Christopher Columbus landed at Guanaja Honduras on his
fourth voyage to the New World in 1502. It is fitting
that Guanaja Island would be his first introduction to
present-day Honduras (named by Columbus after the deep
waters, honduras, that surrounded the Central
American coast). Guanaja Island is the perfect place
for a Honduras vacation: expansive beaches,
incredible diving spots,
beautiful waterfalls, and a unique Venice-like
city make this a true island paradise.
Guanaja travel must be done through the Honduran mainland; there are no direct flights from the United States or Europe. When it is running, the Guanaja ferry leaves from Trujillo in northern Honduras. (Check in advance, at times the Guanaja ferry is inactive and the only way to reach the island is by plane.)
Most flights from mainland Honduras depart from La Ceiba. Airlines offering Guanaja travel include Atlantic Airlines and Islena Regional Air. Flights take just 25 minutes.
Guanaja's main city is not on the actual island but on a small cay just off its northeast shore. Water taxis leave regularly from the airport to Guanaja Town (known as Bonacca by the locals).
Bonacca is truly a unique place. There are no cars in Bonacca; in Guanaja travel is done by boat. In fact, there are less than ten cars in the whole of Guanaja Honduras. In Bonacca instead of streets, canals and wooden bridges connect the clusters of homes, hotels, and restaurants that rise on stilts above the water. Almost every inch of the cay has been developed.
There are some hotels on Bonacca, but the best Guanaja resorts are on the main island. But even if you are not staying in the unique town, be sure to pay it a visit. Bonacca has been called the "Venice of Honduras." The analogy is somewhat stretched - this is no romantic Italian renaissance city - but Bonacca has an undeniable Caribbean charm.
Although still cheap by Western standards, Guanaja Island is the most expensive of the three Bay Islands. You will not find the cheap dorm rooms here that you see on Roatan and Utila. Instead, Guanaja Honduras boasts some delightful hotels and resorts and rental apartments great for an extended getaway.
Guanaja resorts are generally fairly small, a collection of cabanas near a beach. The best of the Guanaja resorts is the End of the World Resort, located on a three-mile long white sand beach on the northern edge of the main island. End of the World is the place to stay if you are coming to Guanaja for the diving; its scuba school is the best on the island.
The more famous spots near Utila or Roatan overshadow diving around Guanaja Island, but Guanaja has been declared a national marine reserve for a reason. The reef surrounding the island is as beautiful as any in the Caribbean and the ships that is has sunk over the years present pleasant diving features. Most Guanaja resorts rent snorkeling equipment and some also have scuba courses.
Inland, Guanaja Island has some beautiful fresh water features as well. Several streams pass through the thick pine jungle, falling in scenic waterfalls. There is a regular water taxi from Bonacca to Savannah Blight, the main settlement on the main island. From here it is a one-hour hike along the coast to the nearest waterfall.
With such natural beauty on the island and spectacular sights in the waters surrounding it, there is no surprise that Guanaja Honduras is becoming known as a charming island getaway.