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Country Guides for Central America

Honduras

Honduras If you're looking for a Central American destination off the beaten tourist track, Honduras is the place. Teaming with brightly colored sea creatures, the clear, warm water offers excellent swimming, diving and snorkeling, and the white sand beaches are the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. For those with an interest in archeology, the Copan Ruins Archeological Site offers a fascinating glimpse into Mayan life and architecture. And for animal lovers, the rainforests of Honduras are home to a wealth of exotic wildlife, including white-tailed deer, scarlet macaws, jaguars, toucans, butterflies and over 700 bird species. Carefully conserved cloud forests, biosphere reserves, national parks, and other protected areas help ensure that these forests will continue to survive.

Language: Spanish, Amerind dialects

Major International Airports:

City

Airport
Airport
Code
Distance
From City
TegucigalpaTegucigalpa Int'lTGU3 miles N

The preventive measures you need to take while traveling to Mexico and Central America depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. You should observe the precautions listed in this document in most areas of this region.

Food and Waterborne Diseases

Make sure your food and drinking water are safe. Food and waterborne diseases are the primary cause of illness in travelers. Travelers' diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout this region and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage ( hepatitis). Gnathostomiasis (roundworms) has increased in Mexico, with many cases being reported from the Acapulco area, infection has been reported in travelers. Humans become infected by eating undercooked fish or poultry, or reportedly by drinking contaminated water.

Diseases found in Mexico and Central America (risk can vary by country and region within a country; quality of in-country surveillance also varies)

Malaria
Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness.

Humans get malaria from the bite of a mosquito infected with the parasite. Prevent this serious disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites (see below). Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including some cities. Travelers to malaria-risk areas, including infants, children, and former residents of Mexico and Central America, should take an antimalarial drug.

Chloroquine is the recommended drug for Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and the Bocas Del Toro Province of Panama. Travelers to Darién Province and San Blas Province in Panama (including the San Blas Islands) should take one of the following antimalarial drugs: (listed alphabetically): atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine (in special circumstances).

Yellow Fever
Yellow fever is present only in Panama in this region. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain countries in the region if you have visited Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, or an endemic area in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

Other Disease Risks
Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, and American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Myiasis (botfly) is endemic in Central America. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.

Other Health Risks

Injuries
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from motor vehicle injuries: avoid drinking and driving; wear your safety belt and place children in age-appropriate restraints in the back seat; follow the local customs and laws regarding pedestrian safety and vehicle speed; obey the rules of the road; and use helmets on bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes. Avoid boarding an overloaded bus or mini-bus. Where possible, hire a local driver.

Routine Vaccinations

Check with your healthcare provider: you and your family may need routine as well as recommended vaccinations.

Before travel, be sure you and your children are up to date on all routine immunizations according to schedules approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). See the schedule for adults and the schedule for infants and children. Some schedules can be accelerated for travel.

See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect. If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. It might not be too late to get your shots or medications as well as other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

Recommended Vaccinations

The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to The Mexico and Central America. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

  • hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
  • hepatitis B, especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
  • rabies, if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling, or engaging in certain occupational activities.
  • typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region. typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors
  • Yellow Fever, for travelers to endemic areas in Panama
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles.

Required Vaccinations

  • None.
  • All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:

    • When using repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid children's eyes and mouth and use it sparingly around their ears.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or, if hands are not visibly soiled, use a waterless, alcohol-based hand rub to remove potentially infectious materials from your skin and help prevent disease transmission.
    • In developing countries, drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, learn how to make water safer to drink.
    • Take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your health care provider for a prescription.)
    • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, even on beaches.
    • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
    • Protect yourself from mosquito and insect bites.
    • Do not eat food purchased from street vendors or food that is not well cooked to reduce risk of infection (i.e., hepatitis A and typhoid fever).
    • Do not drink beverages with ice.
    • Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.
    • Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as schistosomiasis.
    • Do not handle animals, especially monkeys, dogs, and cats, to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague). Consider pre-exposure rabies vaccination if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas.
    • Do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing or injections to prevent infections such as HIV and hepatitis B.

    After You Return Home

    If you have visited a malaria-risk area in Haiti or the Dominican Republic, continue taking your chloroquine for 4 weeks after leaving the risk area.

    Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the physician your travel history.



    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

    Those traveling to Honduras are at risk from dengue fever and malaria transmitted by mosquito bites, leishmaniasis from sandfly bites, and Chagas disease from triatomine bugs, as well as other insect-borne diseases. Travelers should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing.

    The water supply in Honduras is grossly contaminated with viruses, bacteria and protozoa. Travelers should treat water before drinking to avoid potentially serious health problems.

    SAFETY AND SECURITY: Political demonstrations occur sporadically. They can disrupt traffic, but they are generally announced in advance and are usually peaceful. Travelers should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place, and they should keep informed by following the local news and consulting hotel personnel and tour guides.

