Palma Real Beach Resort & Villas
How has this resort rated in the past?
- Room service
- Swimming pool
- Business Services
- Free parking
Historical Traveler Reviews Palma Real Beach Resort & Villas La Ceiba
My stay at the former Barcelo Palma Real- very quiet but skimpy on booze!
I stayed here for 5 days back in September 2003 when it was still the Barcelo Palma Real. But I think I still could have a few reasonable things to say.
I noted the most recent comments about the resort and just a few corrections to make: La Ceiba is not on the Mosquito Coast which is the eastern portion of Honduras that is not at all developed- no resorts there! Honduras is a malaria country and there were several endemics of hemmorhagic fever (sorry cant spell that) in different communities around the country while I was living there for seven months. Dengue fever is way more common than malaria and there are no pills you can take to prevent dengue or the more serious version of malaria that was going on. This was more common in the interior of the country, particularly in very impoverished areas following floods. Definitely bring appropriate repellant and take precautions. Keep in mind though that anti-malarials are not 100% and do not fully prevent malaria. I choose not to take mine while in Honduras and Guatemala simply because the side effects outweighed the possible prevention of a disease. This was my personal choice however but I don't think people should be scared off by potential malaria.
December is NOT a good time to go to the Honduran coast as there are usually storms and flooding. In 2003 in December, I had a business trip in La Ceiba and despite the flood drains, was walking down the street with water practically up to my knees. Not a great time to be looking for a sunny vacation. September was a wonderful time of the year. Only a few showers in the evenings but otherwise great weather. I never got sick while I was in Honduras- I would recommend you avoid any contact with tap water and become a vegetarian for the week! It is the bacteria in the meat that is very foreign for most westerners' systems and as a result, no matter how safe the meat may be, many people get sick. The hotel had a large selection of vegetarian foods, pastas, rice, etc so I never felt deprived.
Palma Real is a very isolated resort- there are no other similar resorts in the area and you are a ways from La Ceiba. Overall, I wouldn't recommend a trip to La Ceiba as its old charm has been lost in the increasing poverty and crime rates exacerbated by recent floods, hurricanes and the drug trade. A trip to the Bay Islands is highly recommended for the crystal clear calm water. Pico Bonito is a national park located nearby. It is still not very developed so I don't know what quality of an experience you might get. Definitely don't expect the quality of excursion you might find in Costa Rica.
As for the resort, I found the rooms to be very clean and comfortable. In the five days, the disco was only packed on one evening which I think was helped along by the fact that a large group of American military personnel had checked in for that day (there is a base in Comayagua in the centre of the country). The disco was okay but nothing special- I was rather disappointed that none of my Honduran coworkers could dance salsa. Maybe just an anomaly. The buffet restaurant was also quite good. My Honduran coworkers were very content with their traditional food- refried beans, fried plantain, the awful "mantequilla" cream they add to everything, friend eggs, chicharron (fried pork rind) etc. I was very happy to gorge myself on the wide variety of fresh fruits and veggies which I did not get a lot of while living in Tegucigalpa.
There are two sections to the pool and it was quite small, meaning if some people decided to take up a game of water volleyball you didn't really have much of a choice but to join in or leave. The beach is literally a few steps in front of the resort though the waves are a little strong. The area is quite small- tried to venture off a bit on the beach but it was not very clean. Very nice to sit in front of the beach but no water sports were offered (at the time) and the water was not clean or calm enough for snorkelling (hence why a trip to the Bay Islands is such a great idea!). I found the beaches around Havana, Cuba to be far more impressive. The main bar outside was small and I found the staff to be very skimpy with alcohol. People would mention to them that they couldn't taste alcohol and the staff seemed to say rather annoyed, "Yes I put very little." They refused to serve more than 2 or 3 drinks at a time. Perhaps that policy changed when Barcelo went?
I quite enjoyed the waterpark. There is a little shuttle that will take you to the area (though you could walk, it is all on the property) and past the new villas they have been constructing (though not waterfront so I don't see much of the allure unless you plan on spending a long time there). Hondurans don't tend to be very great swimmers so the wave pool was no more than 5 feet deep at the most. There were a few tame slides but again it is a nice change of scenery. I was there for a conference so I had most of my days filled but I think had I not, I would have been bored pretty fast.
The evening entertainment was okay. There is a little train that will take you out to the little amphitheatre. I enjoyed the Garifuna performance- Garifunas are Afro-Hondurans descending from slaves that escaped St. Vincent and settled on the coast. They have to a certain extent maintained the culture and language that has west african roots. The punta is the Garifuna dance- involves a lot of booty shaking- that the Garifunas have innately mastered. A small portion of Garifuna communities on the coast have managed to guard their culture more than others and some still live in the traditional thatched huts. Garifuna food is delicious- the pastries and coconut bread are to die for. Unfortunately, I learned during a beach vacation in Tela (about an hour west of La Ceiba; a very small, budget coastal retreat area) that large scale resorts have bullied many Garifuna communities into submission and forced them off of their land. The Garifuna is also disproportionately affected by HIV which is a big problem in Honduras, though no one really talks about it because sex is still such a taboo topic. If you have an affair with a Honduran, make sure it is protected!
