For events that break away from the status quo, Honduras offers experiences that are truly memorable. From Copán, with its world-famous archaeological sites and a convention center set to debut in 2019, to Roatan, an idyllic Bay Island offering group activities such as world-class diving and golf, Honduras is an exciting meetings destination. To learn more about all this destination has to offer, Successful Meetings spoke with Dania Ferrera, MICE manager for Honduras Institute of Tourism. Here are some of her tips.
What's new in the area for groups?
In the heart of the town of Copán or Copán Ruinas, the 49-room Marina Copán hotel offers a quaint setting for an impactful meeting, with capacity for up to 120 people. Most importantly, in March 2019, the Marina Copán Convention Center will open its doors to larger groups, with a capacity of up to 800 guests. The convention center will offer transportation to and from the hotel and will be located just minutes away from the Copán ruins. The new center will boast approximately 9,690 square feet of air-conditioned, flexible meeting space as well as an outside area measuring 3,770 square feet. Groups looking for a one-of-a-kind, brand-new space have already begun to pre-book the convention center.
What's a "hidden gem" for visiting groups?
Close to Copán lies Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve, an exotic bird sanctuary surrounded by the forests and mountains of Honduras. The park is home to a network of nature trails, including elevated viewing decks, that set the stage for ideal birdwatching locations. Macaw's first-class facilities also feature a pristine, natural pool and their very own coffee-roasting house. What many don't know prior to visiting Macaw is their notable commitment to conservation and their focus on educating all visitors on the richness of Honduran wildlife.
What's a good outing for a group looking to get a sense of the area's culture or history?
Considered one of the most spectacular cities of ancient Maya civilization and a monumental archeological site, Copán is a ruins complex known for its beautiful stone temples, altars, hieroglyphs, and stelae. It was one of the most important civilizations during the Classic period, and the site of significant advances in mathematics and astronomy until it was suddenly abandoned. As a religious, political and civil center, much of what scholars know about Maya civilization has been learned by the discoveries made at Copán, whose ruins were added to the list of UNESCO Heritage sites in 1980. Guided groups tours and excursions are held throughout the day promising a deep dive into Honduran Maya culture.
Where should a group go to get a truly local culinary experience?
Also close to Copán, group travelers cannot miss the Café Welchez Coffee Tour at Finca Santa Isabel, a family-run farm that has been running for over half a century. Honduras is one the world's leading coffee exporters and is home to six different coffee regions, as identified by the Honduran Coffee Route, an initiative of the Honduras Institute of Coffee, in collaboration with the Honduras Institute of Tourism. Coffee from the Copán region boasts sweet hints of chocolate, caramel, oranges, and a balanced round body. Visitors to Finca Santa Isabel can enjoy a guided tour in English through the farm as well as coffee tastings.
Anything else that you think makes your area a great destination for groups?
Honduras' most valuable differentiator as a destination for the meetings, incentives, conference and exhibition segment is its ability to cater to a wide variety of groups with options set in mountainous regions, colonial cities, and Caribbean seascapes, or group activities above and under water, archaeological, wellness related and much more. Corporate events and meetings can be held just minutes away from some of our most famous attractions such as the southern section of the Mesoamerican Reef, the largest reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second-largest in the world, or near Lancetilla Botanical Garden, one of the largest tropical botanical gardens in the world.