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Want to go somewhere warm, cheap, with great beaches and minimal tourists? Tela is your place! Tela is a medium-sized city located on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. It is easily accessible by bus from either La Ceiba (LCE) or San Pedro Sula (SAP). If you want to get there a bit faster and have a bit more money to spend, you can take a taxi from either international airport, SAP being a bit more pricey at around 100 USD.
If you choose the more economical route, I highly recommend going with Hedman Alas. Their buses are safe, direct (meaning they won’t be stopping every other block to pick up more people), comfortable, air-conditioned, and have a nice bathroom on board. You’ll pay a little more money, but having done the chicken bus and 2nd class bus routes through this area myself . . . it’s worth paying a little extra for the “fancy bus.” If you do end up taking the cheaper bus, make sure to let the bus driver know you’re getting off in Tela, otherwise you’ll end up in La Ceiba. The bus will drop you off at a gas station on the highway, and you’ll need to flag down a taxi to take you into town.
In town you won’t find chain restaurants. Almost every restaurant serves fairly typical Honduran fare, but its proximity to the ocean also means many places offer fresh, as in plucked out of the water that day, seafood. Before ordering lobster please make sure that you aren’t doing so between March 1 and June 1 (although in some years it is extended through the whole month of June) when lobster season is officially closed in Honduras. There are many problems with overfishing, so this closed season is vital.
There are a variety of lodging options in Tela ranging from “cheaper than backpacker basic” to “Hello, Mr. Trump, so nice to see you again.” My personal favorite is the Maya Vista. Even if you choose not to stay here, do have a meal at the restaurant. The food is quite excellent and extremely reasonably priced for its quality. The lodging is very comfortable and AC is included in your nightly rate, which you’ll most likely need as Tela can get quite warm. The hotel sports wonderful views, and the hammock area is a wonderful place for an afternoon or evening siesta.
Nearby are popular national parks, scuba diving, and Garifuna villages to explore. There are also outfits that will take you horseback riding along the beach, and rumor has it that the deep sea fishing is outstanding.
Even if Tela isn’t your final destination, it’s worth planning 2-3 extra days to visit this coastal town that is so often overlooked by most tourists.