    There have been kidnapping attempts and threats against a few U.S. citizens. For more information, we strongly encourage travelers to visit the U.S. Embassy's website at www.usmission.hn/english/mission/security.htm and click on Personal Security Measures - Kidnap Briefing. There have also been incidents involving roadblocks and violence connected with land disputes that can delay travel, particularly in the north coast area near Trujillo.

    The areas off both coasts of Honduras have been the subject of maritime border disputes between Honduras and its neighbors. The Honduran Navy patrols these areas, and all private vessels transiting Honduran territorial waters should be prepared to be hailed and possibly boarded by Honduran military personnel to verify documentation. The Honduran Navy uses private vessels as well as military vessels to patrol Honduran waters. In the event that any vessel is hailed in Honduran waters in the Caribbean by a non-military vessel or any suspicious vessel and directed to prepare for boarding, the vessel should immediately contact the U.S. Coast Guard Operations Center by radio or INMARSAT at
    305-415-6800. Anyone needing more information can also contact the U.S Embassy and request the U.S. Military Group (USMILGP) Duty Officer.

    While the Honduran side of the Honduras-Nicaragua border has been largely cleared of land mines, travelers should exercise caution in the vicinity of the border because some land mines, scattered by flooding during Hurricane Mitch in October 1998, may still exist in the area.

    CRIME: The security situation in Honduras requires a high degree of caution, and U.S. citizens are encouraged to follow local news reports (Please see link to sources at http://www.usmission.hn/.) and contact the Honduran Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa for current conditions. Poverty, gangs, and low apprehension and conviction rates of criminals contribute to a high crime rate. Many men in Honduras carry firearms and machetes, and disputes are sometimes settled with violence. Both violent and petty crime is prevalent throughout the country. While crime affects everyone in Honduras, criminals have at times targeted persons, particularly those coming from airports (a cycle of armed robberies followed by brief increases in police patrols) and hotels, as well as wealthy-looking residents in San Pedro Sula, Tela, Trujillo, and Tegucigalpa. Street crime is a principal concern, with thefts, including purse snatching, pickpocketing, assaults, and armed robberies on the rise in urban areas. There has been an increase in street robberies by two-men teams on medium-sized motorcycles targeting pedestrians. There have been some incidents of sexual assault. Carjackings, kidnappings, muggings, and home invasions are not uncommon. The government has instituted a "zero tolerance" policy on crime. As part of this policy, the police patrol jointly with armed soldiers in major cities in an effort to reduce crime.

    Thirty-five U.S. citizens have been murdered in Honduras since 1995, and most cases remain unresolved. There are problems with the judicial process, including an acute shortage of trained personnel, equipment, staff, financial resources, and reports of corruption. The Honduran law enforcement authorities' ability to prevent, respond, investigate, apprehend, file Interpol reports, and prosecute criminal incidents remains limited. Honduran police generally do not speak English. The government has recently established a special tourist police in the resort towns of Tela and La Ceiba and plans to expand this force to other popular tourist destinations.

    The San Pedro Sula area has seen occasional armed robberies against tourist vans, minibuses and cars traveling from the airport to area hotels, infrequently targeting the road to Copan. Vehicles force the transport off the road, and then men with AK-47s rob the victims, occasionally assaulting the driver or passengers. Robberies in this area may be based on tips from sources at airport arrival areas associated with large amounts of luggage/supplies usually for groups - not average tourists; please exercise caution in discussing travel plans in public.

    Copan, the Bay Islands and other tourist destinations have a lower crime rate than other parts of the country, but petty thefts and assaults do occur. Specifically, visitors to Copan and the Bay Islands have experienced some petty thefts and, on Roatan Island, robbers have targeted homes and longer-term leased residences. Hotels and pensions are considered safer. U.S. citizens visiting the islands should exercise particular caution around sparsely inhabited coastal areas and should avoid walking on isolated beaches, especially at night. While incidents of serious violent crime in these regions are infrequent, three U.S. citizens have been murdered in Roatan since 1998. However, all the victims in Roatan were either residing in Roatan and/or involved in real estate or commercial ventures. Coxen Hole should be avoided after dark.

    Although not a primary tourist destination, the northern part of the Department of Olancho is known for lumber and narcotics smuggling and violence. Travelers in that area should use extra caution. See the description of highways/areas to be avoided for details.

    Incidents of crime along roads in Honduras are common. There have been frequent incidents of highway robbery on a number of roads including Limones to La Union, Olancho (route 41) via Salama and northward to Esquipulas Del Norte. For more information, please see the section below on Travel Safety and Road Conditions.

    Tourists and residents should avoid walking at night in most areas of Honduras, especially in the major cities. Night driving is also discouraged. Tourists, in particular, should not hike alone in backcountry areas, nor walk alone on beaches, historic ruins or trails. All bus travel should be during daylight hours and on first-class conveyances, not on economy buses. Please pick taxis carefully, and note the driver's name and license number. Instruct the driver not to pick up other passengers, agree on the fare before you depart, and have small bills available for payment, as taxi drivers often do not make change.

