Ceiba, Honduras

Butterfly and Insect Museum

A little off the beaten path, but an interesting place to check out. This museum houses a collection of more than 13 000 insects (mostly butterflies) from 112 different countries. If you've ever ...
La Ceiba, Honduras
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