Honduras and Panama are two popular Central American countries that are frequently visited by tourists, and for good reason. 

Honduras is known for its lovely beaches, delicious cuisine, and fascinating Ancient Mayan ruins. Panama is known for its beautiful islands, charming old colonial town, and the iconic Panama canal.  

But, which place is better for a vacation? Although they have similarities, there’s key differences that set them apart! My guide will give you the key differences between Honduras and Panama to help you decide where to visit next. 

We will cover how they compare in terms of cost, tourist attractions, beaches, nightlife, and much more. 

So, keep on reading to find out which country you should visit next!

Panama vs Honduras

Honduras At A Glance

Nestled in between Nicaragua and Guatemala, Honduras is a beautiful Central American country.

Honduras is known for its abundance of natural resources, delicious cuisine, breathtaking landscapes, and ancient Mayan culture. 

San Pedro Sula, Honduras
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
(Photo by: Emilio Gonzalez)

The landscape of Honduras consists of everything from mountainous rainforests to coastal lowlands with tropical beaches.

Whether you’re looking to go hiking in cloud forests, or enjoy watersports on the beach, Honduras has something for you. 

One of the most fascinating aspects of Honduras is its ancient Mayan City of Copan, which is home to ancient Mayan ruins built between 400 and 800 AD. 

Copán Ruinas, Honduras
Copán Ruins, Honduras
(Photo by: Donal Caliz)

Similar to Panama, Honduras has many incredible natural parks, where visitors can explore lush rainforests filled with wildlife. Pico National Park is the largest and most biodiverse national park in Honduras, with plenty of excellent hiking trails for visitors to explore.

Gumbalimba Park is a popular eco-adventure park in Honduras that has waterfalls, macaws, white-faced monkeys, iguanas, and other fascinating wildlife. 

Compared to Panama, Honduras has more pristine white sand beaches for swimming and snorkeling. Honduras has 470 miles of white sand beaches with crystal clear waters. 

Cayos Cochinos, Honduras
Cayos Cochinos, Honduras (Photo by: Angello Pro)

The Bay Islands are a group of three small islands in northern Honduras that include the Utila, Roatan, and Guanaja islands. These islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches and best diving spots in Honduras. 

Cayos Cochinos, Bayman Bay Beach, and West Bay Beach are some of the most picture perfect beaches in Honduras.

Cayos Cochinos, Honduras
Cayos Cochinos, Honduras (Photo by: Carlos Zacapa)

The cuisine of Honduras is flavorful and it has Spanish and Caribbean influences. Similar to other Central American countries, Honduras uses staple ingredients like rice, beans, tortillas, and plantains.

One of the most common dishes in Honduras is “baleada”, which is a flour tortilla stuffed with refried beans, grated white cheese, meat, and Honduran-style sour cream. 

Although Honduras is not known for its nightlife, there are plenty of bars, clubs, and live music venues to enjoy a night out in cities like Tegucigalpa, and San Pedro Sula. 

In summary, Honduras has delicious cuisine, beautiful beaches, top-notch snorkeling opportunities, and friendly people. 

Panama At A Glance

Located between Costa Rica and Colombia, Panama is a popular Central American country that’s frequently visited by tourists.

Panama is known for the large Panama canal, lush rainforests, and charming old colonial city. 

Panamá Viejo, Panama
Panamá Viejo, Panama (Photo by: Franklin Canelon)

The Panama Canal is a narrow 48 mile long waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. The canal was built to significantly decrease the travel time for ships, and around 15,000 ships pass through the canal every year! 

panama canal
Panama Canal (Image by: Alex Pagliuca)

Most visitors stay in Panama City while visiting Panama because it has the Panama Canal museums, zoos, shopping centers, and Casco Viejo.

Casco Viejo is Panama’s historic district that has charming old colonial Spanish buildings, hotels, bars, and restaurants. 

Casco Viejo
Casco Viejo, Panama (Image by: Kaori Hirakata)

Just like Honduras, Panama has a Caribbean coastline so there’s no shortage of beautiful beaches. Panama has over 1000 islands, and many wonderful islands to spend the day at. 

