| República de Honduras|
Republic of Honduras
| Motto: Libre, Soberana e Independiente |
(English: "Free, Independent and Sovereign")
|National anthem: Himno Nacional de Honduras|
|Government||Democratic constitutional republic|
|- President||Manuel Zelaya|
|- Declared||15 September 1821|
|- Total||112,492 km² (102nd)|
43,278 sq mi
|- July 2006 est.||7,326,496 2 (96th)|
|- 2000 census||6,975,204|
|- Density|| 64/km² (128th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2005 estimate|
|- Total||$21.74 billion (107th)|
|- Per capita||$3,009 (124th)|
|HDI (2003)||0.667 (116th) – medium|
|Currency|| Lempira (|
|Time zone||CST (UTC -6)|
|- Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Calling code|| |
| 1 Although Honduras has no official motto, "NO PASARÁN" or "They shall not pass" became popular during the 1969 war with El Salvador. This is an allusion to the El Salvador's stated goal to reach the Honduran Caribbean coast during their offensive.|
Introduction to Honduras
Many would say Honduras was the original Banana Republic, a term representing poverty and corruption. When I first came to Honduras, I rushed through the country in a haste to check out the ancient Copan ruins and the photogenic Bay Islands. It wasn't until subsequent trips that I began to realize Honduras is a land of wonderfully untouched tropical splendour and natural beauty.
As Central America's second largest country, and Latin America's second poorest nation (losing in both categories to Nicaragua), Honduras sprawls from the broad Caribbean Mesquitia flatlands on the north and east, through the cooler interior mountains, and south to its sun-baked smaller coast, the Golfo de Fonseca on the Pacific.
A quarter of the country's land is represented by an extensive network of national parks and reserves. While the money made from ecotourism is increasing into the hands of a few, of greater concern are the population pressures undermining the integrity of these protected lands. Still, remoter regions of the parks hold a tremendous amount of flora and fauna within fantastic stretches of virgin tropical forest and cloudforest, it's just hard to get to.
Though Honduras aligned itself with the US preventing much of the bitter conflicts during the recent turbulent war years in Central America, this relationship didn't help diminish the country's severe economic and social problems. Visitors can find it disturbing to witness deprived and destitute people first hand. Half of the population lives in poverty, and a quarter are illiterate. Then counter in the country's escalating birth rate, and depressing shantytowns around the major cities are growing out of control.
There have been reports of several kidnappings of wealthy people lately. A friend just returned from Honduras and says you almost need a gun, though I presume that was an exaggeration.
As a traveller, you need to work around these problem areas by doing some thorough investigation and planning ahead. I strongly suggest you rent a car or even better in the rainy season, a 4WD.
A land of nature and adventureIn spite of the poverty, Honduras is a vibrant country, brimming with clear turquois waters, pristine beaches, lush jungles, breathtaking mountains, challenging rivers, and fascinating ancient ruins. Vast expanses of mother nature are to be found everywhere. I welcome you to take a chance and learn more about this beautiful country here, explore all it's wonders, and eventually, see Honduras for yourself.
There are mountains to climb and a cloud forest of a mysterious character, waterways to explore, clear jungle rivers with rapids, coastal lagoons, and narrow wetland canals.There are exotic animals to discover, pristine places to contemplate, dozens of parks and protected areas, tropical nature, incredible biological diversity, vast rainforests, and so many birds. The north and south coasts are lined with towering, old growth mangrove swamps and coastal lagoons rich with life. And the entire northeast corner is a vast, trackless wilderness called La Moskitia, also known as the "Moskito Coast".
In Honduras the beaches are perfect for vacation travel getaways. The beaches of Roatan are pristine, you can fish Honduras waters, or take an ecotour to Guanaja. Utila diving is affordable, and Tela beaches are excellent.
Ecotours, inexpensive scuba diving, river rafting, and mountain treks are what Honduras is becoming known for. Honduras is enjoying a boom in popularity, as the rich and famous have found a place where they can still travel unknown. First time visitors to Honduras are amazed by the warmth of Honduran hospitality. Returning travellers have never forgotten it.
The Indigenous PeopleThe pre-Columbian city of Copán is a locale in extreme northwest Honduras, in the department of Copán near the Guatemalan border. It was a major Mayan city that existed during the classic period (150-900 A.D). It has many beautiful carved inscriptions and stelae. The ancient kingdom, named Xukpi, flourished from the 5th century AD to the early 9th century, with antecedents going back to at least the 2nd century AD.
They followed the Aztec civilization in many respects. They made and traded in beautiful pottery and colorful ceramics, their towns developed huge impressive open plazas for meeting, some of their techniques in agriculture and irrigation to grow their beans and corn were ahead of Egypt at the time. They used indigo to write on animal skin parchments, and their calendar still amazes experts today for accuracy. Some filed their teeth, and several jade figurines were carved with enlarged genitalia to signify the importance of fertility. They had a system of slaves reflecting the class structure, with commoners, nobles and unreproachable high priests at the top calling the shots; who lived, who was sacrificed. After sacrificing some slaves, they were eaten for purification. Virgins were forever being thrown into volcanos, a long way from present day democracy!
The Maya civilization changed in the 9th century AD, and they stopped writing texts at Copan, but there is evidence of people still living in and around the city until at least 1200 AD. By the time the Spanish came to Honduras, the once great city-state of Copán was overrun by the jungle.
European arrivalOn his fourth and final voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus reached the coast of Honduras in 1502, and landed near the modern town of Trujillo, somewhere along the Guaimoreto Lagoon, and had his priests say mass. After the Spanish discovery, Honduras became part of Spain's vast empire in the New World within the Kingdom of Guatemala. The Spanish ruled Honduras for approximately three centuries.
Honduras declared independence from Spain on September 15, 1821 with the rest of the Central America provinces. In 1822 the Central American State was annexed to the newly declared Mexican Empire of Iturbide. The Iturbide Empire was quickly overthown in 1823 and Central America separated from it, forming the Federation of the United Provinces, which disintegrated in 1838 into independent nations.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Honduras joined the Allied Nations on the 8th of December, 1941. Less than a month later, on the first day of 1942, Honduras, along with 25 other governments signed the Declaration by United Nations.
Modern historyThe so-called Soccer War of 1969 was fought with El Salvador, a soccer match igniting the fire. There had always been border tension between the two countries after Oswaldo López Arellano, past president of Honduras, blamed the poor economy on the large number of immigrants from El Salvador. From that point on, the relationship between El Salvador and Honduras had been a sour one. It reached a low when El Salvador met Honduras for a three-round football elimination match as a preliminary to the World Cup. Tensions escalated, and on July 14, 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack against Honduras. The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire which took effect on July 20, 1969 with the Salvadoran troops withdrawn in early August. The war lasted approximately 100 hours and led to an arms race between the two countries.
During the 1980s, the United States established a military presence in Honduras for the purpose of supporting the anti-Sandinista Contras fighting the Nicaraguan government and to support the El Salvador military fighting against the FMLN guerrillas. Though spared the bloody civil wars wracking its neighbors, the Honduran army quietly waged a campaign against leftists.
Hurricane Fifí caused severe damage while skimming the northern coast of Honduras on September 18 and 19, 1974. In 1998 Hurricane Mitch devastated the country and brought Honduras to its knees economically.
GeographyHonduras borders the Caribbean Sea on the north coast and has a small Pacific coastline on the south at the Gulf of Fonseca. The climate varies from tropical in the lowlands to temperate in the mountains. The central and southern regions are relatively hotter but less humid than the northern coast.
81% of Honduras is mountainous with narrow plains along the coasts, a large undeveloped lowland jungle, La Mosquitia region in the northeast and the heavily populated lowland San Pedro Sula valley in the northwest. In La Mosquitia lies the UNESCO-world heritage site Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, with the Coco River dividing the country from Nicaragua.
