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Guanaja in the Honduras Bay Islands

Guanaja is Honduras's least-traveled Bay Island.


Guanaja in the Honduras Bay Islands
Satellite image courtesy of NASA
Guanaja Honduras travel guide: Guanaja is the easternmost of Honduras’s Bay Islands, which also include Utila and Roatan.

Compare rates on flights to Guanaja, Honduras Overview:

While Guanaja Honduras is the least touristed of the Bay Islands trio, it’s the most distinctive in many ways, not least when it comes to looks—the island is a tall, mountainous land mass covered in Caribbean pine, split in two by a man-made channel, and surrounded by glowing water.

Guanaja’s main community, Bonacca, is actually a tiny, crowded cay right off the main island. The cay has been called the “Little Venice of the Caribbean”—it’s crisscrossed with canals that teem with colorful boats and canoes, navigating Bonacca’s packed streets.

Most budget hotels are located in Bonacca. However, Guanaja’s most spectacular attractions are its forests, rivers, and miles of unspoiled beaches, so it’s worth paying a little extra to stay on the main island, at least for a night or two.

What to Do:

Sunbathers, rejoice! Guanaja has a number of beautiful beaches. One of the island’s best stretches of sand is owned by The End of The World Resort, while the West Peak Inn borders the largest. Guanaja’s resorts are often smallish, family-run enterprises, offering everything from inland treks to snorkeling and scuba diving in the Bay Islands’ famous reefs.

More than anything else, Guanaja scuba diving is underscoring the island on travelers’ maps. The second largest barrier reef in the world begins near Guanaja and extends north towards Belize and the Yucatan.

Non-divers can hike between Mangrove Bight and Savannah Bight, Guanaja’s second-largest settlements, or trek inland to behold sparkling waterfalls among the trees—90 percent of Guanaja is a forested National Reserve. Travelers can also rent bikes or sea kayaks and explore the coast.

When to Go:

Guanaja’s rainy season usually begins around October and lasts until December or January. August and March are Guanaja’s hottest months.

Getting There and Around:

An air strip is located on Guanaja’s main island, receiving flights from Roatan, La Ceiba, and San Pedro Sula through American Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Taca Airlines. If you’re staying at a resort, representatives will typically meet you at the air strip. Otherwise, water taxi service is available to take travelers to Bonacca.

Tips and Practicalities:

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated Guanaja, destroying a third of the island’s homes. By now, most of the damage has been repaired.

Unfortunately, Guanaja is also populated by a host of hungry insects—mostly the tenacious, biting, hard-to-see kind. While bug spray with DEET can help, locals swear by baby oil. Pack plenty!

Recommended: visit Honduras.com for listings and descriptions of Guanaja restaurants and ]hotels.

Fun Fact:

Recently, the owners of Guanaja’s Posada Del Sol resort created a dive site called Mestizo Reef to honor Christopher Columbus. Among other artifacts, it includes a partial shipwreck, cannons, a 16th century bell, and two sculpted busts of Columbus himself.

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