Overall the resort is nice but very low key. If you want a boring beach vacation, this is idyllic. If you want a party, to drink or enjoy a more active vacation, other spots would be preferable (ie. Roatan or not in Honduras at all!).
Waiter, what's that bug doing in my vacation?
Fellow Travellers, ahoy!
I booked this package just a few days before
my wife and I left Toronto for a week in Honduras over New Year' 2005/2006.
I should have researched Honduras more carefully
before committing, but even so I probably would
have gone ahead.
The country is described as the epitome of a
banana republic, and this is true in many ways.
Tourism, for example, and recreational activities, are
"new things" for them. The staff at the resort are
novices at the hospitality trade, and in general,
are doing their best to handle their learning
curve. Some have attitude, but you get that anywhere.
Most of the Hondurans we met were good people.
It's a beautiful place, compares well with many others, and its price point is appropriate. That's
most of the good stuff. Oh yeah, the food was ok, too,
the weather and scenery, well, we lucked into good stuff there, too, but...well, read on.
The tour operator, Conquest Tours, was represented
by one Senorita Lopez, about whom more will be said.
The resort manager, Senor Lemus, is polite, but will
defer duty and responsibility for complaints to Ms.
Lopez. This is not a good thing for you, the visitor.
The Palma Real resort is relatively new, in decent shape, and maintained well. The rooms are cleaned well daily, and are decently appointed.
Other reviews which rate it at 3 to 4 stars are accurate. Stay in a crappy Cuban place and you'll appreciate the difference.
One MAJOR PROBLEM we encountered, as did others on
our charter, was the incessant throbbing NOISE from
the bar and disco, day and night. It sounds like you
are trapped in a press shop punching out auto parts.
This is where the problems we had with the management,
not the staff, came in. And the attitude.
Senor Lepus refused to give us another room further
from the noise, nor did the noise schedule change.
Can't stop the noise, move the people to a better room, no?
I'm talking the wee hours every night, as well as non-
stop during the day. It is audible on the beach, too.
For a destination that promotes "eco-friendliness",
it was a complete bummer to be unable to hear the
ocean, birds, or wind because of an easily controllable volume dial during the day, let alone the night. Sure, we moved down the beach and that solved the daytime problem a bit.
The kicker to all this is, you'd look in the bar and most of the time there was just a handful, maybe a dozen or fewer people skulking around, nobody even dancing! So cool.
Senor Lepus advised us to ask Senorita Lopez about a
room change, which we did. This is known as the royal Honduran buck pass. Lopez gave us the "sorry, but
we're all booked" shrug off, but both people took our
room number. Ha. We asked her once again, but neither one ever got back to us. We had to use ear plugs one night
which helped some. In any event, we kept our window
shut and the A/C on with its white noise every night.
I complained to the desk clerk one night, he phoned the disco, and I think they stopped, or at least closed their windows. Yay, desk clerk. Not even a tip.
If ya wanna relax, sleep on the beach. Far from the noise.
The other MAJOR PROBLEM is health and safety...read on.
Health issue first. I became aware that Honduras is
still a malaria country too late to cancel, but as it was we were not advised by my travel agent. Check this out yourself.
Ok, they spray daily for bugs at Palma Real,
and everything should be ok. Right. Well, after a
bad bout of Montezuma's revenge, which I fully expect
to come down with nearly any time I'm in a Hispanic country (and have had in Venezuela, DR, Cuba, Mexico, etc.) another nasty lay in store,
and yes, can happen to anyone, anytime. Well, I've
just spent two days back home in Sunnybrook emerg. and at the Toronto General
tropical disease unit undergoing blood work for
malaria and dengue fever after getting some weird
bouts of headache, violent chills, low grade fever,
searing heat sensations, soaking wet delerious sleep
(no, not because of crazy s--) on the last day there.
This can happen anywhere, and as it did, we found out
that many people on our charter were also laid low by
tummy and other upsets. One young woman, in pain, was ambulanced off the plane. Some blamed the yummy
tomatoes, some the pina colada, the bananas,... the
list goes on and on. And I have to tell ya, the food
was ok, a bit saucy for too much of it, and I did keep to the cooked food almost for the whole week until I couldn't take another meal that was "wet", so
made some sandwiches with drier ingredients. By the
way, their soups are great, especially the chicken
soup (hmmm, as if they knew......) Anyway, it is worth
your while to consider asking about malaria profilaxis
before heading out. BTW, my wife got off lightly with mild upset, by comparison. Good for her! Keep it that way.
Next, safety, and this is not directly applicable
to the resort, although they do house the booking
agent, who will minimize the disclaimers you are asked
to sign....no surprise there, it's their livelihood.
That's why it's great to post this here, and I'm trying to be fair to everyone who makes their living off us. The resort can improve, without spending money, by LISTENING TO COMPLAINTS AND GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT THEM.
