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Honduras

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Splash Inn Dive Resort
Splash Inn Dive Resort - dream vacation

Carretera Pavimentada Principal, West End, Roatan

Hotel Real Intercontinental Tegucigalpa
Hotel Real Intercontinental Tegucigalpa - dream vacation

Avenida Roble S/N - Frente a Mall Multiplaza, Tegucigalpa

Las Rocas Resort & Dive Center
Las Rocas Resort & Dive Center - dream vacation

Carretera Pavimentada Principal, West Bay Beach, Roatan

Honduras is the second-biggest country in Central America. It has colonial villages (Gracias, Comayagua), ancient Maya ruins (Copán), natural parks (Moskitia), and a Pacific and Caribbean coastline and the Bay Islands, with great beaches and coral reefs where snorkeling and diving are exceptional by any standard.

The country is bordered by Guatemala to the northwest, El Salvador to the south and Nicaragua to the southeast.

Honduras presents gigantic variety for traveling. The Mayan Ruins in Copan. Good amenities can be found in cities like TegucigalpaSan Pedro SulaLa CeibaTelaUtila, Roatán and at Copán Ruinas, but elsewhere conditions can be quite basic, especially in the rural areas.

You can find good hotels even in small towns if you are willing to pay a bit more (Honduras is not really an expensive country). Nevertheless a visit is worthwhile, especially to the ancient Maya ruins in Copán Ruinas, the colonial towns of Gracias and Comayagua, and the fantastic Caribbean Coast.

The word Honduras means "depths" in the Spanish language.

Regions

Cities

  • Tegucigalpa (Spanish pronunciation: [te?usi??alpa]) — the capital and largest city of Honduras with an international airport.
  • La Ceiba — port city on Caribbean coast with great beaches and daily ferries to the Bay Islands.
  • Comayagua — the former capital of the country is today a quiet colonial town with a beautiful cathedral, notable Spanish architecture and an historic town center.
  • Gracias — a pleasant colonial mountain town; nearby Parque Celaque is home to the highest mountain in Honduras set among wonderful cloud forests.
  • San Pedro Sula — located in the Sula Valley in the northwest corner of the country, this is a major transportation and economic hub.
  • Santa Rosa de Copán — temperate mountain city in the western part of the region, and the nearest place of any size to Copán.
  • Tela — an old city with a beautiful sandy coastline and is also home to the second largest humid tropical botanical garden for commercial plants in the world.

Other destinations

  • Cusuco National Park — One of Honduras' most exotic destinations, Leaving from San Pedro Sula by a 4x4 trail into the dense cloud forest.
  • Bay Islands — Utila, Roatán, Guanaja, and the Hog Islands are a natural Caribbean paradise very popular for snorkeling and diving.
  • Copán — one of the most impressive ruins of the Maya civilization, known for the quality of its sculpture.
  • Lake Yojoa — the biggest lake in Honduras which is famous for its fried fish. Nearby are two national parks that hold pristine rainforest and cloud forest as well as Honduras's first microbrewery.
  • Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve — the largest tropical rainforest in Central America.

When referring to Copan Ruinas many people call it just "Copan" But that is incorrect. "Copan" is actually the name of the departamento (like a state). If you want to refer to Copan Ruinas then you need to use the full name, "Copan Ruinas" which translates to "The ruins of Copan".

Understand

History

During the first millennium, Honduras was inhabited by the Maya civilization in the western part and other Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures in the rest. Columbus first explored the country in 1502, and Honduras became a Spanish colony. Honduras, with four other Central American nations, declared its independence from Spain on September 15, 1821 to form a federation of Central American states. In 1838, Honduras left the federation and became independent. Political unrest rocked Honduras in the early 1900s, resulting in an occupation by U.S. Marines. Dictator Gen. Tiburcio Carias Andino established a strong government in 1932.

In 1969, El Salvador invaded Honduras after Honduran landowners deported several thousand Salvadorans. Five thousand people ultimately died in what is called “the football war” because it broke out during a soccer game between the two countries. By threatening economic sanctions and military intervention, the Organization of American States (OAS) induced El Salvador to withdraw.

After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras was a haven for the anti-Communist contras fighting the Sandinista government of Nicaragua and an ally to Salvadoran government forces fighting against leftist guerrillas.

The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused almost $1 billion in damage, seriously affecting the development of the country and its vital infrastructure.

Climate

Honduras is hot and humid almost year-round. Temperatures vary by altitude rather than season. The average high temperature nationwide is 32°C (90°F) and the average low is 20°C (68°F). Temperatures are coolest in mountain areas.

The Caribbean coast can experience a lot of rain, the heaviest being from September to February. In Tegucigalpa, the capital, the climate remains more temperate and the dry season takes place from December to May. The capital can get chilly between December and January when the temperature in the city hovers around 23°C (73°F).

Terrain

Honduras consists of a mountainous interior with narrow coastal plains. The Pacific coast is short but the Caribbean coastline is long, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast. The land experiences frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes. Highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 meters.

Get in

Citizens of the EU, Japan, Norway, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa, India and most western countries do not need a visa. If you do need a visa, contact a Honduran consulate.

By plane

Major international airports with daily flights to Atlanta, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York and Houston are in San Pedro SulaTegucigalpa (Toncontin) and Roatan. The main international airlines serving the region are Avianca, Copa Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Spirit, and American Airlines. Iberia, Spain operates daily flights from Madrid to San Pedro Sula via Guatemala City (connecting with Avianca). Maya Island Air also has a direct flight from Belize to San Pedro Sula (phone number +1 501 223 1140 or info@mayaisland.com).

For interior flights check Isleña, Atlantic and Aerolineas Sosa. The interior domestic airlines frequently have flight cancellations, do not guarantee service, and are under no obligation to issue refunds if a flight does not occur. However, American carriers and their international code share partners listed above guarantee travel per US industry standards. Hence, it is advisable not to rely on a domestic carrier to connect to an outbound international flight without having an alternative means to get to the departure point of the foreign bound aircraft in a timely fashion. For instance, if a flight cancellation occurs in La Ceiba headed to San Pedro Sula due to insufficient ticket sales (a common occurrence), a taxi can be hired for a US$50-100 spot price to run the distance in under two and a half hours.

When leaving Honduras there is an airport tax (Tarifa Aeroportuaria de Vuelo Internacional) of 771.10 Honduran lempiras (L) (US$39) for foreign visitors and L677.28 (US$34) for Honduran citizens.

By car

Possible from Guatemala, El Salvador, or Nicaragua. Cars are a good selection, but you must always be careful since the roads are not as well developed but good enough to have a pleasant ride. Traffic enforcement outside of stops to curtail the drug trade is minimal to non-existent, and drivers should be cautious of speeding vehicles as well as aggressive driving tactics (e.g. passing on uphill, curved terrain).

By bus

Buses to and from San Pedro Sula leave to and from most major locations in Honduras, including Copan RuinasTegucigalpaTela and La Ceiba, with some traveling direct and non-stop and others stopping in route. Each of the capitals of the countries surrounding Honduras are also served by buses: Managua, San Salvador, Guatemala City. All buses (except local metropolitan routes)come into and leave from the Main Metropolitan Bus Terminal on the south side of the city. Taxis and local bus routes can get you from there to the center of the city and other destinations within San Pedro Sula

Major bus companies

  • Hedman Alas have their own secure terminal at the rear of the main bus station with waiting room, smoking lounge and cafeteria. First Class buses to and from Guatemala City, Copan, TegucigalpaTelaLa Ceiba and the San Pedro Sula airport.
  • El Rey Express, Telephone: +504 2550 8355. Direct Buses to and from Tegucigalpa, hourly.
  • Catisa-Tupsa, Telephone: +504 2552 1042. Direct Buses to and from Tela and La Ceiba, hourly.
  • Toritos and Copanecos, Telephone: +504 2553 4930. Direct Buses to and from Nueva Ocotepeque via Santa Rosa de Copan, 7 to 8 buses daily.
  • Citul, Telephone: +504 2553 0070. Buses to and from Puerto Cortes, hourly.
  • Tica Bus, Telephone: +504 2556-5149. Direct buses to and from Managua and El Salvador.

Taking the local bus is a great mode of transportation from and to cities within Honduras. Buses are affordable and efficient for you to travel along with the locals. Understand that the earlier you get on a bus, the more time you can spend in the city of your choice. Depending on how many stops the driver makes determines the length of travel time. If you need help knowing the exact fare or which stop is best to get off, ask the locals. Remember the bus is an everyday activity for them.

By boat

Boats from Belize come in to the Caribbean ports like Puerto Cortes, see D-Express. Cruise ships commonly stop at the Bay Islands, however.

You may use cruiselines for temporary visits to Honduras' resorts. Cruises visiting Honduras include:

  • Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) visits the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Miami, FL, USA.
  • Princess Cruises, Crown Princess visits the Western Caribbean, roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA.
  • Carnival Cruises, Carnival Legend visits the Western Caribbean from Tampa, FL, USA. The Carnival Valor departs and returns to Miami, FL, USA.

Get around

By train

Railroads in Honduras have been built in the northern lowlands (Valle de Sula) since 1880s by two competing banana growers. They never extended to the capital Tegucigalpa or to the Pacific coast and never linked to other countries.

In 2006, three separate segments operated under the management of FNH - Ferrocarril Nacional de Honduras:

  • San Pedro Sula - Puerto Cortes (50 km, freight trains carrying mainly lumber) and occasional passenger trains around San Pedro Sula, for example during carneval and other holidays.
  • City rail in La Ceiba (3 km, passenger transport between downtown and a western suburb, Col. Sitramacsa)
  • Line between La Unión and Parque Nacional Cuero y Salado (9 km, transport of coconuts to a processing plant and of tourists to national park).

