Tela is a city in Honduras.
A sleepy coastal town with a lot of history and nice beaches. Tela has been slowly but surely working its way to becoming an important beach destination.
Tela is located in a region inhabited by the Afro-Caribbean communities called the Garifuna. The Garifuna live on communally owned land around the Tela area and have their own distinct language and culture.
Tela has been the site of a pilot program aimed to create the Tourist Police. The result has been outstanding, with a force of 20 bilingual, friendly tourist police officers. Statistics show that there has been absolutely no crime incidents against tourists in Tela for several years now.
Located less than 90 km east of San Pedro Sula's International airport, and connected by an excellent paved highway, Tela is very easily reached from San Pedro Sula and El Progreso. If you are driving your own car, the driving time is under one hour from San Pedro Sula. If you are taking the public bus your best option would be to choose Hedman Alas, a first class service coach operator that has non stop service from San Pedro Sula to Tela; otherwise, make sure that you take one of the direct non stop buses to La Ceiba, and let the driver know you wish to get off at the entrance to Tela. From this point, you can easily catch a taxi to take you to the beaches, that have become Tela's main attraction.
Once in Tela, like in most Honduran cities, the Taxi services will provide a reliable and inexpensive way to get around. Also Tela is a great place to walk around and explore the beach and downtown areas.yaaa
Go to the beach! Tela has a beautiful coastline, with tall palms, white sand, and exceedingly warm water. Make sure your belongings are watched at all times--either by you or a friend or family member--as unattended items can be taken by passing thieves. On the whole however, the beach experience is wonderful, and not to be missed.
Triunfo de la Cruz. For those looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience in Tela, a trip to the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz is a necessity. Located just a few miles up the beach from Tela, the area has not been invaded by the hotel industries. Small beach restaurants often have changing cabins, showers and beach shacks for tourists to relax. Some will even supply you with hammocks for your day of relaxation. A bus from the center bus station or a taxi are your best way to get to this area. Walking is not recommended.
Tela's Garifuna community provides some of the best items to purchase in Tela. Strolling along the beach area, tourists will surely find people selling their hand made crafts and jewelry. Shell and shark tooth jewelry, coconut shell jewelry, and the more common hand woven jewelry, are the most prevalent items being sold.
A great purchase is the coconut bread or coconut candy (called 'tabla'). Women can be found carrying large buckets on their heads, which often contain the delicious baked goods.
A trip to Tela can not be completed with out trying the fresh seafood of the region. Sopa de Caracol (conch soup) and sopa de jaiba (crab soup) are well-known treats in local restaurants. Locals have their opinions about which seafood restaurant is better, but they are not always the same. The people of Tela are very helpful (and used to wandering tourists) if you would like a recommendation.
In addition, Hondurans say that the baleadas in the Tela and La Ceiba areas are the best in the country. A baleada is a thick tortilla with refried beans, avocados, scrambled eggs, fresh crema, butter and other ingredients such as chicken and sausage. They are fantastic.
One of the best restaurants in the area is Pizzeria Bella Italia, a small pizza place right near the oceanfront bridge in downtown Tela. A new patio out back of the restaurant is right on an inner-coastal waterway, which enhance the dining experience. It also has a play area and swings for those traveling with young children. The pizza is affordable and delicious.
Most hotels have their own restaurants, often inside of a secure compound for those that do not wish to walk around outside of the secuirty of their hotels.
For the brave tourist, the Garifuna community will be happy share their homemade brew called Gifi (a coconut liquor).
For the more traditional experience, the beach front offers several bars. In addition most restaurants will have local beers and mixed drinks.
For those looking for a non-alcoholic beverage, a fresh, cold coconut will surely hit the spot. While at the main beach areas, someone will surely find you at some point and offer you a fresh coconut to drink from. It is part of the Tela experience and should at least be tried before leaving. Fruit juices are also popular.