I've had 20 years in the occupational health and safety field and I must advise anyone considering the
canopy tour with its ziplining to think twice before
signing on. It's gotta be fun, for sure, I'm not as wild/young as I was, so if you're willing to take risks like this, enjoy and I'm sure the odds will be in your favour. I intend this review as a further description of what you are going to get into, odds-wise, so that you might evaluate your risk somewhat more objectively. The thing is, most everyone we talked to who did this was so wound up doing it right and not killing or hurting
themselves that they didn't actually see or enjoy most of the promised scenery (What waterfall????) Nobody saw monkeys or parrots either. (Would you hang around as a monkey if humans are whizzing by the back yard you used to have? High tail it out so the kids can play in another part of the jungle!) If this tour is one of the reasons you booked this holiday, then be advised.
Right. We heard several stories of hand and finger
injuries, strains, sprains, someone passing out and having to be caught, just in time, by a back up guy. I went and looked over just one tree station set up with the cable and support wires and platform when we went up to the hot springs. Here are my concerns:
1. There appeared to be no second safety cable for you to hook onto if the main one you are rigged to breaks.
So, if any one of the sixteen, count 'em, 16,
cable setups rigged has a weak link, and each one has
at least four critical components it seems, you have a problem. You have to latch and unlatch yourself for sixteen separate runs. Let that sink in.
2. You have to brake yourself with your hands to avoid crashing into your next tree station.
Because your safety
depends on your physical and mental ability, a lapse
or weakness in either puts you at risk. Not all runs
have safety guide guys in front and behind you, we were told. If you're alert, fit, and adventurous, you will unlikely be the strongest link in the entire set-up.
3. The cables are rigged to the trees (Duuuh! you may
say, but they are not independently anchored, such as to engineered poles or posts, e.g. cable cars, ski tows and lifts). They are attached to the trees themselves, both thick and thin trunks. The cables appear to be 1/2 inch multi strand galvanized wire in good condition (the wire must have no breaks or "fish hooks" in any of its sixteen set-ups. Important because you must literally brake your run with supplied leather glove and clenched fingers sqeezing you to a stop. Sixteen times. Friction from your hand.
Just so you understand: you are 5 stories in the
air, stopping yourself from plowing into a tree ahead,
or branches along the way, with a palmed hand. Think Spiderman. If just one strand breaks and curls into a "fish hook", it can easily slice through a thick layer of leather on a glove palm.
4. Now, how this set-up is "engineered" is one question. The other question is how this is inspected. The jungle and top branches where this all takes place grows fast and branches grow into the zipline. Consider branches hitting your face, or the the hand
that protects you as you fly along. Do the guys who
run this clear the runs every day? Do they inspect
each of the critical parts of their cable set-up
regularly? How often? Often enough for you? I've
made my point. Hey. Maybe the best way to clear the path is to MAKE SURE ENOUGH TOURISTS FLY THROUGH IT TO BREAK DOWN NEW GROWTH. Now that's eco-tourism!
5. You are suited up (by the guys who also handle the horses) with equipment on which your life literally hangs. How often and how well this equipment, which is similar to fall arrest equipment used by window washers, etc., is inspected is a critical issue. Is it torn, worn, exposed too much to UV rays?
This may not even be a disaster waiting to happen. It may already HAVE happened, for really, who's to know? If someone has an "incident" during an excursion, there's likely going to be a rescue, and it is a drive back to the resort, and you are at the mercy and whatever goodwill and expertise will be mustered by the guys on the mountain.
Finally, be aware that Honduras, as a banana republic, has acute poverty. If you are freaked by the idea of armed guards with carbines patrolling the Kwick-E-Mart and gas station, then it is not the place for you.
Palma Real is an oasis of luxury on the edge of the mosquito coast in a country which in years to come may evolve into the type of well-travelled coasts of Mexico more familiar to most. I re-learned an old
lesson: try to do your research FIRST, then go.
Fun trip but definitely not 4 *
I just returned from the Palma Real after a 1 week trip with my wife, son and a couple of friends. We usually travel to the cheaper spots (San Andres, Margarita) so my expectations were not high.
Hotel - has the potential to be a 4 star but at best is a 2 1/2 to 3 star at the moment. If there's one big problem you can point at it's the fact the hotel is not managed well. There were many many little problems that had almost everyone complaining by the end of the week. Several people were without towels in there room. Pool towels were next to impossible to get. Some people were without toilet paper. In general the rooms are fairly large and clean but they could use some more lighting. I didn't like the fact there was no temperature control on the air conditioning it was either On or Off. Toilet pressure was not good but that is common in a lot of these countries. Hot water was non-existant in the evening during the week but seemed to be good on the weekend when the locals showed up? Our maid was good and received a generous tip at the end of the week.
Bars - the bar staff as a whole are wonderful and cheerful. The drinks are poured generously and you have to watch them sometimes. Only 2 big problems I had with the bars. There was only 1 open at a time which wasn't bad until the evening when it was the one in the disco. The music is so loud in there you have to lean over the bar and yell in the bartenders ear. Again they managed to open 2 bars at night during the weekend when the locals were around? The second big problem was that the selection is limited. They carried limited liquor types and no wine. On top of that they ran out of Rum 4 or 5 times during the week. They should be ready for the crowds.