By car

By boat

There is regular boat service from La Ceiba to the bay islands of Roatan and Utila.

Service to Roatan is on the Galaxy Wave II. The ferry trip costs less than flying, and leaves (mostly) on time. A round-trip prima class ticket costs US$53; round-trip general class, $43. Both prima and general seating areas are comfortable and offer air conditioning and flat-screen TVs for your entertainment. The crossing takes about 80 minutes each way.

Service to Utila is on the Utila Princess. Tickets cost about $30 round trip and the crossing takes about 60 minutes.

Both ferries leave from the same dock. You should arrive at the dock in La Ceiba about an hour early to buy tickets and check luggage. If traveling to the bay islands during Semana Santa (Easter week) it is strongly recommended to fly, as the wait for a ferry can be up to 8 hours. If you are a Senior citizen you will find the rate very attractive. If you are prone to sea sickness, the trip North to Roatan can be very uncomfortable, as the Galaxy is fighting the currents. Windy days, re-consider. Otherwise it is a delightful trip, Utila to the West and the Cayos to the East. Last trip of the day to Roatan is awesome with a fanastic sunset.

By thumb

Hitchhiking is common only in rural areas, where there is no proper bus connection. This mode of transportation, however, is best reserved for those that know the area and people well. Hitchhiking is used mainly by people who know one another, and it should only be used as a last resort if one is a visiting foreigner or tourist. If one must use this method of transportation, it is common courtesy to pay the driver for his time. Once again, however, this is not a recommended method of travel for anyone who does not know the country and culture extremely well.

Talk

Spanish is the primary language spoken. English is hardly spoken outside of the biggest towns or Bay Islands. In some areas such as Utila, Spanish and English have hybridized in the context of low educational attainment to produce a pidgin tongue that can at times be indecipherable even to native speakers of both languages. Native languages (Lenca, Miskitu, Garifuna, among others) are spoken in various parts of the country, but a Spanish speaker should never be hard to find. Keep a tourist's eye out for "missionary speakers," that is, English or Spanish speaking Hondurans who retain the strong linguistic accents of the nations of their childhood teachers despite no personal links to such countries themselves (e.g. Irish-English overtones are prominent in Utila). Exhibit caution about commenting on linguistic skills to locals even positively, as those who do not speak mainstream Spanish suffer certain social stigmas (e.g. not “real” Hondurans, lower class)

See

  • The ruins of Copan

Do

Volunteer Honduras (US$725/week) 8-day, all-inclusive service trips in Honduras. 5 days of volunteering and 3 days of traveling to places like Copán Ruinas, La Ceiba, etc.

Honduras is great not only for tourism, but also for opportunities to volunteer and help aid those that live in impoverished conditions. This nation is a very popular destination for medical aid groups and various private aid and mission groups. Certain aid organizations that have a presence in Honduras are World Vision, World Gospel Outreach, Fundacion Casa De Luz, Red Cross, Foundation Free The Oppressed, and several others. The U.S. Peace Corps, however, is no longer active in this country due to security risks. Service and aid trips may not be for everyone, however. If your intention is to enjoy a good vacation, then it is best to travel to Honduras apart from aid organizations and missions. Either way, a trip to Honduras is rewarding and enjoyable, whether you visit to serve or to see the fantastic beauty of this Central American nation.

The Caribbean Coast of Honduras is home to the Bay Islands: Utila, Roatán, and Guanaja. Here you will find the Earth’s second-largest coral reef ready for you to explore. If you wish to become a certified diver, great diving schools are well known in Utila and Roatán. Also, Utila provides hiking, kayaking, and a glorious beach for eco-friendly and nature-intrigued tourist. Or you may prefer an invigorating scuba dive in Roatán. Where you will have the chance to swim in the clear waters near the reef’s gigantic barrel sponges.

The Mosquito Coast, a large rainforest located in the northeast region, is for the adventurous traveler to explore the natural wonders of the plains and wildlife of the tropics. Please revere to tribal groups living within this region who practice traditional lifestyles.

The Western Honduras is home to the ruins at Copan (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) which is believed to have been inhabited by the Mayans from 1200 BC. There are also lively museums and other natural sites for the eco-tourist.

Buy

Money

The national currency of Honduras is the lempira (L) (ISO code HNL)but, like almost everywhere in Central America, the U.S. dollar acts as a second currency and nearly every business accepts both. The U.S. dollar is the main currency on the Bay Islands due to the frequency of cruises that come by (and by looking around, there are a lot of Americans). It is wise to carry small bills (under US$20), especially $2 bills (considered lucky and makes a good tip). Note that bills with tears of defects such as writing or stamping on them will likely not be accepted.

ATMs can be found in most cities. Some ATMs dispense both U.S. dollars and lempiras and nearly all can be used in English. Be sure to bring cash to the Bay Islands because they do not have very many ATMs. Nearly all banks exchange money just make sure to bring your passport for identification purposes.

Lempira can be hard to exchange outside of Honduras, so be prepared to exchange all Lempira before leaving the country. The exchange rates by the numerous money changers walking around at the border are not competitive with banks, but are usually only 5-10% below value.

Malls

There is always plenty to do while vacationing in Honduras. In San Pedro Sula, things that revolve around shopping include visiting the City Mall and Metroplaza Mall. Also, in the capital, Tegucigalpa, there are several modern shopping centers. These include Multiplaza mall, Cascadas mall, and Metromall. Also, a new mall has recently opened in Tegucigalpa next to the Toncotin international airport called "City Mall", the largest mall in Central America. In these Westernized areas you can stock up on practical necessities such as adventure clothing for upcoming trips into the Honduran hinterland. Or, if you just like shopping, you can buy clothes and goods for everyday use at pleasingly cheap prices.

Mercado de Artesanias Guamilito

Leather goods are particularly famous from here, though in truth you can find just about anything, from clothes to trinkets to food and drinks. The Mercado forcibly calls for you to use your bartering skills; obtaining the price you want can prove one of the more difficult—and therefore rewarding—activities in San Pedro Sula.

Valle De Los Angeles This small town is a gorgeous tourist location that is especially catered towards shoppers looking for local art, crafts, and fine woodwork and souvenirs.

Mobile (3G/GPRS) internet access

If you have an internet capable mobile phone, you just need a local SIM card (roughly L25) and can start enjoying the prepaid access plans, which generally come in lots of an hour, a day, or a week and have a specific maximum usage.

Here is a table for the settings and activation options for various providers, including approximate costs.

Handicrafts

Handicrafts - Honduras is famous for its Lenca ceramics and beautiful handcrafted wooden boxes made from Honduran mahogany.

If visiting San Pedro Sula, be sure to visit El Mercado Guamilito. You will find many wonderful and cheap handicrafts like hand carved wooden boxes, Lencan pottery, hammocks, paintings, leather products, and beautiful hand-woven fabrics.

Leather Items - Honduran leather items are of fine quality at an extremely reasonable price, making your visit to Honduras a great time to purchase these. Bags, attaché cases, belts, wallets and even garments are a bargain. One of the producers in San Pedro Sula whose quality is up to par with international standards is Danilo's Pura Piel.

Honduras has a long history as a silver mining country. Excellent artisans work the silver and produce very artistic and high quality silver products and jewelry. There are several different jewelers in town. Another popular item are paintings by Honduran artists. These usually depict colonial towns and mountain landscapes that are typical of Honduras. The best selection of these can be found at the Maymo art Gallery.

Valle de Angeles is a must visit location for tourists and souvenir hunters. The town is bordered on the north by the municipality of Central District, on the south by the municipality of San Antonio de Oriente, east by the municipalities of Morocelí and Villa de San Francisco and west by the municipality of Santa Lucía. It is located about 22 km northwest of the capital city, Tegucigalpa, between the mountains of Los Lagos, El Carrizal, Palo Hueco and Chinacla. It is well known as a gorgeous tourist destination for its passionate culture, safety, and wonderful hand-made artwork and crafts. This small town is the perfect place to enjoy souvenir shopping, as the entire town is comprised of cultural shops known for beautiful handicrafts, such as carved boxes and tables, hammocks, paintings, pottery, and much more. Valle de Angeles also boasts several restaurants and street shops with savory, delicious local food choices.

Eat

The Honduran "Plato típico" is the most famous lunch. It consists of rice, beef, fried beans (frijolitos), and fried bananas (tajaditas). If you are lucky, it will also come with chimol, a fresh, non-spicy salsa made of tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cilantro and lime juice.

Baleadas are a Honduran original, and a nearly ubiquitous cheap and quick meal. A baleada sencilla (simple) consists of a thick flour tortilla filled with refried beans, cheese (queso), and a type of cream similar to sour cream but not sour (crema or mantequilla). These can be found for as little as 10-15 Lempira. A baleada especial usually also comes with eggs in it and you can sometimes get avocado or even meat these range from 30-50 Lempira.

Other choices are tacos and enchiladas, though don't expect them to be like those in Mexico. The tacos are meat rolled in a corn tortilla and deep fried. The enchiladas are a flat fried corn tortilla topped with ground beef, cheese and a red sauce.

One commonly known Honduran treat is called a macheteada, which is a tortilla filled with sweet, sugary, flour and sugar.

Pinchos y pupusas (tocino, queso, etc.)

