The beaches in La Ceiba city are polluted and possibly even dangerous to your health and physical well being. If you must, the beach in front of the Quinta Real is the most manicured, although the water is still putrid. A much better beach is Playa de Peru, a couple of kilometers east of the Muelle de Cabotaje, or at Sambo Creek, 21km (13 miles) east of the center.
There is also a popular swimming hole at Río María, between Playa de Peru and Sambo Creek -- look for the signs that say "Ecological Area." Getting there is a bit more of an adventure. You must hike about 45 minutes through the wilderness along the river, where you will catch stunning glimpses of the Cayos Cochinos far off in the distance and the occasional toucan. Your reward: an eco-paradise with a series of cool, clear water pools.
While horseback riding is more common in the mountains of the western half of Honduras, tours are increasingly popular along the North Coast. Omega Tours (tel. 504/2440-0334) has several different rides. Day trips include a ride along the beach (6 hr.) near the Río Bonito and another ride (4-8 hr.) near Pico Bonito National Park. All trips (L760-L1,425) include a free night in their lodge. They also offer multiple day trips on the Río Sico (6 days) and the Río Blanca Valley (3 days).
At Cacao Lagoon, east of La Ceiba past the village of Roma, La Moskitia Ecoaventuras (tel. 504/2550-2124) offers kayaking trips. The lagoon is a twisting maze of mangroves, where sightings of howler monkeys, bats, kingfishers, herons, and other wildlife are frequent. The 5- to 6-hour trip includes a relaxing visit to a sheltered beach.
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.