Food - I didn't have high expectations for the food but it didn't even meet those. The food was bland and often cold. They were often out of things so your choices were limited. The ala carte was basically the same food except you got it served to you. Thank heavens for the chicken wings at the snack bar they were wonderful but you had to fight the rest of the Canadians for them.
Other - One wonderful thing about this resort was that we never had to fight for a chair by the pool and (most) people did not do the usual drop the towels on them to reserve them (probably afraid of losing them). Pools are nice and not crowded. The ocean is wonderful and varies from calm to very rough. Be cautious when the flag is yellow or red the undertow is very strong.
Tours - We did a few trips and had a lot of fun. Like everyone says the Canopy tour is an absolute must do.. This is the most fun I have ever had on a tour (although I heard the ones in Costa Rica are more fun but a lot more expensive also). The trip to Cayos Cochinos provided the best snokelling I have ever had the opportunity to do. Although if you have your own equipment I would advise taking it because they do not have fins. We also took the opportunity to play golf in La Ceiba one day. We had our own clubs so it only cost 200 Lempiras ($10 US) although it only costs another couple to rent clubs apparently. At the price I was not expecting Augusta but the course is actually not bad. GET A CADDY (100 Lempiras) or you will be lost. The course is 9 holes (both sides of the road) with tees in different locations to basically create a front and back nine. The signs are missing on many tees and we did not get a score card (not sure if they have them). It was a fun experience. There are many other tours but we wanted some time to relax also. The country is absolutely beautiful.
The Ugly - Conquest needs to get a rep who can actually do something. She failed to mention pretty well everything in the orientation including the departure tax. We have travelled several times so we were smart enough to check it out ahead ($32 US). When we asked her for any help she could not answer or referred us to the front desk for help. She is suppose to be our liason and help us where possible. Any other place we have been the reps will call a cab for you, etc. or talk to the desk for you so they understand what you want.
Summary - We always have fun and make the best out of our holidays no matter what and this trip was no exception. As said the hotel could easily be 4 star if some decent management is put in place to resolve the many little problems. The country is beautiful and a must see. The people are friendly and I felt safe at all times. The weather is wonderful even though we had some rain and clouds the last few days (and remember that's not the staff's fault).
Would I go back? Yes although probably in a couple to a few years. I think Honduras will become a vacation hot spot in years to come when they get better at it.
Beautiful place with some organizational problems at hotel
we stayed in Palma Real Beach on Dec 29 to Jan 5 and it was a beautiful week. we had some problems but I think There is no vacation without a problem. first of all when we arrived at the hotel we found out that our travel agency bell air reserved a room out side of the hotel and it was not nice. before you go make sure that your room is inside of the hotel building but the hotel stuff helped us out. thanks to you carla...fabio was carrying our luggage and he is really really nice and reliable. you can count on him when you say something to him he runs. his dream is to come Canada he wears canadian hat, amblems and everything. we loved you Fabio. and Kenny, the waiter, he is one of the best. one you make friend with him, he serves you everywhere and no matter what he does what you ask immediately. internet sources say that locals speak english but it is not true. as far as I have seen nobody speaks english but it will not matter to you because they are really friendly. towels were problem though. make sure that you dry your towels everday by yourselves because we could not get another two for one week. but before 2 days we left we asked Fabio and he right away gat for us and our friends. I told you he is great. oh by the way there will be a representative Nancy Lopez. I dont Know how se became a representative because She doesnt Know anything. dont ask her anything. before you go make sure that you go a travel clinic because food is really different and we have been all suffered from diareha. and be really careful about sun protection. eventhough I have dark and not senstive skin I was dying from sunburn. theri animation show is not really great but you will laugh. if you dont like spanis music, eventhoug you like get your own cd because after a while you will be bored with the music. but they are trying. you can change the music if you want. ask antonio he will help you. he is really funny and nice guy. you can do lots of things in Honduras. definitely you go Canopy. it is really fun. you will enjoy green and blue at the same time..it is great we enjoyed so much.by the way famous taxi driver is hector you will find him easily. if you want to go city dont go there with turaser tour. call the hector or milton they will help you show you around. we loved the people and the place. you will love too...
A great relaxing holiday!
We stayed at the Palma Real Beach Hotel in La Ceiba from Jan 30 - Feb 6, 2004. It was myself, my husband, and our 2 children aged 5 & 9. The resort is a nice smaller size, which we prefer, and it was just our plane load of people at the resort - well at least until Friday when all the locals descend upon the resort in herds. Overall I would rate this a solid 3* resort. Gorgeous scenery - an ocean on one side, a mountain on the other. Not a ton of stuff to do, but if you're looking to hang out by the pool or beach and relax all week then this is perfect for you.