Drink

San Pedro Sula has some of the country's best nightlife and is a great place to go out and dance the night away or to catch up on all the latest movies. The capital city, Tegucigalpa, also has a great nighttime scene. Nightlife should be reserved for those tourists who know the culture and language extremely well, however, as it can be slightly dangerous for those who do not understand the dangers involved in the nightlife world of Honduras. There are several nightclubs and casinos that have excellent facilities, however, illegal activities are also much more common in these places. The possibility of crime greatly escalates after dark as well, no matter what part of the country one may be in.

Honduran Coffee is great, recognized around the world for its rich taste, with the brands from Copan are usually being the best. Welches is considered to be the best by many locals. A less well known, yet very rich blend is Cloud Forest brand of coffee, which is grown in the higher "Cloud Forest" regions of the nation. This brand also offers buyers the chance to help aid organizations every time the product is purchased. Coffee from Lepaera, Lempira, was judged to be the best coffee in the world but can be difficult to find, even in Lepaera itself, since it is highly demanded around the world and exported accordingly.

Great "licuados" -fruit juices and milk shakes- (mango, piña, watermelon, banana, etc.)are common and worth trying almost anywhere in the country.

Alcoholic beverages are readily available, however, it is not recommended that tourists and foreigners become intoxicated as this increases security risks to that individual. Also, crime is much more common near bars, nightclubs and the like. This being said, Honduras has several excellent alcoholic beverages such as fine wines and rich beers.

Sleep

Depending where you plan to visit, you will find hotels that provide great services. The capital city, Tegucigalpa, for instance, has a Marriott hotel, The Intercontinental hotel and other such accommodations.

Stay safe

Use common sense at all times and be aware of your surroundings. Foreigners are sometimes robbed on the streets of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula at night by thieves who stake out areas in front of tourist hotels, and even in daylight if one happens to be in the wrong part of the city. When taking a taxi in Tegucigalpa check for radio dispatched walkie talkies as people have been robbed at gun or knife point. Violent crime is common enough in San Pedro Sula with robberies and even gang violence. San Pedro Sula, in fact, has the highest murder rate of any city of Honduras, though mainly among rival gangs seeking to control the various illicit trades. Violent crime and robbery is also very common in Tegucigalpa, the capital city, as well as other smaller towns throughout Honduras. At the present, Honduras has the highest per capita homicide rate in the world, with 86 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants according to the United Nations. Murder is a common day to day issue in all of Honduras, a problem which has put increased strain on private aid organizations and missions in the country, and has even forced the U.S. Peace Corps to withdraw all personnel due to safety reasons. Crime has seen an increase in recent years due to political unrest in 2009 (a constitutional crisis which is resolved and now stable), and rapid inflation of the Lempira. Use caution when traveling alone in Honduras, at night its best to take a radio dispatched taxi no matter what part you're in. It is highly recommended to never take public bus transportation if at all possible, as robberies are common. Instead use private bus companies, or safer buses known as rapiditos. It is also recommended that foreigners stay clear of nightclubs and bars, where illegal activity and violence is more common and that travelers not carry large amounts of cash or expensive items. If you are the victim of a crime you should exercise caution when contacting local police, as there is much corruption present in the national police forces. If the crime is not serious, such as robbery, it is best to not contact the police.

Stay healthy

Purified water is used in big-city hotels and restaurants, but bottled water is definitely recommended for outlying areas. Remember to never use the water out of the tap, unless you are certain it is safe. Use bottled water to brush teeth and drink.

Malaria occurs in rural areas, Roatán and other Bay Islands.

Dengue fever is endemic in both urban and rural areas.

It is not recommended to buy much food in the streets (people who are selling food just by the sidewalk).

Many travel agencies and different places will tell you that Honduras is a dangerous country concerning illnesses, this is not true. People are just as ill all over Latin America (nothing out of what is normal), just take the necessary precautions. HIV is a problem in Honduras so be careful as you would in your own country.

Carry a first aid kit and have contact phone numbers with you.

If hiking or spending significant time in the great outdoors, be prepared for a wide range of natural threats and nuisances including snakes, spiders, scorpions, mosquitoes, and ticks. On the upswing, however, you can actually pick fruit such as mangos, oranges, lemons and starfruit right off the trees.

After your stay in Honduras, as with other countries which have parasite risks in the water supply, it is wise to consult a doctor and request an anti-parasite medicine such as Albendazol, Mebendazole, or Praziquantel.

Respect

Despite violence and widespread poverty, Honduran citizens are friendly people who appreciate a respectful manner and are welcoming to tourists. As with any other country, use caution when choosing what groups to approach and spend time with, as you will most likely not know the local customs of the area, but most of the time Hondurans will be friendly and more than happy to help you. Also, there are several aid organizations and missions in Honduras. If one happens to run into aid workers during their travels it is good to be respectful of their work even if one does not agree with that group's message. Respect should always be demonstrated in Honduras to the poor, as there is a high poverty rate. Also, in many areas of Honduras women are treated with less respect, so as a tourist it is important to demonstrate equal respect to both men and women to show that you are friendly and do not intend to insult any group but simply enjoy the culture.

Cope

Many individuals are sobered by the intense poverty that exists in certain areas of Honduras. It might be beneficial before travelling to Honduras to consider this and prepare to see difficult situations. Generally, tourist activities and programs avoid areas with high poverty, but it is impossible to entirely escape the blatant poverty that fills the country. If one approaches the issue of poverty with respect and empathy, then it should not be a problem. However, it is necessary to keep the difficulties of poverty in mind and have respect for the people of this beautiful Central American nation.

Electricity is 110V/60Hz, as in the United States and Canada, however three-prong grounded plugs are not as common, so two-prong adapters come in handy. While there is electricity in most areas of the country, it is not guaranteed to be on all the time. Power outages are very common, and while many businesses and hotels have backup generators, some may not therefore it is wise to plan for slight power outages in certain areas(making sure your phone is charged for example). These outages rarely last longer than an hour, so it is a minor inconvenience at best.

It is wise to remember that if you are from a country that accepts tattoos as non-threatening to take into consideration that in Honduras and other Central American nations, tattoos are often highly affiliated with gang activity. Therefore, if you possess tattoos it is best to try and keep them covered and not make a big show of them. Generally, tourists should have no problem if they stay in safe areas and avoid locations in which illegal activity is common.

Go next

Welcome to my newest series, The Wanderland Guide to Travel Planning. This is the final post in a six-part series! Many thanks to Capital One for sponsoring this post.

Part Six // Packing, Paperwork and Other Practicalities

You’re pretty much all set. Destination picked. Flight booked. Itinerary setaccommodation settled, and activities and entertainment planned. All that’s left is to pack up and go! But first, check on a few of these practicalities and make sure you’re ready for takeoff.

How to Afford Travel

Packing

For longer trips — and ever shorter ones — I often start packing quite early so that I can plan accordingly if I need a special piece of gear (going trekking? Might need to bring replacement mouthpieces for my Camelbak. Going on a rainforest safari? Might want to consider upgrading my zoom lens.)

My first step is typically to select what type and size of bag I’m going to be using, based on my destination and length of my trip. Then, I set aside an area where I can start laying out what I want to pack well ahead of time and do a little editing every day until take off. If it’s a long trip and I’ll be packing a lot, I might do one section at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed – clothes, toiletries, electronics, etc. If it’s a shorter trip, I might try to roughly plan out outfits for each day based on my activities so that I don’t waste space on frivolous times. Usually I double-check myself with a check list to make sure I’m not forgetting something small but essential.

Read more packing posts and lists here.

What to Pack for Bonaire

Paperwork and Practicalities

• Visas: If you’re traveling internationally, US citizens can check the State Department list for visa requirements, while the website Do I Need A Visa For? will give you a quick glance no matter where you hail from. Note that these websites are geared towards those going on shorter trips and thus don’t often go into the details of options available for longer stays — you’ll probably have to go digging a bit for that (for example, both websites briefly explain that visas aren’t necessary for US citizens staying 30 days or less in Thailand, but don’t mention that visas for longer stays are available and can be relatively easy to obtain.) Visas can be confusing but in general as a US citizen I am very grateful for how little red tape stands in my way while traipsing around the world. (Brazil, my next big trip, is turning out to be a major exception.)

If you’re not super web savvy (or the country you want to go to has an embassy website that makes your eyes bleed), check if your credit card has a Pre-Trip Assistance service.

• One-Way Tickets: I touched on this in my guide to booking flights, but some countries will require proof of exit in order to enter. If you’re planning to prance in on a one-way ticket, read this first.

How to Book Flights

• Vaccines: If I’m heading to a new region of the world, I’ll check guidebooks and the CDC website for a general idea of recommended vaccines and then call my doctor to get her opinion on which I actually need. The big vaccine that many travelers (especially those heading to Africa or Latin America) will wrestle with is yellow fever, as there are several countries that require you to show vaccination if you’ve traveled to other high-risk countries (for example, you must show proof of vaccination in order to enter Brazil from, say, Peru).  Plus, you know, there’s no cure — and it’s fatal.

Health insurance rarely covers travel-specific vaccines. If you’re stateside, you can find clinics offering the yellow fever jab on the CDC’s Yellow Fever directory. The priciest option (for all vaccines) will be to go to a private travel clinic, where a yellow fever vaccine will set you back about $300. A cheaper alternative is to call your local County Health Department — I paid $130 for mine in Albany, New York (I did have to get a prescription from my general practitioner first, but I was able to do so over the phone.) The bargain option would have been to do it abroad — you can safely and comfortably get yellow fever and other important travel vaccinations in cities like Lima and Bangkok for around $30-40. Just look up international hospitals and clinics in your arrival city and shoot them an email (I’ve found the hospitals and clinics in Thailand respond to emails within hours!), and make sure the incubation period will have passed before you head into high-risk areas.

