The largest city on the north coast , with a population of just around 115,000 and growing, La Ceiba is not particularly attractive at first glance, but those who give it a chance may find themselves charmed. The beaches are dirty, there is no architecture of interest, and it’s almost always steaming hot, but La Ceiba has a certain carefree Caribbean joie de vivre that has earned it the nickname “Honduras’s girlfriend.”
The most overt expression of this spirit is the unsurpassed nightlife and dancing  scene centered on a strip of discos right along the beach, where you can boogie until all hours every weekend and find a fun spot to hang out any night of the week. There’s no doubt about it—ceibeños know how to party. As the saying goes, “Tegucigalpa piensa, San Pedro trabaja, y La Ceiba se divierte” (“Tegucigalpa thinks, San Pedro works, and La Ceiba has fun”). The town’s good times culminate in the annual Feria de San Isidro , or Carnaval, a weeklong bash of dancing and music held in May.
The main reason travelers come to La Ceiba is not to visit the town itself, but rather to use it as a convenient base to explore nearby nature refuges, such as Pico Bonito , the Cuero y Salado  wetlands, and the rapid-filled Río Cangrejal , as well as the nearby beach towns of Corozal  and Sambo Creek . It’s also an inevitable stop-off point for travelers on their way to the Bay Islands , Trujillo , or the Mosquitia, and a good place to take care of any business that needs attending to while on the road.
Following the lead of Tela , La Ceiba now has a squad of about 20 tourist police wearing green pants and khaki shirts, who are always ready to help out in case a visitor needs directions, advice, or help in an emergency.
Because of its strategic location in the center of the north coast , La Ceiba is a major transportation hub for the Bay Islands , the Mosquitia, and other towns and villages on Honduras’s Caribbean coast.
Golosón International Airport is 12 kilometers from downtown La Ceiba on the highway toward Tela . Airport taxis parked at the terminal usually charge US$8 for a private cab. If you’re light on luggage, you can also walk out of the airport to the highway and pay much less—offer US$1 per person. A taxi from downtown should cost US$3.25 and arrive one hour before flight departure.
Note: Because of its limited facilities, the La Ceiba airport cannot handle poor weather conditions and shuts down frequently during heavy rains and poor visibility. If you are traveling to or from the Bay Islands  or the Mosquitia in bad weather, don’t be surprised to get stuck for a couple of days.
Taca/Isleña Airlines (tel. 504/443-0179) has offices in the Mega Plaza Mall (tel. 504/441-3190 or 504/441-3191, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–noon Sat.) and at the airport (tel. 504/441-2151). Isleña flies several times daily to Roatán , Tegucigalpa , and San Pedro Sula , and once daily to Utila  and Guanaja .
The Sosa office is downtown on the parque (tel. 504/443-1399, 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–noon Sat.), and there’s another at the airport (tel. 504/440-0692). Sosa flies to Tegucigalpa , San Pedro Sula , and all three of the Bay Islands  every day, except there are no Guanaja  flights on Sunday.
The central bus terminal on Boulevard 15 de Septiembre is west of downtown, just across the railroad tracks. Taxis to or from the terminal cost US$1.
Note: Schedules and prices are subject to frequent change, so be sure to double-check your travel arrangements upon arrival.
The following carriers run buses to and from La Ceiba:City Tupsa-Catisa (tel. 504/441-2539), Diana Express (tel. 504/441-6460), Mirna, Contraipbal, Rey Express (tel. 504/441-6460, www.reyexpress.net ), Kamaldy (tel. 504/441-2028), and Cristina (tel. 504/441-6741)
The following carriers also offer service to and frome La Ceiba, but not from the central terminal: Hedman Alas (tel. 504/441-5347, www.hedmanalas.com ), with its terminal next to the supermarket on the highway exit toward Trujillo; Cotuc (tel. 504/441-2199) has a small ticket office in Barrio Buenos Aires on the La Ceiba–Tela road; and Viana (tel. 504/441-2330) has a ticket office and bus departure point at the Esso gas station a few blocks west of the main bus terminal.
The 101-kilometer, two-lane highway west to Tela  is in fairly decent condition and takes a bit more than an hour to drive. East of La Ceiba, the highway continues along the coastal plain to Jutiapa , where it cuts through a low point in the Cordillera Nombre de Dios into the Valle del Aguán at Savá , 80 kilometers from La Ceiba, and continues on to Trujillo , another 86 kilometers. The entire stretch is generally well maintained, although that can change quickly during a bad rainy season.
The municipal dock, called Cabotaje, is east of the Río Cangrejal , reached by a road turning off the Trujillo highway two kilometers past the Río Cangrejal bridge on the road toward Sambo Creek , on the left side. The side road is three kilometers out to the dock, making it too far to walk, so it’s best to take a taxi from town (US$3).
Lagoon Marina (tel. 504/440-0614, cell 504/991-5401, radio channel 69, www.lagoonmarinalaceiba.com ), just behind Cabotaje, has long been the best-equipped marina in Honduras , but it is up for sale. The adjacent La Ceiba Shipyard (tel. 504/441-9426, www.laceibashipyard.com ) also has mooring space and repair services.
A bus to the Cabotaje can be caught on Avenida República, half a block from the central park, but it can take an hour to reach the dock, while a taxi gets there in 15 minutes.