Study In Honduras: Three Worlds, One Country

by Djulia Montana de Veyra

Honduras boasts “three worlds” in one country — the tropics, the Maya ruins, and the Caribbean Honduras. It is easy to see why even amidst political uprisings and civil unrest, tourists continued to frequent the beautiful country. Today, traveling, volunteering, or studying abroad in Honduras offers a unique opportunity to witness first-hand as a country goes through revolutionary changes. Its tourist economy is expanding and its political scene is stabilizing, and more and more travelers and students are heading to Honduras to explore its many wonders.

Copan ruins, an archaelogical site of the Maya civilization.
Copan ruins, an archaelogical site of the Maya civilization. Photo by nakashi

The Spendid World Of Tropical Nature.

With its amazing natural diversity, Honduras is the epitome of Central America’s ecological riches. On the north and south coasts lie soaring mangrove swamps and the rich coastal lagoons. In the northeast corner lies an untouched wilderness called La Mosquitia (known as “Mosquito Coast”). This huge and remote tropical rainforest is home to several indigenous tribes. Dubbed “Central America’s Little Amazon,” this isolated getaway is worth a visit.

Experience the otherworldly beauty of the tropical cloud forest found in Honduras’ mountainous central highlands. Called the “weeping woods,” it’s characterized by ever-present clouds and the constant dripping of condensed fog. The lush and dense forest, dotted with trees that are covered with bromeliads, mosses, and orchids, makes the scenery all the more magical.

The lovely coastal city of La Ceiba is known as the eco-tourism capital of Honduras, and adventurers flock there from around the world to indulge in beach, river, and mountain sports in and around the city. Just behind it rises the spectacular Pico Bonito National Park. Steep slopes and constant rainfall work together to produce beautiful waterfalls and rapid currents for the whitewater river. Go rafting along the Rio Congrejal River, trek the rainforest, and visit the nearby Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge to observe jaguars, alligators, manatees, water birds, fishing eagles, hawks, and white-faced monkeys.

Just a short distance from Honduras’ coastal towns are wetlands with hidden tropical beaches, blackwater lagoons, overgrown canals, wildlife refuges, and national parks. The Lancetilla Botanical Gardens in Tela is home to hundreds of species of local plants and trees.

The Ancient World Of The Maya.

Called the “Athens of the New World,” Copan stands out in the Maya archaeological world, just like Athens did in the ancient Greek civilization. Earning the accolade “Maya’s crowning artistic achievement,” Copan boasts a rich and cultural history. The capital city of a Maya kingdom from the 5th to the 9th centuries AD, Copan has a distinctive sculptural style that showcases the ethnicity of its late rulers.

With its artistic and intricate stone sculptures, Acropolis, and well-preserved temples and tombs, the Copan ruins are a source of fascination and a favorite among archaeologists. It has also repeatedly earned a spotlight in the National Geographic.

The world-renowned Copan Sculpture Museum displays and protects a good number of original Mayan sculptures. The museum’s centerpiece, the four-story Rosalila temple, is a full-scale model of the temple unearthed from beneath the Acropolis.

The Exotic World Of Caribbean Honduras.

The north coast of the Honduras offers a spectacle of charming coastal towns. Puerto Cortes, Trujillo, Tela, and La Ceiba are among the coastal towns reminiscent of the glory days of the banana industry.

Visit the Garifuna fishing villages and experience one of the Caribbean’s most fascinating cultures. Its history goes way back to the ship wreckage that carried boatloads of African slaves to the island. To this day, the beachside villages’ inhabitants maintain a unique culture and language with exotic music, dances and chants.

Honduras takes pride in its Bay Islands, a cluster of three large islands and approximately 60 islets and keys. Drop by the Roatan, the most developed and most popular of the islands, and enjoy shore diving made more exciting by the diverse corals, sponges and reefs (and the micro life that goes with it!). Visit Utila, the island closest to the shore, and be amazed by the whale sharks and the distinctive Bay Island culture. The area is also well known for offering the most cost-effective dive certifications on the planet. GoProUtila features an award-winning training program for scuba instructors or divemasters.

The Center for Ecological Living and Learning (CELL) offers a program that engages students in creating long-term solutions to issues that plague the global communities and environment. Also, students who are U.S. citizens can apply for the Gilman International Scholarship Program or Boren Scholarship Program for financial assistance to study abroad in Honduras.