• Health and Health Insurance: I am currently on the hunt for a US health plan that will cover me internationally, or a travel plan that will fill in the gaps. Suggestions are welcome! In the meantime I will be paying out of pocket for care here in Thailand, which is incredibly affordable and comprehensive. Before I rolled off my health insurance, I did final check ups for my teeth and eyes, and had a new Implanon birth control implant put in (in my opinion, the absolute best choice for women road warriors).

I do pay for DAN diver accident insurance, which starts at $30 per year and is a must for scuba enthusiasts (standard health insurance and travel insurances do not cover decompression chamber visits, which could both save your life and wipe your savings in a matter of hours.)

Bumungrad

• Travel Insurance: There are a dizzying number of options out there for travel-specific insurance. Personally, I don’t use any of them. Instead, I insure my electronics on my parent’s homeowner’s insurance for a reasonable annual fee (I highly recommend going this route if possible as the coverage is more comprehensive and the rate generally lower than travel-specific insurance) and rely on benefits provided by my credit card.

Most credit card holders are not aware of all the benefits they receive– for example, as a Capital One Venture cardholder, I’m entitled to Visa Signature security and convenience benefits, which include both complementary auto rental insurance and insurance on checked and carry-on baggage, among other things.

Staying Healthy on the Road

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and having a strong body is the best defense! I covered finding healthy food and gyms in a previous post. But here are a few extra ways to avoid illness and injury on the road.

Getting Healthy in Albany

• Avoiding food borne illness: Many travelers deny themselves the joy of street food out of concerns over food-borne illness. That’s a shame! Check out my friend Jodi’s guide to eating street food safely.

I’m frequently asked if I avoid ice and/or fresh fruit and vegetables due to concerns over tap water. Nope. For those on short international trips I can understand wanting to avoid any risk of getting sick, but for long term travelers I think it’s best to just slowly introduce that local bacteria into your system and enjoy all the local produce you can get your hands on! I drink tap water from a Clearly Filtered bottle everywhere I go.

• Avoiding mosquito borne illness: Due to the extended time I spend malaria zones each year and the detrimental side effects and risks of long-term use, thus far I have chosen to avoid all preventative malarial drugs and focus instead on preventing mosquito bites in high-risk areas. Again, I can see how the choice might be different for a short-term traveler less concerned over the long-term risks of those drugs.

Personally, I simply wear bug spray when necessary (bring your own from home if you want to use natural varieties or you’re concerned over DEET levels – it’s pretty unregulated in much of the world).

Staying Safe

• Preventing injury: For the most part, this is just luck. But be very careful when renting motorbikes – in Southeast Asia, it’s a popular way to get from point A to point B. It’s also the leading cause of death among travelers. Don’t let statistics alone stop you from renting one, but be realistic about if you’re comfortable driving on poor roads, in heavy traffic and up steep hills.

• If you do get ill or injured: Did you know that your credit card may offer travel and emergency assistance services? With my Capital One Venture, I have access to a Benefit Administrator who can connect me with local emergency and assistance resources twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Driving a Scooter in Bermuda

Managing Money on the Road

I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by using great banking products and sticking to a well-researched system.

• Avoid foreign transaction fees – and build points: I signed up for my Venture Card by Capital One in 2009 in anticipation of my first big trip, and it’s been my primary credit card ever since. First off, it has zero transaction fees – an absolute must for me. Second, it offers double miles on every purchase – miles that are redeemable on any travel related expense, a flexibility that airline-based cards and programs just can’t compete with. In my first year as a cardholder, I snagged a free flight to Hawaii worth $560. These days, I make everything from Uber rides to hotel rooms disappear from my bill with the click of a button.

• Research your card benefits carefully: Recently, I discovered that I’m eligible to pretty top-notch benefits at some of the world’s best hotels – perks like 3pm checkout, automatic upgrades, free wifi, $25 in dining credit, and more — simply by holding a Venture Card by Capital One. I’m kicking myself for not knowing about it sooner – I spotted several hotels I’ve stayed in over the last year on their roster.

New Haroula Hotel, Santorini

• Avoid ATM fees: For point building purposes, it is best to put as many purchases as possible on credit cards. However, in some destinations around the world that’s easier said than done. Use ATMS rather than currency exchanges to get cash when needed (they have far better rates) and find a debit card that refunds ATM fees. Then, carry small amount of cash (my preference, in case of theft or scatterbrain) and visit the ATM often without fear of racking up huge fees.

• Have backups: Personally, I’ve found customer service at the credit cards I love and have stuck with, like Capital One, to be top notch – they’ll do their darndest to get you a new card and emergency cash wherever you may be in the shortest amount of time possible should yours become lost or stolen, or should you lose access to one of your accounts. (I had to call them just this week and had the sweetest conversation with Tami in Tampa.) But don’t get stranded. Carry your primary credit card and debit card in one place, and stash a backup of each somewhere completely different in your luggage. Better safe than sorry!

• Track your spending: I use online banking tools to monitor my accounts and Trail Wallet to track my daily spending. Splitwise is another great app for when you’re traveling as a couple or group. Trail Wallet let’s me set a daily budget for myself, make my own categories, and make entries in both a home and local and currency. Taking note of every sol I spend will not only help me write posts about my daily budget like I did for Honduras and the Philippines, but also help keep realize when I’m splurging too much on smoothies or when I have wiggle room in my budget for the VIP bus seats.

Read more posts on budgeting here.

Money

Ready for takeoff yet? I truly hope you enjoyed this series. Let me know if I missed any of your favorite travel planning tips in the comments. Bon voyage!

Laptop in Malta

There’s a question that I’ve been asked more and more often lately:

“There are so many travel blogs out there today. If I start, I’m going to be so far behind. Do I have any chance of making it a career? Is it even possible?”

A lot of people would say no — but I disagree.

I think now is actually a good time to start a travel blog. There’s more money to be had in the industry. Blogs and personalities become popular much faster. New social networks becoming progressively more prominent. In short, you’re open to a lot of opportunities that I didn’t have.

 

RELATED: How to Start a Travel Blog The Right Way

 

Here are a few tips from 2016 that did not apply to the space until fairly recently.

Chiang Mai Travel Bloggers

Know you don’t have to be the biggest travel blogger of all.

Just a few years ago, only the top tier of bloggers were making a full-time living from their blog, and only a few were making enough money to live anywhere more expensive than Southeast Asia.

That has changed. More people are making decent livings. You still see plenty of bloggers living in Southeast Asia, but an increasing number are living in pricey cities in North America and Europe.

A lot of new bloggers start with the goal of being one of the biggest travel bloggers of all. (Quite frankly, that was my motivation in the early days.) If you do that, you’re going to be chasing it forever. But if you don’t let fame motivate you — if you instead want to have a quality working career — you can absolutely make it happen.

Think of it this way: every TV actor dreams of having Viola Davis or Kerry Washington’s career, headlining a popular Thursday night drama. But you could also be a working actor appearing in small guest roles on everything from Law & Order to Brooklyn Nine-Nine to random commercials and the latest Judd Apatow flick, the kind of person where people say, “I know that face! What’s she been in?”

Those actors still make money from their craft. Many of them have a pretty good work/life balance as well. That’s something to keep in mind.

Kate Quaker Oats Murder

That said — most of the big names have slowed down their travels.

There was a time when the people behind the biggest travel blogs were on the road at least 80% of the time. That’s not the case anymore. We’re very tired.

I’m not going to name names because some people are keeping it quieter than others, but a great many popular travel bloggers have chosen to get year-round apartments with leases and travel far less often. (Most of you know that I am one of these bloggers, having moved to New York seven weeks ago.)

That means that if you have the opportunity to travel long-term, you’re going to be doing so in a way that not a lot of others are doing at the moment. That’s especially good for real-time platforms like Snapchat. More on Snapchat below.

Kate in Albania

Niche is good; personality plus specialty is better.

Niche is always a big discussion — people always talk about how important it is to HAVE A NICHE. You need to open that proverbial fly-fishing blog!

But in this day and age, I see it differently. I think the most important thing is to have a well-developed voice and personality along with a few specialties on which you can become an expert.

Alex in Wanderland, for example, has a specialty in diving.

Young Adventuress has a specialty in New Zealand travel.

Flora the Explorer has a specialty in sustainable volunteering.

These specialties are not the only subjects that these bloggers write about, so I wouldn’t go so far as to call them their niches. But they are areas that differentiate them and give them expertise and credibility. If I needed help with any of those subjects, I would go to their sites in a heartbeat. (Also, it’s worth adding that Liz didn’t even visit New Zealand until she had already been blogging, so yes, it is possible to develop a specialty on the road!)

This is especially important for all the women trying to differentiate themselves as a solo female travel blogger. There are a million of you now, ladies. Work on diversifying.

The most difficult part is developing your voice and personality, and that can only be done by writing, writing, writing.

Smartphone Challenge

Social media is more important than ever.

We’ve entered a time where social media can often eclipse the value of your blog. That was never the case early in my blogging years, but I’m seeing it more and more today, especially with Instagram.

At this point in time, Instagram is by far the most important social network. It’s widely consumed by “real people,” it’s prioritized by brands (translation: this is where the money is), and it allows you to show your strengths. A company may be more interested in advertising on Instagram than anywhere on your blog.

But this means you’re going to throw a lot of time and effort into creating a beautiful, engaging Instagram profile.

