HondurasOfficial Name: Republic of Honduras
Alerts & Warnings
Passport must have six months validity
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
No, but must show proof of return or onward travel.
Required: yellow fever if arriving from countries where there is a risk of transmission
Suggested: measles, rubella, rabies, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Avenida La Paz
Telephone: +(504) 2236-9320 or +(504) 2238-5114
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(504) 2236-8497 or +(504) 2238-5114 or +(504) 2236-9320, extension 4100.
Fax: +(504) 2238-4357
Business Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
U.S. Consular Agent - San Pedro Sula
Banco Atlántida Building
11th Floor, across the street from Central Park
San Pedro Sula
Telephone: +(504) 2558-1580 or +(504)2558-1583
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa: +(504) 2236-8497 or +(504) 2238-5114 or +(504) 2236-9320, extension 4100.
Business Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Honduras is a democratic country with a developing economy that borders the Caribbean Sea to the north and the country of Nicaragua to the south. It also shares borders with the countries of El Salvador and Guatemala. The national language is Spanish, although English is often spoken in the Bay Islands. The climate is generally temperate, with dry and wet seasons. During the dry season from February into May, widespread forest fires and agricultural burning can degrade air quality throughout the country, possibly causing respiratory problems and airport closures. The terrain includes mountainous areas, coastal beaches, and jungle lowlands. Facilities that tourists normally use, including hotels and restaurants, are generally adequate in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, in San Pedro Sula, Tela, La Ceiba, the Bay Islands, and near the Copan ruins. Large sections of the country, however, lack basic public services or a comprehensive governmental presence. Currency exchange is readily available at banks and hotels in the major cities. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on Honduras for additional information.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
If you are a U.S. traveler wishing to enter Honduras, you must present a U.S. passport with at least six months remaining validity. A visa is not required for U.S. citizens, but tourists must provide evidence of return or onward travel. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a photocopy of their U.S. passports with them at all times so that if questioned by local officials proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. In June 2006, Honduras entered the Central America-4 (CA-4) Border Control Agreement with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Under the agreement, citizens of the four countries may travel freely across land borders from one of the countries to any of the others without completing entry and exit formalities at immigration checkpoints. U.S. citizens and other eligible foreign nationals who legally enter any of the four countries may similarly travel among CA-4 countries without obtaining additional visas or tourist entry permits for the other three countries.
Immigration officials at the first port of entry determine the length of stay, up to a maximum of 90 days. Foreign tourists who wish to remain in the CA-4 region beyond the period initially granted for their visit are required to request a one-time extension of stay from local immigration authorities in the country where the traveler is physically present. Alternatively, travelers are allowed to leave Honduras after their initial 90-day permit has expired, enter one of the neighboring countries of the CA-4 region, and then return to Honduras, at which time a new 90-day permit will be provided. Foreigners expelled from any of the four countries are excluded from the entire CA-4 region. In isolated cases, the lack of clarity in the implementing details of the CA-4 Border Control Agreement has caused temporary inconvenience to some travelers and has resulted in others being fined more than $100 or detained for 72 hours or longer.
The Honduran immigration office nearest to the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa has the following location:
Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería
Colonia Las Torres
Tel.: (504) 2234-1996/1998
To depart Honduras, travelers must clear Honduran Immigration. Travelers by air must return the copy of their immigration document received at entry. Travelers by land or sea must also return the entrance permit they received when entering Honduras. If you are departing via air, you will be charged an airport tax of approximately U.S.$40. The airport tax must be paid at the airport in cash in either U.S. dollars or lempiras or by credit card. Checks are not accepted. If you stay in Honduras beyond 90 days, Honduran Immigration may impose a fine prior to your departure.
For the most current information concerning entry and exit requirements, travelers may contact the Honduran consulate at 1014 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, telephone (202) 682-5948, or any of the Honduran consulates in the United States. Click here for a listing of Honduran consulates.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Special Requirements for Minor Travelers: Parents should obtain U.S. passports for infants and minors born in the United States and not rely on birth certificates for their child’s travel. Honduran entry and exit control laws require that a child under age 21, traveling either unaccompanied or with one parent only, must have written and notarized permission to travel from the non-traveling parent/s (or legal guardian/s). If the minor is traveling with one parent only, the absent parent should sign the authorization. If neither parent is traveling with the minor, both parents must sign the authorization.
