Crafts are fairly rare in Honduras, so you won’t have to haggle while shopping. Prices for many services are fixed, so there shouldn’t be any need to bargain: in large cities, for example, both colectivos and private taxis have a single fixed price for rides around town. Ask at your hotel what taxis should cost – if you get in knowing what the price should be, most drivers won’t argue.
Confusingly, there are two rainy seasons in Honduras. On the north coast, it rains year-round, but the wettest months are from September to February. During this time floods can occur, impeding travel and occasionally causing severe damage. The south and west of the country has a different, distinct rainy season between May and October.
The mountainous interior is much cooler than the humid coastal lowlands. Altitude affects temperatures greatly: in places like Tegucigalpa (975m) and Gracias (803m) the heat rarely gets too oppressive.
Hurricane season is June to November.
Dangers & Annoyances
- Be cautious in cities, especially San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, which both have gang problems (though travelers are rarely targeted). Walking in the center in daytime is usually fine.
- Don’t show off your belongings, never walk alone or down side streets, and keep an eye out for people approaching you: daylight robbery is common.
- Always take a cab at night.
- Watch yourself on the north coast, especially on the beach.
- It's best not to walk alone on city beaches in Tela or La Ceiba.
- Use ATMs inside banks to avoid potential skimmers that steal your bank information.
You probably will never see a dangerous animal here, but be aware that they exist.
- Beware of poisonous snakes, especially the fer-de-lance (known locally as barba amarilla); the coral snake is also present.
- Crocodiles and caimans live in the waterways of the Moskitia.
- Honduras also has scorpions (not lethal), black widow spiders, wasps and other stinging insects.
- Malaria and dengue fever are present in Honduras. The humid north coast, Bay Islands and Moskitia are high-risk zones. The Zika virus was also detected in Honduras in early 2016.
- Annoying, biting sand flies can carry Leishmaniasis, and other blood parasites, with particular risk in the Moskitia region.
Government Travel Advice
The following government websites offer travel advisories and information on current hot spots.
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs www.smarttraveller.gov.au
- British Foreign Office www.fco.gov.uk/countryadvice
- Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca
- US State Department http://travel.state.gov
Embassies & Consulates
Most embassies are in Tegucigalpa. British citizens are represented by their embassy in Guatemala; the nearest Dutch and Canadian embassies are in Costa Rica, and the nearest Australian, Irish and New Zealand embassies are in Mexico City.
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Honduras' country code||504|
|International access code||00|
Entry & Exit Formalities
Most nationalities don't need a visa, and entry and exit is easy if you follow the rules.
Customs checks are pretty lax; while police and customs officers are entitled to search you at any time, especially in border areas, they rarely do. Even searches at the airport tend to be perfunctory, though you have to submit your luggage to an x-ray upon entering and exiting Honduras. The exception is if something about your appearance or demeanor suggests to the officer you may be carrying drugs.
Beyond drugs, travelers are not allowed to remove any ancient artifact or endangered animal or plant, whether live or a product made from these. It’s smart to keep receipts for any item you buy, and especially for anything that might be confused for being a restricted product, such as an especially good Maya replica.
Most travelers do not require visas to enter Honduras, and simply receive 90-day tourist cards on arrival.
Citizens of the EU, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the USA normally receive free, 90-day tourist cards when entering the country. This also applies to nationals of the countries signed up to the CA-4 border agreement – Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.
Other nationalities, including most Asian and African countries, have to apply for a visa in advance from a Honduran embassy, and pay a fee of US$30.
Once inside Honduras you can apply for a one-time 30-day extension (US$20) at the main immigration office in Tegucigalpa (travelers have reported problems gaining extensions in other offices). Or just take a trip outside the CA-4 border agreement area (Belize and Costa Rica are nearest) for at least three days, then get a new 90-day visa upon re-entering Honduras.
Hondurans are fairly easygoing, and it's unusual for them to be easily upset or annoyed by foreigners not knowing cultural norms.
- It's polite to greet people in Spanish when you first see them each day: buenas días (in the morning), buenas tardes (after midday) or buenas noches (after dark).
- Men tend to shake hands when they meet. Women often embrace one another, but they tend to remain on nodding terms with men, unless they know them well.
Honduras is rather a contradictory place for gay people. While on the one hand same-sex marriage and adoption are both banned in the constitution, it is also illegal to discriminate against people on the grounds of their sexuality. Gay people are visible in society here, though open displays of affection between gay or lesbian couples are unusual, and even risky in some situations. Despite that, there are small yet active gay and lesbian communities in all major cities, though most socializing takes place online.
Wi-fi is fairly ubiquitous in Honduras, with nearly every hotel and hostel offering it for free (even if, in many cases, the signal doesn't always reach every room). Many public squares and other government institutions offer free access (though these services are rarely very reliable), as do many restaurants, bars and cafes. Many hotels offer terminals from which guests can access the internet.
There are tourist police in towns including San Pedro Sula and Tela, but as very few officers speak English, don't expect too much help. Police officers in Honduras aren’t immune to corruption – if you have any problem with the police, contact your embassy immediately.
It's relatively easy to access money in Honduras: big towns and cities have plentiful ATMs. Credit cards are usually accepted in most hotels.
- There are cash machines in cities and towns throughout the country, though don't rely on them working in small towns.