Snapchat is another big network on which I recommend getting started. It’s huge among “real people” and it’s still early enough that you can be an early adopter, like me.

Another place that can become a game-changer is Pinterest. Pinterest now regularly drives traffic to lots of my pages that don’t necessarily do well in search.

Other social networks are important. Some people swear by Facebook (and I do quite a bit with it); others live and die by Twitter. And by all means, yes, work on growing your Facebook audience in particular. But if I were you, I’d throw your time and resources into focusing on Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

Kate and Brenna in Koh Lanta

The time to get into video is now. Or yesterday.

Video is projected to grow more and more — a year and a half ago, Mark Zuckerberg said that he expected video to be the dominant content on Facebook within five years. I’ve said before that not doing enough on YouTube keeps me up at night. I just feel like I haven’t had to learn all the skills.

There is plenty of room to grow on YouTube — I’d argue that you can grow faster and far more effectively as a travel YouTuber than as a travel blogger. The time is definitely now.

FYI — Travel Blog Success is having a sale on their videography course this week. It’s 35% off. See below for more.

I actually bought the course last year but I need to make creating better videos a priority for this summer.

Angkor Wat at Dawn

I still mean it — get out of Southeast Asia.

This is one of the most controversial pieces of advice I’ve given, and I stand by it. Southeast Asia is tremendously oversaturated in the travel blogosphere at this point in time.

Is it possible to focus on Southeast Asia and still become a prominent travel blogger? Of course it is. You can stand out if you consistently create genuinely original content.

But most people who spend time in Southeast Asia don’t do that. They write “this is what it’s like to cruise Halong Bay” and “here are photos from my day at Angkor Wat” and “the best things to do in Ubud are these” and “this is how awesome Koh Lanta is.”

It’s good stuff, sure, and it will be useful to your readers who aren’t familiar with those destinations, but posts like those will not allow you to gain traction as a travel blogger. Major influencers will not be sharing these posts because they’ve been seen a thousand times before.

If you want to spend extended time in a cheap region, consider parts of Mexico and Central America (inland Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, inland Nicaragua), parts of South America (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia), parts of Central and Eastern Europe (Balkans excluding Croatia and Slovenia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, former USSR), and/or parts of South Asia (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka).

Because while plenty of people have written about those destinations, they are nowhere near the saturation level of Southeast Asia.

Bloghouse Mentors: Kate, Lisa, Cailin, Mike, Steph

Travel Blog Success Will Help You Grow Fast, Well, and Efficiently.

I push Travel Blog Success because it’s the best product out there. Why?

  1. The course will teach you so much at a fast rate. If you read the materials and put the work in, you won’t make the mistakes that the majority of bloggers make.
  2. The course comes with discounts and perks. Savings on premium plugins, hosting, design products, conference tickets, and more.
  3. The Facebook community is the best travel blogging group on the web. Forget the giant groups on Facebook — the private Travel Blog Success group is the only place where I give out advice to bloggers publicly, and lots of other experts do, too.

And yes, I earn an affiliate commission if you purchase through that link. 26% on the main course, 15% on the others. But I only link to products that I actually use, like, and recommend. Always have, always will.

What do I always tell people? Wait until the course on sale. Because even though that means I’ll be making a much smaller commission, I’d still rather have you get the maximum discount.

Well, it’s on sale now. 35% off all courses. And since I last wrote about it, more courses have been added in addition to the main Travel Blog Success course:

  • Bloggers, Brands, and Tourism Boards — A course on getting partnerships, both comped and paid
  • Bloggers to Bylines — A course on becoming a freelance travel writer.
  • Videography for Travel Bloggers — A course on becoming a travel videographer or YouTuber.

The sale ends Friday, March 25, 2016, at 11:00 PM ET.

San Juan del Sur Sunset

Because yes: It’s still possible to make it if you start today.

I know some people will disagree with me, but I think that in many ways, it’s a lot easier to get started now than it was when I did in 2010. The market may be crowded, but there is always — always — room for excellent content.

And whether you’re watching a brilliant sunset on a beach in Nicaragua or sitting on your purple couch in your Harlem apartment (which I may be as I write this), the life of a travel blogger is incredibly rewarding. Each day, I feel so grateful that this is what I do for a living.

Note: the links to Travel Blog Success are affiliate links. I only use affiliate links on products that I actually use, like, and recommend. This course is worth every penny and then some!I think now is actually a good time to start a travel blog. There's more money to be had in the industry. Blogs and personalities become popular much faster. New social networks becoming progressively more prominent. In short, you're open to a lot of opportunities that I didn't have.

HERE ARE 35 places around the world to strap on your GoPro, do some underwater exploring, and come back with amazingly clear imagery.

1

Linapacan Island, Palawan, Philippines

MatadorU Photography faculty member Scott Sporleder shares this image from Palawan, the Philippines' most remote province and home to many beaches with super clear water.Photo: Scott Sporleder

2

The Maldives

The 26 atolls that make up the Maldives sit in the Indian Ocean about 400km southwest of the tip of the subcontinent. Abundant reef wildlife (including whale sharks) + incredibly clear waters bring in a lot of tourists. It's also one of Matador's 9 places to experience now before they literally vanish.Photo: Rishwan (Richy)

3

Dog Island, San Blas, Panama

Another from Scott Sporleder, here is a shot from one of Panama's San Blas Islands, the largest of the politically autonomous reservations of the Kuna Indians.Photo: Scott Sporleder

Intermission 181

35 places to swim in the world’s clearest water

by Hal Amen

25 places we’re dying to explore right now

by Matador Team
35

How to: Independently trek Nepal’s Annapurna sanctuary

by Matt Huntington
4

Cayo Coco, Cuba

A resort island on Cuba's north coast, Cayo Coco is linked to the mainland by a 27km causeway. The adjacent reef and clear waters have earned international recognition as a dive destination.Photo: O.Taillon

5

Cala Macarelleta, Menorca, Spain

At the south end of the Mediterranean island of Menorca, the beach at Cala Macarelleta can only be reached on foot or by boat -- probably one of the least-crowded beaches you'll find in Spain.Photo: visualpanic

6

Sua Trench, Samoa

We sent MatadorU student Abhimanyu Sabnis on a photojournalism assignment to Samoa. He came back with this insane gallery.Photo: Abhimanyu Sabnis

7

Crater Lake, Oregon

Visibility in Crater Lake has been measured at 43.3m -- among the highest in the world. Photographer Rhett Lawrence adds this note about swimming here: "[It's] allowed, but there's only one access point down to the lake -- a steep, mile-long trail (it's easy enough on the way down, but my then-4-year-old daughter did not appreciate the climb back up). Since that's the only access point, you've got to really want to jump in the lake to do it -- especially since it's so damn cold -- but it is permitted by the Park Service."Photo: Grant Montgomery

8

Bak Bak Beach, Borneo

A shot from the northern tip of Sabah, Malaysia, near Kudat Town. From the photographer: "It takes 3 to 3 1/2 hours' drive from Kota Kinabalu city. I wanted to shoot a longer exposure but I had a difficulty judging the light or maybe because I was lazy ? kidding. I had to go further the beach, thigh deep and very clear water. Stacked 2 Cokin GND filter P121s, manual exposure 0.25sec, F13."Photo: Nora Carol

9

Jiuzhaigou Valley, Sichuan, China

In the north of Sichuan province, the Jiuzhaigou Valley is a national park, nature reserve, and UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to several crystal-clear lakes, it's a region of multi-tiered waterfalls and snowy mountains. Tourism arrived late but is growing strong, and while swimming isn't allowed...there's always night-time skinny dipping.Photo: Who is taking pictures?

Intermission 445

10 volunteer opportunities for free travel

by Matt Scott
10

Your top 20 bucket list trips

by Joshywashington
2

Banff and Lake Louise might be the most gorgeous places to ski on the planet. Here’s proof.

by Ailsa Ross
10

Sabah, Malaysia

Another one from the remote Malaysian state, which covers the northern portion of Borneo and is ringed by reef-rich islands. This photo was taken near Semporna, which is a hub for people who come to dive Malaysian Borneo.Photo: Zahriel

11

Jenny Lake, Wyoming

Jenny Lake sits right below the peak of Grand Teton and is a landmark for many hiking trails, backcountry trails, and climbing routes. Despite the fact that motorboats are allowed on the lake, its waters are still considered "pristine."Photo: Jeff Clow

12

Rio Sucuri, Brazil

Located in the Pantanal region of Brazil, Rio Sucuri is a spring-fed river that has some of the measurably clearest water on Earth. Multiple tour outfits run trips that let you snorkel the river.Photo: Luiz Felipe Sahd

13

Calanque de Sormiou, France

Calanques are steep-walled coves, and there's a series of them along the 20km stretch of coast between Marseille and Cassis. Sormiou is one of the largest of these, and it's popular for its nearby climbing routes as well as its beach.Photo: Paspog

14

Panari Island, Okinawa, Japan

Panari, also called Aragusuku, is one of the Yaeyama Islands, the most remote area of Japan. The photographer notes: "The islands are also known as one of the world's best diving destinations, having a number of coral species and marine lives as large as those in the Great Barrier Reef. (Over 400 types of corals, 5 types of sea turtles, manta rays, whale sharks and all kinds of tropical fish species all live around Okinawa.)"Photo: ippei + janine

15

Puerto Ayora, Galapagos

The most populous town in the Galapagos still sits right up next to some amazingly clear ocean water. Even here in Academy Bay, you can see pelicans, iguanas, sea lions, herons, rays, and other iconic wildlife.Photo: Bill Bouton

Intermission 1K+

20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world

by Jason Wire
3

9 places to visit before they change forever

by Morgane Croissant
4

20 charming illustrations of Christmas traditions from around the world

by Ailsa Ross
16

Lake Tahoe, Nevada

The photo above was taken in the Bonsai Rock area, on the east shore of the lake, which apparently flies under the radar. Says the photographer: "30 years in Tahoe, and until this winter I'd never heard of it."Photo: SteveD.