There are a few excursions offered, although one is an overnight trip that we didn't bother looking closer at. You MUST MUST MUST do the canopy tour - you ride a horse up the mountain, ride 13 zip lines through the trees half way down the mountain, get back on the horse for a minute, then go to a natural hot spring/pool to soak for awhile before getting back on the horse to go the rest of the way down the mountain. Be sure to wear running shoes or other sturdy shoes! I was terrified of doing the zip lines in the beginning but knew I would regret it if I didn't try. There were 10 year olds & 70 year olds doing it, so I would have felt stupid if I couldn't. By the 13th line I wanted to go again! And it's a relatively cheap excursion. We took our children with us, then the wife of one of the guides supervised them swimming while we did the ziplines, and then met up with them at the hot springs. And it was perfectly safe for her to watch our children (although they are old enough to tell us if anything had happened!).
The other one we did was the city tour. I'm glad we did that because it demonstrated that it wasn't worth spending the money on a taxi to go back into town. I'm glad we saw it, but I didn't feel the need to see it twice. Stops at a huge La Ceiba tree (get your cameras ready), a Dole sponsored park with trains on display, a small gift shop, and then to the local mall (which is very small & full of junk). Don't change your money at this bank - do it at the hotel. The exchange rate is the same but the line ups at the bank are huge! And you won't need much local money anyway. There's really nothing significantly Honduran to buy to take home, so don't count on getting alot of souveniers.
The resort - As I mentioned, it's pretty quiet most of the week. No problems getting a chair on the beach or by the pool (although getting a shady spot isn't as easy). The rooms are basic but clean. Ours was on the ground floor at the end of the resort - which was great for quiet - and had a beautiful view of the ocean, although we only paid for a standard room. There is also a sister resort next door, the Palma Real Caribe Resort, which was closed while we were there although I hear it's open now. YOU DON'T WANT TO STAY THERE! Is old & needs much repair. Pay the extra to stay at the beach resort if needed. There are 2 pools, water is somewhat chilly, but much better than swimming in the ocean which was quite murky when we were there. As I mentioned it gets far busier on the weekend when the locals show up, although you notice it more at night. The staff does not speak much english although they do try. The nightly entertainment occurs at the Caribe resort - just a short walk down the beach, no need to wait for the shuttle if you can walk it. The english at the shows disappears when the locals arrive though, so don't count on understanding what's happening. And the locals are LOUD! especially at the shows. There is a disco upstairs at the beach resort, but when we were there it was pretty dead. This is more of a family resort, or older couples - not really a place for singles who are looking to meet people. But because it's so small it's really easy to meet other people to talk with if you're even slightly outgoing. It's easy to get beach towels before the locals arrive, but on the weekend you might want to hang on to your towel & let it dry in your room. Or bring your own from home.
The waterpark - Since we were travelling with 2 children (well 3 if you include my husband!) this was a great thing to have nearby. It's not directly on the property, just a short walk down the road. There is a shuttle from the hotel also, but there's a short wait and it is easily walked. When we were there it was open every day except Monday & Tuesday. Now I hear it's only open Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I can see why - it was dead the rest of the week. Each time we were there, there was MAYBE 10 people the rest of the week. They would only turn on 1 or 2 of the waterslides for just that many. On the weekend it was much busier, but get there early in the morning when they open (at 10 I think) to get a tube for the slides or the wavepool. Stay away from the red slide - it's dangerous! And don't ride 2 to a tube on the blue slide unless you want to fall off at the bottom LOL.
The food - Sigh. Where to start. Definitely not great. Not horrible, we didn't starve - but not worth writing home about. On the plus side, I didn't gain any weight on this vacation! LOL. Breakfast is the best meal of the day, and the chicken wings at the snack bar are good at lunch time. But again, quality of food is kind of a subjective thing. Everyone has their own opinion. But don't count on it being a gourmet pig-out week. The pina coladas at the bar make up for it!
One definite thing to mention - pack lots of bug spray & sunscreen. Between the 4 of us we went through an ENTIRE bottle of sunscreen & ended up having to buy more at the gift shop onsite - $10 US for a small bottle! So pack 2 full ones. My daughter got a horrible sunburn on her face the first day, under her eyes, from the reflection off the pool water. Took all week to go away. So take some kind of sunburn treatment stuff also, just in case. And bring a hat! They fog the resort every day for mosquitos in the late afternoon, and will fog even if you're sitting out - so think about going inside around that time. It clears quickly though.
All said, it was a great holiday. Not someplace I feel the need to go back to, but that's only because I feel like I saw everything, not because I didn't like it. Feel free to email me if you need more info.
TDSB March break 2005.
Paid CDN$1580 for 2 including all taxes for my wife and I (30 and 31 years old)
Hotel direct phone number ------ (WARNIG $0.50 to $1.00 per min.)
Hotel web site: ------
Rated a 4 star, more like a 3 star. But very acceptable. Met great people had an awesome time! Well worth the cost.
While there you MUST take the Canopy Tour (or zip line tour) US$35! other countries charge over US$100!
Also, ask the front desk for Hector the cab driver. His local # is 440-0100 or cell 994-1760. For the same price as the bus, he will take you into town, show you around, translate, and help find whatever you are looking for.
