La Ceiba, the third-largest city in Honduras and the capital of the department of Atlántida, is named after a huge Ceiba tree on the coast that was once a community meeting place. Recently, the city (97km/60 miles east of Tela) has become known as the country's ecotourism headquarters. The city itself, only established a little more than 100 years ago, is sort of thrown together and dirty, its beaches are polluted, and it doesn't hold much of interest to passing tourists. It works best as a base to explore the countless remarkable attractions that are within a short drive, such as Class 4 white-water rapids, hiking trails through several stunning national parks, a wildlife refuge with caimans and manatees, vast empty beaches, sprawling pineapple plantations, and much more. Let's not leave out that the city is the jumping-off point for the Bay Islands, by both ferry and plane, and the Cayos Cochinos. Whether you like the gritty town or not, you must come through La Ceiba if you want to experience the finest natural wonders in Honduras.