17

Cayos Cochinos, Honduras

Rounding out the Sporleder collection, this one comes from the central Caribbean coast of Honduras. For more images, check out the full photo essay.Photo: Scott Sporleder

18

Primosten, Croatia

On the Adriatic Coast north of Split, Primosten is most famous for its vineyards, in addition to beaches that have been voted the best in the country.Photo: Mike Le Gray Photography. See more at his website.

19

St. George, Bermuda

The oldest continuously inhabited English settlement in the New World features many historic forts, like the small Gates Fort pictured above. Also: some damn clear water.Photo: JoshuaDavisPhotography

20

Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

Visit on a weekend during high season and you'll be surrounded by busloads. If you can get it on a slow day with clear conditions, though, it's some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii.Photo: ThomasOfNorway

21

Pupu Springs, New Zealand

At the very top of the South Island, on Golden Bay, the photographer says: "14000 liters of crystal clear water comes out of these springs per second!"Photo: pie4dan

22

Calanque d'En-Vau, France

Another calanque on the southern coast of France, d'En-Vau has a narrower, steeper channel than Sormiou, giving a real feeling of seclusion and emphasizing the clarity of the water in this cove.Photo: afer92 (on and off)

23

Rio Azul, Argentina

Put in to the Confluence section of the Rio Azul near El Bolsón, Patagonia, Argentina. Matador Senior Editor David Miller notes, "This was the first river I've ever paddled, played, and swam in where the water was clean enough to drink. The entire Rio Azul watershed is born in the glaciers and snowfields of the Andes and the water is incredibly clear and pure."Photo: David Miller

24

Corfu, Greece

Corfu sits in the Ionian Sea, off the northwest coast of Greece. Prior to the 1900s, most of the tourists that visited were European royalty. Today, its clear waters draw a lot of package-tour-style action.Photo: smlp.co.uk

25

Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Matador Co-Founder Ross Borden visited the Cook Islands for a week and came back with images and video of epicly clear water.Photo: Ross Borden

26

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Made famous when its smaller neighbor, Koh Phi Phi Leh, was used as the filming location for The Beach, the main island sees a lot of traffic from both backpackers and luxury travelers these days. Water like this is a big part of the draw.Photo: mynameisharsha

27

Playa Blanca, Colombia

This is a 45-minute boat ride from Cartagena and well worth the trip. In between swims in that crystal-clear blue water, be sure to snag some fresh ceviche from one of the vendors walking up and down the beach.Photo: Ross Borden

28

Blue Lake, New Zealand

One of many bodies of water in this list that someone or other has claimed has the clearest water in the world, Blue Lake is located in Nelson Lakes National Park, in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.Photo: Kathrin & Stefan

29

Königssee, Germany?

This one's made the rounds on the internet, but no one really seems to know where it was taken, or by whom. The best guess I found was the Königssee, a lake in southern Bavaria, near the border with Austria. If you have any info, clue us in.Photo: ??

30

Valle Verzasca, Switzerland

The clear waters of the Verzasca River run for 30km through this rocky valley in southern Switzerland. A dam of the same name, featured in the James Bond movie GoldenEye, blocks the river's flow and forms Lago di Vogorno. Just downstream from it, the river empties into Lake Maggiore.Photo: http://i.imgur.com/ukgxS.jpg

31

Tioman Island, Malaysia

This photo comes from the town of Kampung Genting on Tioman Island, off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. Away from its beaches, there's significant rainforest terrain in the interior, where you can see the endemic soft-shelled turtle and the Tioman walking catfish.Photo: Chang'r

32

Belo Sur Mer, Madagascar

Ross Borden explains: "I started in Moronvada, on the west coast of Madagascar and hired a boat and driver to take me down the coast to Belo Sur Mer, a super-isolated section of coastline known for diving, fishing and the fact that almost no one makes the trip down there. Belo Sur Mer is amazing on its own, but when the owner of the eco-lodge there told me about a string of uninhabited islands 80km off the coast, we jumped back in the boat and pointed it west, towards Mozambique and mainland Africa. What we found was four uninhabited gorgeous islands and one that had a tribe of "sea gypsies" living on it. These fascinating and hospitable people live off the rich fishing stocks of the Mozambique channel. We camped and lived with them for two days and they even took me along on an all-night fishing expedition in one of their sailboats in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It was one of the most amazing travel experiences of my life. During the day I would go snorkeling. Shoving off these tiny islands the water gets several hundreds of feet deep very quickly; I was out there with massive schools of deep ocean fish."Photo: Ross Borden

33

Lake Marjorie, California

From the photographer: "Lakes in the High Sierra come in a number of colors. Lake Marjorie, at 11,132' has an aquamarine "swimming pool" tint. Crater Mountain dominates the skyline, with Pinchot Pass to the south. I was happy to see clouds at dawn, but by noon a fast moving storm was spitting hail, thunder, and lightning as we cleared Mather Pass. Damn, this spot is gorgeous."Photo: SteveD.

34

Bodrum, Turkey

Along the southern coast of the peninsula of the same name, Bodrum has an ancient history and was the site of one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World (the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus). It also has some amazingly clear water. From the photographer: "[It's] so clear at certain places that boats appear to be floating in mid-air! It reminded me of Luke's Landspeeder from Star Wars."Photo: Oky - Space Ranger

35

Mystery spot

Another unidentified location. Anyone have an idea?Photo: Imgur

Environmentalism focuses on working towards a sustainable, global harmony between people and nature. This requires a passion to protect all wildlife, the ability to inspire, to take bold peaceful actions, and to raise awareness of the necessity of conservation and impact of human activity. Here are 5 inspirational women whose contributions to conservation have benefitted the natural world and our attitude towards it:

Rachel Carson

5 women in conservation

Photo by Wikipedia

Rachel Carson was a marine biologist and nature writer during the 1950’s and 60’s. Originally working in the U.S Bureau of Fisheries, she switched to writing full-time, producing her famous works Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us, and The Edge of the Sea; a comprehensive trilogy focusing on all ocean life.

She went on to write her most famous book Silent Spring in 1962 about the devastating effects of synthetic pesticides, leading to greater environmental awareness in the American people as well as facilitating a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides, eventually catalysing the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Rachel Carson died in 1964 but was posthumously awarded the American Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award, by President Carter in 1980. Since her death Carson has also had hiking trails, nature reserves, marine protection areas, research vessels and even schools named after her.

The Rachel Carson Prize was also created to award women who contribute to conservation science and environmental protection. Carson’s life and published works had a major influence on the rising eco-feminist movement at the time.

Virginia McKenna

5 women in conservation

Photo by Wikipedia

Virginia McKenna began her career as an actress starring in films such as The Cruel Sea and Born Free. Her conservation efforts were triggered when filming An Elephant Called Slowly with conservationist George Adamson and two elephants, Eleanor and Pole Pole.

The young elephant Pole Pole was gifted to London Zoo after the film was made, but due to poor living conditions died early in captivity. This moved McKenna and her husband Bill Travers to instigate the Zoo Check Campaign, advocating for a higher standard of living in UK zoos, and the campaign playing a pivotal role in the closure of Southampton Zoo in 1985.

The Zoo Check Campaign evolved into the Born Free Foundation, named after the 1966 film where McKenna and Travers portrayed George and Joy Adamson’s efforts to return a lioness to the wilds of Africa. The Foundation now not only encompasses the Zoo Check Campaign, but campaigns dedicated to wolves, dolphins, elephants, bears, primates and big cats, all working towards keeping wild animals in their natural habitats, preventing animal rights abuse and securing animal welfare in the Born Free wildlife sanctuaries.

Jane Goodall

5 women in conservation

Photo by UNclimatechange

A primatologist specialising in chimpanzees, Goodall conducted a 55-year-long study into their social interactions in the wild. She is considered the world’s leading expert in chimpanzees and is a prominent figure on the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) board.

Jane Goodall’s research in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park played an integral part in recognising the personalities and individuality displayed by chimpanzees, an idea disregarded by the scientific community at the time.

The NhRP works towards granting nonhuman animals legal personhood, recognising the autonomy and self-determination in animals that Goodall saw; the same human qualities required for protecting them from experimentation and/or imprisonment. Cases filed by the NhRP made huge strides in animal rights.

Berta Caceres

5 women in conservation

Photo by CIDH

Berta Caceres was a Lenca environmentalist and social activist defending the indigenous rights of the Lenca people in Honduras. As a cofounder of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras, her activism defended against illegal logging and exploitation of Lenca territories.

Caceres’ most notable action was the grassroots campaign she led against the Agua Zarca Dam, which was earmarked for construction across the sacred Gualcarque River without notifying the Lenca people. The campaign was a success, forcing the construction of the dam to be abandoned, winning her the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize for grassroots activism.

Her dedication to equality, sustainability and doing the right thing tragically cost her her life; she was murdered in March 2016. Environmentalism is based on the unity of people, coming together to challenge the unsustainable and exploitative actions of those with the power to carry them out. 185 environmentalists were murdered in 2015, many of which were South American countries; 40% of the victims were indigenous people, and 42 of the deaths were related to protests.