Natural resources include timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, shrimp, and hydropower.
EconomyHonduras is one of the poorest countries in the Americas, with GDP per capita at US$3009 per year (2005). The economy has continued to grow slowly but the distribution of wealth remains very polarized with average wages remaining very low. Economic growth is roughly 5% a year, but many people remain below the poverty line. It is estimated that there are more than 1.2 million people who are unemployed. The rate of unemployment is estimated at 28%.
In 2005 Honduras signed the(Central American Free Trade Agreement) with the USA. In December 2005, Honduras' main seaport Puerto Cortes was included in the U.S. Container Security Initiative.
Both the electricity services (ENEE) and land line telephone services (HONDUTEL) were run by government monopolies, with the ENEE receiving heavy subsidies from the government because of its chronic financial problems. HONDUTEL however is no longer a monopoly. The telecomunication sector was opened after December 25, 2005 as one of the requirements of CAFTA. There are price controls dealing with the price of gas, and other temporary price controls of basic commodities often passed for short periods by the congress.
After years of declining against the US dollar, the Lempira has stabilized at around 19 Lempiras per dollar.
DemographicsThe population of Honduras is predominantly of Mestizo (Spanish Indian) descent and Roman Catholic faith. Along the northern coast until recently were communities of English speakers who maintained a separate culture, as some islands and sections along the Caribbean coast were occupied by pirates and by the British at one time or another. Groups of Garífuna (people of mixed Amerindian and African ancestry) live along the north coast and islands, where there are also many Afro-Latin Americans. Garífunas are part of Honduras' identity through theatrical presentations such as Louvavagu. Asians in Honduras are mostly of Chinese and Japanese descent. Hundreds of families can find their roots in the Middle East, specifically Lebanon and Palestine. These Arab-Hondurans are sometimes called "turcos", because they arrived in Honduras using Turkish travel documents, as their homelands were then under the control of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The "turcos", along with the Jewish minority population, exert considerable influence on Honduran economics and politics through their industrial and financial interests. Many other Hondurans have connections to Spain, the United States (especially New Orleans) and the Cayman Islands.
Chortí (Mayan descent), Pech or Paya, Tolupan or Xicaque, Lenca, Sumo or Tawahka, and Miskito still exist, and most still keep their language, Lenca being an exception. For the most part, these tribes live in extreme poverty. Of course, what's new?
The country is also home to eight ethnic groups of black, Indian and white heritage. These are located all around the country and have enriched Honduran culture with their own handicrafts, folklore and ways of living in harmony with nature. Some, like the Garifuna and the Miskitos, occupy large portions of the country, while others, like the Tawahka, the Pech and the Tolupanes, live in very small areas. The Lencas, the Islanders and the Chorti complete the country’s indigenous variation.
Security and Safety
The following safety information was largely taken U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, and should really be taken with a grain of salt. Though they are basically correct, they tend to exaggerate the frequency of safety problems for very obvious reasons. They don't want you to go to Honduras, but would rather you spend your hard earned dollars on American soil. Anyone could write about the United States saying many similar deflamatory statements, murders, rapes, theft. When you are dealing with millions of people, of course these type of events will occur, but it is the frequency that really counts, or you will end up spending your life hiding under your bed! Anyway, here goes.
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 foreigners. 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.
The security situation in Honduras requires a high degree of caution, and travellers are encouraged to follow local news reports (Anyone can 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.
Over forty foreigners 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in your home country for similar offenses. Persons violating Honduran laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Honduras are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. For more information, anyone can check the U.S. Embassy's web site at http://www.usmission.hn for the handout on 'If You are Arrested in Honduras'.
Medical care in Honduras varies in quality. Although doctors are generally well trained, support staff and facilities are not up to First World standards. Facilities for advanced surgical procedures are not available. The islands of Roatan, Utila, and Guanaja do not have a general surgery hospital. There is a decompression chamber on Roatan for divers. Travelers carrying prescription medicine should ensure that the medication is clearly labeled.
Honduras is prone to flooding and landslides from heavy rains, especially during the rainy season, which generally occurs from June to December. Hurricane Mitch caused extensive damage and loss of life in October 1998. General information for anyone about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in a Honduras, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in your home country. The information below concerning Honduras is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstances.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Because of crime and poor road conditions, driving can be very dangerous, and travelers may want to carry a cellular phone in case of an emergency. Travelers should exercise extreme caution while driving on isolated stretches of road and passing on mountainous curves. Rockslides are common, especially in the rainy season (June through December). Traffic signs, even on major highways, are often inadequate, and streets in the major cities are often unmarked. Travelers should drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.
Major highways have been rebuilt following the destruction caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, though many stretches are still under repair. Major cities are connected by an inconsistently maintained, two-lane system of paved roads, and many secondary roads in Honduras are unpaved. During the rainy season, even major highways are often closed due to rockslides and flooding. Hurricane Mitch washed out many bridges throughout the country, and temporary repairs are vulnerable to heavy rains.
Some of the most dangerous stretches for road travel include: Tegucigalpa to Choluteca, because of dangerous mountain curves; El Progreso to La Ceiba, because of animal crossings and the poor condition of bridges from flooding; and Limones to La Union, Olancho (route 41) via Salama and northward to Saba. This stretch of road is also referred to by locals as the “Corridor of Death” because of frequent incidents of highway robbery.
Route 39 through northern Olancho Department between Gualaco and San Esteban is highly dangerous and should be avoided.
Route 43 in northwest Olancho Department from Talanga to Olanchito via Yoro route 23 is a primary route to the north coast. The only other recommended route to the north coast from the south is CA-5 to route 21 to CA-13 via Tela to La Ceiba and Trujillo.
Honduran roads also suffer from a general lack of lighting and poorly marked highways. Vehicles are often driven at night without adequate illumination, and animals and people wander onto the roads at all hours. For these reasons, and because of the high incidence of crime, you should strongly avoid car and bus travel after dark.
Hijackings of private and commercial vehicles from the United States to Honduras have occurred. Honduras and the United States have signed a stolen vehicle treaty; however, it has not yet entered into force. Moreover, since Honduran law protects good faith buyers, even of stolen vehicles, it is difficult to recover stolen vehicles.
For specific information concerning Honduran driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, anyone can contact the Honduran National Tourist Organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.hondurastips.honduras.com.
EnvironmentHonduras is part of Mesoamerica, which is the landmass that extends from Mexico to Costa Rica. The region is considered a biodiversity hotspot due to the numerous plant and animal species that can be found within. Like the other countries in the region, Honduras contains vast biological resources. This 43,278 square mile (112,092 km²) country hosts more than 6,000 species of vascular plants, of which 630, recorded so far, are Orchids. There is also 250 species of reptiles and amphibians, more than 700 bird species, and 110 mammal species, half of them being bats.
In the northeastern region of La Mosquitia lies the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, a lowland rainforest which provides home to a great diversity of life. Sometimes called "The Last Lungs of Central America", this Reserve was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1982.
Besides lush rain forests, untouched cloud forests (which can rise up to nearly three thousand meters above sea level), mangroves, savannas and mountain ranges ladden with pine and oak trees, Honduras harbours yet another priceless ecosystem, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. In the Bay Islands it is not uncommon to swim with bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, parrot fish, schools of blue tang and even the colossal whale shark. The white sands, tall coconut palms and the easy going Caribbean atmosphere provide refuge from the busy Honduran cities.
When it comes to a country with as much natural and cultural diversity as Honduras, it can be hard to decide what to see and where to start, though most start with Copan and the Bay Islands.
The Honduran Institute of Tourism has identified six separate areas of tourism, described as follows:
About Flora MesoamericanaThe first major regional flora ever written in Spanish, Flora Mesoamericana, is a collaborative effort of the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Instituto de Biología of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), London's Natural History Museum, and numerous specialists world-wide.
