If you're the type of cruise passenger who is looking for that elusive Caribbean-before-tourists-arrive type of vibe, someone who wants to go beyond the beach to discover history, culture and a bit of adventure, then Banana Coast is the port stop for you.
The privately-owned tender port, on the north coast of Honduras, lies on what's known as the Banana Coast (hence the name), and opened in October 2014. It was built to relieve some of the pressure on the nearby island of Roatan, whose two ports -- Mahogany Bay and Coxen Hole -- are served by Carnival and Royal Caribbean, respectively.
The port lies at the base of the town of Trujillo, which sits above a crescent-shaped, picture-perfect bay that's two miles long and backed by the breathtakingly beautiful Cordillera de Dios mountain range.
Trujillo has a long and dramatic history, having been subject to various pirate raids over the centuries and an attempted coup in 1860 by notorious U.S. adventurer and would-be enslaver of Central America, William Walker.
It was here that Columbus first made landfall in the Americas in 1502 (there is a spot to mark it); his deputy Juan de Medina founded the town 23 years later, and you can pick up T-shirts which says "Trujillo -- Established 1525." It also marks the gateway to the Camino Real, the Spanish-built road which runs through the heart of Central America, and from which the Conquistadores plundered its wealth.
Trujillo was frequently abandoned due to the ever-present threat of European pirate attacks, but became a more permanent settlement in the late 18th century, largely due to the arrival of several hundred Garifuna people from Roatan. They still make up the majority of the population.
The town itself is compact, and will not take you long to walk around. It's split into two parts: The restaurant strip extends from the port entrance to below the fort, while the main town itself is centered on the very pretty square, Plaza de Espana, home to all the main sights including Fortaleza Santa Barbara.
Trujillo's future depends largely on its first cruise season. If it is a success and more ships choose to call here, then there are firm plans to build a dock (ships currently tender in). The small runway will also be extended to allow for travel deeper into the interior.
But at present, the Banana Coast is still a wonderfully sleepy place, a real glimpse into Honduras' fascinating past.