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July 05 , 2007

The Bay Islands of Honduras


This guidebook by Maria Fiallos is the best coverage of Honduras available. All the dive sites, all the restaurants, and all the hotels from budget to luxury. The author is a real expert, and the information is fresh and complete. – Melanie, Amazon reviewer A great new resource – Travel + Leisure Bursting with relevant and exciting information... – BooklistThese useful travel guides are highly recommended... – Library JournalPristine coral reefs, tropical waters, rainforests, and rivers meandering through jungles wait to be explored. Parks cover 24% of the country's area, where jaguars and giant anteaters reside. Coastal wetlands are home to monkeys, manatees, alligators and waterfowl. The north or Caribbean coast has mile upon mile of white sand beaches and lush tropical vegetation. Just 30 miles offshore are the Bay Islands, famous for first-class diving on the second-largest barrier reef in the world. The ancient Maya ruins of Copan, a famed archaeological World Heritage Site, guard the secrets of the ancestors of the modern Mesoamerican men whose faces closely resemble those carved in stelae. The hieroglyphic stairway in Copan is the largest in the Maya world. Weekly open-air markets offer ripe mangos, oranges, bananas, avocados and tomatoes, adding charm and color to the country villages, where most people reside in whitewashed adobe houses with red tile roofs. This guide, by a lifelong resident, tells you everything about the history, the culture, the foods, how to get around, the recommended places to stay and eat, plus the activities and adventures, from cooking classes to monkey-spotting in the cloud forests. Honduras is just south of Belize and Guatemala, north of Costa Rica and Panama. Our guides on each of those countries have been strong sellers.WHY VISIT HONDURAS? Great diving on the second-largest barrier reef in the world. The Maya ruins of Copan, a UNESCO World Heritage site. 112 protected areas, parks and reserves. River rafting, kayaking, hiking, biking, horseback riding in the midst of exuberant tropical nature. The most protected cloud forests in the world, with 35 reserves. The Rio Platano Reserve of Man Biosphere, a UNESCO World Heritage site. La Moskitia, the largest rainforest region in Central America. The Bay Islands of Honduras, which extend up to 40 miles northeast of the north coast of Honduras, are remnants of the peaks of the Bonacca Ridge, a submerged mountain range that extends out from the mainland's Omoa Ridge. The three larger islands, Utila, Roatán, and Guanaja, are long-time premier diving destinations that offer spectacular coral reefs and powdery white sand beaches. These three, together with three smaller islands just east of Roatán, Morat, Barbareta, and St. Elena, as well as more than 60 cays, lie on a reef system that forms part of the second-largest barrier reef in the world. It creates natural breakwaters around the islands providing calm coastal waters that are ideal for diving, swimming, and snorkeling. Turquoise blue waters with 80 to 150 feet of visibility, an average temperature of 80° F, and an amazing reef system hosting much of the marine life diversity found in the Caribbean, offer some of the best scuba diving and other water sports you will find anywhere.

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