Honduras is in Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua. It is mostly mountains in the interior, with narrow coastal plains. Honduras has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast. Environmental issues include expanding urban populations, deforestation from logging and the clearing of land for agriculture, further land degradation and soil erosion hastened by uncontrolled development and improper land use practices such as farming of marginal lands, mining activities polluting Lago de Yojoa (the country’s largest source of fresh water), as well as several rivers and streams, with heavy metals.

The Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve is more than five thousand square kilometers of preserved land on the Mosquito Coast, mostly along the Río Plátano. It has also been a World Heritage since 1982, and on the List of World Heritage in Danger since 2011. The reserve is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor that stretches through Central America. The national system of protected areas in Honduras is known as SINAPH (Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas de Honduras). SINAPH is administered by the Fondo para el Manejo de Áreas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre of the government’s Instituto de Conservación Forestal. See Wikipedia categories Protected areas of Honduras and National parks of Honduras. Popular national parks in Honduras include Celaque National Park (Parque Nacional Montaña de Celaque) and Jeanette Kawas National Park, in the Garifuna region near Tela. White-water rafting is available on the Class III-IV rapids of the Rio Cangrejal near Pico Bonito National Park. Jungle River Lodge offers access to both Rio Cangrejal and Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge (Refugio de Vida Silvestre de Cuero y Salado). Las Cascadas Lodge (waterfall lodge) is a first class resort in the tropical rainforest along the lower Rio Cangrejal. Near the town of Tela, Lancetilla Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico Lancetilla) is the only the botanical garden in Honduras and the largest in Latin America. La Moskitia Ecoaventuras is a local adventure travel agency based in La Ceiba.

The Ministry of Tourism (SETUR) and the Honduran Tourism Institute (IHT) are driving the national sustainable tourism strategy, Estrategia Nacional de Turismo Sostenible (ENTS). Turismo Sostenible Honduras is an independent web portal dedicated to sustainable tourism development, and is a project of the sustainable development portal of Honduras, RDS-HN. In 2002, the United Nations International Year of Ecotourism, REHDES (Red Ecologista Hondureña para el Desarrollo Sostenible) was involved planning a “Ruta Verde” for biodiversity conservation along the Caribbean coast. CREDIA (Centro Regional de Documentación e Interpretación Ambiental) is a local NGO based in La Ceiba, involved with a number of sustainable tourism projects, including a regional Geoportal de Turismo, in support of their “Honduran Carbbean biological corridor”, Corredor Biológico del Caribe Hondureño (CBCH). The Bay Islands (Islas de la Bahía) of Honduras include the popular dive tourism destinations of Roatán and Útila, a region that marks the south end of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Utopia Village is an example of a dive resort on Utila. In addition to diving, Roatan offers the Butterfly Garden close to West End Village. Robert Gallardo’s Birds of Honduras website contains a wealth of information on the avian diversity of Honduras.

Biosphere reserves:

  • Río Plátano 1979
  • Trifinio Fraternidad, 2011 Transboundary BR (El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras)

IUCN members:


Part of Spain’s vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and one-half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras proved a haven for anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Marxist Nicaraguan Government and an ally to Salvadoran Government forces fighting against leftist guerrillas. The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage. Crime is a significant issue in Honduras today. (See Wikipedia Crime in Honduras.)

IHAH (Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia) is the Honduran institute of anthropology and history, and highlights archaeological parks and museums throughout Honduras. The Garifuna people are descendants of Carib, Arawak and West African people, known in particular for their Garifuna music. Tela is one of various towns on the Caribbean coast with many Garifuna communities nearby.

World heritage:

ICCROM members:


  • Jungle, drugs, and the Moskitia: A case study of ecotourism for development in Río Plátano, Honduras by D Fisher, 2012
  • Notes on Tourism, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Cultural Value in Honduras by M Anderson, 2012
  • Community-based Tourism in Northern Honduras: Opportunities and Barriers by J Braun, 2008
  • Sustainable local development and tourism in Honduras by P Bodson & J Guerrero, 2008
  • Garifuna land rights and ecotourism as economic development in Honduras’ Cayos Cochinos Marine Protected Area by KV Brondo & L Woods, 2007
  • GIS tools for Development of Honduras Tourism by K Fortin, 2007
  • International Tourism, Vulnerability, and Natural Disasters: The Case of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras by SC Stonich, 2007
  • Positive and Negative Impacts of Dive Tourism: The Case Study of Utila, Honduras by SWJ Canty & M Svensson, 2007
  • Paradise in the making: The complexities of tourism development in Honduras by I Montgomery, 2006
  • Sustainable Development, Tourism, and Preservation: An International Project in Copan, Honduras by R Rojas, 2006
  • Developing Heritage Tourism in Honduras by L Mortensen, 2005
  • Forest Resource Use, Land-use, and Ecotourism in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, Honduras by CM Friedle, 2005
  • Implications of Ecotourism for Developing Countries: the Case of Cusuco National Park, Honduras by D Haase, 2004
  • Tourism and the archaeology of state-facing challenges: The case of Copan, Honduras by WL Fash, 2002
  • Transformation of paradise: geographical perspectives on tourism development on a small Caribbean island (Utila, Honduras) by FH Currin, 2002
  • Community-Based Ecotourism Development and Management in the Rio Platano Man and the Biosphere Reserve, Honduras by EA Nielsen, 2001
  • Honduras-Sustainable Coastal Tourism Project by A Abarca, 2001
  • Identification of tourism services and analysis of preferences of tourists in the development of ecotourism in the surroundings of Montaña de Celaque National Park, Honduras by KI Cid Ramírez, 2001
  • The path toward sustainability: linking tourism development and conservation in Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras by JE Waddell, 2001
  • The role of environmental NGOs in sustainable tourism development: a case study in northern Honduras by K Horochowski & RN Moisey, 1999
  • Conservation status of marine biodiversity and tourism in the coastal zones of Honduras by G Glinn, 1998
  • Social attitudes and perceptions towards tourism: the likelihood of local participation in ecotourism strategic planning in Northern Honduras by K Horochowski, 1998
  • Water, Power, and Environmental Health in Tourism Development: The Bay Islands, Honduras by SC Stonich, JH Sorensen & GW Salbador, 1998
  • Ecotourism as community development in the Garifuna communities of Cabo Camaron, Honduras: project planning models involving community participation by TB Johnson, 1996
  • Ethnicity, class, and gender in tourism development: the case of the Bay Islands, Honduras by SC Stonich, JH Sorensen & A Hundt, 1995
  • Resources for Tourism on the Island of Roatán, Republic of Honduras by JV Nance, 1970

Honduras Data