Once the headquarters of United Fruit (parent company of Chiquita-brand bananas), Tela, Honduras, sits on the country's north coast 110 mi/175 km north of Tegucigalpa. It has a beautiful beach—among the most beautiful in Central America—and is near some interesting Garifuna villages. The brightly colored shops and lack of cars enhance the charm of the city.

A resort, Villas Telamar, is housed in the old residences used by the families of banana-company workers. Another major resort area is located near Los Micos Lagoon to the northwest of Tela, with several luxury resorts, a golf course and a residential community.

The Lancetilla Botanical Gardens (trees and plants are the attraction, not flowers) is well worth a visit. We recommend getting a guide to explain the qualities of the various plants and to pick fruit for you to eat. (Don't try this yourself—the wife of the founder is said to have died by eating an ackee before it was ripe.)

Tela is a good base for boat trips through the coastal Punta Sal National Park, where you'll see lots of birds and wildlife and stop at a beach (don't forget the insect repellent).

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