Honduras travel guide
The second-largest country in Central America – and also one of the poorest – Honduras is once ugly and beautiful. Behind the reefs and rainforests, it has the unfortunate claim to being the murder capital of the world and the high crime risk means visitors should be cautious at all times. Some may advise against visiting altogether, but to do so would be to miss out – for Honduras has much to offer those adventurous enough to visit.
The Bay Islands are perhaps the country’s biggest drawing card. The archipelago offers some of the best diving in Central America, not to mention the chance to swim with dolphins and come face to face with whale sharks. The less adventurous can lounge in hammocks and soak up the party vibe, if that sounds too wild.
Back on the mainland, sweeping Caribbean beaches are scattered with charming towns such as Trujillo, with its pirate history, and traditional Garifuna villages, whose Afro-Caribbean culture is an integral part of the national identity. The great Pico Bonito National Park boasts jaguars, monkeys and countless bird species, while the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, teems with exotic wildlife and indigenous communities.
In the midst of all this nature, Honduras’ cities are easily forgotten and although soaring crime rates in the likes of San Pedro Sula keep visitors away, it would be a shame to miss out on the colonial architecture of the capital city Tegucigalpa, the Semana Santa celebrations in Comayagua or the lively carnival in La Ceiba.
It may be troubled, but Honduras is a passionate nation, where religion, tradition and family values are the backbone of society and where a love for the national football team can unite even ardent enemies. It is a country where tortillas and beans are served with every meal, where hips swing to Latino beats and the national beer is called Salva Vida, meaning “lifesaver.” It is a country of untamed beauty and wild tropical adventure. Just tread carefully.
112,090 sq km (43,278 sq miles).
8,189,501 (UN estimate 2016).
78 per sq km.
President Juan Orlando Hernández since 2014.
President Juan Orlando Hernández since 2014.
110 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style flat two-pin plugs (with or without grounding pin) are used.
Last updated: 13 March 2017
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
There are high levels of crime. Most serious crime doesn’t affect tourists but attacks on foreigners including armed robbery and sexual assault do sometimes occur. These attacks can take place anywhere and at any time of the day. People have been killed and injured resisting attack. It is useful to carry a small amount of money to hand out in the event of a robbery.
The Bay Islands are generally safer than mainland Honduras, but there have been several attacks on visitors, including on the ferries to and from mainland Honduras. If you’re visiting Roatán, travel with a reputable guide. If you’re driving a car or scooter, avoid side roads in remote areas particularly Palm Beach Road close to Milton Bright. Take care on beaches in Tela and the north coast towns after dark. There have been attacks on foreigners on beaches after dark.
Take care if you are travelling alone. In remote areas it may be safer to travel with others or take part in a tour. Never accept lifts from strangers or attempt to hitchhike. Be vigilant of your surroundings at all times and in all locations.
There have been reports of violent attacks on cars and buses. Using a reputable tour company for longer journeys may reduce the risks. On shorter distances, use radio or hotel taxis.
Petty theft is a problem in cities and tourist areas, including the Bay Islands (Roatán, Utila and Guanaja). Avoid walking around Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula and other main towns and cities on mainland Honduras. Be particularly careful at bus stations, airports, isolated beaches, tourist sites and on public transport. Keep your valuables locked away in a safe if possible. Avoid displaying valuable items like jewellery, cameras, MP3 players, iPads and mobile phones.
It’s safer to withdraw money from ATMs in shopping centres and to change money in hotels or banks. Don’t withdraw too much money at one time. There have been attacks on foreigners after they have withdrawn money from ATMs. Avoid withdrawing money at night.
Foreign visitors and residents can be targeted by scam artists. The scams come in many forms, and can pose great financial loss. If you or your relatives or friends are asked to transfer money to Honduras make absolutely sure that it is not part of a scam and that you have properly checked with the person receiving the money that they are requesting it.
The Honduran military has been deployed in some parts of the country to support the national police.
Don’t travel around after dark as you greatly increase the risk of attack. Roads that have seen attacks include routes from Limones to La Union, from Olancho via Salama to Saba, from Gualaco to San Esteban and from La Esperanza to Gracias. The isolated roads of the Department of Santa Barbara have also seen criminal activity, and hijackings of vehicles have occurred on roads in and around Tela, La Ceiba, Trujillo and El Progreso.
Take particular care near the borders with Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Travellers have been targeted by armed robbers after crossing the Honduran border into El Salvador. It is often better to cross borders in the morning as they sometimes close in the early evening or remain unmanned at night.
There are unmarked minefields in/around the border with Nicaragua. Take care and avoid walking on unmarked paths or off main roads in these areas.
You can use your UK Driving Licence to drive in Honduras if you are visiting for under 3 months, but an International Driving Permit is recommended.
Make sure you have adequate insurance. If you are involved in an accident, contact the police (199) or the fire brigade (198) and stay with your vehicle. If you are in a serious accident you may be held in custody regardless of responsibility. Seek legal help and inform the British Embassy in Guatemala. Take full details of the other driver (who may not be insured), and don’t rely solely on the vehicle’s number plate.
Driving standards in Honduras are generally poor. You may need a 4×4 vehicle if you are not travelling on main roads. You should avoid road travel at night. Many vehicles travel without lights, and animals often wander across the roads causing accidents.
It is generally safer to travel on main roads between major cities and tourist destinations. Lock vehicle doors and keep windows closed. If possible, travel in convoy. Following any traffic accident, you should normally wait for the police to arrive.
Public buses are often poorly maintained, overcrowded and recklessly driven. Accidents are common and sometimes fatal. You should avoid travel on public buses. There has been an increase of armed attacks by local gangs on bus drivers and conductors, often resulting in serious injury or death. There have been reports of violent muggings, including rape and assault against foreigners on these buses. Luxury buses, normally operated by private companies, are usually better maintained.
Protests and large demonstrations can often occur with little or no notice. Most demonstrations are peaceful, but they can turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations. You should not attempt to pass through any blockades. Please monitor local press, radio and TV, or contact the British Embassy, Guatemala for local updates.
The Honduran Constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners. If you take part in demonstrations you may be detained and/or deported.
There’s no British Embassy in Honduras. If you need consular assistance, you should contact the British Embassy in Guatemala City, or one of our two Honorary Consuls in Honduras:
Consular Section, British Embassy, Guatemala City: Telephone: +(502) 2380 7300; Email: email@example.com
Honorary Consul (Tegucigalpa):
Honorary Consul (Roatán & Bay Islands):