The best beaches in Panama are located at the Tabogas Islands and San Blas Islands. The Tabogas Islands are close to Panama city, and they’re a popular spot for snorkeling and hiking.

The San Blas Islands are a 4 hour drive from Panama city, and a 20 minute boat ride to get to the individual islands. 

San Blas Islands, Panama
San Blas Islands, Panama (Photo by: Tom Mu)

The islands are home to the most stunning beaches in Panama, and they’re perfect for snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding, or exploring on a boat tour. 

Just like Honduras, Panama has national parks with unique wildlife. The Metropolitan National Park in Panama City has excellent hiking trails, and is surrounded by toucan birds, sloths, monkeys, and other wildlife. 

Similar to Honduras, Panamanian cuisine uses staple ingredients such as rice, beans, and tortillas. Panamanian cuisine is flavorful and has Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, and indigenous influences. One of the most common dishes in Panama is “sancocho”, a hearty soup made with chicken, yams, and culantro. 

sancocho soup
Sancocho (Photo by: Keesha S Kitchen)

Compared to Honduras, Panama has a more lively nightlife. Casco Viejo in Panama City has plenty of trendy bars, nightclubs, and music venues to enjoy a fun night out. 

Overall, Panama has beautiful landscapes, delectable cuisine, lively nightlife, and endless activities for tourists. 

Where To Visit in Honduras

Honduras’s diverse landscape makes it a great place to explore for vacation. Whether you’re looking to hike through a cloud forest or visit ancient Mayan ruins, Honduras has something for everyone. 

The Pico Bonito National Park is Honduras’s largest and most biodiverse national park that’s one of the most impressive places to visit. The entry fee is $8 USD per person, and the park spans 217 square miles.

The park is home to jaguars, wild pigs, monkeys, and other fascinating wildlife. You can go horseback riding, whitewater rafting, or simply explore the park’s natural beauty. 

San Buenaventura, Honduras
San Buenaventura, Honduras (Photo by: Alex Mccarthy)

If you’re traveling with kids, Gumbalimba National Park is worth visiting. It’s a large national park with botanical gardens, swimming pools, and interactive animal exhibits.

Throughout the park, there are white-faced monkeys, sloths, birds, and other fascinating wildlife. Admission to the park is $30 USD per person, and it’s open daily from 8AM to 4PM. 

Copán Ruinas
Copán Ruinas (Photo by: Donal Caliz)

Another one of the most popular attractions in Honduras is the ancient Mayan city of Copan. This ancient Mayan city has ruins that were built between 400 and 800 AD. Throughout the site, you’ll get to see ancient carvings, hieroglyphics, and sculptures to get a glimpse into the rich history of the Mayan civilization. 

Honduras has over 99 islands, with Roatán, and Utila being the most popular islands to stay at. Roatan has botanical gardens, national parks, animal sanctuaries, and more.

Roatán, Honduras
Roatán, Honduras (Photo by: Alisa Matthews)

The West End of Roatan is where the majority of resorts are located, and it has some of the most beautiful beaches in Honduras. 

Utila is a less developed island in Honduras, but it has ample opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. 

Here are some of the top places to visit in Honduras.

  • Copán Ruins
  • Gumbalimba Park
  • Roatán
  • Utila
  • Pico Bonito National Park
  • Lago de Yojoa
  • Gracias
  • Museum for National Identity 

Where To Visit In Panama

Whether you’re looking to visit the iconic Panama canal or stroll through the charming historic city of Casco Viejo, Panama has something for you. 

Casco Viejo in Panama City (Image by: Kaja Reichardt)

One of the most common places tourists stay in Panama City is Casco Viejo, which is Panama’s historic district. Casco Viejo has vibrant streets, old Spanish colonial buildings, art galleries, cafes, museums, and restaurants. It is also a hotspot for nightlife and has trendy clubs and popular bars. 

While you’re in the capital, visiting the Panama Canal is a must. You can watch large ships pass through the 51 mile waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. 

San Buenaventura, Honduras
San Buenaventura, Honduras (Photo by: Alex Mccarthy)

Panama has many beautiful rainforests with scenic waterfalls throughout the country that visitors can explore.