Although deeply saddening these deaths have sparked even more solidarity in the worldwide environmentalist movement, with many quoting the South American proverb “They tried to bury us but they didn’t know we were seeds” in response to Caceres’ death.

Mollie H. Beattie

5 women in conservation

Photo by Wikipedia

Mollie H. Beattie was the first female director of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Despite only having a term of three years as director, she instated 15 wildlife refuges and successfully reintroduced the Gray Wolf to America’s northern Rocky Mountains.

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service designated the 8 million acre Mollie Beattie Wilderness in Alaska’s Arctic Wildlife Refuge, the second largest wilderness area in the U.S, in recognition to her contribution to conservation.

Graduating in both philosophy and forestry Beattie could see the clear connection between the natural world and the world we humans had made for ourselves, stating that:

“In the long term, the economy and the environment are the same thing. If it’s un-environmental it is uneconomical. That is the rule of nature.”

 

If any of these women have inspired you to get involved in helping the environment and/or animals around the world, check out our Terrestrial and Marine Conservation projects.

This article originally appeared on Frontier and is republished here with permission.

More like this: Can we stop visiting animal attractions? Here's why, and here are better alternatives

ENGLAND is the perfect vacation destination for families. The country offers a wide range of activities for visitors young and old, from big city fun to quaint small town charm. To help plan your next visit, we’ve put together a list of the 10 must-do family adventures in England.

1. DreamWorks Tours: Shrek’s Adventure

Une publication partagée par Shrek's Adventure! London (@shreksadventure) le 4 Nov. 2016 à 8h08 PDT

These tours are in London, where kids can take a virtual trip to the Kingdom of Far Far Away with Donkey. Visitors will meet characters such as the Muffin Man, the Ugly Stepsister, and Sleeping Beauty while trying to escape from Rumpelstiltskin and witches. No visit would be complete without posing for pictures with Shrek. This is great for younger visitors.

2. Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Une publication partagée par Cotswold Wildlife Park (@cotswoldwildlifepark) le 20 Juin 2014 à 23h46 PDT

Located in Burford, it’s the perfect spot to spend an afternoon with the kids. A mix between a zoo and a safari park, the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens houses over 260 different species of animals. The enclosures blend well with the natural environment and provide plenty of space for the animals to roam. You’ll find white rhinoceros, Chapman’s zebras, Lemurs, Parma wallabies, Humboldt penguins and more. You could easily spend a leisurely half day here at the park visiting the animal areas, watching the animals being fed, exploring the gardens and giving the kids time to run and play at the large playground.

3. Roman Baths

Une publication partagée par The Roman Baths (@theromanbaths) le 31 Août 2016 à 1h38 PDT

This ancient bathing and socializing complex is in the city of Bath. The venue does a great job of catering to children. with a free audio guide tour designed specifically for young visitors. Make sure to pick up one of the family activity trail, such as “Meet the Romans” from reception when you purchase tickets. The trail guides children through the museum and teaches them intriguing facts along the way. Kids can also complete a craft at the kids’ activity center and chat with costumed characters about life in Roman times.

4. Sudeley Castle

Une publication partagée par Dana Zeliff (@thetalkingsuitcase) le 4 Nov. 2016 à 6h02 PDT

Located in Winchcombe, the castle was built in the 15th century and is the burial place of Queen Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII. The castle itself is lovely and well maintained, but the highlight for kids is the massive play area on the castle grounds. Young travelers can climb through the fort, complete an obstacle course, and ride a zip line while parents take a break at one of the many picnic tables.

5. LEGOLAND

Une publication partagée par LEGOLAND Windsor (@legolandwindsor) le 20 Janv. 2017 à 2h55 PST

Located in Windsor, LEGOLAND will be a hit for younger kids. What child wouldn’t want to spend the day enjoying 55 LEGO rides, shows, and attractions? Kids will be excited to visit the Land of the Vikings, Kingdom of the Pharaohs, LEGO City and Adventure Land. The new LEGO Ninjago World will open in May 2017.

6. Leacock Abbey

Located in Wiltshire, visitors can see Harry Potter filming locations for scenes such as the Mirror of Erased and Professors Snape’s & Quirrell’s classrooms. A hands-on feature for kids is the junior detective program where they can solve the case of Bizarre Beasts. It’s an engaging way to keeps kids interested and begging to explore the Abbey and grounds. The trail will lead kids from the Inspector’s office, through the weeping willows, the creepy cloister, serpents’ thicket and more. Children get a sticker for solving the case.

7. Blue Reef Aquarium

Located in Newquay, kids will enjoy the 40 themed habitats. The aquarium is home to a giant octopus, Black Tip Reef Sharks, other species found on Cornish coasts — as well as a cool underwater tunnel.

8. Tower of London

Une publication partagée par Dana Zeliff (@thetalkingsuitcase) le 12 Mars 2017 à 7h29 PDT

The ancient tower is located in London. Your children can see the Crown Jewels, explore the fortress, and see what life was like in Medieval times. Pick up a free family trail guide to complete activities and quizzes while learning fun facts. A cool new feature for families is the digital missions app where kids can meet historical characters, complete challenges and win badges.

9. Natural History Museum

Une publication partagée par Natural History Museum (@natural_history_museum) le 6 Janv. 2017 à 7h28 PST

Located in London, even children will be impressed with the beauty of the building. If you’re short of time, be sure you start your visit at the Dinosaur gallery with its towering T-Rex and the skull of a Triceratops, as well as at the Earth Hall with its escalator ride through a giant metallic globe.

10. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter

Une publication partagée par Warner Bros. Studio Tour (@wbtourlondon) le 23 Avril 2017 à 9h02 PDT

Harry Potter fans won’t want to miss this magical experience. Learn the behind the scenes secrets of the Harry Potter films. You’ll see Hagrid’s motorcycle, Hogwarts Great Hall, Platform 9 3/4 with the Hogwarts Express and get a chance to try Butterbeer.

The best way to explore England is by car. Yes, the public transportation system in England is excellent, but you’ll miss out on some of what makes the country so great — the off-the-eaten-path villages. These ten must-do family adventures in England will take you on an exciting tour, visiting cities both big and small while providing entertainment for the entire family. More like this: Everyone told me it was dangerous to take my kids to Honduras. Here’s why we can’t wait to go back

Honduras Handbook (Footprint - Handbooks)

Richard Arghiris

Sliced, spliced and spread across a mountainous interior, Honduras is a collection of chaotic Latin cities, tropical sun-drenched beaches and swathes of beautiful hillside. Dive the stunning submarine world off the Caribbean coast, explore the cloud forest near Lago Yojoa or simply relax in a hammock in the Bay Islands; Footprint's Honduras covers all the top attractions in this enchanting country, plus lesser-known sights off the beaten track. Provides recommendations for all budgets on where to eat, sleep and sample the best rum, as well as the low-down on adventure activities and scuba diving.Essentials section with practical advice on getting there and around.Highlights map so you know what not to miss.Comprehensive listings including where to eat, sleep and relax.Detailed street maps for Tegulcigalpa, Roatán & other key locations in the countrySlim enough to fit in your pocket.Loaded with advice and information, this concise Footprint guide will help you get the most out of Honduras without weighing you down.

Moon Honduras & the Bay Islands (Moon Handbooks)

Amy E. Robertson

Experienced traveler and author Amy E. Robertson provides honest insight into the best Honduras has to offer, from exploring the Bay Islands to hiking the trails of Sierra de Agalta. Robertson also includes unique travel itineraries, such as Caribbean Sun and Sand, Historic Honduras, and Adventure Hiking. With expert advice on how to make the most of a trip to this Caribbean destination, Moon Honduras & the Bay Islands gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.

Lonely Planet Honduras & the Bay Islands (Country Travel Guide)

Greg Benchwick

Lonely Planet knows Honduras. Whether you want to dive into the deep blue off the coast of the Bay Islands, explore the forests and cobblestoned coffee towns of La Ruta Lenca or tramp around the ancient Mayan temples of Copan, this 2nd edition gives you all you need to enjoy the best of Honduras.Lonely Planet guides are written by experts who get to the heart of every destination they visit. This fully updated edition is packed with accurate, practical and honest advice, designed to give you the information you need to make the most of your trip.In This Guide:Full-Color chapter showcases the best to see and do in HondurasDetailed coverage of the Mayan archaeological ruins of CopanComprehensive chapter on diving and other outdoor activities

Roatan Bay Islands Honduras Reef Creatures Guide Franko Maps Laminated Fish Card 4" x 6"

Franko Maps Ltd.

This convenient card has illustrations of nearly 100 species of fish and other reef creatures found in the waters surrounding Roatan. A great identification guide for divers and snorkelers! Waterproof, made of rigid, laminated plastic with hole for lanyard. 4" x 6"

Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador (National Geographic Adventure Map)

National Geographic Maps - Adventure

• Waterproof • Tear-Resistant • Travel Map

Explore the heart of Central America with National Geographic's Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador Adventure Map. Hundreds of points of interest are highlighted including national parks and reserves, World Heritage sites, archeological sites, churches, shipwrecks, castles, and more. This map includes the locations of thousands of towns and villages along with a user-friendly index, plus a clearly marked road network complete with distances and designations for highways, roads, and other routes.

The front side of the print map includes Honduras and El Salvador, two countries whose coastlines offer wonderful opportunities to surf, scuba dive, snorkel, or just soak up the sun. Sites for these activities and more are noted, as are hotels, lodges, and resorts. Nicaragua covers the back side of the map, and its detail includes diverse points of interest from museums and historical sites in Managua and Granada to areas noted for windsurfing, fishing, and observing the country’s unique wildlife.