We will post more later, including pictures!
Jen & Ben
Loved honduras, Loved the Palma Real
WE loved this resort. I saw all the negative comments and was somewhat leary when we booked it. This is a resort where you get more than you pay for considering the reasonable price and location.
The staff was absolutley wonderful. But I have learned to always tip generously as the people make very little money and work long hours. I always acknowledge their hard work and long hours. Believe me I had people bending over backwards for me. A five dollar tip got me a room at the pool which I really appreciated. I had two or three different people deliver ice to my room twice a day. I had a bartender bring me drinks poolside. (i always tip a dollar a drink or $5 a day for bar service. There are two shifts so I make sure everyone gets a little appreciation. The massage lady Annie dropped by my patio every morning to see when I would like to have a massage (its $10 and I tip $ 3 to $ 5 ). Oh a lady came and did my laundry for a nominal amount (the hotel did not charge you just ask at the desk or the maid--Annie does laundry for the guests and it will be ready the same day or the next day. I think I gave her $5 for 4 or 5 items and she probably did not expect that much)
The pool was beautiful. The water park was absolutely great. (However remember to get an id bracelet for the park as I did not know you had to have a separate one and if I had not been persuasive and polite we would have had to take the little trolly back to the resort or pay. Also remember you are in central america. The largest slide is not well maintained (there are some rough spots and we stayed off it when we learned someone got hurt (minor) one it that day.
Food is adequate and sometimes very good. But we dont care much about the food when we are having so much fun. Sometimes it was not so great but generally they had a variety of meat choices for dinner (Sunday is leftovers from lunch because that is the big meal of the day) and lots of COOKED vegetables. I emphasize cooked because we generally avoided the salad bar choices that we always avoid in Mexico to avoid any food poisoning. The ala carte restaurant was set up overlooking the ocean and the food was good and freshly grilled. Oh desert at this resort were generally better than what you see in comparable resorts in Mexico and Cuba.
If you want to go out to eat there is an absolutely fabulous seafood restaurant in Samboa creek where you get more lobster than you can eat for around $10 US. Its in the black community nearby and everyone loves it.
The trips to the rainforest were wonderful and the other ecological tours. We were scheduled to go snorkeling but it rained. ( this is supposed to be one of the best trips.) The Canopy tours were something everyone loved. (You can book trips in town cheaper but a safe cab is at least $15 one way so take a group (safe means a late model air conditioned vehicle with a driver who speaks English--I highly recommend Hector (resort knows him) but you have to negotiate the fare with him. He really took such good care of us that we were amazed. it was like having a personal tour guide. So we tipped him generousy. The mall in town is cheap and as nice as any in North America. We went on a rainy day and ate at Appleby's because the kids love it and couldnt believe there was an Applebys in Honduras! It was a great rainy day trip when you have teenagers who are mall rats.
My 15 year old who is well traveled to many resorts said it was the best vaction he ever had. He was disappointed because no pool table as in pictures. And you had to hike to the other hotel to play basketball. (but we did not know there was a trolley til late in the week. It take you to the entertainment at night, the waterpark and all around the grounds and leaves every 15 minutesfrom the front. This is not a large resort but the trolley was a nice touch (it was open train type cars hitched to a big tractor)
My advice is as follows: Take lots of bug spray. We sprayed the doors with raid every night and had no problems with mosquitos except the one night I forget. Make sure and get the one that zaps everything and just spray around and outside of the doors. The patio doors did not seem to locked at first but the handyman fixed it immediately after I called (and I tipped him so the entire vacation he was asking if I needed anything else without being a pest about it). Remember to work on your spanish because english is not the language of the day. Also remember to appreciate these people and be patient and they will do anything for you. Oh do your trips on weekends as the local families invade the resort on weekends and believe me I mean big loud but wonderfully happy families. The setting is beautiful: rainforest, ocean and beautiful weather and beautiful people.
Oh my son played golf at the local club in town. It was only $12 but the cab with Hector was $20 I also arranged for a guide and a golf cart which ran another $30. But for 18 holes it was fun. The club is old but a great experience and has pool for the parent that wants to wait and not play. It is always cooler in the afternoon. He played in the morning And I sent a guy on a bike to take him something to drink. He was a little concerned because the guy at the locked from gate had a gun. But he was the security guard.
I had some problems in ocean because I am partially handicapped (bad knees) getting in and out because of the slope of the sand. But someone always helped me because I have learn to ask for help. Found the currents a little strong so I stayed closer to the pool since my room was so handy and the pool and it waterfall grotto was beautiful and had an oceanview.
Have a good time and relax! We really loved it. And we are going back to see some of the things we missed. Oh I had a brief meeting with one of the owners of the franchise who dropped by on the
weekend he was extremely kind and receptive to any suggestions that would improve their attracting Canadians. He not only welcomed my suggestions, he seemed genuinely grateful for.
Best place i have been so far
i went to the barcelo hotel for 2 weeks during the winter break. I very pleased to escape from winter and spend chrismas and new years under teh hot sun. The outside decoration were well organized with chrismas lights all over the hotel, witch still gave a warm feeling of home and chrismas.