Similar to Honduras, Panama has numerous national parks, including the Metropolitan National Park, Parque Nacional Soberania, Parque Nacional Santa Fe, and more. 

The national parks in Panama are ideal for hiking, and they’re full of unique wildlife. Metropolitan National Park is in Panama City, and admission is $4 USD for adults, and $2 for children. The park has monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and other impressive wildlife. 

If you want to spend time at the beach, head to the Tabogas Islands or “Island of Flowers” in the gulf of Panama. The island is a 30 minute ferry from Panama City, and it’s home to the second oldest church in the Western Hemisphere! You can visit the San Pedro church, swim, hike, fish, or go on a boat tour to explore the island. 

Panama has many beach towns, with Bocas del Toro and Portobelo being popular destinations for tourists. 

Bocas Del Toro, Changuinola Panama
Bocas Del Toro, Changuinola Panama (Image by: Pablo García Saldaña)

Bocas del Toro is just a 2 hour drive from Panama City, and has a chocolate farm, national park, bat caves, marine park, and many amazing beaches. The Starfish beach is a famous beach in Bocas del Toro that has hundreds of starfish dotting across the ocean’s floor. 

Isla Grande, Portobelo
Portobelo, Panama
(Image by: Karol Chomka)

Portobelo is also a 2 hour drive from Panama City, and has historical sites, ancient ruins, and national parks. and secluded beaches. 

One place you won’t want to miss if you visit are the San Blas Islands, which are a 4 hour drive from Panama City. The islands are homeland to the Kuna Indians, one of the largest indigenous tribes in South America. You can go snorkeling, swimming, or island-hopping to appreciate all of the island’s natural beauty. 

San Blas Islands
San Blas Islands Pier (Image by: Alessa Ciraulo)

In Panama City, there are shopping centers, museums, national parks, and historical landmarks so it’s worth exploring for a day. 

Here are some of the top attractions in Panama. 

  • Panama Canal
  • Casco Viejo (Historic District)
  • Metropolitan National Park
  • Parque Nacional Soberanía
  • Gatun Lake
  • Bocas del Toro
  • San Blas Islands
  • Gamboa rainforest
  • El Valle de Anton

Is Honduras or Panama better for a vacation?

Honduras and Panama both have beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes. 

Honduras is the ideal destination for you if you’re looking to snorkel, spot wildlife at national parks, and visit impressive ancient Mayan ruins. 

Panama is the best place for you if you’re looking to visit the iconic Panama canal, go island-hopping on the San Blas Islands, or stroll the charming old town of Casco Viejo. 

However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here is everything you should consider when choosing between Honduras and Panama for vacation. 

Honduras vs Panama


Honduras and Panama have similar tropical climates with warm weather year-round. The average temperature in Honduras ranges from 75 F to 93 F, whereas the average temperature in Panama ranges from 76 F to 90 F.

The wet season in Panama runs from May to January, whereas the wet season in Honduras runs from May to October


Honduras has many notable beaches that are excellent for swimming and snorkeling. One of Honduras’s most picture perfect beaches is West Bay Beach, which has clear calm waters and abundant coral reefs for snorkeling. 

Overall, the beaches in Honduras are more accessible than Panama’s beaches. Panama’s best beaches are located on the San Blas Islands or Bocas Del Toro province, which are multiple hours away from the capital.

However, the Tabogas Islands are an hour from the capital, and they have many pristine white sand beaches with turquoise blue waters. 

These are some of the most notable beaches in Honduras.

  • West Bay Beach
  • Tabyana Beach
  • Half Moon Bay Beach
  • Camp Bay Beach
  • Trujillo Beach

These are some of the most notable beaches in Panama.

  • Tabogas Islands
  • San Blas Islands
  • Bocas Del Toro
  • Playa Coronado
  • Santa Catalina
  • Portobelo


The official currency in Honduras is the Honduran lempira, while the official currency in Panama is the balboa. The USD is widely accepted throughout Panama, since the bilbao is fixed to the US dollar at a 1:1 ratio.

The conversion rate of US dollars to the Honduran lempira is: 1 Honduran lempira = 0.041 USD. However, you should convert dollars to their currency for most transactions in both countries.