The Honduran Embassy is located at 3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008. The Honduran Embassy can be contacted by phone at (202) 966-7702. Visit the Embassy of Honduras website for visa information. For tourist information or suggestions, please contact the Honduras Institute of Tourism at (800) 410-9608 (in the United States) or (800) 222-TOUR (8687) (within Honduras only), or visit the Honduras Institute of Tourism website.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Honduras. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Honduras before you travel.
The 2013 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS estimates there are as many as 33,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Honduras. The estimated prevalence is 0.5 percent, equal to the average prevalence rate in Central America. There are limited health resources in Honduras, including for treatment of persons with HIV/AIDS. Please see the section titled “Health” for detailed information about medical care and health-related issues.
Safety and Security
All travelers to Honduras should review the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Honduras, which provides detailed information about security issues affecting many parts of the country, including the major cities.
Demonstrations: Demonstrations occur frequently in the major cities of Honduras. During demonstrations, protestors frequently block public roads. Police may use tear gas, water cannons, or rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators. Travelers should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place and never try to pass roadblocks. U.S. citizens may stay informed by visiting the U.S. Embassy website, following the local news, and consulting hotel personnel and tour guides.
Other Threats: Honduras is vulnerable to hurricanes, heavy rains, and flooding. The rainy season extends between June and November. Honduras’ National Emergency Management Commission (COPECO) issues national alerts. Visit the COPECO website for current alerts.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Honduras on Twitter and visiting the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Crime is widespread in Honduras and requires a high degree of caution by U.S. visitors and residents alike. U.S. citizens have been the victims of a wide range of crimes over the years, including murder, kidnapping, rape, assault, and property crimes. Widespread poverty and unemployment, along with significant street gang and drug trafficking activity, have contributed to the extremely high crime rate. In September 2012, the Peace Corps suspended its volunteer activities in Honduras due to safety and security concerns for its volunteers.
The per capita homicide rate in Honduras is one of the highest in the world. Although crime and violent crime occur in all parts of Honduras, the north coast and central portions of the country have historically had the country’s highest crime rates. Copan, Roatan/Bay Islands, and other tourist destinations have lower crime rates than other parts of the country.
120 U.S. citizens have been reported murdered in Honduras since 1995; of these, just 32 cases have been resolved. Two U.S. citizens were reported murdered in Honduras in the first two months of 2014.
Since 2010, 11 U.S. citizens have been reported as victims of rape or sexual assault in Honduras, compared to three U.S. citizen victims of rape or sexual assault between 2005 and 2009. In 2013, three U.S. citizens reported incidents of rape or sexual assault. Perpetrators of sexual assaults are often armed.
Kidnappings have occurred in recent years, with large ransoms paid and infrequent capture of the kidnappers. One U.S. citizen was reported kidnapped in 2013.
U.S. citizens are primarily the victims of opportunistic crime. There is no evidence suggesting criminals specifically target U.S. citizens, but foreigners have been targeted for crime due to their perceived wealth. Weapons abound in Honduras, and armed street robberies are especially common, with criminals taking advantage of relatively isolated victims to steal their valuables. Young males working in pairs, often riding motorcycles, are perpetrating many of the armed robberies in Honduras’ urban areas; this continues to be a common tactic used by criminals in spite of a 2011 law that restricts ridership of motorcycles and prohibits two men from riding together. Criminals and pickpockets target visitors as they enter and depart airports and hotels, so visitors should consider carrying their passports and valuables in a concealed pouch. As many as 100 U.S. citizens in Honduras report having their U.S. passports stolen per year. We have also confirmed reports of armed robbers traveling in private cars targeting pedestrians on isolated streets.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to take the following safety precautions while in Honduras:
- Do not resist a robbery attempt. Most criminals have weapons, and most injuries and deaths during robberies result when victims resist. Several U.S. citizens have been injured or killed while resisting armed robberies. Think in advance about how you will react if ever confronted by criminals.
