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La Ceiba, Honduras

La Ceiba is a port city on the northern coast of Honduras in Central America. It is located on the southern edge of the Caribbean, forming part of the south eastern boundary of the Gulf of Honduras.

It is the fourth largest city in Honduras and the capital of the Honduran Department of Atlántida. La Ceiba was officially founded on August 23, 1877.

The city was named after a giant ceiba tree which grew near the old dock, which itself finally fell into the sea in late 2007. The city has been officially proclaimed the "Eco-Tourism Capital of Honduras" as well as the "Entertainment Capital of Honduras".

Every year, on the third or fourth Saturday of May, the city holds its famous carnival to commemorate Isidore the Laborer (Spanish San Isidro Labrador). During this time, the city is host to approximately 500,000 tourists. On Saturday afternoon is when the big parade with elaborate floats takes place along Avenida San Isidro, the city's main thoroughfare. After the parade the locals and tourists all have a celebration along that same road, where there is street dancing, local musicians and stands that sell food, beer, drinks and souvenirs.

La Ceiba features a tropical rainforest climate, with substantial rainfall throughout the course of the year, though due to the northerly aspect there is a peak between October and February when the trade winds are strongest and extreme orographic falls occur. The average annual rainfall is about 3,200 millimetres (130 in), making it one of the wettest cities in Central America.

La Ceiba is the second most important port town after Puerto Cortes. Its economy is made up of mostly commerce and agriculture. Pineapple is the city's major export.

Since its development in the late 20th century, the La Ceiba Sea Port has played an ever increasing role in the economy of the city. Currently, this port represents a vital economic artery to La Ceiba's growing tourist industry. Additionally, the La Ceiba sea port is home to one of the finest boatyards in the north west Caribbean. Known as the La Ceiba Shipyard, this company offers a complete group of marine services for all types of seagoing vessels. The city port also provides ferry services to all nearby islands.

Tourism also plays a large role in the city's economy as La Ceiba has long been known as the tourism capital of Honduras, due to its proximity to the beach and active night life. Semana Santa (Holy Week) is one of the city's busiest tourist seasons. During this week tourists from all over the country flock to the city to enjoy its sun, beach, and party-on into the night for that one week.

La Ceiba has a variety of parks and recreational areas. These nature reserves are home to magnificent tropical rainforests and famous peaks like Pico Bonito on the "Nombre de Dios" mountain range which is 2435 meters high and provides a back drop for the city.

The Cangrejal River, popular for its Class III-IV river rafting, borders the eastern edge of the city and the Cuero and Salado Wildlife Refuge with its wild manatees (sea cows) is located a few miles to the west of the city.

Most cruises sail in the Northern winter months from October to April. The region is tropical and days are hot, nights much cooler; temperatures range from 32 °C (90 °F) during the daytime to 21 °C (70 °F) in the evening practically year-round. Humidity is always high at about 80 percent. The rainy season takes place between October and November, and the best months to visit are mid-December and late March

General Information:

Population: 196,856 - City (2010)
Language: Spanish
Currency: Honduran lempira
Time zone Central America (UTC-6)

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