- Miami (the North Coast): This Miami is about as far away from South Beach as you can imagine. Set on a narrow sandbar between the Caribbean and the Los Micos lagoon in Parque Nacional Jeannette Kawas/Punta Sal, this Garífuna village, just a small collection of thatched huts, has remained unchanged for a couple of hundred years. Get there while you can, though, as development around Tela Bay is a serious threat to the way of life of this and other communities nearby.
- Raista/Belén (La Mosquitia): These two side-by-side Miskito communities, set on a small strip of land between the Laguna de Ibas and the Caribbean, have become an unlikely base for exploring the Mosquito Coast. Their very center is a grassy strip of land flanked by houses that serves as a grazing area for horses, a soccer field, and an airstrip. With two good yet surprisingly cheap and unknown eco-lodges, deserted beaches, and boat access to explore the monkey- and caiman-rich creeks of Parú, Ilbila, and Banaka, you won't be short on things to do.
- Santa Lucía and Valle de Ángeles (Tegucigalpa): These two laidback 16th-century villages, in the mountains near Tegucigalpa, are lined with small handicraft shops, country-style restaurants, outdoor cafes, leafy cobblestone plazas, and colonial churches. Come during the week, and you will have the place to yourself. Come on the weekends for a rush of capitalinos getting out of the city for some fresh air.
- Amapala (Southern Honduras): With the port that once drove this town on Isla del Tigre moved to the mainland, a renewed interest in tourism has sprung up in this sleepy fishing village, where you can see as far away as El Salvador and Nicaragua. A homestay program with local families, a few simple hotels, all the seafood you can handle, and the only good Pacific beaches in Honduras are all waiting to be discovered.
- Gracias (Western Honduras): While fast food chains and tour buses are blanketing Antigua, in nearby Guatemala, Gracias (once the capital of Central America) is still quaint and tranquil, and locals have yet to trade their cowboy hats for North Face jackets. Ongoing restorations are beautifying the city and nearby villages by the day, and expanded hotel options and even a new hot springs facility -- the area's second -- add to the attractions. Don't forget that Gracias is also the jumping-off point for the colonial churches and traditional culture along the La Ruta Lenca and the cloud forests of Parque Nacional Celaque.
- East Harbour (the Bay Islands): Sometimes just called Utila town, the Bay Islands' main population center is an eclectic mishmash of tourist services, dive shops, and typical island architecture. For the backpacker on a budget, this is paradise: cheap accommodations, basement prices for a dive certification, and a nightlife scene that rages well into the night every day of the week. Some stay for weeks, others for months. Some tend bar or become dive masters, and never leave.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.