- Do not hitchhike or go home with strangers, particularly from nightspots. Whenever possible, travel in groups of two or more. Use the same common sense while traveling in Honduras that you would in any high crime area in the United States.
- Know where your family members are at all times. This is especially important for children and teenagers.
- Carry a cell phone with local emergency numbers programmed as well as a written list of important numbers, including U.S. Embassy contact information. Remember that cell phones are common targets of thieves, so keep phones concealed as much as possible.
- Do not wear excessive jewelry.
- Do not carry large sums of money, or display cash, ATM/credit cards, or other valuables.
- If you have to use an ATM, use one inside a location with security such as a bank, hotel, or mall, and be cognizant of your surroundings.
- Do not walk at night in most areas of Honduras and exercise strong caution during the day. Avoid deserted or unfamiliar areas.
- Do not hike alone in backcountry areas, or walk alone on beaches, historic ruins, or trails.
- Identify nearby “safe areas,” such as major hotels, malls, gas stations, and other familiar locations or residences where you can take shelter in an emergency. A good safe area has lighting, security, telephones, food, and bathrooms.
- Take precautions while driving. Incidents of crime along roads, including carjacking and kidnapping, are common in Honduras. There have been frequent incidents of carjacking and highway robbery on a number of roads including the main highway (CA-5) between San Pedro Sula and Siguatepeque, with the greatest risk between Potrerillos and Pito Solo in the lake area. Travelers should always drive with their doors locked and windows rolled up to avoid potential robberies at traffic lights and other places, such as congested downtown streets. Avoid driving at night. Select familiar and well-traveled streets as much as possible, and make sure to plan your route carefully as well as an alternate route. Whenever possible, drive to the center of the road, especially in rural settings, to avoid being forced off the road. Remain a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead of you.
- In general, you should avoid public transportation in Honduras. If you plan to travel by bus, always travel during daylight hours and on first-class conveyances, not economy buses. Choose 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. When possible, travel in groups.
U.S. citizens should regularly check the Embassy’s Messages for U.S. Citizens page for safety tips and up-to-date information about the security situation.
Incidents of piracy off the coast of Honduras can occur. In 2012, a U.S. citizen reported that his boat was boarded and his passengers were the victims of an armed robbery while sailing in Honduran waters near Puerto Cortes, three miles north of Punta Sal. In 2011, a Canadian citizen was killed in a similar incident. U.S. citizens should exercise caution while sailing or mooring in Honduran waters.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to be vigilant of their surroundings at all times, especially when entering or exiting their homes, cars, garages, schools, and workplaces. It is also recommended that drivers vary their routes and schedules to avoid a predictable routine. Individuals should also limit the sharing of personal information and closely screen personal employees. Should a U.S. citizen be kidnapped, family members or friends should contact local authorities and the U.S. Embassy immediately.
The Honduran government conducts occasional joint police/military patrols in major cities in an effort to reduce crime. However, Honduran law enforcement authorities’ ability to prevent, respond to, investigate criminal incidents, and prosecute criminals is limited. Honduran police generally do not speak English. The government has a special tourist police unit in the resort town of Tela and other tourist destinations including Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, and Roatan, but the number of tourist police deployed is small and coverage is limited.
The Basilica of Suyapa in Tegucigalpa, also known as Suyapa Church or Cathedral, is an important religious site and popular tourist destination. However, it is situated in a high crime area and has been the site of numerous armed robberies and thefts. U.S. citizens in Honduras on U.S. government orders are only allowed to visit the Basilica of Suyapa with an organized tour group that provides armed security for the group.
San Pedro Sula area police authorities have reported armed robberies against tourist vans, minibuses, and cars traveling from the airport to area hotels, and there have also been armed robberies along the road to Copan. Armed men have forced vehicles transporting tourists off the road and robbed the victims, occasionally assaulting the driver or passengers. In past years, several U.S. citizens have been murdered in San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba shortly after arriving in the country. Assaults in these areas may be based on tips from sources at airport arrival areas, so visitors are strongly urged to exercise caution in discussing travel plans in public.
