Travel Information for Honduras

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Last Updated August 29, 2011

Honduras Country-Specific Information

Recent Embassy Notices for American Citizens

Country Description

Honduras has a developing economy. The national language is Spanish, although English is often spoken in the Bay Islands. The climate is generally pleasant and temperate, with dry and wet seasons. During the dry season from February into May, widespread forest fires and agricultural burning can severely 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 would normally be used by tourists, 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 even a governmental presence. Currency exchange is readily available at banks and hotels in the major cities. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Honduras for additional information.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

If you are going to move to or visit Honduras, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.

Embassy Location

Local Embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of Embassies and Consulates.

U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa
Avenida La Paz in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Telephone: 011-504-2236-9320 or 011-504-2238-5114
Emergency after-hours telephone: 011-504-2236-8497
American Citizens Services Unit Fax: 011-504-2238-4357

American Citizens Services Unit Office hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The Consulate is closed the first Tuesday of every month.

To provide better customer service and reduce waiting times, the Consular Section in Tegucigalpa uses an online appointment system for passport renewals, first-time passports and additional passport pages, reports of birth abroad, notaries, and immigrant visas. Appointments are required to submit your application for these services. You can find more information, including how to schedule an appointment, at the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizen Services website. We accept walk-ins Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. only for emergencies, reports of death, reports of birth abroad, or to pick up passports. All other services require an appointment.

Consular Agency in San Pedro Sula
Banco Atlantida Building (across from Central Park) – 11th Floor
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Telephone: 011-504-2558-1580
Office hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Consular Agent in San Pedro Sula assists the Embassy in protecting the interests of U.S. citizens in Honduras. The Agent may execute notarials, Reports of Birth Abroad, and U.S. passport applications. The Agent may also assist U.S. citizens with emergency situations such as arrests and deaths of U.S. citizens in Honduras. The Consular Agent does not provide visa information or services. For additional details about all U.S. Embassy and consular services in Honduras, please see the Embassy website or visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Entry/Exit 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 American 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 a “Central America-4 (CA-4) Border Control Agreement” with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Under the terms of 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 period of 90 days. Foreign tourists who wish to remain in the “CA-4” country 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, as of December 1, 2010, 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
Calle Principal
Edificio #1404
Comayagüela, DC
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 $38. The airport tax must be paid at the airport in cash in either U.S. dollars or lempiras. Checks and credit cards are not accepted. If you stay in Honduras beyond 90 days, a fine may be imposed by Honduran Immigration prior to your departure.

Special Requirements for Minors: 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 non-traveling parent is the father, he must authorize travel; the law does not delegate this authority to any other male member of the family in his absence.

For more 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 a Honduran consulate in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, or San Francisco. The Honduran government also retains an Honorary Consul in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Click here for a full listing of Honduran consulates.

The Honduran Embassy is located at 3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008. The Embassy can be contacted by phone at (202) 966-7702. Visit the Embassy of Honduras’ website for the most current 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: There are no entry restrictions or requirements for persons with HIV/AIDS entering Honduras. The 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic by the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimates approximately 39,000 children and adults living with HIV/AIDS in Honduras. The estimated prevalence is 0.5 percent, equal to the average prevalence rate in Central and South America. There are limited health resources in Honduras, including for treatment of persons with HIV/AIDS.

For more 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 a Honduran consulate in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, or San Francisco. The Honduran government also retains an Honorary Consul in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Click here for a full 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 sheet.

Threats to Safety & Security

For information about crime in Honduras, please see the “Crime” section below.

Political demonstrations occur frequently in the major cities of Honduras. During demonstrations, protestors frequently block public roads to press their political views or to seek concessions from the Honduran government. 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.

While the Honduran side of the Honduras-Nicaragua border has been largely cleared of land mines, travelers should exercise caution there.

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. COPECO announced on May 11, 2011, that meteorologists predict the possible formation of sixteen tropical storms and fourteen hurricanes in 2011.

For up-to-date information on storms, U.S. visitors are encouraged to visit the National Hurricane Center’s website and read about hurricane preparedness onthe State Department travel website.

Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

You can also call (888) 407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, (202) 501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Take some time before travel to improve your personal security. Here are some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.

