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Travel Guide Central America Honduras Tela

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Introduction

Tela is a city in Honduras. A sleepy coastal town with nice beaches. Tela has been slowly but surely working its way to becoming an important beach destination.

Tela is located in a region inhabited by the Afro-Caribbean communities called the Garifuna. The Garifuna live on communally owned land around the Tela area and have their own distinct language and culture.

Tela has been the site of a pilot program aimed to create the Tourist Police. The result has been outstanding, with a force of 20 bilingual, friendly tourist police officers. Statistics show that there has been absolutely no crime incidents against tourists in Tela for several years now.

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Sights and Activities

  • Museo Garifuna, 8 Calle NE, near the Rio Tela. All about Garifuna culture.
  • Parque Nacional Punta Sal. Mangrove swamps, tropical forests, shady lagoons and coral reefs. Monkeys and bird watching.
  • Pier and Tela Railroad Company. Tela used to be one of the main shipping areas for Bananas from the United Fruit Company. The term "banana republic" came from Honduras, when American and other fruit companies held great political sway. A rail service from the interior of the country brought produce to Tela to be shipped to the United States. Today the pier and train station that were central to that trade have been abandoned. They are within 100 metres of the bridge in downtown Tela and are a great destination for any avid photographer. The pier is also a great adventure (not for small children). There you can see local fisherman trying there luck at the end of the pier. The best time to go is usually a weekend as the pier becomes a gathering point for many people, especially at sunset when the view is extraordinary. Part of the old railroad company building has been renovated as municipal offices, it is quite picturesque.
  • Maya Vista Hotel. This hotel is on one of the highest points in the beach area and offers and amazing view of Tela from the observation deck on top of the Hotel. The Hotel also has a great eating area that offers a nice view as part of the dining experience.
  • Go to the beach! Tela has a beautiful coastline, with tall palms, white sand, and exceedingly warm water. Make sure your belongings are watched at all times-, either by you or a friend or family member--as unattended items can be taken by passing thieves. On the whole however, the beach experience is wonderful, and not to be missed.
  • Triunfo de la Cruz. For those looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience in Tela, a trip to the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz is a necessity. Located just a few miles up the beach from Tela, the area has not been invaded by the hotel industries. Small beach restaurants often have changing cabins, showers and beach shacks for tourists to relax. Some will even supply you with hammocks for your day of relaxation. A bus from the center bus station or a taxi are your best way to get to this area. Walking is not recommended.

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Getting There

Located less than 90 kilometres east of San Pedro Sula's International airport, and connected by an excellent paved highway, Tela is very easily reached from San Pedro Sula and El Progreso. If you are driving your own car, the driving time is under one hour from San Pedro Sula. If you are taking the public bus your best option would be to choose Hedman Alas, a first class service coach operator that has non stop service from San Pedro Sula to Tela; otherwise, make sure that you take one of the direct non stop buses to La Ceiba, and let the driver know you wish to get off at the entrance to Tela. From this point, you can easily catch a taxi to take you to the beaches, that have become Tela's main attraction.

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Getting Around

Once in Tela, like in most Honduran cities, the Taxi services will provide a reliable way to get around. Also Tela is a great place to walk around and explore the beach and downtown areas.

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Eat

One of the best restaurants in the area is a small pizza place right near the oceanfront bridge in downtown Tela. A new patio out back of the restaurant is right on an inner-coastal waterway, which enhance the dining experience. It also has a play area and swings for those traveling with young children. The pizza is affordable and delicious.

In addition, Hondurans say that the baleadas in the Tela and La Ceiba areas are the best in the country. A baleada is a thick tortilla with refried beans, avocados, scrambled eggs, fresh crema, butter and other ingredients such as chicken and sausage. They are fantastic.

A trip to Tela can not be completed with out trying the fresh seafood of the region. Sopa de Caracol (conch soup) and sopa de jaiba (crab soup) are well know treats in local restaurants. Locals have their opinions about which seafood restaurant is better, but they are not always the same. The people of Tela are very helpful (and use to wondering tourists) if you would like a recommendation.