Although Copan, Roatan/Bay Islands, and other tourist destinations have a lower crime rate than other parts of the country, thefts, break-ins, assaults, and murders do occur. Exercise particular caution walking on isolated beaches, especially at night. Several U.S. citizens have reported being robbed while walking on isolated beaches. Cruise ship passengers should also take safety precautions, avoid unfamiliar areas, and take care to book only with reputable tour companies during their stopover in Honduras. The vast majority of cruise line passengers in Honduras experience no problems, but incidents of armed robbery and carjacking have been reported. Coxen Hole on the island of Roatan should be avoided after dark.
The Government of Honduras has a very limited law enforcement presence in some northern coastal areas, including parts of the departments of Olancho, Colon, and Gracias a Dios. These areas are well known for narcotics smuggling and violence. Travelers in those areas should use extra caution. See the description of highways and other areas to be avoided in the “Traffic Safety and Road Conditions” section below for details.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
Travelers to Honduras should be familiar with local emergency numbers. The local equivalent of the “911” emergency line in Honduras is 911 for National Police; 112 for the investigative police unit; 198 for fire fighters; and 195 for the local Red Cross. Emergency operators typically speak Spanish only. Emergency telephone lines may also experience connectivity problems.
Consider recording the following numbers in case of an emergency:
National: 198 or (504) 2220-7670
San Pedro Sula: (504) 2556-5270, 2556-5271 and 2556-6180
San Pedro Sula: (504) 2559-6292
Prosecutor on Duty
National: (504) 2237-6830
San Pedro Sula: (504) 2553-6860 ext. 62
La Ceiba: (504) 2241-2104
Tegucigalpa: (504) 2230-2412
San Pedro Sula: (504) 2559-1255
La Ceiba: (504) 2441-0459
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Honduras, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. Persons violating Honduran laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Honduras are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. In some places, you may be taken in for questioning if you do not have your passport with you. If you break local laws in Honduras, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not in Honduras.
You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with minors or for possessing or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
Arrest Notifications in Host Country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in that country, others may not. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: There are a number of issues and regulations in Honduras of which U.S. citizens should be aware.
Marine Safety and Oversight: The Gulf of Fonseca is the subject of maritime border dispute between Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. The Honduran Navy patrols this area and all private vessels transiting Honduran territorial waters should be prepared to be hailed and possibly boarded by Honduran military personnel to verify documentation. While the Honduran Navy previously used private vessels as patrol vessels, this is no longer the case. Additionally, the Atlantic coast of Honduras is a transit point for drug traffickers from South America. 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 during working hours and request to speak with the U.S. Office of Security Cooperation. 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 Department of Gracias a Dios. Sailors should contact the U.S. Coast Guard and yacht facility managers in their areas of travel for current information.
Real Estate Investment: U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution before entering into any form of commitment to invest in real estate, particularly in coastal areas and the Bay Islands. Honduran laws and practices regarding real estate differ substantially from those in the United States, and fraudulent deeds and titles are common. U.S. citizens considering investing or buying real estate in Honduras should be aware that rights to such property do not enjoy the same level of protection as in the United States. Approximately 80 percent of privately held land is either untitled or improperly titled. Inadequate land title procedures have led to numerous investment disputes involving U.S. citizens who are landowners. Historically, title insurance has not been available in Honduras. Recently, some U.S. insurance companies have begun offering title insurance in cooperation with Honduran attorneys. In addition, there are complaints that the Honduran judicial system often prolongs disputed cases for many years before resolution. U.S. citizens have spent thousands of dollars in legal fees and experienced years of frustration trying to resolve property disputes, even in cases where local attorneys and Honduran and U.S. real estate agents had given assurances to the investor. Threats and violence have been used against U.S. citizens involved in disputed property cases. Potential investors should engage competent local legal representation before making any commitments. Investors should also thoroughly check the references of attorneys and real estate agents.