    Please do not resist a robbery attempt. Most criminals have weapons, and most injuries and deaths have resulted when victims have resisted. Two foreign tourists were murdered in July 2002 while resisting an armed robbery on a public bus in which they were traveling. Do not hitchhike or go home with strangers, particularly from nightspots. Whenever possible, travel in groups of two or more persons. Use the same common sense while traveling in Honduras that you would in any high crime area of a major U.S. city. Do not wear excessive jewelry in downtown or rural areas. Do not carry large sums of money, display cash in general, ATM or credit cards you do not need, or other valuables.

    There have been incidents of armed assaults against private sailing vessels by criminals posing as fishermen off the northeast coast of Honduras, particularly in the numerous small islands northeast of the coast of the Department of Gracias a Dios. Sailors should contact the Coast Guard and yacht facility managers in their areas of travel for current information.

    The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Groups should send passport, date of birth and emergency contact information to the American Citizens Services section of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa via fax, 011-504-238-4357, prior to travel. Individuals as well as groups should keep a copy of the passport data page and leave a copy at home with a friend or family member. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/.

    If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to the local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa or the Consular Agency in San Pedro Sula for assistance. The Embassy staff can, for example, assist you in finding appropriate medical care, in contacting family members or friends, and in explaining how funds can be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of crime (with the exception of certain terrorist acts) is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and help you to find an attorney if needed.



    Source: U.S. Department of State

    Although all of Honduras lies within the tropics, the climatic types of each of the three physiographic regions differ. The Caribbean lowlands have a tropical wet climate with consistently high temperatures and humidity, and rainfall fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The Pacific lowlands have a tropical wet and dry climate with high temperatures but a distinct dry season from November through April. The interior highlands also have a distinct dry season, but, as is characteristic of a tropical highland climate, temperatures in this region decrease as elevation increases. Honduras lies within the hurricane belt, and the Caribbean coast is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes or tropical storms that travel inland from the Caribbean.


    City
    Annual
    Precip. Days
    Annual
    Precip. Totals
    Tegucigalpa6931"

    Honduras's electrical current is 110/60 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items.

    To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

    For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

    Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

    ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS: All U.S. citizens must have a valid U.S. passport to enter and depart Honduras. A visa is not required, but tourists must provide proof of return or onward travel.

    Parents should not rely on birth certificates for travel of their children; rather, they should obtain U.S. passports for infants and minors born in the U.S. prior to travel. For U.S. citizen children born in the United States to Honduran parents, Honduran Immigration provides an "evidence of continuance" (Constancia de Permanencia) stamp placed in the U.S. passport that allows the child to enter, depart, and remain in Honduras. Visitors are given a permit to remain in Honduras for 30 days. Honduran immigration may grant up to two thirty-day extensions for a total of 90 days. Thereafter, tourists must leave the country prior to reentering.

    On departure, visitors are required to pay an exit fee, either in dollars or in local currency, at the airline counter. The current fee for international departures is $25 per visit, and an additional $2 agricultural inspection fee has recently been added. This fee is subject to change.

    In an effort to prevent international child abduction and trafficking in persons, many governments have initiated special procedures at entry/exit points regarding the travel of minors. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/exit. Minors who are dual U.S.-Honduran nationals or who are resident in Honduras require notarized consent from both parents if traveling alone or in someone else's custody, or from the absent parent if traveling with only one parent. In cases where one parent has sole custody, the custodial parent must submit the custody decree to Honduran immigration upon departure.

    For more information concerning entry and exit requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of Honduras at 3007 Tilden Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 966-7702; or a Honduran consulate in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, and San Francisco. The Honduran Embassy’s e-mail address is embassy@honduras.emb.org, and interested individuals may visit the Embassy's website for additional contact information through http://www.embassy.org/ or http://www.state.gov/. For tourist information or suggestions, please contact the Honduras Institute of Tourism at 1-800-410-9608 (in the United States), at 1-800-222-TOUR (8687) (within Honduras only) or visit their website http://www.hondurastips.honduras.com/. The Honduran Ministry of Tourism's website is http://www.letsgohonduras.com.



    Source: U.S. Department of State

    The time zone for Honduras is -6 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Honduras would be 11:00 am

    The unit of currency in Honduras is the lempira (HNL).

    Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

    Traveled to Honduras?

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    Other Travelers' Experiences in Honduras

    "In the month of June, wear light colored loose fitting cottons and drink lots of bottled water. Dehydration can happen quickly. Don't let yourself become thirsty.
    Rest in the middle of the day if possible. Shower from the neck down only as water that is not safe to drink can enter the body through the eyes and mouth while showering. Brush teeth with bottled water."