The food was really pleasant and enjoyed, i never really got up for breakfast cause tehre are a lot of things to do at night, but i always made it for lunch and they served a variety of food. For dinner each day was a different theme , with the entertainment staff always greeting you in the dinning area. The themes of the food was changed everyday they served from itallian to spicy chineese food with lots of variety of sea food.
The drinks that they served there were very pleasing the bartenders would create anything, i especially loved the strawberry daquiries and pina colodas and there special native drink, be ware tehy get you hammered.
The entertainment staf was very polite they put a show on everynight even htough by the second week some shows were repeated. at the disco later on at night you can give teh dj your cd to enjoy the house music or even R&B. But overall teh entertainment was fabulous and i never went to bed early there is always somehtign to do always stack up at the bar and drink later with your buddies outside when everyhting closes down. Or there are even night clubs in teh town that can be visited not very recomended but if daring do it.
For chrismas the entertainment staff preformed a skitt outside in the day about chrismas and the true story, it was very entertaining and intersting. The dinner was planned amazing oh and for people who enjoy wine as my father tehre are lots of sorts of it adn even great italian red and white wine to go with every kind of meal, wether it will be meat or fish.
But this hotel went all out for New years the day started out with a lunch outside right by teh ocean it was beatifull lots of delicious food was served. later on in the day every room number made a reservations for new years dinner. before going in the dining area your were given a local alcholic drink and ladies got flowers and there were ciggars for anyone who wished to take some. The dinner was delicious they had every kind of entre possible and same with deserts and course meals. The chefs made everyhtign form sushi witch i might point out teh wasabi sauce was amazing to stirfries with calamari and chiken. simple food was also served for those who prefered simple courses.
After dinner a stage on the beach was set up wiht a live band taht played all night. but the countdown was celebrated by the main bar, champaigne was served Italian very good tasting champaigne . Overall that was the best new years i have ever spent, everyhting was planned amazing form pooring the champaigne to teh food to the live bands.
there is also a lot of things to do outside of the hotel, going horse back riding or even just renting a car and exploring yourself. we rented a van with 6 otehr people and one teh workers took us for a toor he showed us amazing spots where to hike, we also stumbled on teh waterfall and a pond , you can swim in teh pond it a litlle cold but teh experience of swimming next to a water fall is unbeliavable. the otehr thing taht hsould be done while in honduras is to go white water rafting tehy best experience ever, make sure you don't fall off the boat or you will experience bruising( my sister pushed me off accidently). there is also a island close to teh hotel , there snorkeling will be teh best make sure to sign up for snorkling or scuba diving one of the best experiences.
Honduras has so many things to offer, I met amazign people there made a lot of freinds and had teh best time of my life, i experienced the most wonderfull things, the nature is gorgeous, teh staff is amazing, teh hotel its self was wonderfull and teh best thing is you cna plug your straigtner and hairdrayer in and look hot lol not liek a mess. But there are a lot of hot people that visit this place i met a lot lol .. For sure this is the best place ever. I have been everywere to celebrate new years mexico, cuba , cancun . dominicon, barbados and nothign compares to hounduras.. and soem of thse hotels have been liek 5 black star hotels witch is teh highest and thsi is teh best place ever cause of the people i met and all the new things i learned and experienced.
My boyfriend & I went to the Palma Real Beach Resort in Honduras on an all-inclusive last minute sell off. It being my first time traveling outside of North America, I was not sure what to expect. Contrary to what I thought I had a wonderful time.
Honduras proved to be a very poor place to visit with many beautiful spots to visit. Cayos Cachinos, keys off of the Caribbean sea with coral reefs. Excellent for those who love to snorkel. There also we got to visit the native people on a very small island with limited space & huts. They welcomed us to their island. Selling small stuff, offering cervesas for a fee. It was amazing to see how these people lived with no electricity, & no running water in the middle of no where.
The Palma Beach Resort --Rated as a 4 star resort. Although I would have probably rated it as a 3 star. The halls ways were sheltered with Palm leaves, openings & windows through out. The walls painted in different colours, yellow, orange, throughout. You could tell that this area was still being worked on and that there was still room for improvement.
The staff very courteous, & polite. Most spoke some english or tried really hard to understand. Tipping was appreciated throughout the resort.
We also met some very nice people, also from Canada while we were away on our trip.
The food. Buffet style dining. Pretty much offered the same types of food for each course. Breakfast: eggs, beans, breads & pastrys, fresh fruits, hash browns Lunch: calamari, fish, chicken, beef, salads, vegetables, rice, pasta Supper: pretty much the same as lunch but served differently. A La Carte is an option. And they have 3 theme nights for dinner. Carribean, Italian, & Mexicain. Did I mention the unlimited drinks also!!! Drinks were served only at the swim up bar in the pool or at the main bar in the middle of the resort.
To anyone considering Honduras as a place to visit. I think that eventually this could be the next hot spot to visit. In a few more years, it will probably cost a fortune to visit this quaint spot off of the coast of the Carribean Sea. Experience it now before it gets over crowded.