Crime

Crime is endemic 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, including murder, kidnapping, rape, assault, and property crimes. Widespread poverty and unemployment, along with significant street gang and drug cartel activity, have contributed to the extremely high crime rate. There were 6,236 homicides in Honduras in 2009, a rate of 77 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Since 1995, 98 U.S. citizens have been reported murdered in Honduras; however, only twenty-eight cases have been resolved. As of July 2011, four U.S. citizens have been reported murdered in Honduras in 2011; nine in 2010; 18 in 2009; seven in 2008; four in 2007; eight in 2006; and nine in 2005.

Kidnappings have also been on the rise in recent years, with large ransoms paid and infrequent capture of the kidnappers. Seven U.S. citizens were reported kidnapped in 2010; 12 in 2009; three in 2008; three in 2007; four in 2006; and three in 2005.

U.S. citizens are primarily the victims of opportunistic crime. There is no evidence suggesting criminals specifically target U.S. citizens, but nonetheless, 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. 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. There have also been reports of armed robbers traveling in private cars targeting pedestrians on isolated streets.

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. For more information, please see the section below on Traffic Safety and Road Conditions.

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. All bus travel should be during daylight hours and on first-class conveyances, not on 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.

Kidnappings for ransom have occurred in affluent areas where individuals may be targeted for their connections to the business community. Although U.S. citizens have not been specifically targeted because of their citizenship, they may be at increased risk for targeting than the average local citizen because of their presumed wealth. Kidnappings of U.S. citizens in early 2009 took place while the victims were sitting in their cars outside their homes or schools. In some cases, investigators believe that the kidnappings were arranged by people who knew the victims. Travelers 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 so as to not create a predictable routine. Individuals should also limit the sharing of personal information and closely screen personal employees. Should a U.S. citizen be kidnapped, local authorities and the Embassy should be contacted immediately.

Do not resist a robbery attempt. Most criminals have weapons, and most injuries and deaths have resulted when victims have resisted. In 2004, an American citizen was murdered while attempting to flee an armed robbery in progress and another American was shot while resisting a carjacking. Several American citizens have been injured or killed while resisting armed robberies. Do not hitchhike or go home with strangers, particularly from nightspots. Whenever possible, travel in groups of two or more persons. Use the same common sense while traveling in Honduras that you would in any high crime area in the United States: do not wear excessive jewelry; do not carry large sums of money, or display cash, ATM/credit cards, or other valuables. Avoid walking at night in most areas of Honduras and exercise strong caution during the day. Do not hike alone in backcountry areas, or walk alone on beaches, historic ruins, or trails.

The Honduran government conducts occasional joint police/military patrols in major cities in an effort to reduce crime. Problems with the judicial process include corruption and an acute shortage of trained personnel, equipment, staff, and financial resources. The Honduran law enforcement authorities’ ability to prevent, respond to, and investigate criminal incidents and prosecute criminals is limited. Honduran police generally do not speak English. The government has established a special tourist police in the resort town of Tela and other tourist destinations including Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, and Roatan, but the number 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. Official Americans are only allowed to visit the Basilica of Suyapa with an organized tour group that provides armed security for the group.

The San Pedro Sula area has seen 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.

Copan, Roatan/Bay Islands, and other tourist destinations have a lower crime rate than other parts of the country, but thefts, break-ins, assaults, and murders do occur. Exercise particular caution walking on isolated beaches, especially at night. 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/areas to be avoided in the Traffic Safety and Road Conditions section below for details.

Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law and will be subject to local penalties.

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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 (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates). If your passport is stolen we can help you replace it. If your passport is stolen, we can help you replace it. For violent crimes such as assault and rape, we can help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and help them send you money if you need it. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if you need one.

The local equivalents of the “911” emergency line in Honduras is 199 for National Police; 198 for fire fighters; and 195 for the local Red Cross. The operators typically speak Spanish only.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in another country, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. In some places, you may be taken in for questioning if you do not have your passport with you. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Honduras are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. There are also some activities that might be legal in the country you visit but illegal in the United States; for example, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. 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 where you are going.

If you are arrested in Honduras, you have the right to request the authorities to alert the U.S. Embassy.

Special Circumstances

Marine Safety and Oversight: The areas off both coasts of Honduras are 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. While the Honduran Navy previously used private vessels as patrol vessels, this is no longer the case. 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. Military Group (USMILGP) office. 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 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. nationals who are landowners. Historically, title insurance has not been available in Honduras. Recently, some American 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. American 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. Violence has been used against American 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. 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. For information on contracting Honduran legal representation, please check with other investors. You may also refer to the list of attorneys available on the Embassy’s home page.