Honduran law places certain restrictions on land ownership by foreigners in coastal and border areas. Squatters have claimed a number of properties owned by U.S. citizens. U.S. government officials may not act as agents, attorneys, or in a fiduciary capacity, and the Embassy staff is prohibited from providing legal advice. U.S. citizens who own property abroad and who have assumed responsibilities concurrent with ownership of property in a foreign country should take steps on their own initiative to safeguard their interests and to employ private legal counsel when the need arises. For further information on investing in property in Honduras, please review the State Department’s Investment Climate Statement, part of the Country Commercial Guide, as well as the U.S. Embassy’s information page on purchasing property in Honduras. For information on contracting Honduran legal representation, please check with other investors. You may also refer to the list of attorneys available on the U.S. Embassy’s website.
Financial Market Investment: Due to poor regulation and lack of guarantees, investment in the Honduran “Bolsa de Valores,” or securities market, as well as banking institution bonds, “fideicomisos” (trusts), and certificates of deposit from uninsured financial institutions pose high risks to investors. Exercise extreme caution before and while undertaking such activities, as U.S. citizens have lost large sums of money through investments in such markets. For further information on investing in Honduras, please review the State Department’s Investment Climate Statement, part of the Country Commercial Guide.
Corruption: Many U.S. firms and citizens operating in Honduras have found corruption to be a serious problem and a constraint to successful investment. While some U.S. firms have satisfactorily resolved cases through the courts, many have difficulty navigating the legal system. There are complaints that the Honduran judicial system exhibits favoritism and vulnerability to external pressure and bribes. Corruption appears to be most pervasive in government procurement, government permits, and in the buying and selling of real estate (land titling).
Customs Regulations: U.S. citizens who intend to stay in Honduras for an extended period of time and who bring vehicles or household goods into the country should consult Honduran customs officials prior to shipment. With the exception of “antique” cars, all cars imported into Honduras by foreigners must be less than ten (10) years old. Buses, pickup trucks, and dump trucks must be less than 13 years old. For specific information regarding customs requirements, please contact the Embassy of Honduras in Washington, DC. Honduran customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import and export of items such as antiquities, medications, and business equipment. For example, Honduran law prohibits the export of antiques and artifacts from pre-colonial civilizations. To protect the country’s biodiversity, it is illegal to export certain birds, feathers, and other flora and fauna. For specific information regarding exportation requirements, please contact the Embassy of Honduras in Washington, DC and see our Customs Information page.
Firearms: No one may bring firearms into Honduras, except for diplomats or individuals participating in shooting or hunting sport events who have obtained a temporary firearm importation permit from the Honduran Ministry of Security prior to their travel to Honduras.
Firearms for personal safety or for purposes other than those mentioned above must be purchased locally through a store named “La Armería.” These stores are regulated by the Honduran Armed Forces and are located throughout Honduras.
Diplomats or individuals participating in shooting or hunting sport events seeking a permit for the importation of firearms can contact the Ministry of Security at the following address:
Secretario de Estado en el Despacho de Seguridad Pública
Cuartel General de Casamata
Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., Honduras, C.A.
Fax: (504) 2220-4352
Firearms that arrive without the requisite Honduran permit will be confiscated and the bearer could be prosecuted to the full extent of Honduran law.
Adventure Sport: Honduras’ growing tourism industry attracts a number of people interested in adventure sports such as whitewater kayaking and rafting, scuba diving, and canopy tours. Travelers should be warned that in addition to the inherent risk of injury and death in these activities, there is little or no oversight of safety standards for adventure sports operators in Honduras. Travelers planning to swim, snorkel, dive, or participate in other water sports should never do so alone and should take appropriate safety precautions. The U.S. Embassy has recorded five drowning deaths of U.S. citizens since 2012. While many operators use good practices and attempt to meet internationally accepted safety standards, travelers should be diligent in researching potential adventure sports providers to make sure they are using internationally-acceptable or certified equipment, guides, safety measures, and instruction. Please see the section titled “Medical Facilities and Health Information” for more information on access to medical care when injured
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) events in Honduras. Honduran law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics. Despite this, many Honduran LGBT equality and human rights activists report that many crimes committed against the LGBT community go unpunished. There are several LGBT nightclubs in major Honduran cities such as Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and La Ceiba. Though rare, there have been cases of police harassment of patrons in some of these establishments. LGBT public events are held regularly without incident. Nonetheless, LGBT travelers should consider exercising caution when visiting Honduras, especially with regard to expressing affection in public. According to local advocacy organizations, many LGBT persons are reluctant to display affection in public (including holding hands) because of societal intolerance of same-sex relationships. For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Honduras, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Honduras, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Honduran law requires access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, in practice few buildings are accessible. If you are traveling with a disability, please review the information on the State Department’s Traveling with Disabilities website.