Most hotels have their own restaurants, often inside of a secure compound for those that do not wish to walk around outside of the security of their hotels.

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Drink

For the brave tourist, the Garifuna community will be happy share their homemade brew called Gifi (a coconut liquor).

For the more traditional experience, the beach front offers several bars. In addition most restaurants will have local beers and mixed drinks.

For those looking for a non-alcoholic beverage, a fresh, cold coconut will surely hit the spot. While at the main beach areas, someone will surely find you at some point and offer you a fresh coconut to drink from. It is part of the Tela experience and should at least be tried before leaving

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Sleep

  • Hotel La Ensenada Beach Resort & Convention Center
  • Hotel Bertha is a budget hotel. Rooms are small but clean.
  • Hotel La Quinta Real a nice hotel right on the beach, with a bar, restaurants and meeting facilities.
  • Hotel La Quinta - different from La Quinta Real, this hotel is in town, off the beach.
  • Villas Telamar a large resort with nice beaches, bars and a big pool with waterslides, plus entertainment. There are villas or a separate hotel building. This resort was formerly the United Fruit Company's residential complex, so there are a lot of nice old bungalows from the 1900s.
  • Caribbean Coral Inn, Triunfo de la Cruz (Pickup from Tela upon request), ☎ +504 669-0224. Very welcoming family has a beautiful remote spot at the beach in the Garifuna village in Triunfo de la Cruz. The cabins are spacious, have private bathroom, fan, and sufficient seabreaze. An open space living room is avaiable to guests. A small restaurant serves 4 daily fresh diners. The food is tasty. Continental breakfast is included with fresh juices, cereals, bread, tea. Within 40 mins walk is the Ipozo reserve. Hotel can arrange a very good guide for L600. Recommended, better than staying in Tela. US$53 + 16% taxes per night; each additional person is US$9 +16% taxes per night.

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Keep Connected

Internet

No matter where you are in Honduras, you should find Internet access, either in a cafe, mall, or cybercafe. Most hotels, even hostels, have their own Internet service, and more and more are beginning to have Wi-Fi service. Roughly 90% of these hotels offer Wi-Fi for free, yet some international chain hotels in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, as well as a few resorts on Roatán, charge a fee that ranges between US$6 and US$15 per day. If the hotel does not have Internet service, the hotel staff can usually point out where to find it. Expect to pay approximately 20 lempira per hour.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The emergency numbers are 199 (police), 195 (ambulance) and 198 (fire). The international area code in Honduras is 504. All local phone numbers are eight digits, including the area code. Numbers either start with a 2 (landline) or a 9 (cellular).

Kiosks and convenience stores throughout Honduras sell phone cards with individual instructions on long-distance dialing, and phone booths at telephone centers will provide instructions on dialing.

Honduras's largest phone companies, such as Telefonica, operate on a GSM 850 or 1900 MHZ frequency, which several large North American carriers also use, though these frequencies are rare in other parts of the world. Any dual or multiband GSM cellphone will work in Honduras, but you might pay expensive roaming rates; it's better to buy a local SIM card and install it in your own cell phone for cheaper rates.
You can also rent a phone at kiosks located on the arrival level at the San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa airport; they are open daily from 6:00am to 9:00pm. Depending on your service, you may be able to insert your own SIM card, though you'll likely still pay regular roaming rates. Some cellphone companies in Honduras will rent phones with prepaid calling cards.

Post

Honducor is the country's national postal service. Post offices are open from Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm (though generally with a long lunch break) and on Saturday from 8:00am to noon. Sendings standard letters or postcards internationally start at around US$1 and take 10-14 days at least. You can get stamps at a post office and at some gift shops in large hotels. The Honduran postal service is renowned for being considerably more reliable than in other Central American nations, though if you are sending anything of value, it is still recommended to use an international courier service like DHL, UPS, TNT or FedEx, which have offices in larger cities.

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Tela Travel Helpers

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This is version 2. Last edited at 12:40 on Feb 8, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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