Honduras Travel Advice and Advisories

Filed under Foreign Relations, Travel from North America to Honduras, Travel to Honduras
Honduras Travel Advice

Honduras Travel Advice

Honduras is a Central American nation situated on the Caribbean coast and shares a border with Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. The Honduras climate is temperate, with dry and wet seasons. Tourists flock to Honduras for its warm Caribbean beaches, turquoise clear ocean waters ideal for diving and snorkeling as well as spoting and swimming along Whale Sharks, lush jungles perfect for hiking and bird watching, spectacular mountains and mysteriously advanced ancient ruins such as Copan.

The U.S. State Department notes that the security situation in the country is precarious, due to the country’s high crime rate and frequent political demonstrations.


When you travel to Honduras it is important to keep up to date with the latest travel alerts and advisories issued by your country of origin. Below you will find the latest travel alerts and advisories issued by various countries around the world; including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
For those Expats living in Honduras this page should be kept bookmarked and checked often as conditions change you will be able to check the latest Travel Alerts related to the Country of Honduras in order to insure your safety. Official reports about crime as well as Weather conditions such as tropical storms and Hurricane season which begins June 1 and ends November 30th each year and monitored by the National Hurricane Center NOAA. When countries issue a Travel Advisory for Honduras this page will be updated with the latest travel advisory along with news and reports from within Honduras. Below are important contacts in case of any emergency.

Honduras Emergency Telephone Numbers

Contact your Embassy; Foreign Embassies in Honduras along with Contacts and telephone Numbers.

United States Travel Advisories

Honduras Travel Warning, December 24, 2013

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens that the level of crime and violence in Honduras remains critically high. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated June 17, 2013, and includes additional information on crime and security in Honduras, as well as updated contact information.

Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens visit Honduras each year for study, tourism, business, and volunteer work without incident. However, crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country, and the Government of Honduras lacks the resources to address these issues. Since 2010, Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world. Various institutions and government agencies are still analyzing statistics for 2013. The National Violence Observatory, an academic research institution based out of Honduras’ National Public University, reports that the murder rate was slightly above 81 murders per 100,000 people for January through November.

Crime and Security Threats

U.S. citizens do not appear to be targeted based on their nationality, and expatriates are victims of crime at levels similar to those of the local population. Most resort areas and tourist destinations have lower levels of crime and violence than other areas of the country, though still high by international standards. In 2012, the Government of Honduras increased police presence and established special police forces in areas frequented by tourists, such as the Copan Mayan ruins and Roatan. Tourists traveling with group tours also report fewer criminal incidents.

The Honduran Government is evaluating similar options for other locations, and major hotels, and other tourist installations have increased private and police security. Some businesses report that extra security costs account for up to 15 percent of their total expenses.

The vast majority of serious crimes in Honduras, including those against U.S. citizens, are never solved; of the 50 murders committed against U.S. citizens since 2008, police have only solved two. Members of the Honduran National Police are known to engage in criminal activity, including murder and car theft. The Government of Honduras lacks sufficient resources to properly investigate and prosecute cases, and police often lack vehicles or fuel to respond to calls for assistance. In practice, this means police may take hours to arrive at the scene of a violent crime, or may not respond at all. As a result, criminals operate with a high degree of impunity throughout Honduras. The Honduran government is in the early stages of substantial reforms to its criminal justice institutions.

Transnational criminal organizations also conduct narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout the country, using violence to control drug trafficking routes and carry out criminal activity. Other criminals, acting both individually and in gangs in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and other large cities, commit crimes such as murder, kidnapping, extortion, carjacking, armed robbery, rape, and other aggravated assaults.

Kidnappings and disappearances are an ongoing concern throughout the country as well. Kidnapping affects both the local and expatriate communities, with victims sometimes paying large ransoms for the prospect of release. Kidnapping is believed to be underreported. Since January 1, 2012, four cases of kidnapped U.S. citizens were reported to the U.S. Embassy. The kidnapping victims were all subsequently released.