Medical care in Honduras varies greatly in quality and availability. Outside of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, medical care is inadequate to address complex situations. Support staff facilities and necessary equipment and supplies are not up to U.S. standards anywhere in Honduras. Facilities for advanced surgical procedures are not available. Wide areas of the country, including the popular tourist areas of the Bay Islands, do not have a general surgery hospital. Ambulance services are limited in major cities and almost non-existent elsewhere. Emergency services may be contacted directly through their local numbers, including 911 for the national emergency line and 195 for the local Red Cross.
The U.S. Embassy encourages visitors who are considering medical care in Honduras to obtain as much information about the facility and the medical personnel as possible. Medical tourists should confirm that the facilities they are considering are accredited, purchase medical evacuation insurance before traveling, and confirm that the cost and payment for their treatment is clearly understood by both parties. In addition to other publicly available information, U.S. citizens may consult the U.S. Embassy’s website for a list of hospitals and air ambulance services.
Scuba diving is popular in the Bay Islands, but limited medical facilities there pose a special risk in the event of an emergency. There is a decompression chamber on Roatan and Utila for divers, but there is no advanced medical care on either island for diving related accidents.
Mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue and malaria are a problem in Honduras. Travelers should carry and use insect repellents containing either 20 percent DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. Treating clothing and tents with permethrin and sleeping in screened or air conditioned rooms under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets will help diminish bites from mosquitoes as well ticks, fleas, chiggers, etc, some of which may also carry infections.
Malaria is present throughout the country at altitudes of <1,000 m (3,281 ft) and in Roatan and other Bay Islands. Additional information is available at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. Take a prophylactic regimen best suited to your health profile. Dengue Fever, a viral disease carried by day biting mosquitoes, has become a major problem in Honduras. In 2013, the Honduran government declared a state of emergency due to large outbreaks of dengue fever. According to the Honduran Ministry of Health, nearly 1,200 cases have been recorded in the first two months of 2014. Cases have been reported throughout the country with the greatest number of outbreaks reported in the departments of Olancho, Atlántida, and Choluteca and the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Unlike traditional mosquito-borne illnesses, there is no medicinal prophylactic or curative regimen for dengue fever. Travelers should take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes to reduce the chance of contracting such illnesses, such as avoiding standing water even around the yard, wearing long sleeves and pants in both day and night, and regularly applying insect repellent. Chloroquine and other antimalarials (atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, and mefloquine) are protective in this country. Drug choice depends on personal factors discussed between the traveler and medical provider, see CDC’s “Choosing a Drug to Prevent Malaria.”
Immunizations: All routinely recommended immunizations for the United States should be up to date. Measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, pertussis and chickenpox are much more common than in the United States, especially among children. Additionally, hepatitis A and typhoid immunizations are recommended for all travelers. Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all those who may have sexual contacts, tattoos or require medical treatment while in Honduras.
Rabies immunization is recommended for all travelers staying for more than four weeks or who will have remote, rural travel or expect animal exposure especially along the border with El Salvador. Even in urban areas dogs may have rabies and bites and scratches from dogs, bats or other mammals should be immediately cleaned with soap and water and medical evaluation sought to determine if additional rabies immunization is warranted.
