The third-largest city in Honduras, La Ceiba was once the country's busiest port. It's named after a huge tree near the dock that sheltered the workers, which should give you an idea of how hot La Ceiba can be. Mild relief is occasionally offered by trade winds off the bay.
La Ceiba has several reputations. It's first known as the axis of mainland Honduras. Domestic flights to the Bay Islands and La Mosquitia depart from the Golosón International Airport, and ferries to Roatán and Utila take off from the Muelle de Cabotaje. From here, travelers can drive west to the Copán Ruins or to coastal towns like Omoa, Puerto Cortés, and Tela. To the east is Sambo Creek, Trujillo and the vast, enchanting Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve.
Heralded as the country's party city, La Ceiba draws large crowds on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights to its tireless beachfront strip of two-story discos and palm-thatched watering holes. A popular saying explains that "Tegucigalpa piensa, San Pedro trabaja y La Ceiba se divierte" (or, "Tegucigalpa thinks, San Pedro works, and La Ceiba has fun"). The Feria de San Isidro in May pulls in Hondurans from across the country to the weeklong Carnaval celebration.
La Ceiba, however, isn't content to be just a transportation hub or a magnet for late-night partyers. Tourism outfits in town are strongly pushing to turn La Ceiba into one of the top ecoadventure destinations in Central America, and with good reason. The city is surrounded by some of the Caribbean coast's best natural parks and reserves, and its Cangrejal River lures in rafters and kayakers from around the globe to its rapids. Diving and snorkeling around the Cayos Cochinos archipelago is a quick boat ride away, and a short drive takes you to mangrove forests, hot springs, and canopy lines. Area tour companies and ecolodges offer multiple-day and inclusive packages to help travelers turn a short stay into an activity-packed adventure.