Precautions While in Honduras

U.S. citizens should be vigilant of their surroundings at all times and in all locations, especially when entering or exiting their homes, hotels, cars, garages, schools, and workplaces. Whenever possible, U.S. citizens should travel in groups of two or more. It is also advisable to avoid wearing jewelry and carrying large sums of money or displaying cash, ATM/credit cards, or other valuables. U.S. citizens should avoid walking at night in most areas of Honduras or walking alone on beaches, historic ruins, and trails. Incidents of crime along roads, including carjacking and kidnapping, are also common in Honduras. Motorists should avoid traveling at night and always drive with their doors locked to deter potential robberies at traffic lights and on congested downtown streets.

The location and timing of criminal activity is unpredictable in Honduras. The U.S. Embassy recommends that all travelers exercise caution when traveling anywhere in the country; however, certain areas of the country demonstrate higher levels of criminal activity than others. Most of Honduras’ major cities (Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, and others), as well as several Honduran “departments” (a geographic designation similar to U.S. states) have homicide rates higher than the national average for 2013 thus far, including:

DEPARTMENT                               CAPITAL
Atlántida                                      La Ceiba
Colón                                           Trujillo
Cortés                                         San Pedro Sula
Yoro                                             Yoro

There are no reliable statistics for the department of Gracias a Dios; however, travelers to the area should note that it is a remote location where narcotics trafficking is frequent, and where infrastructure is weak, government services are limited, and police or military presence is scarce.

Getting Informed before Traveling

For more detailed information regarding personal security, please see the State Department’s Country Specific Information for Honduras. For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Web site, where the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found.

The Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens living or traveling in Honduras to sign up for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to obtain updated information on travel and security within Honduras. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or outside the United States and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. Stay up to date by bookmarking the Bureau of Consular Affairs Web site, which contains Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.

Contact Information

If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime in Honduras, you should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa. If you are in the two major cities of Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula, you can reach the local police by dialing 911; other smaller cities or rural areas have their own local police assistance numbers.

The U.S. Embassy is located on Avenida La Paz in Tegucigalpa, and can be reached at:

Telephone:    (504) 2236-9320/2238-5114
Fax:              (504) 2236-9037
After Hours:  (504) 2236-8497
Website:        honduras.usembassy.gov

The Embassy’s American Citizen Services Unit is open to walk-in services Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 11:30 am, and can be reached directly at:

Telephone:   (504) 2238-5114 ext. 4400
After Hours: (504) 2238-5114
Fax:             (504) 2238-4357
Email:           usahonduras@state.gov
Facebook:    www.facebook.com/acstegucigalpa

The U.S. Consular Agency in San Pedro Sula is located on the eleventh floor of the Banco Atlantida building (across from Central Park). The agency is open to walk-in services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:00 to 4:00 pm, and can be reached at Telephone: (504) 2558-1580.

United Kingdom

TRAVEL SUMMARY for Honduras by the UK Government

  • Still current at:

    25 June 2013

  • Updated:

    23 April 2013

  • Last update: addition to the Entry requirements section – an immigration fee may be charged at land borders.

Avoid travelling on public buses (repainted US school buses). Private inter-city coach services are safer but not immune from attack. See Road travel.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)
Travel advice for Honduras by The UK Government

  • The rainy season in Honduras normally runs from June to November, coinciding with the hurricane season in the Caribbean. The country has already suffered heavy rain damage, flooding and landslides this year, with a yellow alert currently in place for parts of the country, including Tegucigalpa. See Natural Disasters -Hurricanes/Tropical Storms.
  • There is no British Embassy in Honduras. For emergency consular assistance, contact the Honorary Consuls in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula or Roatan, or the British Embassy in Guatemala City. See  General -consular assistance.
  • Crime rates in Honduras are high. The presence of the military supporting the police can be seen in some parts of the country, for example in Bajo Aguan. See the Political Situation 
  • There remains a risk of short-notice public demonstrations in Honduras in response to political events. British nationals in Honduras should exercise a high degree of caution and to stay away from large gatherings and places of public protest. See the Political Situation section of this Travel Advice.
  • The main types of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Honduras in 2010 were: victims of crime, mostly from armed robbery or pickpocketing, and replacing lost or stolen passports.
  • There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Canada

  • Last Updated Date: May 16, 2013 12:47 ET
  • Still Valid Date: June 25, 2013 10:33 ET
  • Latest Updates: An editorial change was made.

Advisories

HONDURAS - Exercise a high degree of caution

There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Honduras. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to violent crime.

 

Regional Advisory for parts of Valle, Choluteca and Olancho

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to San Francisco de Coray and Langue in the department of Valle; Orocuina, Apacilagua and Morolica in the department of Choluteca; San Francisco de la Paz and Gualaco in the department of Olancho due to high levels of violence and crime.

Australia

Honduras overall

 

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Honduras because of the high levels of violent crime.
  • Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • Violent crime, including murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, carjacking and sexual assault, is widespread in Honduras. It often involves firearms and is frequently related to violent street gangs that operate in the country. * We advise you to use first-class transport options, avoid travelling at night and consider travelling in groups or with a tour due to the risk of crime.
  • Australians in Honduras are advised to monitor political developments closely and avoid all demonstrations and large public gatherings as they may turn violent. See Civil unrest / Political tension for more information.
  • The hurricane season is June to November when landslides, mudslides and flooding may occur. In the case of a hurricane, monitor local media reports and follow the instructions of local emergency officials. See Additional information: Natural disasters, severe weather and climate for detailed advice.
  • Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Honduras. The Australian Embassy in Mexico provides consular assistance to Australians in Honduras.
 Top 10 travel tips from the Australian Government

Visit the Australian  top ten travel tips for Australians page for our ten most important travel tips.

New Zealand

Honduras

Reviewed: 07 May 2013, 10:42 NZDT
Still current at: 26 June 2013

There is some risk to your security in Honduras due to violent crime and the potential for civil unrest. We advise caution.

Crime
There are high levels of violent crime (armed robbery, kidnapping and murder) in Honduras, particularly on the north coast and in central regions and border areas. There have been reports of armed robbery and bus/carjackings, affecting tourists on a number of routes, including on main highways.  We recommend you remain vigilant at all times and avoid travelling or walking alone at night, particularly in remote areas.

Civil Unrest
Political gatherings, protests and demonstrations regularly occur in Honduras and as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent. Protestors will often attempt to block roads and security forces may use tear gas, water cannons, or rubber bullets to disperse demonstrations. New Zealanders in Honduras are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations as there is an increased risk of violence at such events.

Unexploded munitions
There are unmarked minefields near the Honduras-Nicaragua border, especially in the Rio Coco region, the Choluteca and El Paraiso provinces and in the area near the Atlantic Coast.  We advise you not to stray off well-used roads and paths.

Natural disasters
Travellers to Honduras should be aware of the possibility of hurricanes and flooding which occur most commonly during the monsoon season, from May to November.

General travel advice
Please note, as there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Honduras, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited.

New Zealanders travelling or resident in Honduras should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders travelling or resident in Honduras are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

GENERAL TRAVEL ADVICE

Recent Honduras Political History
Honduras is traditionally considered to have a democratic constitutional government. This all changed on June 28, 2009, when members of the Honduran army led a coup d’etat, expelling the country’s president, Jose Manuel “Mel” Zelaya Rosales, to Costa Rica. The Honduras national congress declared the president of congress, Roberto Micheletti, to be the new president of Honduras. Five months after the coup, in a democratic election on November 29, 2009, the people elected Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa president. His term will end in January of 2014.

Porfirio (Pepe Lobo) Sosa’s election has restored some political stability in Honduras, political demonstrations frequently occur in major cities, at border crossings and along major roads and highways. The United States of America State Department notes that while most of these demonstrations are peaceful, they can disrupt traffic for hours at a time, and police may use tear gas, water cannons or rubber bullets to break them up. The USA State Department urges U.S. citizens traveling in Honduras to avoid areas where these demonstrations are taking place. Because the demonstrations are designed to block traffic, the State Department warns U.S. citizens never to attempt to cross such a road block. Doing so and even trying to “bribe” your way through can sometimes lead to riots breaking out. (Editors note: Personally have attempted this a few times, no more! Wait it out or find another way.

Crime
According to the U.S. State Department, crime is widespread throughout Honduras. Violent crime against U.S. citizens includes robbery, assault, kidnapping, rape and murder. Apprehension and conviction of criminals is low. Only 28 of the 102 murders of U.S. citizens since 1995 have been resolved. Concern for safety caused the Peace Corps to pull its volunteers out of Honduras in January 2012. According to the United Nations Development Program, Honduras has the highest per capita murder rate in the world. The Peace Corps had one its largest deployments World Wide in Honduras and is sorely missed.

Prevention
The USA State Department urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own safety when traveling in Honduras. Driving with car doors locked and windows up can help prevent robberies and carjackings in heavily congested areas or at traffic lights. (This is a “must” in cities like Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula) U.S. citizens are encouraged to avoid traveling at night. Travel throughout Honduras on public transportation such as Hedman Alas Buses are the safest and should be by first class, rather than economy class. The State Department also encourages common sense actions such as going out only in groups of at least two, refraining from wearing excessive or expensive jewelry, avoiding carrying large sums of cash and not displaying credit or ATM cards. (If you have the time, go inside the banks and get your cash advances; this is much safer not only from street crime but also some ATM machines throughout the country have been knowned to be hacked by Columbian cyber hackers. (This is especially true in the Bay Islands. Also this will save you the ATM fees which can amount to a very nice meal in Honduras.)

Considerations
The U.S. State Department recommends all U.S. citizens visiting Honduras to register with the U.S. embassy through the State Department’s travel registration website. This allows the State Department to provide travelers with updated travel and security information. It also improves the embassy’s ability to contact the traveler in the event of an emergency. U.S. Consular Agency Banco Atlantida Building – 11th Floor San Pedro Sula, Honduras 011-504-558-1580 The Consul’s name is Mark Werner and has been doing his Job since this “Editor” was a teenager in the 70′s so he is extremely helpful and “knows” everyone. There are also assigned US “Wardens” in most regions throughout Honduras. If you get into any conflict ask Law enforcement to get in touch with the US Embassy immediately. This holds true for Germany, the United Kingdom Australia and many other countries who have large populations of Expats living in Honduras.

Health Concerns
The U.S. State Department notes that no medical facilities in Honduras live up to U.S. standards and facilities for advanced surgical procedures are not available outside of the major cities. Mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria and dengue fever, continue to be a problem in Honduras. In addition to regular vaccinations, the U.S. State Department recommends citizens traveling to Honduras get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B and typhoid. Honduras also suffers from the highest rate of AIDS in the region and precautions should be taken. The threat of contracting AIDS in Honduras should not be taken lightly especially in tourist destinations where prostitution levels are extremely high.

Vaccinations
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers arriving within six days from infected areas. A cholera vaccination certificate is no longer a condition of entry into Honduras, but precautions are essential. Typhoid may be a risk in rural areas. Malaria risk, in the benign vivax form, exists throughout the year in 80% of areas, especially rural ones. Transmission risk is low in the remainder, which includes the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended. Tap water is generally unsafe to drink in all of Honduras and milk is often unboiled and it is best to buy canned. Take local advice.

To live in Honduras and travel in Honduras can be an extremely satisfying experience; just use COMMON SENSE!

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