As the party capital of Honduras, La Ceiba boasts a hopping nightlife, mainly centered around the discos on 1 Calle east of the estuary, the so-called zona viva, or live zone. Foreigners, mainly men, have been known to get addicted to the scene, spending days or weeks on end drinking, dancing, chasing local women, and consuming the odd illicit substance until all hours night after night.
Monday and Tuesday are slow, but even then the discos are open until at least midnight. Thursday and Saturdays are best, when the strip is an adventure, with large crowds in all the discos and milling around on the street until daybreak.
The odd shooting or stabbing is not unheard of, and fistfights are considered just good fun. Generally, unless you do something stupid like try to pick up someone else’s date, none of the violence is directed at foreigners. The crowd is totally mixed—ladinos (people of mixed Spanish and indigenous blood), Garífuna, Bay Islanders, Miskito Indians, and gringos all enjoy themselves shoulder to shoulder.
One musical twist sure to amuse visiting foreigners who are expecting to hear only the hot rhythms of salsa, merengue, reggaeton, and punta (the traditional music of the Garífuna) is the popularity of American country and western music on the north coast. Don’t be surprised to walk into a disco and see couples doing a slow two-step to the latest Nashville hit.
Warning: The area on 1 Calle around the discos, and in particular near the poorly lit Parque Bonilla, can be dangerous at night. If you do go out dancing, use caution on your way back to your hotel. Walk in groups and stick to the main avenues. It’s simply not a safe idea for women to go solo.
Considered the most upscale (read: expensive but relatively safe) of La Ceiba’s clubs is Hibou, just east of Hotel Partenon, also on the beach side. The club is open Thursday–Saturday starting at 7 p.m. Come dressed in style.
Another popular place is La Casona (“the big house”), which, despite its farmhouse appearance, gets packed with 20- and 30-something ceibeños. The music is mainly techno and reggaeton.
Discos open and close with regularity, but generally the better ones are at the far end of 1 Calle, while the close end, near the estuary, is considered a bit of a red-light district by locals.
To check out some punta sounds, find out what’s happening at Centro Cultural Satuyé (4 Calle in Barrio La Isla), a Garífuna cultural center that frequently hosts live bands and dance.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition