Planning a Trip
By Car -- Tela sits directly on CA 13 halfway between San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba, each a little more than an hour away depending on traffic.
By Bus -- Any bus headed between La Ceiba and San Pedro Sula will make a stop at Tela. For San Pedro, try Tela Express (2a Av. NE just past the train tracks; tel. 504/550-8355) with five daily departures making the 1 1/2-hour trip for L60 ($3/£1.50). If you're heading to La Ceiba or Trujillo, catch a Cotuc bus (at the Dippsa gas station on the highway; tel. 504/441-2199) or head to the minibus terminal at 9a Calle NE. The bus to La Ceiba is L40 ($2/£1) and the bus to Trujillo is L120 ($6/£3).
The city of Tela sits on the southernmost point of Tela Bay; Parque Nacional Punta Izopa and Parque Nacional Jeannette Kawas/Punta Sal flank each side of the city and are connected by unpaved roads that are sometimes impassable when it rains. The city center, Tela Vieja, is quite compact, with a small grid of streets hugging the coast. The Río Tela splits the town into two, with Tela Vieja on the east and Tela Nueva -- home of the Villas Telamar and the old Tela Railroad buildings -- on the west bank.
On Foot -- Anywhere in the actual city of Tela can be reached on foot, but to reach most of the surrounding attractions, you will need some form of motorized transport.
By Car -- Your own car is the best method of transport if you wish to explore the national parks and coast on your own. There are no car-rental agencies in Tela, so you'll have to head to the airports in La Ceiba or San Pedro Sula.
By Taxi -- Taxis are best for getting to Lancetilla, the surrounding beaches, and Garífuna villages along the coast, but most drivers won't make the long trips to the national parks. A ride in town should cost no more than L20 ($1/50p).
By Bus -- Minibuses and pickups ply the highway and coastal roads, though they are infrequent. Most cost only L10 (50¢/25p).
For tourist information, try the Tela Chamber of Commerce (www.telahonduras.com) or PROLANSATE (Edificio Kwawas at Calle del Comercio; tel. 504/448-2042; www.prolansate.org), which has brochures, maps, and information regarding the national parks in the area.
Fast Facts -- All amenities can be found in Tela Vieja. The most convenient bank, Banco Atlantida (4a Av. NE and 9a Calle NE), has an ATM and exchanges traveler's checks. You can make international calls at Hondutel (4a Av. NE and 7a Calle NE) or at most of the Internet cafes near Parque Central. The Tourist Police (tel. 504/448-0253; daily 24 hr.) can be found at 11a Calle NE and 4a Avenida NE.
Spanish Classes Around Tela
The Mango C@fe (tel. 504/448-0338; www.mangocafe.net) has the only Spanish school in town with 20 hours of one-on-one introductory classes per week for L2,166 ($114/£57). Intermediate and advanced classes, as well as discounts at the affiliated Hotel Mango (Av. Panama and the Río Tela; tel. 504/448-0338) are also available.