Honduras' Bay Islands are famed for their great diving sites and Caribbean beaches. But visitors to Honduras do not need to travel
all the way to Roatan or Utila to find some good
dive spots and beautiful
beaches. The Cayos Cochinos, two small islands and
eleven smaller coral cays off the north coast of Honduras,
are a short boat ride from La Ceiba,
Nueva Armenia, or Sambo Creek.
The Cayos Cochinos Honduras are a protected nature reserve. To help protect the exquisite coral reefs around the islands, fishing is forbidden in surrounding waters and there is a $10 fee to visit in addition to the charge for transportation.
The coral reef that begins in Cayos Cochinos Honduras and the other Bay Islands is part of the huge Meso-American Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia). Cayos Cochinos diving is some of the best in world, with underwater features of all descriptions. Several companies offer Cayos Cochinos diving packages from the mainland.
Plantation Beach is the biggest of the few Cayos Cochinos hotels. It has a good deal offering multi-night stay, Cayos Cochinos diving, meals, and free use of sea kayaks and snorkeling equipment. They will arrange transportaion from La Ceiba if you book with them. Caribik, a dive shop based at Hotel Palma Real near La Ceiba, has a small Cayos Cochinos hotel. Diving, transportation, and accommodation packages are available for about $100 a night.
Though there are not many Cayos Cochinos hotels, travelers can find accommodation in the small Garifuna community of Chachauate, on one of the coral cays. Amenities are basic, with no running water or electricity. Another choice in lieu of Cayos Cochinos hotels is a stay at the scientific research station on the smaller island. The dorm rooms are sometimes full of researchers and volunteers, but they often have space for independent travelers.
Because the Cayos Cochinos Honduras are so close to the mainland, it is easy to arrange a day trip from La Ceiba or Trujillo. Accommodation is much more affordable and readily available in these towns. Travelers with their own boat can moor at Plantation Beach or in the channel between the two main islands. Anchoring near the coral reefs is strictly forbidden.
The beaches at Cayos Cochinos Honduras are as famous as its diving sites. The large white sand beaches abutting the crystal clear turquoise ocean are better than anything on the Honduras mainland. A trip to the Cayos Cochinos is one of the great things to do on a Honduras vacation.