Honduras requires immunization against yellow fever for those traveling to Honduras from countries in South America and Africa where there is the risk of transmission. Please consult the Aeropuertos de Honduras Travel Guide page for a list of these countries as well as other regulations for travelers. Travelers taking prescription medications should bring an adequate supply with them when coming to Honduras and ensure that their prescriptions are properly labeled.
Honduras lacks a substantial infrastructure for maintaining water purity and food safety, therefore diarrheal illness is very common among travelers even in large cities and luxury accommodations. Travelers can diminish diarrhea risk through scrupulous washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers, especially before food preparation and eating. The greatest risk of traveler’s diarrhea is from contaminated food. Choose foods and beverages carefully to lower your risk (see Food & Water Safety). Eat only food that is cooked and served hot; avoid food that has been sitting on a buffet. Eat raw fruits and vegetables only if you have washed them in clean water or peeled them. Drink only beverages from factory-sealed containers, and avoid ice (because it may have been made from unclean water). Talk to your doctor about short course antibiotics and loperamide to take with you in case of diarrhea while traveling.
Air pollution sufficient to aggravate or lead to respiratory problems is common throughout the country during the dry season due in large part to widespread forest fires and agricultural burning. Travelers with respiratory or cardiac conditions and those who are elderly or extremely young are at greatest risk for complications from air pollution, including coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or chest pain. Acute respiratory infections are also widespread; more than 100,000 cases are reported annually.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Honduras, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Honduras is provided for general reference only, and may not be accurate for a particular location or circumstance.
Because of crime, poor road conditions, and heavy commercial truck traffic, driving can be dangerous, and travelers should 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 (May through December). Traffic signs, even on major highways, are often inadequate, and streets in the major cities are often unmarked. Travelers should always drive with their doors locked and windows rolled up to avoid potential robberies at traffic lights and other places such as congested downtown streets. Honduran roads are poorly lit and poorly marked. 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, the U.S. Embassy discourages car and bus travel after dark.
Major cities are connected by an inconsistently maintained system of paved roads. While the main road network is being upgraded and widened in key positions, most of it consists of only two lanes.
Significant construction on the highway between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula was completed in 2013. However, many secondary roads in Honduras are unpaved. During the rainy season, even major highways are often closed due to rockslides and flooding from heavy rains.
In the event of an accident, contact the Honduran Transit Authority (“Transito”) immediately. It may be contacted either directly through local numbers or through the national emergency number, 911. Honduran law requires that no vehicles involved in an accident be moved until Transit Authority agents arrive, not even to clear a traffic obstruction, unless you are in serious physical danger. Besides informing the Transit Authority, car insurance companies should be notified as soon as possible. Personal identification documents, including driver’s licenses, copies of passports, and vehicle registration cards should be carried while driving.
In addition to incidents of carjacking and robbery on the main highway, CA-5, between San Pedro Sula and Siguatepeque in the lake area, similar incidents have occurred on the highway between San Pedro Sula and Tela, with the greatest risk near the palm tree plantations near El Progreso. These carjackings and robberies have targeted SUVs and usually occur at night; therefore, driving at night is highly discouraged. In Olancho, on the road from Juticalpa to Telica, and from the turn off to Gualaco on Route 39 to San Esteban and Bonito Oriental, rival criminal elements have engaged in violent acts against one another. Travelers should avoid this road and stick to the main Tegucigalpa-Juticalpa-Catacamas road while traveling in Olancho. In addition, delivery trucks throughout Honduras are common targets of highway robberies.
Some of the most dangerous stretches for road travel include: Tegucigalpa to Choluteca, because of dangerous mountain curves, and El Progreso to La Ceiba, because of animal crossings and the poor condition of bridges from flooding. i
The only 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. Hijackings of private and commercial vehicles from the United States to Honduras have occurred. While Honduras and the United States have signed and ratified a Stolen Vehicle Treaty, existing Honduran laws protect good faith buyers (even of stolen vehicles), so the recovery and return of these vehicles to their original owners is not guaranteed. Vehicle insurance may mitigate loss; please check with the National Insurance Crime Bureau or with private insurance carriers about coverage details.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Honduras, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Honduras’ Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.