Relax With Views Of The Crystal Clear Caribbean At This Underrated Island Destination

The Cayos Cochinos islands in Honduras are off-the-beaten-track for many travelers, but the wildlife that swims in its clear waters, as well as its under-the-radar beaches, make it well worth adding to your Central American itinerary. These islands were described on the New York Times list of "52 Places to Go in 2023" and the Reader's Digest recommendations for "30 Secret Island Escapes Around the World." It seems like the world is finally discovering the beach and underwater paradise that can be discovered in Honduras!

This marine sanctuary comprises 15 islands and atolls, with the two largest and most notable being Cayo Mayor and Cayo Menor. The archipelago and the nearby Bay Islands are enveloped by the Mesoamerican Reef which is shared between Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. It is the world's second-large barrier reef after Australia's Great Barrier Reef. While you can visit Cayos Cochinos on a day trip from the islands of Utila and Roatán, the way to soak in these islands is to stay overnight and see everything they have to offer.

What to do at Cayos Cochinos

The beauty of Cayos Cochinos is that you don't have to do anything, you can simply swing in a hammock while listening to the sounds of the Caribbean Sea. As the reef is one of the main attractions of the island, you can go out with local tour operators to snorkel or dive in the best spots. The abundant fish that you may see include angelfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, barracuda, and grouper. You may also see eagle rays, sea turtles, and a variety of sharks, including nurse, reef, hammerhead, and even whale sharks in the spring between March and May or in the fall between August and October.

It is also possible to hire a sea kayak or go on a boat trip around the islands. At the fishing village of Chachahuate Cay, you can try food made by Garifuna people as well as buy locally made handicrafts. Perhaps the most famous resident of the islands is the Cayos Cochinos Boa which is a pink snake that is endemic to the islands of Honduras. A guide will be able to find some for you to see if you don't have any luck yourself. If there is anything that you want to experience at Cayos Cochinos, the friendly locals at your hotel can help you make it happen.

Where to stay at Cayos Cochinos

Naturally, the majority of the accommodation on Cayos Cochinos is on the largest island of Cayo Mayor, which currently boasts three places to stay. As the island is so small, they all double as restaurants that serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with options for freshly caught seafood. Cabañas Laru Beya has some great reviews on Tripadvisor. It is a good option for budget or independent travelers as it has dorm accommodation but you can still splash out on the fresh lobster that they make here.

Another top-ranked accommodation is the Eagle Ray Bay Resort, so named for the rays that congregate here at night. It is on a beautiful beach spot with a jetty where you can enjoy homemade ceviche after a day of diving. The third option is Vito's Eco Diving Resort which offers packages that include pickup, tours, accommodation, food, and diving for those who want to go all-inclusive. Wherever you stay in Cayos Cochinos, you're bound to have most of the marine life as well as the beaches to yourself, as these islands offer peace and privacy without the hefty price tag you'd find elsewhere.