Honduras and Panama have delicious Central American cuisine, and use staple ingredients like rice, beans, tortillas, and plantains. Panamanian cuisine is flavorful is influenced by African, Spanish, and Native American influences. Honduran cuisine showcases a fusion of Mesoamerican, Spanish, and Caribbean influences

One of the most common Honduran dishes are “baleadas,” a homemade flour tortilla filled with refried beans, grated cheese, and Honduran-style sour cream. Other popular dishes include carne asada (grilled beef), tamales, and pupusas.  

One of Panama’s most well-known dishes is sancocho, a hearty chicken soup that’s traditionally made with chicken, yams, and culantro. Other popular dishes in Panama include holjadras (fried bread), gallo pinto (rice and beans), and ropa vieja (spiced shredded beef). 

Here are some of the most common dishes you’ll find in Honduras. 

  • Baleada: A thick wheat flour tortilla filled with refried beans, cheese, and various toppings like avocado, meat, or scrambled eggs.
  • Catrachas: Fried corn tortillas topped with cheese and beans, often served as a snack or appetizer.
  • Sopa De Caracol: A hearty conch soup, often prepared with coconut milk, vegetables, and spices.
  • Carne Asada: Grilled or roasted meat, typically beef, marinated in flavorful spices and served with tortillas and traditional sides.
  • Chismol: A salsa-like condiment made with tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and cilantro, often used as a topping for roasted meats.

Here are some of the most common dishes you’ll find in Panama.

  • Arroz con pollo: Chicken with rice
  • Guacho: Hearty meat and rice stew
  • Hojaldra: Fried bread
  • Platanos: Fried plantains
  • Almojábanas: Fried “S” shaped dough made of corn and cheese
  • Carimañola: Deep-fried yuca stuffed with meat.
  • Ropa Vieja: Shredded spiced beef 


Both Honduras and Panama are relatively cheap countries to travel to. However, Honduras is generally cheaper to travel to in terms of hotels, rentals, and accommodations.

The average daily cost in Honduras is $57 per person, and is around $78 per person in Panama. 


Panama has a more lively nightlife than Honduras, with many trendy bars and live music venues. Casco Viejo in Panama City has jazz cafes, karaoke bars, disco clubs, rooftop bars, and art-galleries that host late night shows. 

The nightlife in Honduras is not as exciting as Panama, but there are still plenty of places to enjoy a night out. The best nightlife in Honduras is in West Bay of Roatan, where there’s several popular beach bars with live music.  


The official language in Panama and Honduras is Spanish. Only around 14% of the population in Panama speaks English, whereas nearly half of people in Honduras speak English. 

When’s the best time to visit Honduras?

The best time to visit Honduras is during their dry season from April to December when the weather is most pleasant.

When’s the best time to visit Panama?

The best time to visit Panama is between January and mid-April, during the dry season when you can enjoy plenty of sunshine. 


According to the US Department of State’s Travel advisory, you should reconsider traveling to Honduras due to crime, and exercise caution in certain areas of Panama. However, you can still safely travel to Panama and Honduras as long as you take precautions to protect yourself. 

Panama City is one of the safest cities in Panama, whereas the West Bay in Roatan is one of the safest places in Honduras.

Like any other vacation, take precautions such as being aware of your surroundings, reading about the cities before visiting, and avoid walking alone at night. 

Also read:


How far is Panama from Honduras?

Panama is 949 km or 590 miles away from Honduras. If you were to drive from Panama City to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the shortest distance would be 1550 km or 963 miles

How do you get from Panama to Honduras?

The best way to get from Panama to Honduras is to take a flight, which will take around 5 hours. The cheapest flights depart from the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City to the San Pedro Sula Airport in Honduras. 

Alternatively, you can take a bus which will take around 32 hours. Bus services from Panama to Honduras are available by the Ticabus, and the bus fare is $120 USD. 

If you drive from Panama to Honduras, it will take approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes

Where is Panama located on the map?

Panama is situated between Costa Rica and Colombia, and it borders both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean sea. 

Where is Honduras located on the map?

Honduras is situated in between Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. It borders the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean sea, but only has a small stretch of Pacific coast. 

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