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. Extreme caution should be exercised before and while undertaking such activities, as American 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: The Government of Honduras strictly enforces the law requiring a Honduran permit for the importation of firearms. Travelers must obtain a firearm importation permit from the Honduran Embassy, Consulate General, or a Honduran consulate in the United States prior to bringing firearms into the country. Please note that a U.S. government-issued or airline-issued permit is not valid for importation of firearms into Honduras. Firearms that arrive without the requisite Honduran permit will be confiscated and the bearer will be prosecuted to the full extent of Honduran law.

Adventure Sports: 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. Five American citizens died in these sports in Honduras during the past three years. 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.

Medical Facilities & Health Information

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 199 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 travelling, 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, or contact the U.S. Embassy prior to seeking non-emergency medical attention.

Scuba diving is popular in the Bay Islands, but the 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 no advanced medical care on either island for diving related accidents.

Mosquito-borne illnesses are an ongoing problem in Honduras. All persons traveling in the northern areas of Honduras, even for a brief visit, are at risk of contracting malaria. Take a prophylactic regimen best suited to your health profile. The country regularly suffers from outbreaks of dengue fever. 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 in the home, wearing long sleeves and pants in both day and night, and applying insect repellent regularly.

Severe air pollution, which can 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.

Honduras lacks a substantial infrastructure for maintaining water purity. Travelers are strongly encouraged to avoid drinking tap water or a beverage that contains ice from an unknown source (even alcoholic drinks). Bottles and bags of purified water are widely available. It is also recommended that individuals traveling to Honduras avoid eating untreated raw vegetables, fruits that cannot be peeled on the spot, raw fish like ceviche and undercooked shellfish, and products containing mayonnaise, pastry icing, and unpasteurized dairy products. Hot cooked food, fresh bread, dry foods such as crackers, bottled carbonated beverages, coffee, tea, and beer are usually safe, provided such food items are not purchased from street vendors. All fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly with detergent and running water. Those that will be cooked or peeled can then be stored in a sealed container until used. Those that will be eaten raw and will not be peeled should be soaked for 15 minutes in a solution of chlorine bleach (or 5 percent household bleach) and water (one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water), rinsed with potable water, and allowed to air dry.

Individuals traveling to Honduras should ensure that all their routine vaccinations are up to date, particularly measles and rubella vaccination. The Honduran government issued a declaration in May 2011 requiring proof of measles and rubella vaccination for all foreign travelers from North America, Europe, Africa, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. Vaccination against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid is strongly recommended for those traveling to Honduras from the United States. Pre-exposure rabies vaccination should also be considered for travelers who may be exposed to stray animals on city streets or in rural areas. Honduras requires vaccination against yellow fever for those traveling to Honduras from countries where there is the risk of transmission. Travelers taking prescription medications should bring an adequate supply with them when coming to Honduras and ensure that their prescriptions are properly labeled.

You can find good 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. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Medical Insurance

You cannot assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It is very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:

  • Does my policy apply when I’m out of the U.S.?
  • Will it cover emergencies like a trip to a foreign hospital or an evacuation?

In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.

Traffic Safety & Road Conditions

While in a foreign country, 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 totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Because of crime, poor road conditions, and heavy commercial truck traffic, driving can be very 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 is scheduled through 2012 so drivers can expect delays. 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. They may be contacted either directly through their local numbers, or through their national emergency number, 199. Honduran law requires that no vehicles involved in an accident be moved until Transit agents arrive, not even to clear a traffic obstruction, unless you are in serious physical danger. Besides informing the Transit Authority, the car insurance companies should be notified immediately or as soon as possible. Personal identification documents, including driver’s licenses, copies of passports, and the vehicle registration cards should be carried while driving.

Besides the incidents of carjacking and highway 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 SUV’s 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. 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; El Progreso to La Ceiba, because of animal crossings and the poor condition of bridges from flooding. On July 11, 2011, a bus overturned nine miles after Santa Rosa de Copan en route to San Pedro Sula killing ten people and injuring 20.

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

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Honduras’ Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for the oversight of Honduras’ air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Childrens Issues

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.