Lying off the northern coast of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea, the Bay Islands consist of 8 islands and 53 small cays. The three largest islands where most of the activity is are Útila, Roatán, and Guanaja and the rest are in smaller groups like the Swan Islands and Cayos Chochinos. The Bay Islands are one of 18 departments that make up the nation of Honduras and the islands span across a total area of 100 square miles (250 square km). Most of the Bay Islands feature a rugged and hilly landscape and are rich with mangrove swamps.
The islands were discovered in the early 16th century by Christopher Columbus and therefore claimed by the Spanish. In the 17th century, the English took an interest in the islands and settled there for some 200 years. In the 19th century, under pressure from the United States, the Bay Islands finally became part of Honduras.
The Bay Islands are located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest reef in the world. This has made activities like scuba diving and snorkeling a main tourist draw to the islands. Rains tend to pick up during October to January so do plan your visits outside these times.
Relax on idyllic beaches or head out for snorkeling trips and mangrove cruises. On Roatán nature lovers can take guided tours through places like Carambola Botanical Gardens or try the zip-line from the jungle straight to the beach. From Útila, take a short trip to Water Cay and enjoy the day in solitude on its beautiful beach. On Guanaja, there are several waterfalls to explore and bird watching activities.
Fly to the Juan Manuel Gálvez Roatán International Airport on Roatán on airlines like United Airlines, American Airlines, Avianca Honduras, Avianca Guatemala and others. There are ferry services to reach the other islands and there are also flights to Útila and Guanaja.
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.