Honduras hosts 15 national parks, 2 biosphere reserves, and 10 biological reserves protecting over 200 indigenous bird species, and more than 20 large forest dwelling mammals. Among the most unexplored and extraordinary national parks is Pico Bonito, located just three kilometers from the Caribbean coastal town of La Ceiba. Class V whitewater rafting/kayaking (that's scarey!) on the Cangrejal River and jungle trekking surrounded by primaeval jungles and rare fauna, are among the adventure-filled possibilities awaiting the fearless voyager at Pico Bonito National Park.
ArchaeologyHonduras is world-famous for its archaeology, particularly the Mayan Copán near the Guatemala border.
Talgua Caves Archaeological and Ecological Park
The Caves of Talgua are the site of the oldest human remains found in Central America (approximately 900 years BC). The caves were apparently used as a burial site for an ancient society. Through the years, mineral deposits that precipitated from drops of water covered the bones causing them to appear phosphorescent in light. The nickname "The Cave of the Glowing Skulls" is derived from the mineral deposit-covered skulls. The remains are currently being studied; and the burial chamber is not on public display at the present time.The park is located 10 km north-east of the city of Catacamas. The entrance fee is 20 Lempiras for Honduran citizens and $5 for foreign visitors. The park is closed on Mondays. The park has all the usual facilities, cafe, toilets,
The caves are adjacent to the Talgua River and are formed in the Sierra de Agalta limestone which is covered by a tropical deciduous forest. There are two caves open to visitors, the Lower and the Upper (larger) Cave.
The Lower Cave has lights and footpaths and is well decorated with actively growing speleothems. Visitors must use a guide to enter the Lower Cave and a tour takes about 30 to 45 minutes and costs 5 Lempiras.
The Upper Cave, is a large dry fossil system and is self guided, although guides can be hired. There are no lights or footpaths. Allow two to three hours for a visit and bring your own lights.It sounds like a fun place to explore, especially on Hallowe'en!
The Caribbean Coast
Honduras boasts 600 kilometers of Caribbean white sand beaches as well as pristine reefs and the unsurpassed biodiversity and beauty of the flora and fauna.Quite rightly, the reefs are called “the rain
In Honduras, the reefs are pristine, the water is crystalline, and the biodiversity and beauty of the flora and fauna is unsurpassed.
Scuba DivingAnyone can learn to dive, and Honduras is one of the best places in the world to learn. If you are not yet certified and you are short of travel time, you can go ahead and get certified at home. But why learn to dive in a chlorine-filled pool? Or a cold, murky ocean? You can do it for a fraction of the price in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, surrounded by multicolored fish. Safe, high-quality equipment is available for
In Honduras today, scuba diving is probably the single biggest draw for environmentally-oriented tourism. Diving is not always considered an “ecotouristism” activity, but this distinction could fade over time, especially as divers develop a more sophisticated environmental consciousness.
Swim through canyons of brain coral, elkhorn, lettuce, star, and pillar coral. Float past barrel, finger, rope, and vase sponges, sea fans, and fish species too numerous to mention. While there is some coral all along the long mainland coastlines and quite pleasant diving opportunities off of Tela and other spots, there is little reason to dive anywhere other than the Bay Islands.
For those who want to experience the fish and the coral but do not want to get certified, “resort dives” allow a taste of the experience, diving with an instructor one-on-one in shallow but still beautiful water. I simply enjoyed snorkeling on the surface where so much sea life exists.
Golf lovers are always looking for golfing alternatives when away from home. Tegucigalpa offers two different 9-hole golf courses. The Tegucigalpa Country Club, the older of the two is located just outside the city. The new Villa Elena Country Club, located off the road towards San Pedro Sula is within a private ecological reserve and residential area that offers beautiful views of pine and oak clad mountains. Without a doubt, this is the most exclusive residential site in the capital. A fine Mexican food restaurant, a bar and tennis courts enhance the facilities. Travelers are welcome to drop by and play a round of golf at the Villa Elena Country Club. Upon arriving at the gates, let them know that you have read about the club in 'Honduras Tips' and wish to come in to play, guards are instructed to let you in!
The Pacific Coast
This beach village is one of the most popular swimming spots on the Gulf of Fonseca. It’s just fifteen kilometers from the Punta Raton Wildlife Refuge, where sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach from August to November.The Pan-American Highway also leads to the scenic colonial villages of San Francisco and San Marcos de Colon, as well as San Lorenzo.
AmapalaUsing Choluteca as a home base, there are many enjoyable excursions on the Gulf of Fonseca. These include fishing and tours of the area’s vast mangrove forests, which are filled with exotic wildlife.
El Tigre Island is an extinct volcano that is now home to Amapala, once the most important port on Honduras’ Pacific coast. Today the village has turned to tourism as a base for its economy. The whole island is dotted with small hotels and beach attractions. The two largest are Playa Grande and Playa Negra, both of which are rapidly improving their infrastructure and access.
There are four major urban centers in Honduras that provide visitors with all the comforts of a major city, plus a fully equipped infrastructure to accommodate large convention groups. In order of size, these are:
- Tegucigalpa - The capital of the republic with more than one million inhabitants.
- San Pedro Sula - The industrial capital with more than 600,000 inhabitants.
- La Ceiba - A Caribbean port city with more than 180,000 inhabitants.
- Choluteca - An agro-industrial center on the Pacific coast with more than 150,000 inhabitants.
Colonial CitiesOne of the most important yet often forgotten reasons to visit Honduras lies in the centuries old cities that dot the landscape. More than 300 years of Hispanic colonial history have left their mark throughout Honduras in the many religious, civilian and military buildings that can still be found today.
More than 100 churches with exquisite reliefs and interiors rich with imagery, precious metals and paintings pay silent tribute to the great importance that the mines of the old Provincia de Honduras had for the Spanish crown. Some of the best examples of this heritage can be found today in the cities of Comayagua, Yuscarán, Tegucigalpa, Omoa, Trujillo and Gracias.
One of the best preserved colonial cities in Honduras is Gracias, the capital of the western department of Lempira. Nearby La Esperanza is the highest city in Honduras and also the capital of the department of Intibucá. In addition to the charisma of its colonial architecture, Santa Barbara is famous for producing the most beautiful handicrafts in the region. Tegucigalpa, the nation’s capital, has a long colonial history and is home to the San Miguel Arcángel Cathedral, the Manuel Bonilla National Theater and the Villa Roy National Museum, all within a short distance of one another. Another historic mining town is Ojojona. Full of attractions, it’s one of the most picturesque and best preserved colonial cities in Honduras.
TegucigalpaIt is the capital of Honduras getting its tongue twisting name from the ancient Nahuatl language, and translated means "silver mountain" In effect, Tegucigalpa came into being during colonial times as a mining center. "Tegus" as its inhabitants affectionately call it, is a mix of an old colonial city that has turned into the modern capital of Honduras. As a matter of fact, Tegucigalpa became the most important mining center in Central America during colonial times.
A city with very pleasant climate, Tegucigalpa is nestled in a valley at about 3000 feet above sea level making its climate spring-like. It is a gateway to the Pacific coast, as well as to the numerous attractions that are located in central and southern Honduras.
You can enjoy a variety of attractions from the Museo Nacional Villaroy, the Museum of Man, the Military Museum, the Sala Bancatlan, the National Art Gallety and the Museum of Natural History.
Tegucigalpa offers many options for the your enjoyment during the night. From casinos to bars, discos and night clubs, you can be guaranteed to find the place to suit your taste.
One problem in Tegucigalpa presently is that there are several bridges have been washed away in floods, and it is hard to get around anywhere.
ComayaguaFounded as Santa Maria de la Nueva Valladolid de Comayagua by orders emitted by the Conqueror of Yucatan, Don Francisco de Montejo, who instructed his captain, Alonso de Caceres to establish a city in a place that was equidistant between both oceans and the cities of Guatemala and Leon (Nicaragua). Thus, on the 8th of December 1537, Captain Caceres took possession of the land where the city is built today. The strategic location of the city allowed it to become an important community in a short time, thus, receiving the title of city from King Charles I in 1557. The political and religious powers quickly settled here making the city the political and cultural center of the province. After Spain granted Honduras its independence, Comayagua became the capital of the brand new State of Honduras.
With an average altitude of 1,800 feet above sea level, its climate is rather warm during the day, but comfortably refreshing at night. It is located in the middle of a large valley surrounded by high mountains.
Perhaps the most outstanding feature as far as tourism potential is concerned are the unique celebrations that take place during Easter Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday, and ending on Easter Sunday, the city literally transforms itself with religious fervor that marks the celebrations and processions that take place at the different catholic churches as well as the streets and plazas. If you are not here during Easter, you are basically out of luck.
Santa Rosa de CopanThis is the biggest and most important city in western Honduras with a population of 40,309. In Santa Rosa is the governmental hub of the department of Copan. The city is connected through the International Highway of the West with San Pedro Sula to the east and with the borders of El Salvador at El Poy and Guatemala at Agua Caliente to the west. Santa Rosa has a beautiful setting, surrounded by hills and pine trees. The dominant climate is subtropical with temperatures ranging from 25-29° C in the summer (March-June) and from 13-15° C in the winter (December-February).
Santa Rosa is situated at a strategic point where the tourist routes of Copan Ruins and Gracias, Lempira converge. Two of the most important tourist attractions in Honduras are nearby Copan Ruins and Celaque National Park.
The city offers a wide selection of hotels and restaurants, a cinema and exciting nightlife. The prices are hard to beat. Santa Rosa is more frequently visited by local business people than tourists therefore the prices are great for tourists and reasonable for backpackers. You will feel very welcome this colonial city.
OmoaOmoa is one of the oldest towns in Honduras and played an important role in its history, especially during the colonial times, being located only a few miles from the Guatemala border.
The fort, a mute testimony of Honduras colonial past, with its green gardens, humid rooms and massive walls will no doubt let you fantasize of the times when pirates still roamed the Caribbean Sea.
Omoa is slowly, but surely becoming an interesting stop for the backpacker and budget traveler crowd. There are several day trips to take to search out waterfalls, caves and flora and fauna.
There are breathtaking views of the Caribbean coast and crystal clear rivers from the comfort of a luxury finca home, or if you are more adventuresome, camp in one of the campgrounds up in the mountains in specifically pre-selected areas at nearby Eco Rancho.
DanliLocated 92 kilometers east of Tegucigalpa, Danlí is also known as The City of the Hills. Among the many attractive excursions available in the area are the Los Arcos, Cerro San Cristóbal and Piedra del Apaguitz swimming holes.
The local church dates back to the colonial period and houses present excellent examples of the sculpture and painting of past centuries.
The old Municipal Hall has been converted into a museum with exhibits covering everything from the area’s pre-Columbian history to rustic artifacts from nearby colonial haciendas. Danlí is famous for its annual Corn Festival, held every August.
Local residents celebrate the harvest with parades, colorful floats, art contests, rodeos, carnivals and sporting events. The festival is also an excellent opportunity to try all of the food and beverages that the people of Danlí prepare with corn, once a sacred grain to their ancestors.
CholutecaCholuteca, and the nearby port city of San Lorenzo, share the Pacific bay called the Gulf of Fonseca with El Salvador to the north and Nicaragua to the south.
Although there are now operating city tours of Choluteca, it is worth while to take a stroll through the downtown area of this unique city, considered to have the best preserved colonial architecture in the country. I recommend that you do so in the early morning or evening, to enjoy your walk without the mid-day heat. Of special historical interest is the house where Jose Cecilio del Valle, one of the important national heroes was born, located almost across from the main square. The old Colonial Cathedral is also worth checking out.
TrujilloChristopher Columbus landed in the neighborhood of Trujillo in 1502, during his fourth and last trip to the Americas. Being one of the largest and deepest bays in Central America made it an important port during Colonial times. It was founded the 18th of May of 1525 by the Spaniard, Juan de Medina. The Conqueror of Mexico, Hernan Cortes actually visited Trujillo shortly thereafter for a brief period of time and declared it a city. It was also the site of one of the first bishoprys in Honduras, however, it had many factors that did not permit its sustained growth. The inclement hot and humid climate, made for uncomfortable and unhealthy living conditions. In addition, the British pirates had a strong clandestine influence over Trujillo.
In and around this tropical community, there are many exciting points of interest. To the south of town one can search for the Cuyamel Caves (these are highly elusive and very few people actually know were to find them). Archeologists date these back to pre-Columbian times.
About fourteen kilometers along a dirt road that parallels the spectacular coastline is the Village of Santa Fe a Garifuna (black carib's) community with incredibly pristine beaches.
Another nice tour is to the Guaimoreto Lagoon, a perfect place to birdwatch or just enjoy its exceptional virginal beauty. After the lagoon, visit the Hacienda Tumbador, an old Honduran cattle ranch that in recent years has taken on the job of preserving local crocodiles.
Among the many sites and sounds of Trujillo is Capiro and Calentura, a large national park and a great place to hike, and enjoy the view. Fucagua, a non-profit organization has taken special interest and is actively participating in the conservation of this park.
Cayos CochinosLying just a few miles off the coast of La Ceiba, Cayos Cochinos can usually be seen from the coast on a clear day. The Cayos Cochinos are a pair of two small islands (Cayo Menor and Cayo Grande) and thirteen small coral cays situated thirty kilometers northeast of La Ceiba. Since 1993, the Cayos Cochinos were designated a Marine Protected Area and in 2003, it was further declared a Marine Natural Monument with the Honduras Coral Reef Fund (HCRF) administering the conservation of the area.
Bay IslandsLocated southeast of Belize in the western Caribbean, the Bay Islands of Roatan, Utila and Guanaja are part of the Meso-American Barrier Reef system. The islands are steeped in culture and history. The friendly population is a unique blend of African, Spanish, Paya Indian, and British cultures. This mixture of people and cultures has created an amazingly interesting environment to experience.
The Island of Roatan is the most developed of the Bay Islands and located forty miles north of mainland Honduras. Walk around Roatan's many villages to feel the distinct mixture of cultures. Enjoy the exquisite orchids at Carambola Gardens and the primitive reptiles at the Iguana Farm.
The worlds second largest barrier reef, just a hundred yards of shore offers both novice and experienced divers spectacular vertical walls and overhangs, huge sea fans, and shallow fringing reefs. A macro photographers fantasy island, there are seahorses, sailfin blennies, and tunicates. But there are big sea serpents too, eagle rays, grouper, and even whale sharks. Some of the Caribbean's largest barrel sponges and gorgonians are found here as well.
Pacific Attractions and Tours
Gulf of Fonseca
This is truly a lovely and unique area, rich in mangrove vegatation and small islands. Standing on the Pacific coast, you can clearly see many of the islands. The Isla del Tigre, with an almost perfectly conical shape, stands out within the gulf.
Another popular beach is Cedeño where many vacationers from Tegucigalpa swarm during the holidays. This unique beach is black because of its volcanic origins, so wear sandals to prevent your feet from burning on the dry sand, owch! In Cedeño are all sorts of food and drink stands at the beach champas that are located almost over the water.
Amapala, Tiger IslandThis historical Honduras landmark is featured on the front of the two lempira bills. The unique town of Amapala on the island is the largest town on the largest Pacific island in Honduras. It used to be the main Honduran port on the Pacific until recently. Although on an island, it is fairly easy to get to Amapala. First get to the fishing town of Coyolito, buses to Coyolito run frequently from San Lorenzo, as well as from Choluteca. Once in Coyolito, hire a motor boat to take you across the channel to the island.
The trip will take under thirty minutes, and cost you approximately 35 Lps per person each way. Once at the dock at Amapala, check out the charming little town, which although somewhat run down, still shows the glamour of its more famous and useful days in the Spanish architecture of many of its buildings. There is a road that goes around the island to reach the different beaches. Playa Grande and Playa Negra are the most popular ones, and there are several hotels for every taste and budget.
For hikers, take the road to the top of the extinct volcano mountain, from where you will have a rewarding view of the whole gulf, including the coastline of the three countries that share it. It's a good idea to bring water with you as it gets hot and dry, and nothing is available.
Bahia de Chismuyo Wildlife Refuge
Located very close to the border with El Salvador, this wildlife refuge is only accessible by water and offers a unique window into the wildlife of the Pacific coast of Honduras. To get there, you must first reach the fishing town of Coyolito, where you can hire a boat to take you to the reserve. A round trip will take at least a couple of hours including time to cruise the channels thorough the mangrove forests that line the bay. Bring along your own food and water. If you don’t, food is available at the champas on the dock at Coyolito.
Attractions near the capital, TegucigalpaTegucigalpa offers several attractive options withing its surroundings, to suit every interest. For the nature lovers, there is Tigra National Park. There are colonial mining towns that have long outdated themselves, and there is an excellent handicraft center nearby. To get the best of these areas, I recommend you use an informative, bi-lingual tour guide to take you. Ask at the front desk of your hotel, they know who is good, and who isn't.
El Picacho Zoo and United Nations Park
A true oasis within Tegucigalpa, the park, which also houses the massive Cristo del Picacho concrete statue that overlooks the city, is very pleasant and contains the only true zoo in the country. The zoo is open 10:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m., on weekends until 4:00 p.m., entrance fee is a mere Lps. 2.00 per person. A nice collection of Honduran birds, mammals and reptiles make the zoo their home. You will see the jaguar, the largest native American feline, as well as a variety of white tailed deer and spider monkeys. There are a total of 310 animals, of which 20 different species are mammals, 23 birds and 7 reptiles. Also taxidermy specimens of monkeys and birds, including the rare king vulture are part of the displays. To get here, take the bus up to El Hatillo, which leaves from the corner of Calle Finlay and Calle Cristobal Colon, near Parque Finlay, across the street from the Hotel Granada. A twenty minute ride will put you at the entrance to the park. Within the park you will have great panoramic views over the City of Tegucigalpa. The entrance fee is a mere Lps 3.00 per adult and Lps 1.00 per child.
La Tigra National Park
La Tigra located only 11 km from Tegucigalpa and easy access is a cloud forest of over 238 square kilometers considered one of the richest habitats in the world with such high diversity of flora and fauna. There are not very many cloud forests left in Central America, but Honduras has a good variety of protected areas with cloud forest vegetation. You will see some of the bromeliads, orchids, arborescent ferns and over 200 species of birds that inhabit the park.There are two entrances to the Tigra National Park. One is through El Hatillo, and the other is via the Reales Minas Route, through Santa Lucia, Valle de Angeles and San Juancito. The Hatillo route is closest to Tegucigalpa and is more popular with the locals. In the area of the Hatillo entrance to the park lies a small, cozy mountain lodge, La Estancia, that allows you to spend the night in the neighborhood of the park with all the comforts you could ask for. Bird watching from La Estancia is spectacular and the setting, amongst a pine tree forest is refreshing and relaxing.
The second alternative is a more interesting route, as it allows you to visit some great little towns. From San Juancito there is a dirt road, which when wet requires a 4X4 to drive up to the old Rosario Mining Company headquarters. The visitors center to the park is located in one of these buildings. From here, you can start your expedition into La Tigra National Park. There are several paths through the forest, the longest of which will take you across the park to the visitors center located at El Hatillo entrance. The old hospital of the mining company has been converted into sleeping quarters for visitors to the park. Although the accommodations are rustic, they are clean, and there are toilets and showers available. In order to arrange to stay overnight at the parks visitors center, you must make arrangements with Amitigra, a non-profit ecological foundation for the preservation of La Tigra Cloud Forest Park. Their offices are in Tegucigalpa, phones are 232-6771 and 232-5503.
There is now a cozy wooden cabin for rent at the Mirador El Rosario, where you can get vegetarian food and homemade bread. Since only two rooms are available at this cabin, it is a good idea to make a reservation previously. Call 987-5835. Spanish, English and German are spoken!
A 4X4 car for this stretch of the road is a good idea to get into the park. You can make it up to the Visitors Center in a regular two wheel drive car during the dry season, so a 4X4 is not indispensable. If you do not have a car, and wish to visit this part of the country, which is known as the Reales Minas circuit, I recommend starting at La Tigra and then working your way back towards Tegucigalpa, as there are few buses to San Juancito. Take the buses to San Juancito that leave from the Mercado San Pablo, in Barrio El Manchen downtown. There are three daily departures, schedule varies, get off at the end of the road and get yourself ready for a five kilometer hike up the steep mountain. On your return back, you can get off at Valle de Angeles, then from there, regular bus service into Tegucigalpa is readily available, although you can get off at Santa Lucia and then catch a bus back into the city. From Santa Lucia there is service every 45 minutes into Tegucigalpa, with the first bus starting at 6:00 am. and the last at 6:00 p.m.
Valle de AngelesThis is a picturesque town that has become a favorite weekend escape for the inhabitants of Tegucigalpa. Being only 30 km. and a good highway connecting it to the capital has made it popular with foreigners, many of whom have established homes in the area. During the week, Valle de Angeles is a quiet place with few visitors, however it is teeming with action during the weekends.
The Instituto Hondureño de Turismo manages a park nearby that offers sites for picnics, as well as a semi olympic pool. There is a nominal entrance fee to the park, which does not include access to the pool. A separate fee is charged for the pool. The park is set amongst the pine-clad mountain sides and offers a great alternative for a quiet outdoor adventure during the week. It is closed on Mondays.
Within the town, there is an arts and crafts display area, consisting of several large halls. Here, you can see a vast selection of Honduran-made handicrafts, many of which are made right here in Valle de Angeles. All of these items are for sale, and with luck, you might even meet some of the artisans that created them.
One of the premier manufacturers of fine leather products in Honduras, Lesandra Leather has its factory and an outlet store here. Their product is of export quality at only a fraction of what it would cost abroad. They are located across the street from the handicrafts exhibit halls.
El Zamorano, Yuscaran and Danli
East of Tegucigalpa, less than 35 km. on the road that leads to the border with Nicaragua lies one of the most beautiful valleys in Honduras, the Zamorano Valley. It is here where the world famous agricultural El Zamorano School is located. As a matter of fact, most of the valley is cultivated under the auspices of the school as different projects that include both agriculture and livestock programs. The school, nearly one hundred years old is considered one of the best of its kind in Latin America.
Finally, but not least, Danli, is a lovely agricultural town that you will surely enjoy. Located 100 km from Tegucigalpa, this charming town is home to the important tobacco industry. Many of the fine Honduran tobaccos that are consumed around the world are produced right here, in Danli. Of special interest is the old colonial church of massive proportions. Although in need of repair, this beautiful church is worth a visit and certainly a reminder of the Spanish heritage of Honduras.
Honduras is home to a wide variety of hotels and resorts, which range from simple hostels, mid-class tourist hotels to five star luxury hotels, beach resorts and nature lodges. Whether you are looking to relax in comfort and style, explore a diverse rainforest or tropical reef, visit ancient ruins and colonial heritage or if you need a comfortable base for your next business trip or company meeting, Honduras has something for everyone and every occasion. Visit the websites of the Honduras hotels and resorts below to learn more.
Roatan (Bay Islands)The Caribbean Island of Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands, is fringed by the Meso-American Barrier Reef and offers brilliantly blue clear water, quiet coastal beaches of white sand, and lush tropical forests.
Far from the throngs and traffic of mass tourist centers, Roatan is noted for its consistently ideal climate during the winter months. Tropical breezes add to the comfortable living environment (average temperature is 81 degrees F), and warm water (78 to 86 degrees F) is guaranteed year round.
Although the beaches of the island are exquisite, they comprise only a small part of the overall terrain. The gently sloping hills of the island abound with verdant jungle vegetation and spring-fed water. The inland mountain peaks, which form a spine down the center of the island, rise as high as 700 feet and are covered with oak, pine, cedar and dense broad leaf undergrowth. The coastal mangrove jungles, found on the east end, are protected and provide a refuge and feeding ground for young sea life. The coral reefs, which virtually surround most of the island, form natural breakwaters, creating ideal, calm pools for diving, snorkeling and swimming.
Guanaja IslandThe Bay Island, Guanaja, offers a wide range of professional staffed tourism facilities such as hotels and resorts, restaurants and bars, diving and tour companies. Additionally the island has a wide range of attractions for you to enjoy and explore while staying at one of the Guanaja Hotels.
Guanaja is a tropical island getaway for those who want to travel off the beaten path and experience one of the last remaining unspoiled islands in the Caribbean. A wonderful climate, cool breezes, white sand beaches and crystal clear waters all just waiting for you to enjoy. Removed from the confines of civilization, the Guanaja Hotels guests can roam the miles of unspoiled beaches and lush mountains covered with jungle flora, hike to cascading waterfalls, scuba dive and snorkel on the virgin fringing coral reefs, kayak, sail, fish, visit remote villages or relax in a hammock stretched between two coconut trees. Wine, dine and dance to the rhythm of island music at one or more of the unique resorts and lounges.
Copán RuinasCopan Ruinas is a tranquil oasis of ancient culture and sublime nature nestled in the foothills of western Honduras, just 7 miles from the Guatemala border. For years, Copán has been renowned for its magnificent Maya ruins, a designated World Heritage Site believed by archeologists to be the cultural center, the Rome of the Maya world.
Copán today offers a wide range of activities to delight eco-tourists from all over the world. Only recently have eco-adventurers begun to discover the remarkable natural patrimony of the Copán region. Hiking, horseback riding, caving, visiting indigenous communties, discovering hidden ruins, they have it all.
TegucigalpaSee above for description of Tegucigalpa
- Hotel Portal del Angel
- Hotel Plaza del Libertador
- Confort Guest House
- Hotel Granada e-mail
- Hotel Honduras Maya
- Tobacco Road e-mail
La CiebaLa Ceiba is a lot more than a port city with lots of hospitality and charm. It has the potential to develop into the Ecotourism Capital in Central America. Its proximity to the Pico Bonito National Park, Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, Cayos Cochinos Marine Reserve are but a few of the many nature attractions available at just a short distance from the city. In addition, infrastructure to host tourists is slowly, but surely on the upswing.
The city itself is pretty easy to get around in. There are two parallel main avenues that run perpendicular to the coast line: The Avenida San Isidro and the 14 de Julio. Most streets are numbered, with first street being the one running adjacent to the coast. The zona viva, where most of the restaurants and night life are to be found is on this street. The central park is a pleasant shaded area with many of the hotels and restaurants nearby, and is only a few blocks from 1a Calle on the beach. Most banks are located either on the main square or on the Avenida San Isidro
TelaA sleepy coastal town, Tela has been slowly, but surely working its way to becoming an important beach destination. Located less than 90 km east of San Pedro Sula's International airport, and connected by an excellent paved highway, Tela is very easily reached from San Pedro Sula.
Tela offers the natural beauty of its beaches, its exuberant tropical vegetation in three distinct areas: Lancetilla Gardens, Punta Sal National Park and Punta Izopo Wildlife Refuge, as well as the cultural experience of the Garifuna Culture. Tela hotels are well worth spending a little time on your Honduran vacation. Best of all, Tela is still unspoiled. Enjoy Tela today, before it becomes a more popular international tourist destination.
It is very easy to get around town, as it is quite small. Locals use bicycles as the preferred mode of transportation. Banking in Tela is easy. There are several banks, at many of which you can change your dollars into local currency, as well as getting cash advances from your Visa and Mastercard credit cards. If you are carrying Travelers Checks, try cashing them before heading out to Tela, as it is difficult to cash these in town.
San Pedro SulaSan Pedro Sula located in the northern part of Honduras, San Pedro is only a few miles from the coast and has always played a major role in Honduran history. The city was founded the 27th of June, 1536 by Don Pedro de Alvarado himself. The Spanish conqueror founded it with the name of "Villa de San Pedro de Puerto Caballos" and within the next five years it was known as San Pedro Sula, with the name Sula deriving from the local dialect Usula, meaning "valley of birds".
San Pedro is an easy city to get around in. It is divided into four quadrants following the old Spanish system of building cities: northeast, southeast, northwest and southwest. All the streets are numbered, with avenues leading from north to south and streets east to west. Downtown is marked by the 1st Street. The most important commercial street is Third (tercera) Ave. Although there are plenty of public buses, you will find that taxis are plentiful and very reasonable. Whatever the case, make sure that you negotiate the taxi rate before getting into it. It is a good idea to ask the bell boy at your hotel (or any other reliable source) what the going rate for a taxi to where you are headed for costs. Another alternative is to rent a car from one of the US car rental franchises, or better, use a local rent a car company. Most have offices at the airport.
The Guamilito market, within walking distance from the central plaza between the 8a and 9a Avenidas and 5a y 6a Calles N.O. offers the most complete selection of Honduran handicrafts in San Pedro Sula. The market is also a good place for vegetables and flowers. When shopping at the market, always remember to barter, as prices there are not fixed and everyone barters the price down.
Originally founded as the "Villa de Jerez de Choluteca", it is one of the most historical cities in the country. Home to Honduran Independence hero Jose Cecilio del Valle, this charming colonial city is easily accessible from Tegucigalpa and is the gateway to the Pacific coast of Honduras.Located on the Pan American Highway, it is well connected to the cities of San Salvador in neighboring El Salvador, as well as the northern city of Esteli in Nicaragua. From Choluteca, there is a short distance of only 91 km. to the border of El Amatillo with El Salvador, the east, the Guasaule border with Nicaragua is only 44 km. away and 65 km. to the El Espino border. Choluteca offers the best preserved colonial architecture in the country, with a charming downtown area with pleasant and attractive colonial buildings.
The nearby port city of San Lorenzo is the main port on the Pacific coast of Honduras. All of the products that enter Honduras though the Gulf of Fonseca arrive through this port. The Gulf of Fonseca, is truly a lovely and unique area, rich in mangrove vegetation and small islands. Standing on the coast, you can clearly see many of the islands, as well as the coasts of all three countries. The Isla del Tigre with an almost perfect conical shape, stands out within the gulf.
The climate is hot and dry, in contrast to the humidity of the north coast, however, the same hospitality that is famous to Honduras can be found here in the Choluteca. Choluteca sees tourism as an important activity that has focused more on the north coast region than elsewhere in the country, however, Choluteca has resolved to get a piece of the action themselves.
A bustling commercial city, Choluteca offers the traveler a selection of hotels, going from the very pleasant Hacienda Gualiqueme, to a variety of good hotels, such as the La Fuente, Flamingos and Pierre, to name a few Choluteca hotels. In addition, there are a variety of banks, and the main economic activity is derived from cattle ranching, shrimp farming and fishing.
- Hacienda Gualiqueme e-mail
- Amapala - Villas Playa Negra, telephone 98-8532, 37-8822 or fax 38-2457. Presently 14 units, 10 air conditioned, swimming pool and restaurant. Cost $40 per person per night. Launch available to take you to and from the hotel.
Honduras is virgin territory for adventure travel. Its lush vegetation, varied terrain and multiple diverse ecosystems offer the adventure traveler endless possibilities. With its misty mountains, deep winding caves, relentlessly green fields, beautiful seascapes and with warm turquois waters, touring Honduras is an experience you may never soon forget. Because of the abject poverty and the differences between the haves and the have nots, a wise option may be to travel in the safety of an organized tour. Plus with a tour, you will quickly learn about what you are experiencing by going directly to your area of interest with the help of expert guides to answer your many questions.
From the mountainous cloud forests to the tropical jungles of the Caribbean Coast, you will find Honduras's natural habitats most fascinating, and their native populations, composed mostly of Mestizo, with some native Indian tribes and Garífuna peoples, to be extremely friendly and hospitable.
- Travel Adventures Base Aerea Soto Cano Tel 234-8641 ext 4573e-mail
- MCTours Copan and San Pedro Sula e-mail
- Monarcas Travel, ½ cuadra del bco. de Occidente Tel: 651-4361e-mail
- Trifinio Tours, Barrio. El Centro, Tel: 651-40-23 e-mail
- Yaragua Tour, ½ cuadra al este del parque central Tel: 651 4464, Fax: 651 4050e-mail
Gracias and Lempira
- Celaque Aventuras- Hotel Guancasco Tel: 656-1219 Fax: 656-1273
- Caribbean Travel, Edf. Hermanos Kawas, Av. San Isidro Tel 443-1361 Tel/fax: 4431360 e-mail
- C.B. Tours 4a Calle Bo Potretitos Edificio Gomez # 2 Tel/fax: 440 3383 e-mail
- Forest & Reef Tours, Hotel Iberia, Avenida San Isidro Tel: 441-2964 or 990 7116 e-mail
- Jungle River, Lobby Hotel Rótterdam, Zona Viva Tel: 440-1268 Cel 974-5915 e-mail Headquarters at Rio Cangrejal, Km 7
- La Ceiba Eco Tours, Avenida 14 de Julio y 1ª Calle, Frente a Inst. San Isidro Tels. 979-0314, 995-9767 e-mail
- La Moskitia Eco-Aventuras, Hotel Plaza Caracol, Avenida 14 de Julio y 1ª Calle Tel: 440 2124, 965 7742 e-mail
- Tourist Options Agencia de Viajes Atlántida Blvd. 15 de Septiembre a pocos pasos del Banco Central de Honduras Tel: 440-0265, 982-7534, 978-8868 Tel/fax: 443-2460 e-mail
- Yurumey Tours, Col. Villa Mary Telefax: 440-3514 and 441 4156 e-mail
San Pedro Sula
- Columbia Tours Centro Comercial, Boulevard Morazan, 1 calle 11 y 12 ave.N.O Telfax: 550-9176 / 8570 e-mail
- Explore Honduras, Colonia Zeron, 10 Calle 21 y 23 Ave. N.O. Tel: 552-6242 Fax: 552-6239 e-mail
- Mayan Caribbean Travel , Colonia Los Alamos, 3ª Etapa Bloque B Casa 28 , 5y 6 calle local 9 Tel: 551-4391 Fax 551-4393 e-mail e-mail
- Maya Temple Tours, Edificio Plaza Siloe, Barrio Guamilito, 9 y 10 Ave, 6 calle N.O, Local 7B, Tel 557-6008, 977-9843 e-mail
- Maya Tropic Tours, Lobby Hotel Gran Hotel Sula, 1 calle 3 y 4 ave., Tel:557-8830/552-2405, Fax: 557-8830 e-mail
- Meso America Travel, Col. Juan Lindo 8 Calle, 32 Ave N.O Casa # 709, Tel: 557-8447, 552-3258, Fax: 557-8410
- Turisport, Hotel Playa, Playas de Cieneguita,, Carretera a Omoa. Tel. 665-0543 / 1105
Fax: 665-0906, e-mail
Santa Rosa de Copán
- Lenca Land Trails, Lobby del Hotel Elvir, Calle Real Centenario, Tel: 662-1375/0805, Fax: 662-1375
- Arrecife Tours, Edificio Cooperativa Elga, 1er nivel, Colonia Alameda, Tel. 231 3526/27/28 e-mail
- Bariel Tour, Barrio Buenos Aires, frente a Iglesia San José de la Montaña, Tel: 238-4139 or 222-7882
- Columbia Tours, Edif. Maldonado, Col. Palmira Ave. Luis Bográn, Tel: 232-3532 or 235-6585, Fax: 232-3532 e-mail
- Greco Tours, Bo. Guadalupe, Av. Rep de Chile Casa # 115, Tels. 232-4241 or 239-5999, Fax. 232-2801
- Hontravel, Calle Principal, Col. La Reforma # 2423, Tel: 238-3077/78, Fax: 238-307 e-mail
- Jade Tours, Local #1: Boulevard Morazán, Frente Mc Donalds, Tel/Fax: 221-0653 221-0654 221-0651 e-mail
- Land Tour, Edificio Maya Cubículo # 104, Frente al Hotel Honduras Maya, Telefax: 220-5149, Tel: 220-5254
- Paradise Tours, Edif. Cosmos, local #1, Blvd. Morazán, Tel: 221-0577, Fax: 221-4841 e-mail
- Travel Adventures, Centro Comercial Unicentro, Tel: 239-4836, 235-6079, 232-3190, Fax: 239-0857 e-mail
- Honduras Tours, Barrio El Centro, Calle principal del comercio. Tel: 448-1912
- Turtle Tours Hotel Villa Brinkley, Tel/Fax 434-4431 e-mail
Getting around Honduras
Requires a valid passport. You can enter and stay thirty days in Honduras without a visa if you have a USA, Canadian or most European country passports. Check with the closest Honduran embassy or travel agent for up to date info before traveling.
Requirements for all US citizens
- U.S. passport must be valid 3 months beyond intended stay
- Tickets and documents for return or onward travel
- No visa required for stay up to one month (extendable)
- Vaccinations - none required
TACA, Continental, American and Delta fly to Honduras. Connections to La Ceiba and the Bay Islands are made with local carriers Islena, Sosa and Atlantic Airlines (see below).
Galaxy, the ferry service for the Bay Islands, offers daily trips between Roatan, Utila and La Ceiba, the latter which is on the northern coast of Honduras. The duration of the journey is about two hours, depending on the conditions of the seas.
- From Roatan to La Cieba at Safeway Dock (Coxen Hole) at 7am
- From La Ceiba to Utila at La Ceiba Port at 09h30
- From Utila to La Ceiba at Municipal Dock at 11h00
- From La Cieba to Roatan at La Cieba Port at 15h00
Contacting Galaxy La Ceiba 443-4633 Utila 425-3161 Roatan 445-1795 / 1250
Renting a vehicle
- Roatan Car Rental
Caribbean Rent-A-Car 455-5648 is a preferred vendor. Their rates may vary from the information provided here. Car rentals are subject to a 12% Honduran tax. Most will use credit cards and gold and platinum cards usually cover the insurance. You should check with your credit card company to evaluate you insurance options.
Upon arrival at the airport, the rental agencies have booths. They are staffed when an international flight arrives and when you have a reservation. Otherwise, the booth may or may not be staffed. Caribbean Rent A Car will deliver a car to the Vista Villas.
- Honduras Car Rental
This way their clients know they will always receive the best rate and service for their pick-up location in Honduras. Compare their rates in Honduras and find out if it is true what they claim, that they are usually at least 30% cheaper than their competitors in Honduras.
- Enjoy Honduras Car Rentals
We are proud to present the leading car rental agencies in Honduras, offering a wide variety of vehicles to suit your travel needs. Whether you are looking for an automobile for a couple of days, a 4x4 for a week or a minivan for a month, we will provide you with the vehicle you need.
- Honduras Auto Rental offers you the option to book your car rental securely online. We offer rental cars in all major cities of Honduras and you can save up to 40%. Honduras Rent a Car shows a comparison of all the leading car rental providers including Alamo, Avis to find you the very best deal on your car rental.
