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Honduras

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: [teɣusiˈɣalpa]) — 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.

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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

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.

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.

Honduras Travel Guide: The Top 10 Highlights in Honduras (Globetrotter Guide Books)

Marc Cook

Honduras: Experience the World’s Top Eco-Tourism Destination!

Thinking of your next vacation, but not sure where to go? Would you prefer some quiet time lounging on a dazzling beach, or would you like a more adrenaline filled trip, with water sports and great opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Or, maybe, you want to discover a new culture and experience a brand new city. Well then look no further. Honduras is the place to visit whether you’re interested in just one or each one of these options.

This Central American nation borders the Caribbean Sea and offers its visitors some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, beautiful colonial towns and amazing natural parks just waiting to be explored.

Honduras has a great array a touristic attractions and it can be quite difficult to pick those you are sure to enjoy. That is why you must get this compact book, which will give you the most important information about the places you can’t afford to miss while visiting Honduras.

Inside the Honduras Travel Guide:

ComayaguaCopanRio Platano Biosphere ReserveUtilaRoatanBay Island Underwater MuseumLa CeibaSan Pedro SulaTegucigalpaTela

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Maya and seek refuge in one of Honduras’ spectacular jungles. The idyllic landscapes will be more than enough to keep you entertained and happy during your stay.

Honduras also has several colonial cities with great architecture and old-world charm. Starting with the former capital city of Comayagua, tourists who want to experience the Honduras lifestyle should simply take a stroll through the cobbled stoned streets.

One of the many things Honduras is famous for is its eco-tourism. But, did you know you can take a tour of one of the many eco-tourist attractions and see firsthand how Honduran biodiversity is maintained?

Well, in this easy to read travel guide you’ll find out which are the most popular eco-tourist destinations, but also the most interesting parks and natural reserves and what other amazing things you can do while vacationing in Honduras.

Do it now! Get the Honduras Travel Guide right now and start planning a fun-filled vacation!

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.