In our never ending quest to find the worlds best beaches we decided on this route heading South through Central America. Belize, Roatan, and then hit the west coast of Costa Rica. Sounds good right? But how would we do it? With virtually no information about this leg of our trip available online I had to write a quick diary of our experience traveling from Belize to Honduras by boat. It’s a long day of travel, but it was worth it to get to the magical Bay Islands.
Belize to Honduras by Boat: Placencia, Belize to Puerta Cortez, Honduras
Where to Buy your Ticket:
Simply put there is no office for the boat company so you will have to buy your tickets from one of the beach bars! Several of them on the main strip have it very common so just ask your hotel and they will point out the closest place to grab your ticket! We bought ours at Bearfoot Beach Bar, and we’re told the prices can change so expect to pay 50-60 dollars depending on the season!
The first stage of our trek was a boat ride from the Southern Belize town of Placencia to Puerta Cortez, Honduras. The boat leaves Placencia at 9 AM followed by an immediate stop in Independence town to pick up more passengers. After two hours of nonsense, boat inspections, and immigration coming aboard we were finally on our way.
The immigration is semi lax so MAKE SURE you get your departure stamp!
Unfortunately, it did not get much better. I can only describe our “boat” as a floating Sauna, built to cook it’s captives into submission. Rough seas caused the crew to keep all the windows closed causing crazy, intense heat! Not to mention the boat broke down multiple times. Gotta love seeing your captain head into the engine room when you’re out in the middle of the ocean. Honestly, I’ve been on a lot of boats but never had I experance done breaking down mutiple times in the middle of the ocean!
Note: The boat has to travel out into international waters where the seas are often rough I wouldn’t recommend traveling from Belize to Honduras by boat to anyone who has back or hip issues. It is a small speed boat, not a large ferry so expect to be rocked hard against the wooden benches.
Congradulations! You survived (barley) traveling from Belize to Honduras by boat, but the journeys not over yet! Around 1PM we finally reached Puerta Cortez. Upon leaving the boat your passport is taken and you are told to stand in line outside one if the several small buildings to pass through customs. There will be hagglers trying to get you to change your money at a VERY hefty cut. Only do this if you are desperate for cash, otherwise just wait for an ATM!
One you’ve passed immigration and have your passport back in your hands time to figure out what your doing! Literally there is NOTHING where the ferry dropps you off! From here you have 2 options if you’re heading to the Bay Islands.
1. The Bus: Requires 3 switches in less than desirable areas, and 8-10 hours of driving. Keep in mind this gets you into La Ceiba (the ferry port town) well after midnight. If you decide to cut the ride in half you’ll be spending the night in the city of San Pedro Sulla, where locals warned us it’s too dangerous to even leave our hotels…
2. Private Transfer: If you read my “How to Survive a 24 Hour Bus Ride” piece then you can probably guess what we did! Despite our slim budget we still opted for the private transfer over another bus ride from hell. We were able to haggle the price down to $50 each, but it’s a shame we couldn’t find any friends to split the cost of the drive. Even so, sometimes you just have to get the heck out of dodge!
This also meant we were getting to the ferry port of La Ceiba at a reasonable hour (7pm) rather than midnight. Our taxi driver Freddy actually turned out to be the man. He even picked up his wife for the ride and it was a great opportunity to tune up our Spanish after being in the English speaking country of Belize.
La Estadia Hotel ($30/room)
There aren’t many options to stay in La Ceiba near the fairy port. Even if it wasn’t boiling hot in the room I doubt either of would’ve chanced getting under the covers. The only thing that saved La Estadia for me was the owner was the owner being from Boston. We were starving and he hooked us up with some great local food when we got in. I’d be lying if I said this place was nice, but it definitely served it’s purpose.
Early in the AM we caught a ride from our Boston brother to the port of La Ceiba. After a quick 10 minute drive we jumped on the ferry to Roatan ($50 each) and we were off to paradise!
So if flying isn’t in the budget (it was $600) then you better be prepared for a strenuous two days of trading from Belize to Honduras by Boat! It’s not easy, but when you see what the Bay Islands look like you’ll have no regrets!