The cities along the east–west-running northern coast string neatly along the oceanfront, wrapping around ports and closely hugging the shoreline. Towns are united by their shared histories of Spanish explorers, pirate attacks, and banana plantations, plus the Garífuna culture. Remnants of limestone fortresses and fruit-hauling railroad tracks still linger in urban centers, while the outskirts are lined with impressive mountain forests. Vacationing Hondurans come here on long weekends to lounge on the beaches and soak in the sun, while many foreign travelers opt for outdoor activities such as ocean kayaking, rafting, boulder climbing, and canopy tours.

Omoa. The small waterfront town has lost its once-seductive beaches due to changing currents but is still pleasant; it's a good stopover for travelers heading to or from Belize or Guatemala.

Puerto Cortés. Family-friendly municipal beaches here at Honduras's largest port attract many weekenders from San Pedro Sula. This up-and-coming destination is a big hub for business travel and is the preferred stopover for Guatemala-bound tourists who prefer a bit of bustle.

Tela. Wooden cottages painted turquoise and peach and a beachfront strip of bars and eateries add color to this former port town. Once the headquarters for the United Fruit Company, Tela is nestled between two outstanding nature preserves and a string of friendly Garífuna beaches.

La Ceiba. Hailed as Honduras's "party city" for its tireless number of clubs and bars, La Ceiba is the heart of the Caribbean coast. Ferries to the Bay Islands and international flights come and go from here, but the town has lots more to offer. The nearby Cangrejal River and Pico Bonito National Park have plenty of jungle activities, and Sambo Creek to the east is a relaxing beach escape.

Trujillo. Undulating streets and quiet parks lead out to crystal waters in this historic town. Christopher Columbus first stepped foot on the American mainland here, and U.S. mercenary William Walker is buried in the old cemetery. Artisan shops sell Garífuna and Pech handicrafts, and palm-thatched champas serve seafood on the beach.

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