- ATM robberies are common: never use them at night, unless you're in a secure environment such as a mall.
- In daytime use ATMs inside banks that have armed guards on patrol outside.
- The unit of currency in Honduras is the lempira (L), which is divided into 100 centavos.
- Many establishments give prices in US dollars, and are happy to accept payment in them too.
- Banks will exchange US dollars and occasionally euros, although some will insist on clean, crisp bills only and no $20 bills. Bring your passport.
- Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most midrange and top-end hotels, as well as at some hostels, but expect a 5% to 10% credit card surcharge (which makes using them quite expensive in the long run).
- Cash advances on cards are available at most banks in case of emergency.
The US dollar and (to a lesser extent) the euro are the only foreign currencies that are easily exchanged in Honduras; away from the borders you will even find it difficult to change the currencies of neighboring countries.
The table below shows currency exchange rates at the time of research.
Traveler's checks are extremely difficult to cash or use anywhere in Honduras. Most banks, hotels and other retailers want nothing to do with them.
- Cafes and comedores Tipping is not common in comedores, cafes or simple restaurants, but is appreciated.
- Restaurants Upscale restaurants will automatically add a 10% service charge to your bill.
Businesses are generally open during the following hours.
- Banks 8:30am–4:30pm Monday to Friday and 8:30am–noon Saturday
- Bars noon–midnight daily
- Restaurants 7am or 8am–9pm daily
- Shops 9am–6pm daily
Post offices in most Honduran towns typically are open Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm (often with a couple of hours off for lunch between noon and 2pm) and on Saturday from 8am to noon. Delivery should take 10 to 14 days for most international destinations, longer for Australia. However most people consider Honducor, the Honduran postal service, unreliable at best and do not use it.
For more secure delivery try FedEx, DHL, Express Mail Service (EMS) or Urgent Express; all have offices in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula and other major cities.
New Year’s Day January 1
Day of the Americas April 14
Semana Santa (Holy Week) Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Easter Sunday
Labor Day May 1
Independence Day September 15
Francisco Morazán Day October 3
Día de la Raza (Columbus Day) October 12
Army Day October 21
Christmas Day December 25
- Smoking Honduras has excellent anti-smoking laws, and all restaurants and most hotels are smoke-free areas.
Taxes & Refunds
Restaurants and hotels are supposed to always include VAT in their prices, but it is not always included in hotel-room prices, so be sure to ask when booking. Many hotels will give you a room without VAT charged as long as you do not require a receipt.
The country code for Honduras is 504. There are no area codes, and all telephone numbers in the country (both cell and landlines) have eight digits.
Nearly all unlocked cell phones can be used with a local SIM card in Honduras, where coverage and 3G are cheap and plentiful. Using your carrier's roaming feature can be an expensive option so check your service details before traveling.
Honduras has widespread cell coverage; Claro and Tigo are the two main providers. SIM cards (usable with unlocked phones) are easily available from any operator (bring your passport) for around L100. Most deals will get you 3G data as well as calling credit. Phone credit (saldo) can be topped up in many places, including small stores.
Honduras is GMT minus six hours. There are no daylight savings, as day and night are more or less equal year-round. The 24-hour clock is sometimes used.
- Public toilets are few and far between in Honduras – stop at your hotel or at restaurants.
- Western-style flush toilets are the norm in most places, although toilet paper goes in the wastepaper basket, not down the hatch. The exception to the rule is in the Moskitia, where running water is rare and latrines are typical.
The few tourist information offices in Honduras offer limited advice. Better information can be gotten from hostels and travel agencies.
Travel with Children
Like most of Latin America, Honduras is very open and welcoming of children. There’s no taboo about bringing children to restaurants or performances, and pregnant women are ushered to the front of the line in banks, government offices and many private businesses.
Travelers will be hard-pressed to find child-specific amenities like car seats, high chairs and bassinets, except perhaps in top-end hotels and resorts. Disposable diapers (nappies), wipes, formula and other basics, however, are available in most large supermarkets.
Honduras lacks facilities for disabled travelers, other than in upscale hotels and resorts. Wheelchair-bound visitors will find it difficult to negotiate towns because of poor-quality sidewalks and cobblestones. Public transportation is not geared to less-able travelers, though the ferries to Roatán do offer wheelchair access.
A number of organizations offer volunteer opportunities in Honduras, on projects ranging from building homes to teaching English.
The website www.transitionsabroad.com has a long list of groups that run volunteer programs here, from large operations like Casa Alianza (www.casa-alianza.org) to the tiny Utila Iguana Research & Breeding Station.
Weights & Measures
- Weights & Measures The metric system is used in Honduras.
Honduras is still a male-dominated society. Personal safety is the biggest concern for female travelers. Most women do not feel threatened while traveling alone in Honduras, but it certainly pays to adopt an assertive demeanor.
As elsewhere, you’ll probably attract less attention if you dress modestly. On the Bay Islands, where lots of foreign tourists congregate, things are more relaxed, though topless bathing is most definitely out. It's best to head to clubs and bars only with male company, or in a group.
Most independent travelers who stay in Honduras to work do so on the Bay Islands; dive instructors are almost exclusively foreigners, and many people completing dive-master training raise a little extra cash working as waiters or bartenders in West End, West Bay or Utila. Most do not have work permits and leave every three to six months to get a new tourist visa.