- The Honduras Car Rental Guide instantly displays rates from several leading Honduras car rental providers. Use our real-time car rental guide and instantly you will have a comparison of all the car rental providers in Honduras. We offer a great range of vehicles at every destination from cheap economy options through to luxury car rentals.
- Avis Rent A Car 232-0088 / Fax 239-5710
- Budget Rent A Car 233-5170
- Divertour 239-8400
- Hertz 239-0772 / Fax 232-0872
- Maya Rent A Car 232-0682
- Molinari Rent A Car 233-1307 / Fax 238-0585
- Toyota Rent A Car 225-5790
San Pedro Sula
- American Car Rental 552-7626
- Avis Rent A Car 552-2872 / Fax 553-0888
- Hertz 556-8900 / Fax 556-8848
- Maya Rent A Car 552-2870 / Fax 552-8890
- Molinari Rent A Car 553-3639
- Toyota Rent A Car 557-2666
- Molinari Rent A Car 443-2391 / Fax 443-0055
- Toyota Rent A Car 443-1975
- Blitz Rent A Car 668-2471
- Toyota Rent A Car 445-1166
Real estate for homes, businesses or investment
- The following was written by Jose Francisco Avila - Realtor
Property RightsThe Honduran Constitution is the primary source of law and vests in all citizens of Honduras certain inalienable rights that are considered inviolate. Among these rights are the right to own property and is guaranteed under Title III, Chapter I, Article 103 of the Honduran Constitution.
Article 107 of the Honduran Constitution of 1982 stated that only native or naturalized Hondurans could acquire direct ownership of land within 40 kilometers from the shores and national borders. However, a law passed in 1990, was designed to let foreigners buy and hold land in coastal and border areas under their own name, from which they were previously excluded. Foreigners are allowed to purchase up to 3,000 square meters (32,292 square feet) of land. However, foreigners can purchase land in excess of this limit by securing a resident's visa and forming a corporation. By forming a corporation, you have complete ownership and designate yourself as general manager. You are then entitled to all rights of a Honduran citizen regarding ownership of your property. You may develop the land as you like, and working in the country will be treated equally without distinction between local and foreign capital.
"Residentes pensionados""The Honduran Senate approved a legislative decree offering foreign retirees relocating to Honduras a generous incentive program titled "Residentes pensionados" o "Residentes rentistas". Under this program foreign retirees who take residence are allowed a onetime exemption from all import duty. To qualify, the retiree must prepare a list of everything that they will move to Honduras and have it notarized by an official of the Honduran embassy or consulate in the United States (if you happen to be American). The notarized list is to be presented to the customs agent at the airport or at the port of entry.
The retiree may include any kind of household goods, appliances, personal effects, clothing, etc. In addition, the retiree is permitted to bring into the country, also duty free, one car and one boat. The car may be traded every five years and the new car may also be brought in duty free. The opportunities for foreigners to invest in Honduran real estate are presently good.
Real estate market
The Honduras real estate market functions according to its own set of loose rules, which aren't readily apparent to outsiders. A problem that must be confronted is the fact that local agents feel that foreigners should pay more for a piece of property or land. One reason for this attitude, is the fact that most of the people acting as real estate agents are landowners with vested interest in achieving the highest price possible, or in some cases are American expatriates who purchase land from the locals at low prices and resell it at highly inflated prices.
The absence of a sophisticated real estate industry is a problem, as brokers are not required to be licensed. The absence of a Multiple Listing System means that common information available to U.S. brokers, such as selling price, price per square foot, etc. are not available in Honduras. It is also known that some agents in many cases have sold the same property to more than one buyer. In 1993, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa reported 45 cases in which U.S. citizens found themselves involved in legal battles over the conveyance of title to property they thought they had purchased legally, so watch out!
Use the following list of real estate experts in Honduras, and as you can see, the lion's share are in Roatan, and the Bay Islands
- Honduras Real estate
- J Edwards Real EstateRoatan
- Honduras Estate
- Roatan RealtyRoatan
- Tres Tierras Real EstateSan Pedro Sula
- Roatan Real EstateRoatan
- Mayan Real EstateRoatan
- Roatan Beach and Properties
- Roatan Life Real Estate
- Roatan Brokers
- Lawson Rock RealtyRoatan
The methods for this conveyance are controlled by Decree No. 134-90 (Ley de Municipalidades, Chapter II, Article 70). According to this decree, all real estate which is not legally registered will vest in the municipality where the property is located. Despite this, the municipality may convey title to the person having possession of the real estate but not duly registered upon payment by such person of an agreed amount which shall be no less than ten percent of the appraised value. No person may acquire more than one 5,382 square foot rural lot.
This does not include lots acquired through government concessions. These lots will vest in the municipality at the conclusion of the concession. This shows the importance of verifying that the person who sells you real estate has what is known as Dominio Pleno or a General Warranty Deed. It is through this document that government property is conveyed to a private citizen. Prior to issuing the document, the local government will hold a meeting to give third parties the opportunity to object to the conveyance. Once the property has been conveyed, your attorney will proceed to register the property in the Local Property Registry.
NotarioIn civil countries, Honduras included, it is the notary, who provides the necessary legal advice and performs most of the legal and registration services connected with the real estate transaction. Notaries in Honduras are accredited attorneys. They conduct title searches, write the legal documentation for the transaction, register the deed with the Public Registry of Property (a necessity to protect the buyer against intervening third party claims), and explain the legal consequences of the real estate transaction.
One thing to be careful of, is the fact that individuals who have completed Law School are allowed to open their own private practice, even though they are not accredited attorneys. These individuals are known as Licensiados, which means that they hold a Bachelor Degree in Law.
Although they can represent you in a criminal case, they are not authorized to write legal real estate documentation. They practice by accepting the legal work and then farming it to a notario who, through previous agreement, has accepted such assignments.
Where To Buy
Most foreigners looking for a retirement or second home in Honduras tend to consider Roatan first. This is due to the tremendous amount of publicity the island has received in the foreign press, its tremendous resemblance to other Caribbean islands and its lower prices. However, you may want to consider other areas with appreciation potential such as Tela and Trujillo.In buying property in Honduras, caution is the best advice anyone can give you. You should deal with a broker who's familiar with local and U.S. real estate procedures.
- First Costa Rica, then Panama, and now the world discovers the beauty of Honduras. Honduras offers great investment and life style opportunities. Honduras is a country of many different landscapes, the Bay Islands provide excellent diving and snorkeling, the Caribbean mainland coast is dotted by the old Standard Fruit towns of Tela, La Ceiba and Trujillo with miles of deserted white sand beaches and the cloud forests behind the beaches glimmer with waterfalls and clear mountain rivers. Come discover Honduras today.Honduras Real Estate
- Century 21 Roatan! The islands most comprehensive web resource for property listings. Our Real Estate investment consultants are here to help you find the property that fits your needs. Whether it's land, a home, commercial property, a business or your own private island, we have what you're looking for! Century 21 Roatan
- Welcome to Honduras Estate. Calling Honduras real estate a great investment is an understatement. Land in Honduras is the smartest real estate purchase you can make. Honduras real estate has been known to increase more than 25% over a year. Honduras Estate can help you find the best property in Honduras. We live in Honduras, we know where the best property is. Honduras Estate can help you, whether you want to build a home in Honduras or buy land as an investment. Honduras has a new government that is passionate about making a successful country. Airlines are increasing their presence in Honduras, which will increase competition and drive down the cost of flying to Honduras. Retiring in Honduras is a great idea. Medical help and prescription medication is a fraction of the cost of the US and other countries. Honduras has the second largest barrier reef in the world. This creates great diving, snorkeling and fishing. Honduras is a relaxing, fun place to live. The people are friendly, and the nature is incredible. Honduras Estate