Unspoiled Paradise (Eco-tourism)
Well worth its price. Visiting from Toronto Canada
I was a guest at the Palma Real Resort in La Ceiba, Honduras from Jan3 to Jan10 2005.
My impressions were taken by comparing it with other all-inclusive resorts of same price in Mexico, Cuba and Bahamas.
Honduras is only 4 1/2 hours by plane.
The trip from the airport to the hotel was a 45 minutes uneventful safe ride.
Hotel - All rooms facing the ocean, adequately equipped in working order.
Well-groomed gardens beautifully decorated with local motif.
Computers available, modest fee
Small gym with modern equipment.(1 treadmill, 1 elliptical and 2 bicycles)
Caveat - When the hotel is filled to capacity a second location near by is used to accommodate the overflow. The second location is not 4 star resort therefore not as nice as the main resort. Avoid it.
Staff - Helpful and knowledgeable about all aspects of the resort.
Caveat - Only the front desk staff could really speak English.
With hammocks between the palm trees the calm seas make this beach a very relaxing experience.
Caveat - If you are looking for a white sand type of beach this is "not" it.
Small strip of sand and rocky bottom - water gets murky every time it rains.
Food was adequate.
A variety of salads main courses and deserts were available to please almost everyone. Even vegetarians and protein diet minded people.
If I may add the restaurant gives you the overall impression that it is safe to eat there.
A la carte-dinner.
Unfortunately although they have claimed to be able to serve guests a la carte they simply made up a menu of what was been served at the buffet and served you at a different location. What is the point of it?
The drinks were limited to their local variety although if you put on a request they will try their best to accommodate you. Modest variety. (Rum cocktails, vodka drinks, tequila and local beers)
For US$5 per person the hotel van will take you to downtown La Ceiba.
A local Mall gives you a safe environment to shop.
Shopping - Expensive, no variety and very poor service.
People expect when they are traveling to bring home cigars, T- shirts or maybe a bag of local coffee. Again poor to none existent English skills from the attendants and a general lack of interest in selling you anything. I truly think you would be better off buying your souvenirs at the resort's local shop.
Prices at the Mall were more expensive than Toronto and in US dollars.
3 hours hike at "Pico Bonito" National park. Visit a butterfly farm.
Great for people with an appreciation for eco-tourism.
Tree Canopy's Tour
Horse back ridding to the top.
Using safety gear slide through steel cables among tree's canopy. (great view)
Stop at hot water spring for a relaxing dip. Horse back ridding down from the top.
Ruins at Copan
4 - 6 hours form La Ceiba. Travel during the day spend the night at local hotel and visit the Mayan ruins and a museum in the city of Copan.
Drive back the same day. Awesome cultural entertainment I have been told.
A boat will take you island hoping through white-sand beaches and coral atolls. Perfect for snorkeling (equipment supplied)
There were more Tours than there were days in a week.
Also available; Water rafting; Butterfly farm; canoeing through natural lakes and more. Ask the front desk.
The contrast of Touring through the ecological areas and relaxing at the resort make this trip very entertaining.
I would recommended without hesitation.
TripAdvisor Reviews Palma Real Beach Resort & Villas La Ceiba
Travel Blogs from La Ceiba
... and pay an entrance fee. We had not exchanged any money for the Honduran Lempiras yet and this young man took what little Guatemalan money we had left and negotiated a fair exchange rate with a man standing nearby. It's no secret that border crossings are not good places to exchange money as you usually get ripped off. Anyhow, we literally had just enough Guatemalan quetzales to exchange into Honduran Lempiras ...
... these troubles began. It wasn't bread and wine, but I felt that I was communing in a very special way with the Morales family. There were no ritual words being spoken, other than Doņa Moncha urging people to eat more. It was a happy meal, Chabelo playing the part of the host at this prison banquet.
There were expressions of hope that soon Chabelo might get the news that he is to be released and that he can go back to his wife and children, his mother ...
... but it will definitely be in a volunteering role of some kind. After a couple of hours I started to notice an increase in on coming traffic. Buses, pickup's full of people all with Red & White flags, all tooting and driving fast in the opposite direction to us. At one stage we came to a hault. There was a huge group of buses etc. gathered on the side of the road, blocking our way. It was only a few minutes before we were going again. I noticed the flags ...
... it rather than leave it in the machine and the blasted thing kept telling me my bank was refusing my card! I was terrified I'd forgotten my pin and was all set to break into my emergency funds but came across another ATM further up the street that worked. Phew!
Had dinner at Le Piquant, a lovely place well set back from the street right over the water; the restaurant itself is on the first floor at the back, right ...
But Copan has a couple of additional attractions and a dusty adventure was undertaken to the following day - 1 1/2 hrs to go 24km on the dirt road lead us to the stunning thermal hot springs. The dustbath of a ride was well worth it to cake myself in local clay, steam myself over the 80 deg C river and conversate for hours with the lovely Theresa of Oregon.
It's funny how you meet people when travelling. It may be over ...