A hot spot for ecotourism, this region boasts tropical rainforests, white-sand beaches, colorful wildlife, and stunning barrier reefs for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. The ancient and colonial history of these countries offer additional attractions from the impressive ancient Maya ruins of Copan in Honduras to the rich architecture of Granada, Nicaragua. As the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, El Salvador offers a rich nightlife in addition to its beaches along the Costa del Sol.

Every Adventure Map is printed on durable synthetic paper, making them waterproof, tear-resistant and tough — capable of withstanding the rigors of international travel.

Map Scale = 1:710,000Sheet Size = 37.75" x 25.5"Folded Size = 4.25" x 9.25"

Fodor's Honduras & the Bay Islands (Travel Guide)

Fodor's

Easy planning. Hit the ground running with convenient overviews of each region, along with advice on where to get the best seafood, suggestions for top cruises and dive spots, and tips for making the most of your time. Expert writing, gorgeous graphics. Unique photo-features impart the country’s culture, including fabulous local food, impressive Mayan ruins, and indigenous Garífuna villages.Local Experts. Fodor’s worldwide team of 700 writers reveal their favorite haunts to enrich your travel experience.Travelers Like You. Get candid advice from fellow travelers at Fodors.com, and read their “Word of Mouth” tips throughout this book.

Roatan Honduras Dive Map & Reef Creatures Guide Franko Maps Laminated Fish Card

Franko Maps Ltd.

Perfect for divers, snorkelers and nature lovers! Side One is a mini-map of Isla de Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, with 174 dive sites named and located. Side Two is a reef creatures identification guide with more than 80 species illustrated and named. This convenient, waterproof reference is made of rigid, laminated plastic with hole for lanyard. 5.5" x 8.5"

Honduras Bay Islands Reef Creatures Guide Franko Maps Laminated Fish Card 4" x 6"

Franko Maps Ltd.

This convenient card has illustrations of nearly 100 species of fish and other reef creatures found in the waters of RoatanUtila and Guanaja, Honduras. A great identification guide for SCUBA divers and snorkelers! Waterproof, made of hard, laminated plastic with hole for lanyard. 4" x 6"

Exercise a high degree of caution; see also regional advisories.

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.

Crime

The security situation has seriously deteriorated in Honduras. Exercise a high degree of caution throughout the country as Honduras has the highest homicide rate in Central America. Growing illegal drug trafficking, expanding transnational organized crime and the presence of street gangs contribute to a significant crime rate. Apprehension and conviction rates of criminals remain low. A large percentage of the population is armed. Guns and weapons such as machetes and knives are frequently used in robberies. Perpetrators often use violence if the victim resists.

Serious crime—including armed robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, home invasion and sexual assault—is common, and armed attacks on marine vessels have been reported. Although most criminals do not target tourists, some have been victims of crime in and around San Pedro Sula (including in vehicles leaving the airport), on the ferry from La Ceiba to the Bay Islands, as well as in Tela, Trujillo, Tegucigalpa and Copán Ruins. On Roatán, robbers have targeted homes and long-term leased residences. Travellers visiting the Bay Islands should exercise particular caution around uninhabited coastal areas and avoid walking on isolated beaches, especially at night. Since 2009, three Canadian citizens have been murdered in this area. Remain aware of your surroundings, particularly on the beaches of Tela and in the north coast region. Foreigners have been attacked on beaches after dark.

Travellers have been followed and assaulted. Use discretion when discussing your travel plans in public. Be cautious when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances and be extremely careful when accepting rides or invitations.

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum, or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

In resort areas, stay on supervised beaches and do not walk in isolated or unpopulated areas. Hitchhiking is strongly discouraged. Campers should always ensure that facilities are patrolled and well lit. Whenever possible, travel in a group, as there have been reports of attacks on tourists walking alone.

Robberies and bus/carjackings occur along Honduran highways. Intercity public transportation should be avoided, especially on the road from Limones to La Unión and in the Sula Valley in northern Honduras. Armed gangs frequently perpetrate robberies along road CA-11a from La Esperanza to Gracias, as well as on Route 41 in Olancho around Salamá and northward to Saba. Route 39 between Gualaco and San Esteban is also dangerous and should be avoided. Remain alert en route to El Progreso, Tela, Trujillo, La Ceiba, and on the road through Santa Bárbara. Travelling on major roads between towns and cities is safer than travelling on remote routes.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, is prevalent. Be highly cautious at all times, including in the vicinity of hotels, airports, bus terminals, shopping malls and other public places. Do not display signs of affluence, such as valuables (including cameras and phones), cash and bank or credit cards. Remain alert to your surroundings after using automated banking machines, and avoid carrying large sums of money. Avoid walking or travelling alone and after dark, particularly in Tegucigalpa, in San Pedro Sula and in the regions of Atlántida, Cortés, Colón, Yoro, Copán and Ocotepeque.

Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Carry photocopies of your travel documents while leaving the originals in the hotel safe.

Narcotics smuggling and violence pose threats to the security of travellers in the northern departments of Colón, Gracias a Dios and Olancho, which is one of the most violent departments in Honduras. Travellers in that area should be particularly vigilant, as there have been incidents involving roadblocks and violence related to land disputes, particularly in the north coast area near Trujillo.

You should also exercise caution at borders with Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua and use official border points only. Cross the border in the morning, as crossings sometimes close early in the evening.

The judicial and criminal investigation systems both lack personnel, equipment and resources and have limited capacity to confront crime. You should exercise caution when dealing with police officers since corruption exists within parts of the police force.

Demonstrations

Occasional demonstrations and strikes addressing various grievances occur in the capital and in other cities and might cause traffic disruptions. Demonstrations on the island of Roatán are frequent and have resulted in the closure of Roatán International Airport. Periodic violence may occur on the streets as a result of protests. Avoid demonstrations and large crowds, stay alert, exercise caution, and keep informed of possible roadblocks.

Landmines

Unmarked landmine fields are located on both sides of the Honduras-Nicaragua border, especially in the Río Coco region, the departments of Choluteca and El Paraíso, and near the Atlantic coast. Although significant progress has been made in clearing these areas, landslides and floods have scattered many of the remaining mines, making the border area unsafe. Be extremely cautious if travelling in this area. Restrict travel to major thoroughfares and border crossings, such as El Espino (La Fraternidad), Las Manos and Guasaule.

Border crossing fees

To avoid possible excessive charges at land border crossings, determine the correct fees from the embassy or consulate of each country you plan to visit before presenting yourself at a border crossing.

Road travel

Heavy rains, flooding, landslides and bridge collapses have damaged many roads. Roads are often poorly marked and lit. Avoid driving at night, as vehicles often travel on roadways without proper lighting and animals and pedestrians are common on roads after dark. Traffic accidents are a common cause of death and injury. Drivers involved in road accidents where another person is badly injured may be held in custody, regardless of culpability.

The most dangerous stretches are from Tegucigalpa to Choluteca (mountain curves); from El Progreso to La Ceiba (animal crossings and poorly maintained bridges); and from Tegucigalpa to Copán (mountain curves and poor road conditions). Carry a phone in case of emergency and travel during daylight hours.

Thieves are known to pose as victims of road accidents, so do not stop to attend to a body on the roadside; report it to the next police point instead. Be cautious when dealing with police officials, as gang members sometimes disguise themselves as police officers. Drive with windows closed and doors locked at all times. At roadblocks, establish the identity of the individuals stopping you before rolling down the window or opening the door.

Public transportation

Most urban public buses are poorly maintained and erratically driven. Accidents are common. Use buses operated by private companies.

Use taxis from a reputable taxi service. Note the driver's name and licence number, arrange with the driver not to pick up any other passengers on the way to your destination, and agree on the fare in advance.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Marine transportation

In the area off the northeast coast of Honduras, armed assaults against private vessels have been perpetrated by criminals posing as fishermen. Sailors should contact local authorities for current information.

General safety information

Only undertake sea diving and other adventure sports with a well-established company. If you have any doubt concerning the security of the installations or equipment, refrain from using them.

Emergency services

The emergency number for local police is 199. Police response to criminal incidents may be limited and delayed, and the Honduran police generally do not speak English or French.

There are tourist police forces in Tegucigalpa, Roatán, La Ceiba, Copán, Tela and San Pedro Sula.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Central America and Mexico, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central America and Mexico. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Central America and Mexico, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Central America and Mexico, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Private hospitals and clinics in urban areas (including Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula) are often better staffed and equipped than public or rural facilities.

Physicians and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for medical care. Credit cards are accepted. Medical facilities on the Bay Islands (Roatán, Útila, Guanaja) are extremely limited.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws

Honduran law prohibits the export of firearms, antiques and artifacts from pre-colonial civilizations. It is also illegal to export certain birds, feathers and other flora and fauna.

An International Driving Permit is required.

Money

The currency is the lempira (HNL). You cannot exchange Canadian dollars in Honduras, although U.S. dollars and traveller’s cheques are easily converted. A passport is required for all financial transactions; however, institutions accept a certified photocopy of the identification page. Credit cards are widely accepted.

Climate

The hurricane season extends from June to the end of November. The National Hurricane Center provides additional information on weather conditions. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.

In the rainy season, which extends from May to November, major highways are often closed due to rockslides and flooding. Follow regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly. During the dry season (from December to April), widespread forest fires often cause airport closures. Severe air pollution resulting from these fires can lead to respiratory problems.

Honduras is located in an active seismic zone. Familiarize yourself with earthquake precautionary measures.